Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by delegates to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
On this date:
In 1802, the United States Military Academy officially opened at West Point, New York.
In 1826, 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, former presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died.
In 1831, the fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, died in New York City at age 73.
In 1863, the Civil War Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ended as a Confederate garrison surrendered to Union forces.
In 1895, Katherine Lee Bates publishes “America the Beautiful”
In 1910, in what was billed as “The Fight of the Century,” Black world heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson defeated white former champ James J. Jeffries in Reno, Nevada.
In 1912, the 48-star American flag, recognizing New Mexico statehood, was adopted. A train wreck near Corning, New York, claimed 39 lives.
In 1939, Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees delivered his famous farewell speech in which he called himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
In 1976, America celebrated its bicentennial with daylong festivities; President Gerald R. Ford made stops in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and New York, where more than 200 ships paraded up the Hudson River in Operation Sail.
In 1987, Klaus Barbie, the former Gestapo chief known as the “Butcher of Lyon,” was convicted by a French court of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison (he died in September 1991).
In 1995, the space shuttle Atlantis and the Russian space station Mir parted after spending five days in orbit docked together.
In 2009, Serena Williams beat her big sister, Venus, 7-6 (3), 6-2 for her third Wimbledon title and 11th Grand Slam championship.
In 2016, NASA received a radio signal from the solar-powered Juno spacecraft confirming that it was in orbit around the planet Jupiter after a trip of nearly five years and 1.8 billion miles.
Ten years ago: Scientists at the European Center for Nuclear Research in Geneva, where the world’s biggest atom smasher is located, cheered the apparent end of a decades-long quest for a new subatomic particle called the Higgs boson, or “God particle.” Joey Chestnut won his sixth straight Fourth of July hot dog-eating contest at New York’s Coney Island, downing 68 dogs and buns to tie his personal best.
Five years ago: The United States confirmed that North Korea had launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, as the North had boasted and the U.S. and South Korea had feared. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called it a “new escalation of the threat” to the U.S.
One year ago: On the second July Fourth holiday of the coronavirus pandemic, service members and first responders were among more than 1,000 guests at a White House event, where President Joe Biden declared that “America is coming back together”; Biden highlighted the success of the vaccination campaign, but warned that the fight against COVID-19 wasn’t over. Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Matiss Kivlenieks died of chest trauma from an errant fireworks mortar blast at a Michigan home.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Eva Marie Saint is 98. Actor Gina Lollobrigida is 95. Country singer Ray Pillow is 85. Actor Ed Bernard is 83. Actor Karolyn Grimes is 82. R&B singer Annette Beard (Martha and the Vandellas) is 79. Broadcast journalist Geraldo Rivera is 79. Vietnam War veteran and peace activist Ron Kovic is 76. R&B musician Ralph Johnson (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 71.
Rock musician Domingo Ortiz (Widespread Panic) is 70. Singer John Waite is 70. Rock musician Kirk Pengilly (INXS) is 64. International Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver is 60. Christian rock singer Michael Sweet is 59. Actor-playwright-screenwriter Tracy Letts is 57. Actor Al Madrigal is 51. Actor Jenica Bergere is 48. Actor-singer John Lloyd Young is 47. Singer Stephen “Ste” McNally (BBMak) is 44. Actor Becki Newton is 44. Actor Mo McRae is 40. TV personality Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is 40. R&B singer Melanie Fiona is 39. Malia Obama is 24.