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

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, July 4, the 185th day of 2023. 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.

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 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.

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 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: Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, was sworn in following the ouster of Mohammed Morsi, the Islamist leader overthrown by the military after just one year in office. The Statue of Liberty reopened on the Fourth of July, eight months after Superstorm Sandy shuttered the national symbol of freedom. Bernadette Nolan, 52, a member of the singing sister act the Nolans who had a worldwide hit in 1979 with “I’m In The Mood For Dancing,” died in Surrey, England.

Five years ago: British police said two Britons who fell critically ill in the town of Amesbury were exposed to nerve agent Novichok, the same material used to poison a former Russian spy in a nearby area months earlier. A protest against U.S. immigration policy forced the evacuation of the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July, with a group unfurling a banner from the pedestal and a woman holding police at bay for hours after she climbed the base.

One year ago: A gunman on a rooftop opened fire on an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago, killing seven people and wounding more than 20 as hundreds of marchers, parents with strollers and children on bicycles fled in terror. U.S. said they had concluded that the bullet that killed veteran Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Akleh was likely fired from an Israeli position. But they said the bullet was too badly damaged to reach an absolute determination, and that there was “no reason to believe” she was deliberately targeted.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Eva Marie Saint is 99. Actor Ed Bernard is 84. Actor Karolyn Grimes is 83. R&B singer Annette Beard (Martha and the Vandellas) is 80. Broadcast journalist Geraldo Rivera is 80. Vietnam War veteran and peace activist Ron Kovic is 77. R&B musician Ralph Johnson (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 72. Rock musician Domingo Ortiz (Widespread Panic) is 71. Singer John Waite is 71. Rock musician Kirk Pengilly (INXS) is 65. International Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver is 61. Christian rock singer Michael Sweet is 60. Actor-playwright-screenwriter Tracy Letts is 58. Actor Al Madrigal is 52. Actor Jenica Bergere is 49. Actor-singer John Lloyd Young is 48. Singer Stephen “Ste” McNally (BBMak) is 45. Actor Becki Newton is 45. Actor Mo McRae is 41. TV personality Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is 41. R&B singer Melanie Fiona is 40. Malia Obama is 25.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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