Today in History

Today is Monday, April 6, the 96th day of 2015. There are 269 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 6, 1965, the United States launched Intelsat I, also known as the “Early Bird” communications satellite, into geosynchronous orbit.

On this date:

In 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized by Joseph Smith in Fayette, New York.

In 1865, in the closing days of the Civil War, Union forces led by Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant defeated Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia in the Battle of Sailor’s Creek.

In 1896, the first modern Olympic games formally opened in Athens, Greece.

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, Congress approved a declaration of war against Germany.

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 1947, the first Tony Awards were held in New York. (This event, focusing on individual achievement, did not specifically recognize plays or musicals; honorees included Ingrid Bergman, Helen Hayes, Jose Ferrer and Fredric March and playwright Arthur Miller.)

In 1954, a month after being criticized by newsman Edward R. Murrow on CBS’ “See It Now,” Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., given the chance to respond on the program, charged that Murrow had, in the past, “engaged in propaganda for Communist causes.”

In 1963, the United States signed an agreement to sell the Polaris missile system to Britain.

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

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 1998, country singer Tammy Wynette died at her Nashville home at age 55.

Ten years ago: Iraq’s new government finally began to take shape as lawmakers elected as president Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish leader who promised to represent all ethnic and religious groups. Fifteen U.S. service members and three American civilians were killed when their Chinook helicopter crashed in Afghanistan. Prince Rainier III of Monaco died at age 81, leaving the throne to Prince Albert II.

Five 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.

One year ago: Legendary Hollywood actor Mickey Rooney, 93, died in North Hollywood. U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered a two-pronged warning to Asia Pacific nations, announcing in Tokyo that the U.S. would send two additional ballistic missile destroyers to Japan to counter the North Korean threat, and saying China had better respect its neighbors. The U.S. Navy rescued an American family with an ill 1-year-old from a sailboat that had broken down hundreds of miles off the Mexican coast. George Strait won his second entertainer of the year – 25 years after winning his first – and Miranda Lambert and Keith Urban teamed up to earn top honors at the Country Music Awards.

Today’s Birthdays: Nobel Prize-winning scientist James D. Watson is 87. Composer-conductor Andre Previn is 86. Country singer Merle Haggard is 78. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 78. Actor Roy Thinnes is 77. Writer-comedian Phil Austin (Firesign Theatre) is 74. Movie director Barry Levinson is 73. Actor John Ratzenberger is 68. Baseball Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven is 64. Actress Marilu Henner is 63. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Janet Lynn is 62. Actor Michael Rooker is 60. Former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is 59. Rock musician Warren Haynes is 55. Rock singer-musician Frank Black is 50. Actress Ari Meyers is 46. Actor Paul Rudd is 46. Actor-producer Jason Hervey is 43. Rock musician Markku Lappalainen  is 42. Actor Zach Braff is 40. Actor Joel Garland (TV: “Orange is the New Black”) is 40. Actress Candace Cameron Bure is 39. Actor Teddy Sears is 38. Jazz and rhythm-and-blues musician Robert Glasper is 37. Actress Eliza Coupe is 34. Folk singer-musician Kenneth Pattengale (Milk Carton Kids) is 33. Actor Bret Harrison is 33. Actor Charlie McDermott is 25.

Thought for Today: “History is the ship carrying living memories to the future.” – Sir Stephen Spender, British poet and critic (1909-1995).

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