Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 22, 2000, in a dramatic pre-dawn raid, armed immigration agents seized Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy at the center of a custody dispute, from his relatives’ home in Miami; Elian was reunited with his father at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington.
On this date:
In 1889, the Oklahoma Land Rush began at noon as thousands of homesteaders staked claims.
In 1915, the first full-scale use of deadly chemicals in warfare took place as German forces unleashed chlorine gas against Allied troops at the start of the Second Battle of Ypres (EE’-preh) in Belgium during World War I; thousands of soldiers are believed to have died.
In 1937, thousands of college students in New York City staged a “peace strike” opposing American entry into another possible world conflict.
In 1944, during World War II, U.S. forces began invading Japanese-held New Guinea with amphibious landings at Hollandia and Aitape.
In 1954, the publicly televised sessions of the Senate Army-McCarthy hearings began.
In 1970, millions of Americans concerned about the environment observed the first “Earth Day.”
In 1993, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was dedicated in Washington, D.C., to honor victims of Nazi extermination.
In 1994, Richard M. Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, died at a New York hospital four days after suffering a stroke; he was 81.
In 2004, Army Ranger Pat Tillman, who’d traded in a multi-million-dollar NFL contract to serve in Afghanistan, was killed by friendly fire; he was 27.
In 2005, Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE’-uhs moo-SOW’-ee) pleaded guilty in a federal courtroom outside Washington, D.C., to conspiring with the Sept. 11 hijackers to kill Americans. (Moussaoui is serving a life prison sentence.)
In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, operated by BP, sank into the Gulf of Mexico two days after a massive explosion that killed 11 workers.
In 2016, leaders from 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement on climate change at the United Nations as the landmark deal took a key step toward entering into force years ahead of schedule.
Ten years ago: The U.S. and Afghanistan reached a deal on a strategic partnership agreement ensuring that Americans would provide military and financial support to the Afghan people for at least a decade beyond 2014, the deadline for most foreign forces to withdraw.
Five years ago: From the Washington Monument to Germany’s Brandenburg Gate and even to Greenland, scientists, students and research advocates rallied on Earth Day, conveying a global message about scientific freedom without political interference. Erin Moran, the former child star who played Joanie Cunningham in the sitcoms “Happy Days” and “Joanie Loves Chachi,” died in New Salisbury, Indiana; she was 56.
One year ago: In an announcement tied to a U.S.-hosted virtual summit of 40 world leaders on climate change, President Joe Biden committed the U.S. cut its fossil fuel emissions by as much as 52% by 2030; some developed U.S. allies also made specific pledges to reduce damaging fossil fuel pollution. The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 ruling, made it easier to sentence minors convicted of murder to life in prison without the possibility of parole. A judge in New York sentenced a Bangladeshi immigrant to life in prison for an attempted suicide bombing attack in a subway station beneath Times Square in 2017; the attack largely failed when the bomb barely exploded.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Jack Nicholson is 85. Singer Mel Carter is 83. Author Janet Evanovich is 79. Country singer Cleve Francis is 77. Movie director John Waters is 76.
Singer Peter Frampton is 72. Rock singer-musician Paul Carrack (Mike and the Mechanics; Squeeze) is 71. Actor Joseph Bottoms is 68. Actor Ryan Stiles is 63. Baseball manager Terry Francona is 63. Comedian and entertainment executive Byron Allen is 61. Actor Chris Makepeace is 58. Rock musician Fletcher Dragge (DRAH’-guh) is 56. Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan is 56. Actor Sheryl Lee is 55. Actor-talk show host Sherri Shepherd is 55. Country singer-musician Heath Wright (Ricochet) is 55. Country singer Kellie Coffey is 51. Actor Eric Mabius is 51. Actor Ingo Rademacher (RAH’-deh-mah-ker) is 51. Rock musician Shavo Odadjian (System of a Down) is 48. Rock singer-musician Daniel Johns (Silverchair) is 43. Actor Malcolm Barrett is 42. Actor Cassidy Freeman is 40. Actor Michelle Ryan is 38. Actor Zack Gottsagen is 37. Actor Amber Heard is 36. Singer-songwriter BC Jean (Alexander Jean) is 35. Drummer Tripp Howell (LANCO) is 33. Rapper/singer Machine Gun Kelly is 32.