Today in history

  • Monday, April 6, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

Today is Monday, April 6, the 97th day of 2020. There are 269 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On April 6, 1896, the first modern Olympic games formally opened in Athens, Greece.

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 1864, Louisiana opened a convention in New Orleans to draft a new state constitution, one that called for the abolition of slavery.

In 1909, American explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson and four Inuits became the first men to reach the North Pole.

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 1971, Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky, 88, died in New York City.

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 became the first artificial heart recipient to be discharged from the hospital as he moved into an apartment in Louisville, Kentucky.

In 1994, Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun announced his retirement after 24 years.

In 1998, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 9,000 points for the first time, ending the day at 9,033.23. Country singer Tammy Wynette died at her Nashville home at age 55.

Ten years ago: The White House announced a fundamental shift in U.S. nuclear strategy that called the spread of atomic weapons to rogue states or terrorists a worse threat than the nuclear Armageddon feared during the Cold War. Former Soviet diplomat Anatoly Dobrynin, 90, died in Moscow. Actor Corin Redgrave, 70, died in London. Wilma Mankiller, the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation, died in Oklahoma at age 64.

Five years ago: The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia announced it would “pursue all available legal action” against Rolling Stone, saying a Columbia Journalism School review showed the magazine acted recklessly and defamed its members by publishing a discredited article that accused them of gang rape. Kenyan warplanes bombed militant camps in Somalia after a vow by President Uhuru Kenyatta to respond “in the fiercest way possible” to the massacre of Kenyan college students by al-Shabab militants. Kentucky coach John Calipari and Spencer Haywood were among 11 new inductees named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Duke scored a 68-63 victory over Wisconsin for the program’s fifth NCAA national title. Character actor James Best, 88, best known for his role as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane on “The Dukes of Hazzard” comedy show, died in Hickory, North Carolina.

One year ago: 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. Virginia beat Auburn, and Texas Tech defeated Michigan State, to advance to the final game of the NCAA tournament.

Today’s birthdays: Nobel Prize-winning scientist James D. Watson is 92. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 83. Actor Roy Thinnes is 82. Movie director Barry Levinson is 78. Actor John Ratzenberger is 73. Actress Patrika Darbo is 72. Baseball Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven is 69. Actress Marilu Henner is 68. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Janet Lynn is 67. Actor Michael Rooker is 65. Former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is 64. Rock musician Warren Haynes is 60. Rock singer-musician Frank Black is 55. Actress Ari Meyers is 51. Actor Paul Rudd is 51. Actor-producer Jason Hervey is 48. Rock musician Markku Lappalainen is 47. Actor Zach Braff is 45. Actor Joel Garland is 45. Actress Candace Cameron Bure is 44. Actor Teddy Sears is 43. Jazz and rhythm-and-blues musician Robert Glasper is 42. Actress Eliza Coupe is 39. Folk singer-musician Kenneth Pattengale (Milk Carton Kids) is 38. Actor Bret Harrison is 38. Actor Charlie McDermott is 30.

Thought for today: “Never think that you’re not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning.” — Isaac Asimov (1920-1992).

— Associated Press

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