Today is Wednesday, July 4, the 185th day of 2018. There are 180 days left in the year. This is Independence Day.
On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by delegates to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
In 1802, the United States Military Academy officially opened at West Point, New York.
In 1817, ground was broken for the Erie Canal in Rome, New York. The middle section of the waterway took three years to complete; the entire canal was finished in 1825.
In 1826, 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, former presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died.
In 1831, the fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, died in New York City at age 73.
In 1872, the 30th president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, was born in Plymouth, Vermont.
In 1917, during a ceremony in Paris honoring the French hero of the American Revolution, U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles E. Stanton, an aide to Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing, declared: "Lafayette, we are here!"
In 1939, Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees delivered his famous farewell speech in which he called himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth."
In 1942, Irving Berlin's musical revue "This Is the Army" opened at the Broadway Theater in New York.
In 1947, the small central California town of Hollister was overrun by thousands of motorcycling enthusiasts, dozens of whom ended up being arrested, most for drunkenness, in what came to be called the "Hollister Riot."
In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Freedom of Information Act, which went into effect the following year.
In 1987, Klaus Barbie, the former Gestapo chief known as the "Butcher of Lyon," was convicted by a French court of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison (he died in September 1991).
In 1997, NASA's Pathfinder spacecraft landed on Mars, inaugurating a new era in the search for life on the red planet. CBS newsman Charles Kuralt died in New York at age 62.