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Today in History — June 11

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

Today is Monday, June 11, the 162nd day of 2007. There are 203 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On June 11, 1776, the Continental Congress formed a committee to draft a Declaration of Independence calling for freedom from Britain.

On this date:

In 1509, England’s King Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon.

In 1770, Capt. James Cook, commander of the British ship Endeavour, discovered the Great Barrier Reef off Australia by running onto it.

In 1919, Sir Barton won the Belmont Stakes, becoming horse racing’s first Triple Crown winner.

In 1947, the government announced the end of household and institutional sugar rationing, to take effect the next day.

In 1963, Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc set himself afire on a Saigon street to protest the government of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem.

In 1970, the United States presence in Libya came to an end as the last detachment left Wheelus Air Base.

In 1977, a 20-day hostage drama in the Netherlands ended as Dutch marines stormed a train and a school held by South Moluccan extremists. Six gunmen and two hostages on the train were killed.

In 1977, Seattle Slew won the Belmont Stakes, capturing the Triple Crown.

In 1985, Karen Ann Quinlan, the comatose patient whose case prompted a historic right-to-die court decision, died in Morris Plains, N.J., at age 31.

In 2001, Timothy McVeigh was executed by injection at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., for the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.

Ten years ago: The parents of Timothy McVeigh pleaded for their son’s life during the penalty phase of the Oklahoma City bombing trial.

Five years ago: Congressional investigators released a report which said Clinton administration workers had defaced equipment and left behind prank messages as they departed the White House in January 2001; but the investigators failed to uncover the widespread problems alleged by some Republicans. Rock star Paul McCartney and Heather Mills were married in a remote Irish castle. (The couple is now in the process of divorcing.)

One year ago: Al-Qaida in Iraq vowed “major attacks” after the death of leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a U.S. airstrike. Rafael Nadal won his second consecutive French Open title, beating Roger Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (4). Se Ri Pak beat Karrie Webb to win the LPGA Championship. “The History Boys” won six Tony Awards, including best play; “Jersey Boys” was named best musical and won four awards. James Cameron, who survived an attempted lynching and went on to found America’s Black Holocaust Museum, died in Milwaukee at age 92.

Today’s Birthdays: Opera singer Rise Stevens is 94. Actor-producer Richard Todd is 88. Actor Gene Wilder is 74. Actor Chad Everett is 70. Comedian Johnny Brown is 70. Former auto racer Jackie Stewart is 68. Singer Joey Dee is 67. Actress Adrienne Barbeau is 62. Rock musician Frank Beard (ZZ Top) is 58. Rock singer Donnie Van Zant is 55. Actor Peter Bergman is 54. Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana is 51. Actor Hugh Laurie (“House”) is

48. Singer Gioia Bruno (Expose) is 44. Country singer-songwriter Bruce Robison is 41. Actor Peter Dinklage is 38. Country musician Smilin’ Jay McDowell is 38. Rock musician Dan Lavery (Tonic) is 38. Rock musician Tai Anderson (Third Day) is 31. Actor Joshua Jackson is 29. Christian rock musician Ryan Shrout (Kutless) is 27. Actor Shia LaBeouf (“Even Stevens”) is 21.

Thought for Today: “It is only believers in the Fall of Man who can really appreciate how funny men are.” — Malcolm Muggeridge, British author and commentator (1903-1990).