In 1794, President George Washington approved a measure adding two stars and two stripes to the American flag, following the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the Union. (The number of stripes was later reduced to the original 13.)

In 1864, American songwriter Stephen Foster died in poverty in a New York hospital at age 37.

In 1941, a new law went into effect granting Puerto Ricans U.S. birthright citizenship. Novelist and poet James Joyce died in Zurich, Switzerland, less than a month before his 59th birthday.



In 1962, comedian Ernie Kovacs died in a car crash in west Los Angeles 10 days before his 43rd birthday.

In 1964, Roman Catholic Bishop Karol Wojtyla (the future Pope John Paul II) was appointed Archbishop of Krakow, Poland, by Pope Paul VI.

In 1978, former Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey died in Waverly, Minnesota, at age 66.

In 1982, an Air Florida 737 crashed into Washington, D.C.’s 14th Street Bridge and fell into the Potomac River while trying to take off during a snowstorm, killing a total of 78 people, including four motorists on the bridge; four passengers and a flight attendant survived.

In 1992, Japan apologized for forcing tens of thousands of Korean women to serve as sex slaves for its soldiers during World War II, citing newly uncovered documents that showed the Japanese army had had a role in abducting the so-called “comfort women.”

In 2000, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates stepped aside as chief executive and promoted company president Steve Ballmer to the position.

In 2003, Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman jumped into the 2004 race for president.

In 2005, Major League Baseball adopted a tougher steroid-testing program that would suspend first-time offenders for 10 days and randomly test players year-round.

In 2010, Haitians piled bodies along the devastated streets of their capital a day after a powerful earthquake, while in Washington, President Barack Obama pledged an all-out rescue and relief effort. During the first hearing of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, top Wall Street bankers apologized for risky behavior that led to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, but still declared it seemed appropriate at the time. Rhythm-and-blues singer Teddy Pendergrass died in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, at age 59.

In 2012, the Italian luxury liner Costa Concordia ran aground off the Tuscan island of Giglio and flipped onto its side; 32 people were killed.

In 2015, Pope Francis brought calls for reconciliation as well as justice as he arrived in Sri Lanka at the start of a weeklong Asian tour. In an emotional act of defiance, Charlie Hebdo resurrected its irreverent and often provocative newspaper, featuring on the cover a caricature of a weeping Prophet Muhammad holding a sign reading “I am Charlie” with the words “All is forgiven” above him.

In 2018, a false alarm that warned of a ballistic missile headed for Hawaii sent the islands into a panic, with people abandoning cars on a highway and preparing to flee their homes; officials apologized and said the alert was sent when someone hit the wrong button during a shift change.

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You can search the News & Record Historical Archive at greensboro.com/archive

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