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Today in History: July 4, Declaration of Independence adopted in Philadelphia

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Today in History

Today is Thursday, July 4, the 186th day of 2024. There are 180 days left in the year. This is Independence Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by delegates to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.

Also on this date:

In 1802, the United States Military Academy officially opened at West Point, New York.

In 1817, construction of the Erie Canal began in Rome, 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 1855, the first edition of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” was published.

In 1863, the Civil War Siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ended as a Confederate garrison surrendered to Union forces.

In 1910, in what was billed as “The Fight of the Century,” Black world heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson defeated white former champ “Gentleman” Jim Jeffries in Reno, Nevada; race riots across the country following the fight killed more than 20 people.

In 1912, the 48-star American flag, recognizing New Mexico and Arizona statehood, was adopted.

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 1946, the United States and the Philippines signed the Treaty of Manila, recognizing Philippine independence from the US.

In 1960, the current 50-star version of the US flag was adopted.

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 2012, scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva cheered the apparent end of a decades-long quest for a new subatomic particle called the Higgs boson, or “God particle.”

In 2013, the Statue of Liberty reopened on the Fourth of July, eight months after Superstorm Sandy shuttered the national symbol of freedom.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Eva Marie Saint is 100. Tuskegee Airman Harry Stewart Jr. is 100. Queen Sonja of Norway is 87. Actor Karolyn Grimes (“It’s a Wonderful Life”) is 83. Broadcast journalist Geraldo Rivera is 81. Funk/jazz trombonist Fred Wesley is 81. Vietnam War veteran and peace activist Ron Kovic is 78. Singer John Waite is 72. International Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver is 62. Christian rock singer Michael Sweet (Stryper) is 60. Actor-playwright-screenwriter Tracy Letts is 59. Actor Becki Newton is 46. TV personality Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is 42. R&B singer Melanie Fiona is 41. Singer and rapper Post Malone is 29. Malia Obama is 26.

By The Associated Press

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