Today in History
Today is Wednesday, April 15, the 106th day of 2020. There are 260 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 15, 2013, two bombs made from pressure cookers exploded at the Boston Marathon finish line, killing two women and an 8-year-old boy and injuring more than 260. Suspected bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev (TAM’-ehr-luhn tsahr-NEYE’-ehv) died in a shootout with police; his brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR’ tsahr-NEYE’-ehv), was tried, convicted and sentenced to death.
On this date:
In 1452, artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci was born in or near the Tuscan town of Vinci.
In 1850, the city of San Francisco was incorporated.
In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died nine hours after being shot the night before by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater in Washington; Andrew Johnson became the nation’s 17th president.
In 1912, the British luxury liner RMS Titanic foundered in the North Atlantic off Newfoundland more than 2 1/2 hours after hitting an iceberg; 1,514 people died, while less than half as many survived.
In 1945, during World War II, British and Canadian troops liberated the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who died on April 12, was buried at the Roosevelt family home in Hyde Park, New York.
In 1947, Jackie Robinson, baseball’s first black major league player, made his official debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers on opening day at Ebbets Field. (The Dodgers defeated the Boston Braves, 5-3.)
In 1955, Ray Kroc opened the first franchised McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois.
In 1959, Cuban leader Fidel Castro arrived in Washington to begin a goodwill tour of the United States. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles resigned for health reasons (he was succeeded by Christian A. Herter).
In 1974, members of the Symbionese Liberation Army held up a branch of the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco; a member of the group was SLA kidnap victim Patricia Hearst, who by this time was going by the name “Tania” (Hearst later said she’d been forced to participate).
In 1989, 96 people died in a crush of soccer fans at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England. Students in Beijing launched a series of pro-democracy protests; the demonstrations culminated in a government crackdown at Tiananmen Square.
In 1998, Pol Pot, the notorious leader of the Khmer Rouge, died at age 72, evading prosecution for the deaths of two million Cambodians.
In 2007, riot police beat and detained dozens of anti-Kremlin demonstrators in St. Petersburg, Russia, on a second day of protests against the government of President Vladimir Putin.
Ten years ago: An ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano drifted over northern Europe, causing the largest disruption of flights since the 2001 terror attacks. President Barack Obama, visiting the Kennedy Space Center, predicted his new space exploration plans would lead American astronauts to Mars and back in his lifetime. Civil rights leader Benjamin Hooks, onetime executive director of the NAACP, died in Memphis, Tennessee, at age 85.
Five years ago: Douglas Hughes, a postal carrier from Florida, flew a one-person gyrocopter onto the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol as a protest against money in politics; he later pleaded guilty to operating a gyrocopter without a license, a felony. Former New England Patriots star tight end Aaron Hernandez was convicted in Fall River, Massachusetts, of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for a late-night shooting that claimed the life of Odin Lloyd, a 27-year-old landscaper who was dating the sister of Hernandez’s fiancee. (Hernandez killed himself in his prison cell in 2017.)
One year ago: A fire swept across the top of the Notre Dame Cathedral as the soaring Paris landmark underwent renovations; the blaze collapsed the cathedral’s spire and spread to one of its landmark rectangular towers, but fire officials said the church’s structure had been saved. The South Florida Sun Sentinel and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette won Pulitzer Prizes for their coverage of mass shootings at a high school and a synagogue; also recognized was the Capital Gazette of Maryland for its coverage and courage in the aftermath of a deadly shooting in its own newsroom. Aretha Franklin received an honorary Pulitzer Prize as judges praised the late Queen of Soul for her indelible contribution to American music and culture.”
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Claudia Cardinale is 82. Author and politician Jeffrey Archer is 80. Rock singer-guitarist Dave Edmunds is 77. Actor Michael Tucci is 74. Actress Lois Chiles is 73. Writer-producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason is 73. Actress Amy Wright is 70. Columnist Heloise is 69. Actor Sam McMurray is 68. Actress-screenwriter Emma Thompson is 61. Bluegrass musician Jeff Parker is 59. Singer Samantha Fox is 54. Olympic gold, silver and bronze medal swimmer Dara Torres is 53. Rock musician Ed O’Brien (Radiohead) is 52. Actor Flex Alexander is 50. Actor Danny Pino is 46. Actor Douglas Spain is 46. Country singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton is 42. Actor Luke Evans is 41. Rock musician Patrick Carney (The Black Keys) is 40. Rock musician Zach Carothers (Portugal. The Man) is 39. Actor-writer Seth Rogen is 38. Actress Alice Braga is 37. Americana singer-songwriter Margo Price is 37. Rock musician De’Mar Hamilton (Plain White T’s) is 36. Actress Samira Wiley is 33. Actress Leonie Elliott is 32. Actress Emma Watson is 30. Actress Maisie Williams is 23.
Thought for Today: “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” — Arthur Ashe, American tennis champion (1943-1993).