Today’s Highlights in History:
On April 25, 1945, during World War II, U.S. and Soviet forces linked up on the Elbe (EL’-beh) River, a meeting that dramatized the collapse of Nazi Germany’s defenses. Delegates from some 50 countries gathered in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.
On this date:
In 1507, a world map produced by German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller contained the first recorded use of the term “America,” in honor of Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci (vehs-POO’-chee).
In 1859, ground was broken for the Suez Canal.
In 1874, radio pioneer Guglielmo (goo-YEHL’-moh) Marconi was born in Bologna, Italy.
In 1898, the United States Congress declared war on Spain; the 10-week conflict resulted in an American victory.
In 1915, during World War I, Allied soldiers invaded the Gallipoli (guh-LIHP’-uh-lee) Peninsula in an unsuccessful attempt to take the Ottoman Empire out of the war.
In 1917, legendary jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald was born in Newport News, Virginia.
In 1959, the St. Lawrence Seaway opened to shipping.
In 1983, 10-year-old Samantha Smith of Manchester, Maine, received a reply from Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov to a letter she’d written expressing her concerns about nuclear war; Andropov gave assurances that the Soviet Union did not want war, and invited Samantha to visit his country, a trip she made in July.
In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was deployed in orbit from the space shuttle Discovery. (It was later discovered that the telescope’s primary mirror was flawed, requiring the installation of corrective components to achieve optimal focus.)
In 1992, Islamic forces in Afghanistan took control of most of the capital of Kabul following the collapse of the Communist government.
In 1995, show business legend Ginger Rogers died in Rancho Mirage, California, at age 83.
In 2002, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes of the Grammy-winning trio TLC died in an SUV crash in Honduras; she was 30.
Ten years ago: President Barack Obama made a pilgrimage to Billy Graham’s mountainside home, concluding his North Carolina vacation with his first meeting with the ailing evangelist who had counseled commanders in chief since Dwight Eisenhower. An al-Qaida front group in Iraq confirmed the deaths of its two top leaders a week after a raid by Iraqi and U.S. security forces on the leaders’ safe house near Tikrit (tih-KREET’), north of Baghdad. British writer Alan Sillitoe, 82, died in London.
Five years ago: A magnitude-7.8 earthquake in Nepal killed more than 8,200 people. Families of soldiers, leaders and visitors gathered in Turkey near former battlefields, honoring thousands of Australians and New Zealanders who fought in the Gallipoli campaign of World War I on the 100th anniversary of the ill-fated British-led invasion. Italy celebrated the 70th anniversary of a partisan uprising against the Nazis and their Fascist allies near the end of World War II.
One year ago: Former Vice President Joe Biden entered the Democratic presidential race, declaring the fight against Donald Trump to be a “battle for the soul of this nation.” Russian President Vladimir Putin began a summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un in the Russian city of Vladivostok; Putin said Kim told him that he was willing to give up nuclear weapons, but only in exchange for ironclad security guarantees. The Arizona Cardinals led off the NFL draft by selecting Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, the Heisman Trophy winner.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Al Pacino is 80. Ballroom dance judge Len Goodman (TV: “Dancing with the Stars”) is 76. Rock musician Stu Cook (Creedence Clearwater Revival) is 75. Singer Bjorn Ulvaeus (BYORN ul-VAY’-us) (ABBA) is 75. Actress Talia Shire is 75. Actor Jeffrey DeMunn is 73. Rock musician Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) is 70. Country singer-songwriter Rob Crosby is 66. Actor Hank Azaria is 56. Rock singer Andy Bell (Erasure) is 56. Rock musician Eric Avery is 55. Country musician Rory Feek (Joey + Rory) is 55. TV personality Jane Clayson is 53. Actress Renee Zellweger is 51. Actress Gina Torres is 51. Actor Jason Lee is 50. Actor Jason Wiles is 50. Actress Emily Bergl is 45. Actor Jonathan Angel is 43. Actress Marguerite Moreau is 43. Singer Jacob Underwood is 40. Actress Melonie Diaz is 36. Actress Sara Paxton is 32. Actress Allisyn Ashley Arm is 24. Actress Jayden Rey is 11.
Thought for Today: “I think it is all a matter of love: the more you love a memory, the stronger and stranger it is.” — Vladimir Nabokov, Russian-born author (1899-1977).