Today is Friday, July 4, the 185th day of 2014 with 180 to follow.
This is Independence Day in the United States.
The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Mercury, Nepune, Uranus and Venus. Evening stars are Jupiter, Mars and Saturn.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include author Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1804; distiller Hiram Walker in 1816; songwriter Stephen Foster ("Oh! Susannah," "Beautiful Dreamer") in 1826; circus operator James Bailey (Barnum and Bailey) in 1847; Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States, in 1872; cartoonist Rube Goldberg in 1883; Louis B. Mayer, film mogul and co-founder of MGM, in 1885; actor/politician George Murphy and organized crime figure Meyer Lansky, both in 1902; conductor Mitch Miller in 1911; Ann Landers, advice columnist, and her twin, also an advice columnist, Abigail Van Buren in 1918; former hotel executive Leona Helmsley in 1920; actor Eva Marie Saint in 1924 (age 90); playwright Neil Simon and actor Gina Lollobrigida, both in 1927 (age 87); Al Davis, Oakland Raiders owner, in 1929; New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in 1930; TV reporter Geraldo Rivera in 1943 (age 71); activist Ron Kovic in 1946 (age 68); former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe in 1952 (age 62); and tennis player Pam Shriver in 1962 (age 52).
On this date in history:
In 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence, proclaiming U.S. independence from Britain.
In 1826, in one of history's notable coincidences, former U.S. Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died, 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was adopted.
In 1863, Union troops defeated Confederate forces in a battle at Vicksburg, Miss.
In 1895, the poem "America the Beautiful," by Wellesley College Professor Katherine Lee Bates, was published.
In 1914, D.W. Griffith began filming his controversial film "The Birth of a Nation," which introduced filmmaking techniques that influenced many other directors.
In 1939, Lou Gehrig gave his "luckiest man on the face of the Earth" speech in announcing his retirement from the New York Yankees. Gehrig had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a deliberating motor neuron disease.
In 1976, Israeli commandos raided the airport at Entebbe, Uganda, rescuing 103 hostages held by Arab militants.
In 1986, more than 250 sailing ships and the United States' biggest fireworks display honored the Statue of Liberty in its 100th birthday year.
In 1995, the British Parliament reconfirmed John Majors as prime minister.
In 1997, NASA's Pathfinder reached Mars to become the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the planet in more than two decades.
In 2006, North Korea test-launched seven ballistic missiles in what it called "routine military exercises," causing a firestorm of anger among its neighbors and the United States.
In 2007, the Russian resort city of Sochi was selected to host the 2014 Winter Olympics.
In 2008, former arch-conservative U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms of North Carolina, heralded as the last of the "Old South" politicians, died at age 86 after battling cancer and heart disease.
In 2010, U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus took command of the Afghan war, acknowledging the "tough fight" ahead for NATO forces while pledging "We are in this to win."
In 2013, the Statue of Liberty reopened to the public nine months after it was closed because of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
A thought for the day: "Where liberty dwells, there is my country." -- Benjamin Franklin