Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 6, 1909, American explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson and four Inuits became the first men to reach the North Pole.
On this date:
In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Shiloh began in Tennessee as Confederate forces launched a surprise attack against Union troops, who beat back the Confederates the next day.
In 1886, the Canadian city of Vancouver, British Columbia, was incorporated.
In 1896, the first modern Olympic games formally opened in Athens, Greece.
In 1917, the United States entered World War I as the House joined the Senate in approving a declaration of war against Germany that was then signed by President Woodrow Wilson.
In 1945, during World War II, the Japanese warship Yamato and nine other vessels sailed on a suicide mission to attack the U.S. fleet off Okinawa; the fleet was intercepted the next day.
In 1954, Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., responding to CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow’s broadside against him on “See It Now,” said in remarks filmed for the program that Murrow had, in the past, “engaged in propaganda for Communist causes.”
In 1968, 41 people were killed by two consecutive natural gas explosions at a sporting goods store in downtown Richmond, Indiana.
In 1974, Swedish pop group ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest held in Brighton, England, with a performance of the song “Waterloo.”
In 1985, William J. Schroeder (SHRAY’-dur) became the first artificial heart recipient to be discharged from the hospital as he moved into an apartment in Louisville, Kentucky.
In 2008, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, speaking at a private fundraiser in San Francisco, spoke of voters in Pennsylvania’s Rust Belt communities who “cling to guns or religion” because of bitterness about their economic lot; Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton seized on the comment, calling it “elitist.”
In 2017, Don Rickles, the big-mouthed, bald-headed “Mr. Warmth” whose verbal assaults endeared him to audiences and peers and made him the acknowledged grandmaster of insult comedy, died at his Beverly Hills home at age 90.
In 2019, former South Carolina Democratic Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, who had also helped guide the state through desegregation as governor, died at the age of 97; he was the eighth-longest-serving senator in U.S. history.
Ten years ago: Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi appealed directly to President Barack Obama in a letter to end what Gadhafi called “an unjust war”; he also wished Obama good luck in his bid for re-election. Portugal became the third debt-stressed European country to need a bailout as the prime minister announced his country would request international assistance.
Five years ago: A federal judge in Charleston, West Virginia, sentenced former coal executive Don Blankenship to a year in prison for his role in the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine explosion that killed 29 men in America’s deadliest mining disaster in four decades; Blankenship maintained that he had committed no crime. Country giant Merle Haggard died in Palo Cedro, California, on his 79th birthday.
One year ago: Hours after Democratic Gov. Tony Evers issued an executive order postponing the following day’s election for two months, the Wisconsin Supreme Court sided with Republicans in the state legislature who said Evers didn’t have the authority to reschedule the race; the decision left Wisconsin as the only state proceeding with an April election amid the coronavirus outbreak. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was transferred to the intensive care unit of a London hospital where he was being treated for COVID-19, after his condition deteriorated. A federal judge refused to block Los Angeles officials from shutting down gun stores as nonessential businesses during the pandemic. Amid glimmers of hope that the pandemic could be slowing, stocks surged worldwide, capped by a 7% leap for the U.S. market. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a complete lockdown over the upcoming Passover holiday to control the country’s coronavirus outbreak.
Today’s Birthdays: Nobel Prize-winning scientist James D. Watson is 93. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 84. Actor Roy Thinnes is 83. Movie director Barry Levinson is 79. Actor John Ratzenberger is 74. Actor Patrika Darbo is 73. Baseball Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven is 70. Actor Marilu Henner is 69. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Janet Lynn is 68. Actor Michael Rooker is 66. Former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is 65.
Rock musician Warren Haynes (Gov’t Mule) is 61. Rock singer-musician Black Francis is 56. Actor Ari Meyers is 52. Actor Paul Rudd is 52. Actor-producer Jason Hervey is 49. Actor Zach Braff is 46. Actor Joel Garland is 46. Actor Candace Cameron Bure is 45. Actor Teddy Sears is 44. Jazz and R&B musician Robert Glasper is 43. Actor Eliza Coupe is 40. Folk singer-musician Kenneth Pattengale (Milk Carton Kids) is 39. Actor Bret Harrison is 39. Actor Charlie McDermott is 31.