Today in History - Jan. 6

AP News
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Posted: Jan 06, 2010 12:00 AM

Today is Wednesday, Jan. 6, the sixth day of 2010. There are 359 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Jan. 6, 1838, Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail gave the first successful public demonstration of their telegraph, in Morristown, N.J.

On this date:

In 1540, England's King Henry VIII married his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. (The marriage lasted about six months.)

In 1759, George Washington and Martha Dandridge Custis were married in New Kent County, Va.

In 1912, New Mexico became the 47th state.

In 1919, the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, died in Oyster Bay, N.Y., at age 60.

In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his State of the Union address, outlined a goal of "Four Freedoms": Freedom of speech and expression; the freedom of people to worship God in their own way; freedom from want; freedom from fear.

In 1942, the Pan American Airways Pacific Clipper arrived in New York more than a month after leaving California and following a westward route.

In 1945, George Herbert Walker Bush married Barbara Pierce in Rye, N.Y.

In 1950, Britain recognized the Communist government of China.

In 1967, U.S. Marines and South Vietnamese troops launched Operation Deckhouse Five, an offensive in the Mekong River delta.

In 1982, truck driver William G. Bonin was convicted in Los Angeles of 10 of the "Freeway Killer" slayings of young men and boys. (Bonin was later convicted of four other killings; he was executed in 1996.)

Ten years ago: In Miami, demonstrators angered by the U.S. government's decision to send Elian Gonzalez back to Cuba skirmished with police. Republican presidential candidates debated in Durham, N.H. with such issues as taxes and gays in the military dominating the discussion.

Five years ago: Attorney General-nominee Alberto Gonzales, under scorching criticism at his confirmation hearing, condemned torture as an interrogation tactic and promised to prosecute abusers of terror suspects. Congress certified President George W. Bush's re-election. Former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen was arrested 41 years after three civil rights workers were slain in Mississippi. (Killen was later convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 60 years in prison.) Andrea Yates' murder conviction for drowning her children in the bathtub was overturned by a Texas appeals court. (Yates was found not guilty by reason of insanity in a retrial.)

One year ago: Congress opened for business at the dawn of a new Democratic era with vows to fix the crisis-ridden economy; Republicans pledged cooperation in Congress as well as with President-elect Barack Obama _ to a point. Obama vowed to "bring a long-overdue sense of responsibility and accountability to Washington" and called the need for budget reform "an absolute necessity." Cheryl Holdridge, one of the Mouseketeers on "The Mickey Mouse Club," died in Santa Monica, Calif. at age 64.

Today's Birthdays: Pollster Louis Harris is 89. Bluegrass performer Earl Scruggs is 86. Retired MLB All-Star Ralph Branca is 84. Author E.L. Doctorow is 79. Actress Bonnie Franklin is 66. Musician Joey, the CowPolka King (Riders in the Sky) is 61. Former FBI director Louis Freeh is 60. Rock singer-musician Kim Wilson (The Fabulous Thunderbirds) is 59. Singer Jett Williams is 57. Rock musician Malcolm Young (AC-DC) is 57. Actor-comedian Rowan Atkinson is 55. Golfer Nancy Lopez is 53. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kathy Sledge is 51. TV chef Nigella Lawson is 50. Rhythm-and-blues singer Eric Williams (BLACKstreet) is 50. Movie composer A.R. Rahman ("Slumdog Millionaire") is 44. Movie director John Singleton is 42. TV personality Julie Chen is 40. Actor Danny Pintauro ("Who's the Boss?") is 34. Actress Rinko Kikuchi ("Babel") is 29. NBA player Gilbert Arenas is 28. Rock singer Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) is 24.

Thought for Today: "Very few men are wise by their own counsel; or learned by their own teaching. For he that was only taught by himself, had a fool to his master." _ Ben Jonson, English dramatist and poet (1572-1637).