In 1789, President-elect George Washington left Mount Vernon, Va., for his inauguration in New York.
In 1862, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. The Confederacy conscripted all white men between the ages of 18 to 35.
In 1879, Bernadette Soubirous, who’d described seeing visions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes, died in Nevers, France.
In 1912, American aviator Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel, traveling from Dover, England, to France in 59 minutes.
In 1917, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin returned to Russia after years of exile.
In 1935, the radio comedy program “Fibber McGee and Molly” premiered on NBC’s Blue Network.
In 1945, U.S. troops reached Nuremberg, Germany, during the Second World War.
In 1947, the French ship Grandcamp blew up at the harbor in Texas City, Texas; another ship, the High Flyer, exploded the following day (the blasts and fires killed nearly 600 people). Financier Bernard M. Baruch said in a speech at the South Carolina statehouse, “Let us not be deceived — we are today in the midst of a cold war.”
In 1962, Bob Dylan debuted his song “Blowin’ in the Wind” at Gerde’s Folk City in New York; Walter Cronkite succeeded Douglas Edwards as CBS-TV’s principal anchorman.
In 1972, Apollo 16 blasted off on a voyage to the moon with astronauts John W. Young, Charles M. Duke Jr. and Ken Mattingly on board.
In 1996, Britain’s Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah, the Duchess of York, announced they were in the process of divorcing.
In 2007, in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history, student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life.
Ten years ago: The Bush administration lowered the terror alert level from orange to yellow, saying the end of heavy fighting in Iraq had diminished the threat of terrorism in the United States. During a visit to a fighter jet factory in St. Louis, President George W. Bush called for lifting economic sanctions against Iraq. Michael Jordan played his last NBA game with the Washington Wizards, who lost to the Philadelphia 76ers, 107-87.
Five years ago: The Supreme Court upheld the most widely used method of lethal injection, allowing states to resume executions after a seven-month halt. Pope Benedict XVI was welcomed by President George W. Bush as only the second pope to visit the White House and the first in 29 years. Mathematician-meteorologist Edward Lorenz, the father of “chaos theory,” died in Cambridge, Mass., at age 90.
One year ago: A trial began in Oslo, Norway, for Anders Breivik (AHN’-durs BRAY’-vihk), charged with killing 77 people in a bomb and gun rampage in July 2011. (Breivik was found guilty of terrorism and premeditated murder and given a 21-year prison sentence.) The Associated Press won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for documenting the New York Police Department’s widespread spying on Muslims, while the Philadelphia Inquirer was honored in the public service category for its examination of violence in the city’s schools; for the first time in 35 years, no Pulitzer for fiction was given.
Today’s Birthdays: Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is 86. Actor Peter Mark Richman is 86. Singer Bobby Vinton is 78. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II is 73. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is 66. Ann Romney is 64. NFL coach Bill Belichick is 61. Rock singer-turned-politician Peter Garrett is 60. Actress Ellen Barkin is 59. Rock musician Jason Scheff (Chicago) is 51. Singer Jimmy Osmond is 50. Rock singer David Pirner (Soul Asylum) is 49. Actor-comedian Martin Lawrence is 48. Actor Jon Cryer is 48. Rock musician Dan Rieser is 47. Actor Peter Billingsley is 42. Actor Lukas Haas is 37.