Today in History - Jan. 13

/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Jan. 13, the 13th day of 2007. There are 352 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 13, 1794, President Washington approved a measure adding two stars and two stripes to the American flag, following the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the union. (The number of stripes was later reduced to the original 13.)

On this date:
In 1864, composer Stephen Foster died in New York.

In 1898, Emile Zola’s famous defense of Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, “J’accuse,” was published in Paris.

In 1941, novelist and poet James Joyce died in Zurich, Switzerland.

In 1962, comedian Ernie Kovacs died in a car crash in west Los Angeles.

In 1966, Robert C. Weaver became the first black Cabinet member as he was appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Johnson.

In 1976, Sarah Caldwell became the first woman to conduct at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House as she led a performance of “La Traviata.”

In 1978, former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey died in Waverly, Minn., at age 66.

In 1982, an Air Florida 737 crashed into Washington’s 14th Street Bridge after takeoff and fell into the Potomac River, killing 78 people.

In 1987, West German police arrested Mohammed Ali Hamadi, a suspect in the 1985 hijacking of a TWA jetliner. (Although convicted and sentenced to life, Hamadi was paroled by Germany in December 2005.)

In 1990, L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia became the nation’s first elected black governor as he took the oath of office in Richmond.

Ten years ago: Seven black soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for World War II valor; the lone survivor of the group, former Lt. Vernon Baker, received his medal from President Clinton at the White House. The Supreme Court aggressively questioned both sides in a battle over whether a sexual-harassment lawsuit should be allowed to proceed against President Clinton while he was in office (the justices later ruled unanimously that it could).

Five years ago: Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill and Commerce Secretary Don Evans said on the Sunday talk shows they had never considered intervening in Enron’s spiral toward bankruptcy, nor informed President Bush of requests for help from the fallen energy giant. President Bush fainted briefly after choking down a pretzel while watching a football game. Christian Longo, wanted for killing his wife and three children and dumping their bodies into coastal waters off Oregon, was arrested in Mexico (he was later sentenced to death). The off-Broadway musical “The Fantasticks” was performed for the last time, ending a run of nearly 42 years and 17,162 shows.

One year ago: President Bush met with Germany’s new chancellor, Angela Merkel, at the White House. A U.S. Army OH-58 Kiowa helicopter went down near Mosul after coming to the aid of Iraqi police under hostile fire, and its two pilots were killed. A U.S. missile strike in Pakistan killed a relative of al-Qaida’s No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri and a terror suspect, but also 13 residents, prompting outrage among Pakistanis.

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Liz Anderson is 77. Actress Frances Sternhagen is 77. Actor-director Charles Nelson Reilly is 76. Comedian Rip Taylor is 73. Actor Billy Gray is 69. Actor Richard Moll is 64. Rock musician Trevor Rabin is 53. Rhythm-and-blues musician Fred White is 52. Actor Kevin Anderson is 47. Actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus is 46. Rock singer Graham “Suggs” McPherson (Madness) is 46. Country singer Trace Adkins is 45. Actress Penelope Ann Miller is 43. Actor Patrick Dempsey is 41. Actress Traci Bingham is 39. Actor Keith Coogan is 37. Actress Nicole Eggert is 35. Actor Orlando Bloom is 30.

Thought for Today: “The force that rules the world is conduct, whether it be moral or immoral.” — Nicholas Murray Butler, American educator and Nobel Peace laureate (1862-1947).