Today in History

Today is Monday, April 9, the 99th day of 2018. There are 266 days left in the year.

Today is Monday, April 9, the 99th day of 2018. There are 266 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight: On April 9, 1968, funeral services, private and public, were held for Martin Luther King Jr. at the Ebenezer Baptist Church and Morehouse College in Atlanta, five days after the civil rights leader was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.

On this date:

In 1682, French explorer Robert de La Salle claimed the Mississippi River Basin for France.

In 1865, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Union Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

In 1913, the first game was played at Ebbets Field, the newly built home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, 1-0.

In 1939, singer Marian Anderson performed a concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. after being denied the use of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

In 1942, during World War II, some 75,000 Philippine and American defenders on Bataan surrendered to Japanese troops, who forced the prisoners into what became known as the Bataan Death March; thousands died or were killed en route.

In 1959, NASA presented its first seven astronauts: Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard and Donald Slayton. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, 91, died in Phoenix, Arizona.

In 1977, Spain’s Communist Party was legalized by Prime Minister Adolfo Suarez.

In 1979, officials declared an end to the crisis involving the Three Mile Island Unit 2 nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania, 12 days after a partial core meltdown.

In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger ended its first mission with a safe landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

In 1988, pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim hijackers who had seized a Kuwait Airways jetliner on April 5 killed one of their hostages as the plane sat on the ground in Larnaca, Cyprus.

In 1998, the National Prisoner of War Museum opened in Andersonville, Georgia, the site of the infamous Civil War prison camp.

In 2003, jubilant Iraqis celebrated the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, beheading a toppled statue of their longtime ruler in downtown Baghdad and embracing American troops as liberators.

Ten years ago: America’s war commander in Iraq faced Congress for a second day; Army Gen. David Petraeus told lawmakers he was unlikely to endorse any fresh buildup of troops even if security in the country were to deteriorate. The Olympic torch was rerouted away from thousands of demonstrators and spectators who had crowded San Francisco’s waterfront to witness the flame’s symbolic journey to the Beijing Games during its only North American stop.

Five years ago: Thirteen people were shot to death during a pre-dawn, house-to-house rampage in the Serbian village of Velika Ivanca; authorities identified the gunman as a 60-year-old veteran of the Balkan wars who took his own life. Fourteen people were injured by a knife-wielding attacker at Lone Star College in Cypress, Texas; a suspect was later sentenced to 48 years in prison. Connecticut’s women’s basketball team won its eighth NCAA championship with a 93-60 rout of Louisville at New Orleans Arena.

One year ago: Dr. David Dao, a passenger on a United Express flight about to take off for Louisville, Kentucky, was dragged off the plane by security officers at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport to make room for four airline employees; the incident was captured on video that went viral. (United reached a settlement with Dao.) Suicide bombers struck hours apart at two Coptic churches in northern Egypt, killing 43 people and turning Palm Sunday services into scenes of horror and outrage. Sergio Garcia beat Justin Rose in a sudden-death playoff at the Masters for his first major. Russell Westbrook broke Oscar Robertson’s 56-year-old record with his 42nd triple-double of the season, then he broke the Denver Nuggets’ hearts with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, giving the Oklahoma City Thunder a 106-105 victory.

Today’s birthdays: Satirical songwriter and mathematician Tom Lehrer is 90. Naturalist Jim Fowler is 88. Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo is 85. Actress Michael Learned is 79. Country singer Margo Smith is 76. Country singer Hal Ketchum is 65. Actor Dennis Quaid is 64. Comedian Jimmy Tingle is 63. Country musician Dave Innis (Restless Heart) is 59. Talk show host Joe Scarborough is 55. Actress-sports reporter Lisa Guerrero is 54. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is 54. Actor Mark Pellegrino is 53. Actress-model Paulina Porizkova is 53. Actress Cynthia Nixon is 52. Rock singer Kevin Martin (Candlebox) is 49. TV personality Sunny Anderson is 43. Rock singer Gerard Way (My Chemical Romance) is 41. Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam is 39. Rock musician Albert Hammond Jr. (The Strokes) is 38. Actor Charlie Hunnam is 38. Actor Ryan Northcott is 38. Actor Arlen Escarpeta is 37. Actor Jay Baruchel is 36. Actress Annie Funke is 33. Actor Jordan Masterson is 32. Actress Leighton Meester is 32. Actor-singer Jesse McCartney is 31. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jazmine Sullivan is 31. Actress Kristen Stewart is 28. Actress Elle Fanning is 20. Actor Isaac Hempstead Wright is 19. Classical crossover singer Jackie Evancho is 18.

Thought for today: “The amount of satisfaction you get from life depends largely on your own ingenuity, self-sufficiency, and resourcefulness. People who wait around for life to supply their satisfaction usually find boredom instead.” — William C. Menninger, American scientist, physician, engineer (1899-1966).

— Associated Press

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