2010: U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta receives the Medal of Honor for his actions during the War in Afghanistan, marking the first time the honor was bestowed on a living recipient since the Vietnam War. Giunta was cited for his efforts to save the lives of members of his squad during an ambush on Oct. 25, 2007, that killed two paratroopers.
2010: The engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton is announced in London. Middleton's engagement ring was the 12-carat sapphire engagement ring that once belonged to William's mother, Princess Diana. The couple would marry on April 29, 2011, with Middleton taking the royal title Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.
2006: Economist Milton Friedman, who received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1976, dies of heart failure at the age of 94 in San Francisco, California. Friedman, who taught at the University of Chicago for three decades and was an economic adviser to U.S. President Ronald Reagan, wrote such popular books as "Capitalism and Freedom" and "Free to Choose." His ideas concerning monetary policy, taxation, privatization and deregulation influenced government policies, especially during the 1980s.
2004: U.S. President George W. Bush nominates National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to be secretary of state, succeeding Gen. Colin Powell. The Senate would confirm her nomination by a vote of 85–13 on Jan. 26, 2005.
2001: In a bag of impounded mail, investigators find a letter addressed to Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., containing anthrax. The letter was part of a wider mailing of letters containing anthrax spores targeting several news media offices and Democratic U.S. senators. The letters would end up killing five people and infecting 17 others. Federal prosecutors in August 2008 named scientist Bruce Edwards Ivins, who had committed suicide a month earlier, the sole culprit in the crime.
2001: The fantasy movie "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," the first installment in the Harry Potter film series, opens in theaters. The film made $90.3 million in the United States during its first weekend, breaking the record for highest opening weekend of all time previously held by "The Lost World: Jurassic Park." The movie would end up making $974.7 million at the worldwide box office, $317.6 million of that in the U.S. alone, making it the second-highest grossing film in history at the time, as well as the highest grossing of 2001.
2000: Rapper Joe C., best known as Kid Rock's hype man and sidekick, dies in his sleep at the age of 26 in Taylor, Michigan. The rapper, whose real name was Joseph Calleja, had been born with celiac disease, an autoimmune disease that may cause stunting and dwarfism and some complications in rare cases.
2000: U.S. President Bill Clinton becomes the first serving U.S. president to visit Communist Vietnam since the end of the Vietnam War.
1995: U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno discloses that she has Parkinson's disease.
1988: In Pakistan's first open election in more than a decade, voters elect populist candidate Benazir Bhutto as prime minister. Bhutto, the first female prime minister of a Muslim country, would serve until 1990 and be elected again in 1993. After nine years of self-exile in Dubai and London, she returned to Pakistan in October 2007 to run again for prime minister, but was assassinated two months later.
1982: A new five-year agreement is announced on the 57th day of a strike by National Football League players. As a result of the strike, the NFL season schedule was reduced from 16 games to nine and the playoffs expanded to 16 teams. The new agreement provided severance packages to players upon retirement, an increase in salaries and post-season pay, and bonuses based on the number of years of experience in the league.
1981: The characters Luke Spencer and Laura Webber (played by Anthony Geary and Genie Francis) marry on the soap opera "General Hospital." The event, which stretched over two episodes of the show, was watched by 30 million viewers and remains the highest-rated hour in American soap opera history.
1977: Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, known for roles in movies such as "Secretary," "Sherrybaby," "The Dark Knight" and "Crazy Heart," is born in New York City. She earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in "Crazy Heart."
1974: "Whatever Gets You Through the Night" becomes John Lennon's only single as a solo artist to reach No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. It would be knocked off the top of the chart a week later by Billy Swan's "I Can Help."
1973: NASA launches Skylab 4 with a crew of three astronauts from Cape Canaveral, Florida, for an 84-day mission. The mission was the last of three to the Skylab space station, which burned up upon re-entry of the Earth's atmosphere in 1979.
1973: U.S. President Richard Nixon signs the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act into law, halting all legal challenges and authorizing the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System.
1970: Actress Martha Plimpton, best known for her 1980s roles in movies such as "Goonies," "The Mosquito Coast," and "Running on Empty," is born in New York City. Plimpton, who also starred in the sitcom "Raising Hope," also has appeared on Broadway and in movies such as "Parenthood," "Stanley and Iris," "Beautiful Girls" and "I Shot Andy Warhol."
1969: Janis Joplin is arrested in Tampa, Florida, on charges of using "vulgar and indecent language" after yelling obscenities at police officers during a concert. The charges would eventually be dropped after it was ruled that the singer's actions were an exercise of free speech.
1967: Actress Lisa Bonet, best known for playing Denise Huxtable on the TV sitcom "The Cosby Show" and its spin-off "A Different World," is born in San Francisco, California. Bonet is also known for roles in movies such as "Angel Heart," "High Fidelity" and "Enemy of the State."
1965: The Soviet Union launches the Venera 3 space probe toward Venus. The probe would crash on Venus on March 1, 1966, becoming the first spacecraft to reach the surface of another planet. Although it was successful in reaching the planet, the probe's communications systems failed before it could return any information about the planet.
