Today in History

Today is Saturday, April 11, the 101st day of 2015. There are 264 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 11, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln spoke to a crowd outside the White House, saying, “We meet this evening, not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart.” (It was the last public address Lincoln would deliver.)

On this date:

In 1689, William III and Mary II were crowned as joint sovereigns of Britain.

In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht was signed, ending the War of the Spanish Succession.

In 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte abdicated as Emperor of the French and was banished to the island of Elba. (Napoleon later escaped from Elba and returned to power in March 1815, until his downfall in the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815.)

In 1899, the treaty ending the Spanish-American War was declared in effect.

In 1921, Iowa became the first state to impose a cigarette tax, at 2 cents a package.

In 1945, during World War II, American soldiers liberated the notorious Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald in Germany.

In 1951, President Harry S. Truman relieved Gen. Douglas MacArthur of his commands in the Far East.

In 1955, the film drama “Marty,” starring Ernest Borgnine, was released by United Artists.

In 1965, dozens of tornadoes raked six Midwestern states on Palm Sunday, killing 271 people.

In 1970, Apollo 13, with astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert, blasted off on its ill-fated mission to the moon.

In 1979, Idi Amin was deposed as president of Uganda as rebels and exiles backed by Tanzanian forces seized control.

In 1989, Mexican officials began unearthing the remains of victims of a drug-trafficking cult near Matamoros; one of the dead was University of Texas student Mark Kilroy, who had disappeared while on spring break. (Several cult members were later convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to 50 years in prison.)

Ten years ago: During a meeting at his Texas ranch, President George W. Bush told Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon he could not allow further West Bank settlement growth and said Israeli and Palestinian doubts about each other were hampering peace prospects. Jeffrey Ake, a 47-year-old contract worker from LaPorte, Indiana, was abducted in Iraq. (His fate remains unknown.) Miss North Carolina Chelsea Cooley was crowned Miss USA at the pageant in Baltimore.

Five years ago: Thousands of people stood in the streets of Poland’s cities in a silent tribute to President Lech Kaczynski and the other 95 people killed in a plane crash the day before. After a five-month hiatus, golfer Tiger Woods tied for fourth at the Masters, as Phil Mickelson earned his third green jacket.

One year ago: President Barack Obama, in a fiery speech at civil rights activist Al Sharpton’s National Action Network conference, accused the GOP of using voting restrictions to keep voters from the polls and of jeopardizing 50 years of expanded ballot box access for millions of black Americans and other minorities. White House budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell was named by President Obama to succeed Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. In a rare diplomatic rebuke, the United States blocked Iran’s controversial pick for envoy to the United Nations, Hamid Aboutalebi, a member of the group responsible for the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Today’s Birthdays: Ethel Kennedy is 87. Actor Joel Grey is 83. Actress Louise Lasser is 76. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Ellen Goodman is 74. Movie writer-director John Milius is 71. Actor Peter Riegert is 68. Movie director Carl Franklin is 66. Actor Bill Irwin is 65. Country singer-songwriter Jim Lauderdale is 58. Songwriter-producer Daryl Simmons is 58. Rock musician Nigel Pulsford is 54. Actor Lucky Vanous is 54. Country singer Steve Azar is 51. Singer Lisa Stansfield is 49. Rock musician Dylan Keefe (Marcy Playground) is 45. Actor Johnny Messner is 45. Actor Vicellous Shannon is 44. Rapper David Banner is 41. Actress Tricia Helfer is 41. Rock musician Chris Gaylor (The All-American Rejects) is 36. Actress Kelli Garner is 31. Singer Joss Stone is 28. Actress-dancer Kaitlyn Jenkins is 23.

Thought for Today: “If we were to wake up some morning and find that everyone was the same race, creed, and color, we would find some other causes for prejudice by noon.” – George Aiken, U.S. senator (1892-1984).

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