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Today in history: July 6

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

Today is Wednesday, July 6, the 187th day of 2005. There are 178 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:
On July 6, 1945, President Truman signed an executive order establishing the Medal of Freedom.

On this date:
In 1535, Sir Thomas More was executed in England for treason.

In 1777, during the American Revolution, British forces capturing Fort Ticonderoga.

In 1854, the first official meeting of the Republican Party took place in Jackson, Mich.

In 1917, during World War I, Arab forces led by T.E. Lawrence captured the port of Aqaba from the Turks.

In 1923, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed.

In 1944, 169 people died in a fire that broke out in the main tent of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum-and-Bailey Circus in Hartford, Conn.

In 1945, Nicaragua became the first nation to formally accept the United Nations Charter.

In 1957, Althea Gibson became the first black tennis player to win a Wimbledon singles title, defeating fellow American Darlene Hard 6-3, 6-2.

In 1967, the Biafran War erupted in Nigeria. (The war, which lasted 2.5 years, claimed some 600,000 lives.)

In 1989, the U.S. Army destroyed its last Pershing 1-A missiles at an ammunition plant in Karnack, Texas, under terms of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

Ten years ago: The prosecution rested at the O.J. Simpson murder trial in Los Angeles.

Five years ago: The German parliament offered a formal apology to Nazi-era slave and forced laborers as it passed a bill setting up a $5 billion compensation fund. The body of 19-year-old Cory Erving, son of basketball star Julius "Dr. J" Erving, was found in his car at the bottom of a Florida pond; he'd been missing since May 28. Venus Williams beat her younger sister Serena 6-2, 7-6 (3) to reach the Wimbledon final; their singles match was the first between sisters in a Grand Slam semifinal.

One year ago: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry chose former rival John Edwards to be his running mate. A U.S. fighter pilot who'd mistakenly bombed Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan in 2002, killing four, was found guilty in New Orleans of dereliction of duty; Major Harry Schmidt was reprimanded and docked a month's pay.

Today's Birthdays: Former first lady Nancy Reagan is 84. Actor William Schallert is 83. Talk show host Merv Griffin is 80. Actor Donal Donnelly is 74. Singer-actress Della Reese is 74. Actor Ned Beatty is 68. Singer Gene Chandler is 68. Country singer Jeannie Seely is 65. President Bush is 59. Actor-director Sylvester Stallone is 59. Actor Fred Dryer is 59. Actor Burt Ward is 59. Actress Nathalie Baye is 57. Actor Geoffrey Rush is 54. Rock musician John Bazz (The Blasters) is 53. Actress Shelley Hack is 53. Actor Grant Goodeve is 53. Country singer Nanci Griffith is 52. Actress Allyce Beasley is 51. Jazz musician Rick Braun is 50. Country musician John Jorgenson is 49. Hockey player Ron Duguay is 48. Rapper 50 Cent is 29. Actress Tia Mowry is 27. Actress Tamera Mowry is 27. Actor Gregory Smith is 22. Actor Jeremy Suarez ("Bernie Mac") is 15.

Thought for Today: "On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points." _ Virginia Woolf, English author and critic (1882-1941).