updated 7/4/2007 12:04:40 AM ET 2007-07-04T04:04:40

Today is Wednesday, July 4, the 185th day of 2007. There are 180 days left in the year. This is Independence Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.

On this date:
In 1802, the United States Military Academy officially opened at West Point, N.Y.

In 1807, 200 years ago, soldier-statesman Giuseppe Garibaldi, who played a key role in Italy’s unification during the 19th century, was born in Nice.

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 U.S., James Monroe, died in New York City.

In 1872, the 30th president of the U.S., Calvin Coolidge, was born in Plymouth, Vt.

In 1917, during a ceremony in Paris honoring the French hero of the American Revolution, U.S. Lt. Col. Charles E. Stanton declared, “Lafayette, we are here!”

In 1939, baseball’s “Iron Horse,” Lou Gehrig, said farewell to his fans at New York’s Yankee Stadium.

In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act, which went into effect the following year.

In 1976, Israeli commandos raided Entebbe airport in Uganda, rescuing almost all of the passengers and crew of an Air France jetliner seized by pro-Palestinian hijackers.

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).

Ten years ago: NASA’s Pathfinder spacecraft landed on Mars, inaugurating a new era in the search for life on the Red Planet. CBS newsman Charles Kuralt died in New York at age 62.

Five years ago: A gunman opened fire at Israel’s El Al airline ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport; three people were killed, including the gunman. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., leader of the famed all-black Tuskegee Airmen during World War II and the first black general in the Air Force, died in Washington at age 89. Winnifred Quick Van Tongerloo, who survived the Titanic sinking, died in East Lansing, Mich., at age 98.

One year ago: Discovery lifted off in the first Independence Day shuttle launch. Word reached the United States that North Korea had test-fired several missiles, including a long-range device that failed within seconds (because of the time difference, it was July 5 at the launch site).

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Gloria Stuart is 97. Conductor Mitch Miller is 96. Advice columnist Pauline Phillips (the original “Dear Abby”) is 89. Actress Eva Marie Saint is 83. Actress Gina Lollobrigida is 80. Playwright Neil Simon is 80. Baseball team owner George Steinbrenner is 77. Country singer Ray Pillow is 70. Singer Bill Withers is 69. Actor Ed Bernard is 68. Actress Karolyn Grimes is 67. Broadcast journalist Geraldo Rivera is 64. Rhythm-and-blues musician Ralph Johnson (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 56. Rock musician Domingo Ortiz (Widespread Panic) is 55. Singer John Waite is 52. Rock musician Kirk Pengilly (INXS) is 49. Country musician Teddy Carr is 47. Rock D.J. Zonka (Big Audio Dynamite) is 45. Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver is 45. Rock musician Matt Malley (Counting Crows) is 44. Actress Jenica Bergere is 33. Singer Stephen “Ste” McNally (BBMak) is 29.

Thought for Today: “All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions.” — Adlai E. Stevenson, American diplomat and politician (1900-1965).

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