Today in history


Today is Monday, Jan. 9, the ninth day of 2017. There are 356 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 9, 1788, Connecticut became the fifth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

On this date:

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

In 1861, Mississippi became the second state to secede from the Union, the same day the Star of the West, a merchant vessel bringing reinforcements and supplies to Federal troops at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, retreated because of artillery fire.

In 1913, Richard Milhous Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, was born in Yorba Linda, California.

In 1914, the County of Los Angeles opened the country’s first public defender’s office. The fraternity Phi Beta Sigma was founded at Howard University in Washington, D.C.

In 1916, the World War I Battle of Gallipoli ended after eight months with an Ottoman Empire victory as Allied forces withdrew.

In 1931, Bobbi Trout and Edna May Cooper broke an endurance record for female aviators as they returned to Mines Field in Los Angeles after flying a Curtiss Robin monoplane continuously for 122 hours and 50 minutes.

In 1945, during World War II, American forces began landing on the shores of Lingayen Gulf in the Philippines as the Battle of Luzon got underway, resulting in an Allied victory over Imperial Japanese forces.

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

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 autobiography of him by Clifford Irving was a fake.

In 1987, the White House released a Jan. 1986 memorandum prepared for President Ronald Reagan by Lt. Col. Oliver L. North showing a link between U.S. arms sales to Iran and the release of American hostages in Lebanon.

In 1997, a Comair commuter plane crashed 18 miles short of the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, killing all 29 people on board.

Ten years ago: U.S. forces continued to stage airstrikes against suspected al-Qaida fighters in Somalia in the first offensive there since 18 American soldiers were killed in 1993. Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone, which went on sale the following June. Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. were elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Carlo Ponti, the Italian movie producer who discovered — and married — actress Sophia Loren, died in Geneva at age 94.

Five years ago: Iranian state radio reported that a court had convicted former U.S. Marine Amir Mirzaei Hekmati of working for the CIA and sentenced him to death. (The Obama administration and his family denied Hekmati was a CIA spy; Hekmati was released in Jan. 2016 as part of a prisoner swap.) President Barack Obama announced that chief of staff William Daley was quitting; he was succeeded by Obama budget chief Jack Lew. Former Cincinnati Reds shortstop Barry Larkin was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame. No. 2 Alabama beat No. 1 LSU 21-0 for the first shutout in BCS title game history.

One year ago: French Jewish leaders and the nation’s prime minister, Manuel Valls, held a memorial ceremony for four people killed in a kosher market a year earlier by an attacker claiming ties to the Islamic State group. Actor Angus Scrimm, 89, the “Tall Man” in the “Phantasm” horror films, died in Tarzana, California.

Today’s Birthdays: Author Judith Krantz is 89. Football Hall-of-Famer Bart Starr is 83. Sportscaster Dick Enberg is 82. Actress K. Callan is 81. Folk singer Joan Baez is 76. Rockabilly singer Roy Head is 76. Rock musician Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin) is 73. Actor John Doman is 72. Singer David Johansen (aka Buster Poindexter) is 67. Singer Crystal Gayle is 66. Actor J.K. Simmons is 62. Actress Imelda Staunton is 61. Nobel Peace laureate Rigoberto Menchu is 58. Rock musician Eric Erlandson is 54. Actress Joely Richardson is 52. Rock musician Carl Bell (Fuel) is 50. Rock singer Steve Harwell (Smash Mouth) is 50. Rock singer-musician Dave Matthews is 50. Actress-director Joey Lauren Adams is 49. Actress Angela Bettis is 44. Actor Omari Hardwick is 43. Roots singer-songwriter Hayes Carll is 41. Singer A.J. McLean (Backstreet Boys) is 39. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is 35. Pop-rock musician Drew Brown (OneRepublic) is 33. Rock-soul singer Paolo Nutini is 30. Actress Nina Dobrev is 28. Actor Tyree Brown is 13.

Thought for Today: “Defeat doesn’t finish a man, quit does. A man is not finished when he’s defeated. He’s finished when he quits.” — President Richard Nixon (1913-1994).

The Associated Press

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