This Day in History

Today is Thursday, January 31st, the 31st day of the year.There are 334 days until the end of the year.

On this day:

In 1865, Congress approved the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.The amendment abolished slavery in the U.S.

In 1865, General Robert E. Lee was named commander-in-chief of the Confederate armies.

In 1930, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Ralph Barnaby became the first glider pilot to have his plane released from a blimp.

In 1940, the first Social Security check was issued by the U.S. Government.Ida Fuller of Brattlesboro, Vermont, was the lucky recipient of check number 00-000-001.

In 1956, "Winnie the Pooh" author A-A Milne died at the age of 74.

In 1958, the Explorer One satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.The launch marked the United States' entry into the Space Age.

In 1974, movie producer Samuel Goldwyn died at the age of 94.He founded Goldwyn Pictures Corporation which later merged into Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM).

In 1984, newsman Edwin Newman retired from NBC News after 35 years.

In 1990, the first McDonald's restaurant in Russia opened to the public.

In 1992, sportscaster Howard Cosell retired from broadcasting after 39 years.

In 1997, the classic 1977 film "Star Wars" was re-released as "Star Wars Special Edition" in theaters across the U.S.The film grossed nearly 36-million dollars its first weekend.

In 2000, Illinois Governor George Ryan halted all executions in his state after several death row inmates were found to be innocent of the crimes for which they were about to be put to death.

In 2006, the Senate confirmed veteran appeals court judge Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court.The conservative Alito was President Bush's choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

In 2016, more than 60 people were killed in Syria's Capital after ISIS suicide bombers triggered several explosives.

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