Today in history
On Jan. 13, 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; four passengers and a flight attendant survived.
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 1915, a magnitude-7 earthquake centered in Avezzano, Italy, claimed some 30,000 lives.
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 1968, country singer Johnny Cash performed and recorded a pair of shows at Folsom State Prison in California; material from the concerts was released as an album by Columbia Records under the title “Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison,” which proved a hit.
In 1990, L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia became the nation’s first elected black governor as he took the oath of office in Richmond.
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 1997, seven black soldiers were awarded the Medal of Honor for World War II valor; the lone survivor of the group, former Lt. Vernon Baker, received his medal from President Bill Clinton at the White House.
In 2000, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates stepped aside as chief executive and promoted company president Steve Ballmer to the position.
Ten years ago: President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee for secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, vowed during her Senate confirmation hearing to revitalize the mission of diplomacy in U.S. foreign policy. Obama’s choice to run the Treasury Department, Timothy Geithner, disclosed that he had failed to pay $34,000 in taxes from 2001 to 2004. U.S. Marshals apprehended Marcus Schrenker, 38, in North Florida days after the businessman and amateur daredevil pilot apparently tried to fake his own death in a plane crash. (Schrenker was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to securities fraud charges, on top of four years in federal prison on charges stemming from the plane crash.)
Five years ago: A shooting at a Wesley Chapel, Florida, movie theater left Chad Oulson, 43, dead; retired Tampa police captain Curtis Reeves, 71, is accused of killing Oulson during what authorities said was an argument over Oulson’s texting just before a showing of the movie “Lone Survivor.” (He is still awaiting trial; a judge has rejected a “stand-yourground” defense.)
One year ago: 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. Two Army captains who met at West Point, Daniel Hall and Vincent Franchino, returned there to be married, in what The New York Times said was believed to be the first same-sex marriage of active-duty personnel at the military academy.