updated 7/7/2005 12:10:34 AM ET 2005-07-07T04:10:34

Today is Thursday, July 7, the 188th day of 2005. There are 177 days left in the year.

Today's highlight in history:
On July 7, 1865, four people were hanged in Washington for conspiring with John Wilkes Booth to assassinate President Lincoln.

On this date:
In 1846, the U.S. annexation of California was proclaimed at Monterey after the surrender of a Mexican garrison.

In 1896, the Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago.

In 1898, the United States annexed Hawaii.

In 1930, construction began on Boulder Dam (later Hoover Dam).

In 1946, Italian-born Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini was canonized as the first American saint.

In 1954, Elvis Presley made his radio debut as Memphis, Tenn., station WHBQ played his first recording for Sun Records, "That's All Right (Mama)."

In 1958, President Eisenhower signed the Alaska statehood bill.

In 1969, Canada's House of Commons gave final approval to a measure making the French language equal to English throughout the national government.

In 1981, President Reagan announced he was nominating Arizona Judge Sandra Day O'Connor to become the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1983, 11-year-old Samantha Smith of Manchester, Maine, left for a visit to the Soviet Union at the personal invitation of Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov.

Ten years ago: The space shuttle "Atlantis" landed at Cape Canaveral, Fla., bringing back American astronaut Norman Thagard, who'd spent 3½ months aboard the Russian space station Mir.

Five years ago: President Clinton postponed the first federal execution since 1963 so that death row inmate Juan Raul Garza could ask for clemency under guidelines being updated by the government. (Garza was later executed.) Stock car driver Kenny Irwin was killed when his car slammed into a wall during practice at New Hampshire International Speedway; he was 30.

One year ago: Former Enron chairman Kenneth Lay was indicted on criminal charges related to the energy company's collapse. Jeff Smith, public television's popular "Frugal Gourmet" until a sex scandal ruined his career, died at age 65.

Today's birthdays: Composer Gian Carlo Menotti is 94. Blues musician Pinetop Perkins is 92. Musician-conductor Doc Severinsen is 78. Country singer Charlie Louvin is 78. Historian-author David McCullough is 72. Rock star Ringo Starr is 65. Singer-musician Warren Entner (The Grass Roots) is 61. Rock musician Jim Rodford is 60. Actor Joe Spano is 59. Country singer Linda Williams is 58. Actress Shelley Duvall is 56. Actress Roz Ryan is 54. Actor Billy Campbell is 46. Rock musician Mark White (Spin Doctors) is 43. Singer-songwriter Vonda Shepard is 42. Rhythm-and-blues musician Ricky Kinchen (Mint Condition) is 39. Actress Jorja Fox is 37. Actress Cree Summer is 36. Actor Troy Garity is 32. Olympic silver and bronze medal figure skater Michelle Kwan is 25. Rapper Cassidy is 23. Country singer Gabbie Nolen is 23.

Thought for today: "Only a mediocre person is always at his best." -- W. Somerset Maugham, English author and dramatist.

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