This Day in History

Posted: Sunday, January 07, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1945, the Alaska Road Commission was created by an Act of Congress.

• In 1959, Ernest Gruening and E. L. (Bob) Bartlett were sworn in as U. S. senators, and Ralph Rivers was sworn in to the U.S. House of Representatives. Winds as high as 90 mph froze two Antarctic penguins in Anchorage's Arctic Health Research Center. Earlier plans to mate these penguins were abandoned, as it was discovered both were females.

• In 1976, the new Alaska Court and Office Building was dedicated in Juneau.

• In 1979, a Lockheed airliner crashed and burned on landing at a remote North Slope airstrip. All 15 passengers survived with no serious injuries.

In the nation

• In 1789, the first U.S. presidential election was held. Americans voted for electors who, a month later, chose George Washington to be the nation's first president.

• In 1953, President Truman announced in his State of the Union address that the United States had developed a hydrogen bomb.

• In 1955, singer Marian Anderson made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, in Verdi's "Un Ballo in Maschera."

• In 1972, Lewis F. Powell Jr. and William H. Rehnquist were sworn in as the 99th and 100th members of the U.S. Supreme Court.

• In 1997, Newt Gingrich overcame dissension in the GOP ranks to become the first Republican re-elected House speaker in 68 years.

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

• In 2006, U.S. Representative Tom DeLay (R-Texas), facing corruption charges, stepped down as House majority leader.

In the world

• In 1610, astronomer Galileo Galilei began observing three of Jupiter's moons.

• In 1904, the Marconi International Marine Communication Company, Limited, of London announced that the telegraphed letters "C-Q-D" would serve as a maritime distress call (it was later replaced by "S-O-S").

• In 1927, commercial trans-Atlantic telephone service was inaugurated between New York and London.

• In 1942, the Japanese siege of Bataan began during World War II.

• In 2002, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and nine U.S. senators swept into Bargam Air Base in Afghanistan for an unannounced visit and promised Afghan leaders their full support in rebuilding the shattered country. Yves Saint Laurent announced his retirement and closure of the fashion house he'd started 40 years earlier.

• In 2006, Jill Carroll, a freelance journalist for The Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped and her translator shot dead in one of Baghdad's most dangerous Sunni Arab neighborhoods. (Carroll was freed almost three months later.) A Black Hawk helicopter carrying eight U.S. troops and four American civilians crashed near the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar, killing all aboard.

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