1964: Baseball player Dwight Gooden, who was one of the most dominant and feared pitchers in the National League in the middle and late 1980s, is born in Tampa, Florida. Gooden, who would make his MLB debut with the New York Mets as a 19-year-old in 1984, won the National League Rookie of the Year award and became the youngest player to appear in an All-Star Game that season and would earn the Cy Young Award in his second season. He also would play on three World Series-winning teams in his career, one with the Mets in 1986 and two with the New York Yankees in 1996 and 2000, although he was left off the postseason roster in 1996 and was a mop-up reliever in 2000.
1964: Grammy-winning jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall, the only jazz singer to have eight albums debuting at the top of the Billboard Jazz Albums chart, is born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.
1960: Actor Clark Gable, best known for his Oscar-nominated roles in "Gone with the Wind," "Mutiny on the Bounty" and "It Happened One Night," dies of a heart attack at the age of 59 in West Hollywood, California. Gable, who won the Best Actor Oscar in 1935 for "It Happened One Night" (pictured), also appeared in such movies as "The Misfits," "Run Silent Run Deep" and "Saratoga."
1958: Actress Marg Helgenberger, known for "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" and her Emmy-winning role on "China Beach," is born in Fremont, Nebraska.
1956: Race car driver Terry Labonte, a two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (then Winston Cup Series) champion and 1989 IROC champion, is born in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is the older brother of 2000 Winston Cup champion Bobby Labonte, and the father of former Nationwide Series driver Justin Labonte.
1955: Johnny Cash makes his first chart appearance with the song "Cry! Cry! Cry!" The B-side to his first single, "Hey Porter," the song kicked off Cash's legendary country music career.
1952: In the "Peanuts" comic strip, Lucy first holds a football for Charlie Brown. It would be the first of an annual running gag in which Lucy pulls away the football just as Charlie Brown is about to kick it, sending him flying.
1950: Bob Smith, the physician and surgeon who co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous, dies of colon cancer at age 71. Smith had his last drink on June 10, 1935, which is celebrated as the anniversary of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous.
1940: In occupied Poland during World War II, the Nazis close off the Warsaw Ghetto from the outside world. More than 400,000 Jews from the area around Warsaw were forced to live in an area of little more than one square mile. At least 254,000 residents were sent from the ghetto to the Treblinka extermination camp over the course of two months in the summer of 1942.
1939: Gangster Al Capone is paroled from prison after serving more than seven years for tax evasion and contempt of court. Capone, whose prison term included more than four years in Alcatraz, returned to his home in Palm Island, Florida, after being paroled, where he would die nearly eight years later.
1938: LSD is first synthesized by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hofmann (seen here in 2006) at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel, Switzerland, as part of a large research program searching for medically useful ergot alkaloid derivatives. The short form "LSD" comes from the drug's early code name LSD-25, an abbreviation for the German "Lysergsäure-diethylamid" followed by a sequential number
1915: Coca-Cola receives a patent for the company's prototype for a contoured bottle. The prototype never made it into production since its middle diameter was larger than its base, making it unstable on conveyor belts. However, a version with a decreased diameter would make its commercial debut the following year and go on to become an iconic image for the company.
1914: The Federal Reserve Bank of the United States officially opens. The new central bank, and its 12 regional banks, was intended to serve as a formal "lender of last resort" to banks during panics when depositors try to withdraw their money faster than a bank could pay it out.
1907: Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory join to form Oklahoma, which is admitted as the 46th U.S. state.
1907: Actor Burgess Meredith, best known for his roles as boxing trainer Mickey Goldmill in the first three "Rocky" movies and as The Penguin in the 1960s "Batman" TV series, is born in Cleveland, Ohio. Some of Meredith's other memorable roles came in the movies "The Day of the Locust," "Grumpy Old Men" and "Foul Play" and in four episodes of the TV series "The Twilight Zone," including the famous "Time Enough at Last" episode. Meredith died from complications of Alzheimer's disease and melanoma at age 89 on Sept. 9, 1997.
1873: Composer W. C. Handy, widely known as the "Father of the Blues," is born in Florence, Alabama. Some his most well known song compositions include "St. Louis Blues," "Beale Street Blues," "Memphis Blues" and "Ole Miss Rag."
1849: A Russian court sentences Fyodor Dostoevsky, who would go on to write "Crime and Punishment" and "The Brothers Karamazov," to death for anti-government activities linked to a radical intellectual group. Following a mock execution in December 1849, the sentence was commuted to four years of exile with hard labor in Siberia followed by a term of compulsory military service.
1822: Missouri trader William Becknell arrives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, over a route that would become known as the Santa Fe Trail.
1532: Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro and his men capture Inca emperor Atahualpa in Peru during the Battle of Cajamarca. Despite providing Pizarro with a roomful of gold and silver as a ransom, Atahualpa would be convicted of plotting against Pizarro and his forces and executed on July 26, 1533. His death would mark the end of 300 years of Inca civilization.
1272: While travelling during the Ninth Crusade, Prince Edward becomes King of England upon the death of Henry III, but it would be nearly two years before he returned to England to assume the throne.