The Almanac

By United Press International  |  July 4, 2003 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, July 4, the 185th day of 2003 with 180 to follow.

This is Independence Day, America's 227th birthday.

The moon is waxing.

The morning stars are Mercury, Saturn, Uranus, Venus, Mars and Neptune.

The evening stars are Jupiter and Pluto.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Cancer. They include author Nathaniel Hawthorne in 1804; songwriter Stephen Foster (Oh! Susannah, Beautiful Dreamer) in 1826; circus operator James Bailey in 1847; Calvin Coolidge, 30th president of the United States, in 1872; newspaper cartoonist Rube Goldberg in 1883; Louis B. Mayer, film mogul and co-founder of MGM, in 1885; actor/politician George Murphy in 1902; conductor Mitch Miller in 1911 (age 92); Ann Landers, advice columnist, in 1918; her twin, also an advice columnist, Abigail Van Buren in 1918 (age 85); former hotel executive Leona Helmsley in 1920 (age 83); actress Eva Marie Saint in 1924 (age 79); playwright Neil Simon in 1927 (age 76); actress Gina Lollobrigida in 1928 (age 75); Al Davis, Oakland Raiders owner, in 1929 (age 74); New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in 1930 (age 73); TV reporter Geraldo Rivera in 1943 (age 60); and former tennis player Pam Shriver in 1962 (age 41).

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 Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died, 50 years to the day after they signed the Declaration of Independence.

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 first published.

In 1914, director D.W. Griffith began filming his controversial film "Birth of a Nation," which introduced important new filmmaking techniques and influenced many later directors.

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 1992, a scientist set an underwater living record at a submerged hotel in a Key Largo, Fla., lagoon.

In 1993, President Clinton visited Davenport, Iowa, in the first of four visits to the flood-ravaged Midwest.

In 1994, Brazil's soccer team eliminated the United States from World Cup competition, 1-0.

Also in 1994, French forces in Rwanda established a security zone for refugees.

In 1995, the British Parliament reconfirmed John Majors as prime minister.

In 1997, NASA's Pathfinder landed on Mars to become the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the Red Planet in more than two decades.

Also in 1997, Mexico's top drug lord died following plastic surgery in a Mexico City hospital to change his appearance.

In 1999, top-seeded Pete Sampras won his 6th Wimbledon men's singles title, defeating fellow American Andre Agassi. Third-seeded American Lindsay Davenport defeated 7-time winner Steffi Graf to net her first women's singles title.

In 2002, with the nation on alert for a possible terrorist attack, a gunman shot and killed two people at the Los Angeles International Airport near a ticket counter of El Al, the Israeli airliner. The gunman, identified as an Egyptian-born owner of a limousine service, was himself killed by an El Al guard.

A thought for the day: President Coolidge reportedly said, "If you don't say anything, you won't be called upon to repeat it."

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