Today's Highlight in History:
On Jan. 3, 1959, Alaska became the 49th state as President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation.
On this date:
In 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Leo X.
In 1777, Gen. George Washington's army routed the British in the Battle of Princeton, N.J.
In 1861, more than two weeks before Georgia seceded from the Union, the state militia seized Fort Pulaski at the order of Gov. Joseph E. Brown. The Delaware House and Senate voted to oppose secession from the Union.
In 1870, groundbreaking took place for the Brooklyn Bridge.
In 1911, the first postal savings banks were opened by the U.S. Post Office. (The banks were abolished in 1966.)
In 1938, the March of Dimes campaign to fight polio was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who himself had been afflicted with the crippling disease.
In 1949, in a pair of rulings, the U.S. Supreme Court said that states had the right to ban closed shops.
In 1958, the first six members of the newly formed U.S. Commission on Civil Rights held their first meeting at the White House.
In 1967, Jack Ruby, the man who shot and killed accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, died in a Dallas hospital.
In 1977, Apple Computer was incorporated in Cupertino, Calif., by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Mike Makkula Jr.
In 1980, conservationist Joy Adamson, author of "Born Free," was killed in northern Kenya by a former employee.
In 1990, ousted Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega surrendered to U.S. forces, 10 days after taking refuge in the Vatican's diplomatic mission.
Ten years ago: A Boeing 737 owned by Egyptian charter tour operator Flash Airlines crashed into the Red Sea, killing all 148 people aboard, most of them French tourists. NASA's Mars rover, Spirit, touched down on Mars.
Five years ago: After seven days of pummeling the Gaza Strip from the air, Israel launched a ground offensive; Hamas vowed that Gaza would be a "graveyard" for the Israelis. Veteran actor Pat Hingle died in Carolina Beach, N.C., at age 84.
One year ago: Students attending Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., reconvened at a different building in the town of Monroe about three weeks after the massacre that had claimed the lives of 20 first-graders and six educators. The new 113th Congress opened for business, with House Speaker John Boehner re-elected to his post despite a mini-revolt in Republican ranks. No. 5 Oregon beat No. 7 Kansas State, 35-17, in the Fiesta Bowl.
Today's Birthdays: Record producer Sir George Martin is 88. Actor Robert Loggia is 84. Actor Dabney Coleman is 82. Journalist-author Betty Rollin is 78. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby Hull is 75. Singer-songwriter-producer Van Dyke Parks is 71. Musician Stephen Stills is 69. Rock musician John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) is 68. Actress Victoria Principal is 64. Actor-director Mel Gibson is 58. Actress Shannon Sturges is 46. Jazz musician James Carter is 45. Contemporary Christian singer Nichole Nordeman is 42. Musician Thomas Bangalter (Daft Punk) is 39. Actor Jason Marsden is 39. Actress Danica McKellar is 39. Actor Nicholas Gonzalez is 38. Singer Kimberley Locke ("American Idol") is 36. NFL quarterback Eli Manning is 33. Actress Nicole Beharie (TV: "Sleepy Hollow" Film: "42") is 29. Pop musician Mark Pontius (Foster the People) is 29. Rhythm-and-blues singer Lloyd is 28. Pop-rock musician Nash Overstreet (Hot Chelle Rae) is 28. Actor Alex D. Linz is 25.
Thought for Today: "No one asked you to be happy. Get to work." — Colette, French author (1873-1954).