Today in History


Today is Friday, Jan. 6, the sixth day of 2023. There are 359 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump, fueled by his false claims of a stolen election, assaulted police and smashed their way into the Capitol to interrupt the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory, forcing lawmakers into hiding; most of the rioters had come from a nearby rally where Trump urged them to “fight like hell.” A Trump supporter, Ashli Babbitt, was shot and killed by a police officer as she tried to breach a barricaded doorway inside the Capitol. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, injured while confronting the rioters, suffered a stroke the next day and died from natural causes, the Washington, D.C., medical examiner’s office said. (In the weeks that followed, four of the officers who responded to the riot took their own lives.) Congress reconvened hours later to finish certifying the election result.

On this date:

In 1412, tradition holds that Joan of Arc was born this day in Domremy.

In 1838, Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail gave the first successful public demonstration of their telegraph in Morristown, New Jersey.

In 1912, New Mexico became the 47th state.

In 1919, the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, died in Oyster Bay, New York, 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 1974, year-round daylight saving time began in the United States on a trial basis as a fuel-saving measure in response to the OPEC oil embargo.

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.)

In 1994, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the leg by an assailant at Detroit’s Cobo Arena; four men, including the ex-husband of Kerrigan’s rival, Tonya Harding, went to prison for their roles in the attack. (Harding pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution, but denied any advance knowledge about the assault.)

In 2001, with Vice President Al Gore presiding in his capacity as president of the Senate, Congress formally certified George W. Bush the winner of the bitterly contested 2000 presidential election.

In 2005, former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen was arrested on murder charges 41 years after three civil rights workers were slain in Mississippi. (Killen was later convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 60 years in prison; he died in prison in 2018.)

In 2006, velvet-voiced singer Lou Rawls died in Los Angeles at age 72.

In 2020, throngs of Iranians attended the funeral of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who’d been killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq; Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept while praying over the casket. Former White House national security adviser John Bolton said he was “prepared to testify” if subpoenaed by the Senate in its impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (The Senate voted against calling witnesses.)

Ten years ago: In a video posted on the Internet, al-Qaida’s American-born spokesman, Adam Gadahn (ah-DAHM’ guh-DAHN’), urged fighters to meet President George W. Bush with bombs during his upcoming Mideast visit. Mikhail Saakashvili (sah-kahsh-VIH’-leh) was declared winner of a second term as Georgia’s president.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama returned to Washington after a winter vacation in Hawaii that was interrupted by the “fiscal cliff” crisis. In his first public speech in six months, a defiant Syrian President Bashar Assad rallied a cheering crowd to fight the uprising against his authoritarian rule, dismissing any chance of dialogue with what he called “murderous criminals.” The NHL and the players’ association agreed on a tentative pact to end a 113-day lockout.

One year ago: On the anniversary of the deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, President Joe Biden forcefully blamed Donald Trump and his supporters for holding a “dagger at the throat of democracy” with election lies that sparked the attack; Biden spoke in the Capitol’s ornate Statuary Hall, where rioters had laid siege, and called on Americans to remember what they saw on Jan. 6 with their own eyes, amid what he said were efforts of Trump supporters to “rewrite history.” Actor Sidney Poitier (PWAH’-tee-ay) died at his Los Angeles home at 94; he was the first Black actor to win an Oscar for best lead performance and the first to be a top box-office draw. Peter Bogdanovich, director of 1970s black-and-white classics including “The Last Picture Show” and “Paper Moon,” died in Los Angeles at 82.

Today’s Birthdays: Country musician Joey Miskulin (Riders in the Sky) is 74. Former FBI director Louis Freeh is 73. Rock singer-musician Kim Wilson (The Fabulous Thunderbirds) is 72. Singer Jett Williams is 70. Actor-comedian Rowan Atkinson is 68. World Golf Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez is 66. Actor Scott Bryce is 65. R&B singer Kathy Sledge is 64. TV chef Nigella Lawson is 63. R&B singer Eric Williams (BLACKstreet) is 63. Actor Norman Reedus is 54. Food writer and blogger Ree Drummond is 54. TV personality Julie Chen is 53. Actor Danny Pintauro (TV: “Who’s the Boss?”) is 47. Actor Cristela Alonzo is 44. Actor Rinko Kikuchi (RINK’-oh kih-KOO’-chee) is 42. Actor Eddie Redmayne is 41. Retired NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas is 41. Actor-comedian Kate McKinnon is 39. Actor Diona Reasonover is 39. Rock singer Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) is 37.

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