— From wire reports

Former Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., is 85. Recording executive Clive Davis is 85. Bandleader Hugh Masekela is 78. Author Kitty Kelley is 75. Actor Craig T. Nelson is 73. Actor Walter Charles is 72. Actress Christine Lahti is 67. Writer-producer David E. Kelley is 61. Actress Constance Shulman is 59. Actor Phil Morris is 58. Actor Hugo Weaving is 57. Rock musician Craig Adams (The Cult) is 55. Talk show host/comic Graham Norton is 54. Actor David Cross is 53. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is 52. Magician David Blaine is 44. Actress-singer Jamie Lynn Spears is 26.

Highlight: In 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot and killed on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

In 1818, Congress decided the flag of the United States would consist of 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars, with a new star to be added for every new state of the Union.

In 1841, President William Henry Harrison succumbed to pneumonia one month after his inaugural, becoming the first U.S. chief executive to die in office.

In 1859, “Dixie” was performed publicly for the first time by Bryant’s Minstrels at Mechanics’ Hall in New York.

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to Kentucky newspaper editor Albert G. Hodges, wrote: “I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.”

In 1887, Susanna Madora Salter became the first woman elected mayor of an American community: Argonia, Kansas.

In 1917, the U.S. Senate voted 82-6 in favor of declaring war against Germany (the House followed suit two days later by a vote of 373-50).

In 1933, the Navy airship USS Akron crashed in severe weather off the New Jersey coast with the loss of 73 lives.

In 1949, 12 nations, including the United States, signed the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, D.C.

In 1958, Johnny Stompanato, an enforcer for crime boss Mickey Cohen and the boyfriend of actress Lana Turner, was stabbed to death by Turner’s teenage daughter, Cheryl Crane, who said Stompanato had attacked her mother.

In 1975, more than 130 people, most of them children, were killed when a U.S. Air Force transport plane evacuating Vietnamese orphans crash-landed shortly after takeoff from Saigon. Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger roared into orbit on its maiden voyage. (It was destroyed in the disaster of January 1986.)

In 1991, Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., and six other people, including two children, were killed when a helicopter collided with Heinz’s plane over a schoolyard in Merion, Pennsylvania.

Ten years ago: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced the surprise release of 15 captive British sailors and marines. Radio shock jock Don Imus outraged some of his listeners by disparaging the Rutgers University women’s basketball team as “nappy-headed hos.” (Despite an apology, Imus was fired by CBS Radio and cable network MSNBC; he was hired elsewhere by year’s end.)

Five years ago: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney unleashed a strong attack on President Barack Obama’s truthfulness, accusing him of running a “hide-and-seek” re-election campaign in an address to newspaper editors and publishers.

One year ago: The Supreme Court, in Evenwel v. Abbott, unanimously endorsed election maps that bolstered the growing political influence of America’s Latinos, ruling that states could count everyone, not just eligible voters, in drawing voting districts.

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