Today in History - Jan. 9

/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, Jan. 9, the ninth day of 2007. There are 356 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 9, 1913, Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, was born in Yorba Linda, Calif.

On this date:

In 1788, Connecticut became the fifth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1793, Frenchman Jean Pierre Blanchard, using a hot-air balloon, flew between Philadelphia and Woodbury, N.J.

In 1861, Mississippi seceded from the Union.

In 1861, the Star of the West, a merchant vessel bringing reinforcements to Federal troops at Fort Sumter, S.C., retreated after being fired on by a battery in the harbor.

In 1945, during World War II, American forces began landing at Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines.

In 1957, Anthony Eden resigned as British prime minister; he was succeeded by Harold Macmillan.

In 1964, anti-U.S. rioting broke out in the Panama Canal Zone, resulting in the deaths of 21 Panamanians and three U.S. soldiers.

In 1968, the Surveyor 7 space probe made a soft landing on the moon, marking the end of the American series of unmanned explorations of the lunar surface.

In 1972, reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, speaking by telephone from the Bahamas to reporters in Hollywood, said a purported biography of him by Clifford Irving was a fake.

In 1987, the White House released a memorandum prepared for President Reagan in January 1986 that showed a definite link between U.S. arms sales to Iran and the release of American hostages in Lebanon.

Ten years ago: A Comair commuter plane crashed 18 miles short of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, killing all 29 people on board.

Five years ago: A U.S. military tanker plane crashed in western Pakistan, killing all seven Marines on board. Two Islamic militants stormed an Israeli army post near the Gaza Strip, killing four soldiers before being shot dead in a gun battle. The Bush administration and the auto industry agreed to promote development of pollution-free cars and trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

One year ago: Confirmation hearings opened in Washington for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. “The Phantom of the Opera” leapt past “Cats” to become the longest-running show in Broadway history. Actor Don Stewart died in Santa Barbara, Calif., at age 70.

Today’s Birthdays: Author Judith Krantz is 79. Football Hall-of-Famer Bart Starr is 73. Sportscaster Dick Enberg is 72. Actress K. Callan is 71. Folk singer Joan Baez is 66. Actress Susannah York is 66. Rock musician Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) is 63. Singer David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter) is 57. Singer Crystal Gayle is 56. Actor J.K. Simmons is 52. Rock musician Eric Erlandson is 44. Actress Joely Richardson is 42. Rock musician Carl Bell (Fuel) is 40. Rock singer Steve Harwell (Smash Mouth) is 40. Rock singer-musician Dave Matthews is 40. Actress-director Joey Lauren Adams is 39. Singer A.J. McLean (Backstreet Boys) is 29.

Thought for Today: “One’s lifework, I have learned, grows with the working and the living. Do it as if your life depended on it, and first thing you know, you’ll have made a life out of it. A good life, too.” — Theresa Helburn, American theatrical producer (1887-1959).