Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 4, 1974, newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst, 19, was kidnapped in Berkeley, Calif., by the radical Symbionese Liberation Army.
(Two months later, Hearst declared that she had joined her captors; she helped the SLA rob a bank, was captured in 1975, convicted for her role in the robbery and sentenced to seven years in prison. Hearst, who has maintained she was a victim of brainwashing, served nearly two years before President Jimmy Carter commuted her sentence; she was pardoned in 2001 by President Bill Clinton.)
On this date:
In 1783, Britain's King George III proclaimed a formal cessation of hostilities in the American Revolutionary War.
In 1789, electors chose George Washington to be the first president of the United States.
In 1861, delegates from six southern states that had recently seceded from the Union met in Montgomery, Ala., to form the Confederate States of America.
In 1919, Congress established the U.S. Navy Distinguished Service Medal and the Navy Cross.
In 1932, New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid.
In 1941, the United Service Organizations (USO) came into existence.
In 1944, the Bronze Star Medal, honoring "heroic or meritorious achievement or service," was authorized by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1962, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital was founded in Memphis, Tenn., by entertainer Danny Thomas.
In 1976, more than 23,000 people died when a severe earthquake struck Guatemala with a magnitude of 7.5, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
In 1983, pop singer-musician Karen Carpenter died in Downey, Calif., at age 32.
In 1987, pianist Liberace died at his Palm Springs, Calif., home at age 67.
In 1999, Amadou Diallo, an unarmed West African immigrant, was shot and killed in front of his Bronx home by four plainclothes New York City police officers. (The officers were acquitted at trial.)
Ten years ago: The Massachusetts high court declared that gay couples were entitled to nothing less than marriage and that Vermont-style civil unions would not suffice. A Senate rattled by a ricin attack began returning to regular business with no illnesses reported. The social networking website Facebook had its beginnings as Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launched "Thefacebook."
Five years ago: President Barack Obama imposed a $500,000 cap on executive pay for companies receiving federal bailout money; the president also signed a bill extending health coverage to 4 million uninsured children. Lux Interior, co-founder and lead singer of the horror-punk band The Cramps, died in Glendale, Calif., at age 62.
One year ago: President Barack Obama signed into law a bill raising the government's borrowing limit, averting a default. Authorities stormed an underground bunker in Alabama, freeing a 5-year-old boy who'd been held hostage for nearly a week and killing his abductor, Jimmy Lee Dykes. British scientists announced they had rescued the skeletal remains of King Richard III from the anonymity of a drab municipal parking lot. For the fifth straight week there was a new No. 1 in The Associated Press' men's college basketball poll: Indiana. Reg Presley, 71, lead singer for the Troogs on "Wild Thing," died in Andover, England.
Today's Birthdays: Actor William Phipps is 92. Former Argentinian President Isabel Peron is 83. Comedian David Brenner is 78. Actor Gary Conway is 78. Movie director George A. Romero is 74. Rock musician John Steel (The Animals) is 73. Singer Florence LaRue (The Fifth Dimension) is 70. Former Vice President Dan Quayle is 67. Rock singer Alice Cooper is 66. Actor Michael Beck is 65. Actress Lisa Eichhorn is 62. Football Hall-of-Famer Lawrence Taylor is 55. Rock singer Tim Booth is 54. Rock musician Henry Bogdan is 53. Country singer Clint Black is 52. Rock musician Noodles (The Offspring) is 51. Country musician Dave Buchanan (Yankee Grey) is 48. Actress Gabrielle Anwar is 44. Actor Rob Corddry is 43. Singer David Garza is 43. Actor Michael Goorjian is 43. Olympic gold medal boxer Oscar De La Hoya is 41. Rock musician Rick Burch (Jimmy Eat World) is 39. Singer Natalie Imbruglia is 39. Rapper Cam'ron is 38. Rock singer Gavin DeGraw is 37. Olympic gold medal gymnast-turned-singer Carly Patterson is 26.
Thought for Today: "Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries." — James Michener, American author (1907-1997).