Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, Jan. 6, the sixth day of 2016. There are 360 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his State of the Union address, outlined a goal of “Four Freedoms”: Freedom of speech and expression; the freedom of people to worship God in their own way; freedom from want; freedom from fear.

On this date:

In 1540, England’s King Henry VIII married his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. (The marriage lasted about six months.)

In 1759, George Washington and Martha Dandridge Custis were married in New Kent County, Virginia.

In 1838, Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail gave the first successful public demonstration of their telegraph in Morristown, New Jersey.

In 1912, New Mexico became the 47th state.

In 1919, the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, died in Oyster Bay, New York, at age 60.

In 1945, George Herbert Walker Bush married Barbara Pierce at the First Presbyterian Church in Rye, New York.

In 1950, Britain recognized the Communist government of China.

In 1963, “Oliver!” Lionel Bart’s musical adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel “Oliver Twist,” opened on Broadway. “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” premiered on NBC-TV.

In 1974, year-round daylight saving time began in the United States on a trial basis as a fuel-saving measure in response to the OPEC oil embargo.

In 1987, the U.S. Senate voted 88-4 to establish an 11-member panel to hold public hearings on the Iran-Contra affair.

In 1994, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the leg by an assailant at Detroit’s Cobo Arena; four men, including the ex-husband of Kerrigan’s rival, Tonya Harding, went to prison for their roles in the attack. (Harding denied knowing about plans for the attack.)

In 2001, with Vice President Al Gore presiding (in his capacity as president of the Senate), Congress formally certified George W. Bush the winner of the bitterly contested 2000 presidential election.

Ten years ago: Al-Qaida’s No. 2 official, Ayman al-Zawahri (AY’-muhn ahl-ZWAH’-ree), said in a videotape that a recent U.S. decision to withdraw some troops from Iraq represented “the victory of Islam.” Hugh Thompson, Jr., a former Army helicopter pilot honored for rescuing Vietnamese civilians from his fellow GIs during the My Lai massacre, died in Alexandria, Louisiana, at age 62. The 115-year-old Pilgrim Baptist Church of Chicago was gutted by fire. Velvet-voiced singer Lou Rawls died in Los Angeles at age 72.

Five years ago: U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced he would cut $78 billion from the Defense Department budget over the next five years, an effort to trim fat in light of the nation’s ballooning deficit. Vang Pao, a revered former general in the Royal Army of Laos who’d led thousands of Hmong guerrillas in a CIA-backed secret army in the Vietnam War, died in Clovis, California, at age 81.

One year ago: In a blend of pageantry and politics, Republicans took complete control of Congress for the first time in eight years, then ran straight into a White House veto threat against their top-priority legislation to build the Keystone XL oil pipeline. President Barack Obama pledged to stand with Mexico against “the scourge of violence and the drug cartels” as he met at the White House with President Enrique Pena Nieto. Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz, a trio of star pitchers who dominated in an era of offense, were elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame along with Craig Biggio.

Today’s Birthdays: Pollster Louis Harris is 95. Retired MLB All-Star Ralph Branca is 90. Country musician Joey, the CowPolka King (Riders in the Sky) is 67. Former FBI director Louis Freeh is 66. Rock singer-musician Kim Wilson (The Fabulous Thunderbirds) is 65. Singer Jett Williams is 63. Rock musician Malcolm Young (AC-DC) is 63. Actor-comedian Rowan Atkinson is 61. World Golf Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez is 59. Actor Scott Bryce is 58. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kathy Sledge is 57. TV chef Nigella Lawson is 56. Rhythm-and-blues singer Eric Williams (BLACKstreet) is 56. Movie composer A.R. Rahman is 50. Movie director John Singleton is 48. Actor Norman Reedus is 47. TV personality Julie Chen is 46. Actor Danny Pintauro (TV: “Who’s the Boss?”) is 40. Actress Cristela Alonzo (TV: “Cristela”) is 37. Actress Rinko Kikuchi is 35. Actor Eddie Redmayne (Film: “The Danish Girl”) is 34. NBA player Gilbert Arenas is 34. Actress-comedian Kate McKinnon (TV: “Saturday Night Live”) is 32. Rock singer Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) is 30.

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