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Today in history: July 4

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, July 4, the 185th day of 2006. 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 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.

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

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

In 1946, the Philippines became independent of U.S. sovereignty.

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

In 1976, America celebrated its bicentennial with daylong festivities; President Ford made stops in Valley Forge, Pa., Independence Hall in Philadelphia and New York, where more than 200 ships paraded up the Hudson River in Operation Sail.

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 1986, Liberty Weekend was capped with a spectacular fireworks display that lighted up New York Harbor.

Ten years ago: President Clinton extolled the joys of democracy and asked the nation to honor America’s independence by praising continued free rule in Russia as he spoke during a jamboree honoring the 200th anniversary of Youngstown, Ohio.

Five years ago: A Russian airliner crashed in Siberia, killing all 145 people aboard.

One year ago: President Bush, during an Independence Day visit to Morgantown, W.Va., urged resolve in the war in Iraq and said that “the proper response is not retreat. It is courage.” Hall of Fame football coach Hank Stram died in Covington, La., at age 82. Movie musical actress June Haver died at age 79.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Gloria Stuart is 96. Conductor Mitch Miller is 95. Advice columnist Pauline Phillips (the original “Dear Abby”) is 88. Actress Eva Marie Saint is 82. Playwright Neil Simon is 79. Baseball team owner George Steinbrenner is 76. Country singer Ray Pillow is 69. Singer Bill Withers is 68. Actor Ed Bernard is 67. Actress Karolyn Grimes is 66. Broadcast journalist Geraldo Rivera is 63. Rhythm-and-blues musician Ralph Johnson (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 55. Rock musician Domingo Ortiz (Widespread Panic) is 54. Singer John Waite is 51. Rock musician Kirk Pengilly (INXS) is 48. Country musician Teddy Carr is 46. Rock DJ Zonka (Big Audio Dynamite) is 44. Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver is 44. Rock musician Matt Malley (Counting Crows) is 43. Actress Jenica Bergere is 32. Singer Stephen “Ste” McNally (BBMak) is 28.

Thought for Today: “Intellectually, I know that America is no better than any other country; emotionally I know she is better than every other country.” — Sinclair Lewis, American author (1885-1951).