Today in History – Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017

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Today is Saturday, Jan. 7, the seventh day of 2017. There are 358 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 7, 1942, Japanese forces began besieging American and Filipino troops in Bataan during World War II. (The fall of Bataan three months later was followed by the notorious Death March.)

On this date:

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In 1610, astronomer Galileo Galilei began observing three of Jupiter’s moons (he spotted a fourth moon almost a week later).

In 1789, America held its first presidential election as voters chose electors who, a month later, selected George Washington to be the nation’s first chief executive.

In 1800, the 13th president of the United States, Millard Fillmore, was born in Summerhill, New York.

In 1904, the Marconi International Marine Communication Company of London announced that the telegraphed letters “CQD” would serve as a maritime distress call (it was later replaced with “SOS”).

In 1927, commercial transatlantic telephone service was inaugurated between New York and London.

In 1949, George C. Marshall resigned as U.S. Secretary of State; President Harry S. Truman chose Dean Acheson to succeed him.

In 1959, the United States recognized the new government of Cuba, six days after Fidel Castro led the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.

In 1963, the U.S. Post Office raised the cost of a first-class stamp from 4 to 5 cents.

In 1979, Vietnamese forces captured the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, overthrowing the Khmer Rouge government.

In 1989, Emperor Hirohito of Japan died in Tokyo at age 87; he was succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Akihito.

In 1999, for the second time in history, an impeached American president went on trial before the Senate. President Bill Clinton faced charges of perjury and obstruction of justice; he was acquitted.

In 2015, masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French newspaper that had caricatured the Prophet Mohammad, methodically killing 12 people before escaping. (Two suspects were killed two days later.) Actor Rod Taylor 82, died in Los Angeles.

Ten years ago: Newly elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, interviewed on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” said Democrats running Congress would not give President George W. Bush a blank check to wage war in Iraq. NASCAR driver Bobby Hamilton, winner of the 2001 Talladega 500, died at age 49.

Five years ago: Three days before the New Hampshire primary, Mitt Romney brushed aside rivals’ criticism in the opening round of a weekend debate doubleheader that left his Republican presidential campaign challengers squabbling among themselves and unable to knock the front-runner off stride. Record-shattering Drew Brees threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns, and the New Orleans Saints poured it on in the second half for a 45-28 NFC wild-card victory over the Detroit Lions.

One year ago: President Barack Obama tore into the National Rifle Association during a televised town hall meeting in Fairfax, Virginia, as he dismissed what he called a “conspiracy” alleging that the federal government — and Obama in particular — wanted to seize all firearms as a precursor to imposing martial law. A former carnival worker who was convicted of killing three Tampa Bay-area women was executed in Florida. Singer Kitty Kallen (“Little Things Mean a Lot”) died in Cuernavaca, Mexico, at age 94.

Today’s Birthdays: Author William Peter Blatty is 89. Magazine publisher Jann Wenner is 71. Singer Kenny Loggins is 69. Singer-songwriter Marshall Chapman is 68. Actress Erin Gray is 67. Actor Sammo Hung is 65. Actress Jodi Long is 63. Actor David Caruso is 61. Talk show host Katie Couric is 60. Country singer David Lee Murphy is 58. Rock musician Kathy Valentine is 58. Actor David Marciano is 57. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., is 56. Actress Hallie Todd is 55. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is 54. Actor Nicolas Cage is 53. Singer-songwriter John Ondrasik (on-DRAH’-sik) (Five for Fighting) is 52. Actor Rex Lee is 48. Actor Doug E. Doug is 47. Actor Kevin Rahm is 46. Actor Jeremy Renner is 46. Country singer-musician John Rich is 43. Actor Dustin Diamond is 40. Actor Reggie Austin is 38. Singer/rapper Aloe Blacc is 38. Actress Lauren Cohan is 35. Actor Brett Dalton is 34. Actor Robert Ri’chard is 34. Actress Lyndsy Fonseca is 30. Actor Liam Aiken is 27. Actress Camryn Grimes is 27. Actor Max Morrow is 26. Actor Marcus Scribner is 17.

Thought for Today: “I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness and the willingness to remain vulnerable.” — Anne Morrow Lindbergh, American author (1906-2001).

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