updated 4/4/2005 12:03:43 AM ET 2005-04-04T04:03:43

Today is Monday, April 4, the 94th day of 2005. There are 271 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn.

On this date:
In 1818, Congress decided the flag of the United States would consist of 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars, with a new star to be added for every new state of the Union.

In 1841, President William Henry Harrison succumbed to pneumonia one month after his inaugural, becoming the first U.S. chief executive to die in office.

In 1850, the city of Los Angeles was incorporated.

In 1902, British financier Cecil Rhodes left $10 million in his will to provide scholarships for Americans at Oxford University.

In 1945, during World War II, U.S. troops on Okinawa encountered the first significant resistance from Japanese forces.

In 1945, U.S. forces liberated the Nazi prison camp Ohrdruf in Germany.

In 1949, 12 nations, including the United States, signed the North Atlantic Treaty.

In 1975, more than 130 people, most of them children, were killed when a U.S. Air Force transport plane evacuating Vietnamese orphans crashed shortly after take-off from Saigon.

In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger roared into orbit on its maiden voyage.

In 1985, Gary Dotson, who served six years of a prison sentence for rape, was freed on bail from the Joliet Correctional Center in Illinois after his accuser, Cathleen Crowell Webb, testified that the attack had never occurred.

Ten years ago: Francisco Martin Duran, who had raked the White House with semiautomatic rifle fire in October 1994, was convicted in Washington of trying to assassinate President Clinton (Duran was later sentenced to 40 years in prison). Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, R-N.Y., used a mock Japanese accent to ridicule O.J. Simpson trial judge Lance Ito on a nationally syndicated radio program.

Five years ago: In a volatile day on the U.S. stock market, the Nasdaq composite index and the Dow Jones industrial average each plunged more than 500 points before reversing course as buyers flooded back into the market.

One year ago: Supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr, an anti-American cleric, rioted in four Iraqi cities, killing dozens of Iraqis, eight U.S. troops and a Salvadoran soldier.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer-actress Frances Langford is 91. Author-poet Maya Angelou is 77. Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is 73. Recording executive Clive Davis is 73. Actor Michael Parks is 67. Bandleader Hugh Masekela is 66. Author Kitty Kelley is 63. Actor Craig T. Nelson is 61. Actor Walter Charles is 60. Actress Caroline McWilliams is 60. Actress Christine Lahti is 55. Country singer Steve Gatlin (The Gatlin Brothers) is 54. Writer-producer David E. Kelley is 49. Actor Phil Morris is 46. Actress Lorraine Toussaint is 45. Actor Hugo Weaving is 45. Rock musician Craig Adams (The Cult) is 43. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is 40. Actress Nancy McKeon is 39. Actor Barry Pepper is 35. Country singer Clay Davidson is 34. Singer Jill Scott is 33. Rock musician Magnus Sveningsson (The Cardigans) is 33. Magician David Blaine is 32. Singer Kelly Price is 32. R&B singer Andre Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 31. Actor Heath Ledger is 26. Actress Natasha Lyonne is 26. Actress Jamie Lynn Spears is 14.

Thought for Today: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” — The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968).

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