Today in History
Today is Friday, April 20, the 110th day of 2018. There are 255 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 20, 1898, the United States moved closer to war with Spain as President William McKinley signed a congressional resolution passed the day before recognizing Cuban independence and authorizing U.S. military intervention to achieve that goal.
On this date:
In 1792, France declared war on Austria, marking the start of the French Revolutionary Wars.
In 1889, Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria.
In 1914, the Ludlow Massacre took place when the Colorado National Guard opened fire on a tent colony of striking miners; about 20 (accounts vary) strikers, women and children died.
In 1938, “Olympia,” Leni Riefenstahl’s documentary about the 1936 Berlin Olympic games, was first shown in Nazi Germany.
In 1948, United Auto Workers president Walter P. Reuther was shot and seriously wounded at his home in Detroit.
In 1968, Pierre Elliott Trudeau was sworn in as prime minister of Canada.
In 1972, Apollo 16’s lunar module, carrying astronauts John W. Young and Charles M. Duke Jr., landed on the moon.
In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Wooley v. Maynard, ruled 6-3 that car owners could refuse to display state mottoes on license plates, such as New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die.”
In 1978, a Korean Air Lines Boeing 707 crash-landed in northwestern Russia after being fired on by a Soviet interceptor after entering Soviet airspace; two passengers were killed.
In 1988, gunmen who had hijacked a Kuwait Airways jumbo jet were allowed safe passage out of Algeria under an agreement that freed the remaining 31 hostages and ended a 15-day siege in which two passengers were slain.
In 1999, the Columbine High School massacre took place in Colorado as two students shot and killed 12 classmates and one teacher before taking their own lives.
In 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, leased by BP, killed 11 workers and caused a blow-out that began spewing an estimated 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. (The well was finally capped nearly three months later.)
Ten years ago: Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his final Mass in the United States before a full house in Yankee Stadium, blessing his enormous U.S. flock and telling Americans to use their freedoms wisely. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice mocked anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr (mook-TAH’-duh ahl SAH’-dur) as a coward during a visit to Iraq. Danica Patrick became the first female winner in IndyCar history, capturing the Indy Japan 300.
Five years ago: A magnitude 7 earthquake struck the steep hills of China’s southwestern Sichuan province, leaving nearly 200 people dead. On or about this date, movie musical star Deanna Durbin, 91, died near Paris.
One year ago: Arkansas overcame a flurry of court challenges that derailed three other executions, putting to death an inmate for the first time in nearly a dozen years. A 15-year-old Tennessee girl was rescued near a cabin in a remote part of northern California, more than a month after her 50-year-old teacher allegedly kidnapped her and set off a nationwide manhunt. In Paris, a gunman fatally shot a police officer on the Champs-Elysees just days before the French presidential vote; the gunman was killed by police. Cuba Gooding Sr., who sang the 1972 hit “Everybody Plays the Fool,” died in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles; he was 72.
Today’s Birthdays: Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is 98. Actor Leslie Phillips is 94. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is 82. Actor George Takei is 81. Singer Johnny Tillotson is 80. Actor Ryan O’Neal is 77. Bluegrass singer-musician Doyle Lawson (Quicksilver) is 74. Actress Judith O’Dea is 73. Rock musician Craig Frost (Grand Funk; Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band) is 70. Actor Gregory Itzin is 70. Actress Jessica Lange is 69. Actress Veronica Cartwright is 69. Actor Clint Howard is 59. Actor Crispin Glover is 54. Actor Andy Serkis is 54. Olympic silver medal figure skater Rosalynn Sumners is 54. Actor William deVry is 50. Country singer Wade Hayes is 49. Actor Shemar Moore is 48. Actress Carmen Electra is 46. Reggae singer Stephen Marley is 46. Rock musician Marty Crandall is 43. Actor Joey Lawrence is 42. Country musician Clay Cook (Zac Brown Band) is 40. Actor Clayne Crawford is 40. Actor Tim Jo is 34. Actor Carlos Valdes (TV: “The Flash”) is 29.
Thought for Today: “History is the autobiography of a madman.” — Alexander Herzen, Russian author (1812-1870).