Today is Friday, Jan. 31, the 31st day of 2020. There are 335 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 31, 1958, the United States entered the Space Age with its first successful launch of a satellite, Explorer 1, from Cape Canaveral.
On this date:
In 1863, during the Civil War, the First South Carolina Volunteers, an all-black Union regiment composed of many escaped slaves, was mustered into federal service at Beaufort, South Carolina.
In 1865, the U.S. House of Representatives joined the Senate in passing the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution abolishing slavery, sending it to states for ratification. (The amendment was adopted in December 1865.) Gen. Robert E. Lee was named general-in-chief of the Confederate States Army by President Jefferson Davis.
In 1917, during World War I, Germany served notice that it was beginning a policy of unrestricted submarine warfare.
In 1919, baseball Hall-of-Famer Jackie Robinson was born in Cairo, Ga.
In 1929, revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his family were expelled from the Soviet Union.
In 1945, Pvt. Eddie Slovik, 24, became the first U.S. soldier since the Civil War to be executed for desertion as he was shot by an American firing squad in France.
In 1950, President Harry S. Truman announced he had ordered development of the hydrogen bomb.
In 1971, astronauts Alan Shepard, Edgar Mitchell and Stuart Roosa blasted off aboard Apollo 14 on a mission to the moon.
In 1990, McDonald’s Corp. opened its first fast-food restaurant in Moscow.
In 2000, an Alaska Airlines MD-83 jet crashed into the Pacific Ocean off Port Hueneme, California, killing all 88 people aboard.
In 2001, a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands convicted one Libyan, acquitted a second, in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. (Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was given a life sentence, but was released after eight years on compassionate grounds by Scotland’s government. He died in 2012.)
In 2007, some three dozen blinking electronic devices planted around Boston threw a scare into the city in what turned out to be a marketing campaign for the Cartoon Network TV show “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.”
Today’s Birthdays: Composer Philip Glass is 83. Former Interior Secretary James Watt is 82. Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, the former queen regent, is 82. Actor Stuart Margolin is 80. Actress Jessica Walter is 79. Former U.S. Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., is 79. Blues singer-musician Charlie Musselwhite is 76. Actor Glynn Turman is 73. Baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan is 73. Actor Jonathan Banks is 73. Singer-musician Harry Wayne Casey (KC and the Sunshine Band) is 69. Rock singer Johnny Rotten is 64. Actress Kelly Lynch is 61. Actor Anthony LaPaglia is 61. Singer-musician Lloyd Cole is 59. Actress Paulette Braxton is 55. Rock musician Al Jaworski (Jesus Jones) is 54. Actress Minnie Driver is 50. Actress Portia de Rossi is 47. Actor-comedian Bobby Moynihan is 43. Actress Kerry Washington is 43. Bluegrass singer-musician Becky Buller is 41. Singer Justin Timberlake is 39. Actor Tyler Ritter is 35. Country singer Tyler Hubbard (Florida Georgia Line) is 33. Folk-rock singer-musician Marcus Mumford (Mumford and Sons) is 33. Actor Joel Courtney is 24.
Thought for Today: “Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.” — Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel, American theologian, author and educator (1907-1990).