Today in History

Today is Sunday, April 12, the 102nd day of 2015. There are 263 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 12, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia, at age 63; he was succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman.

On this date:

In 1606, England’s King James I decreed the design of the original Union Flag, which combined the flags of England and Scotland.

In 1776, North Carolina’s Fourth Provincial Congress authorized the colony’s delegates to the Continental Congress to support independence from Britain.

In 1861, the American Civil War began as Confederate forces opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

In 1912, Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross, died in Glen Echo, Maryland, at age 90.

In 1934, “Tender Is the Night,” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was first published in book form after being serialized in Scribner’s Magazine.

In 1955, the Salk vaccine against polio was declared safe and effective.

In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space, orbiting the earth once before making a safe landing.

In 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested and jailed in Birmingham, Alabama, charged with contempt of court and parading without a permit. (During his time behind bars, King wrote his “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”)

In 1975, singer, dancer and civil rights activist Josephine Baker, 68, died in Paris.

In 1981, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral on its first test flight. Former world heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis, 66, died in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In 1985, Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, became the first sitting member of Congress to fly in space as the shuttle Discovery lifted off.

In 1990, in its first meeting, East Germany’s first democratically elected parliament acknowledged responsibility for the Nazi Holocaust, and asked the forgiveness of Jews and others who had suffered.

Ten years ago: Three men with suspected al-Qaida ties, already in British custody, were charged with a years-long plot to attack the New York Stock Exchange and other East Coast financial institutions. (Seven men were eventually convicted in British court and received sentences ranging up to 26 years; the leader of the group, Dhiren Barot, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and received life in prison.) President George W. Bush visited soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, marking the two-year anniversary of the end of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama opened a 47-nation nuclear summit in Washington, boosted by Ukraine’s announcement that it would give up its weapons-grade uranium. The Bristol Herald Courier won the Pulitzer Prize for public service for uncovering a scandal in which Virginia landowners were deprived of millions in natural gas royalties. The musical “Next to Normal” won the Pulitzer for drama; Paul Harding’s “Tinkers” was the surprise fiction winner.

One year ago: The policy-setting panel of the 188-nation International Monetary Fund concluded a meeting in Washington by expressing confidence that the global economy finally had turned the corner to stronger growth. Devastating wildfires erupted in the hills of Valparaiso, Chile, killing 15 people and destroying nearly 3,000 homes.

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Ned Miller is 90. Actress Jane Withers is 89. Opera singer Montserrat Caballe is 82. Playwright Alan Ayckbourn is 76. Jazz musician Herbie Hancock is 75. Rock singer John Kay (Steppenwolf) is 71. Actor Ed O’Neill is 69. Actor Dan Lauria is 68. Talk show host David Letterman is 68. Author Scott Turow is 66. Singer David Cassidy is 65. Actor-playwright Tom Noonan is 64. Rhythm-and-blues singer JD Nicholas (The Commodores) is 63. Singer Pat Travers is 61. Actor Andy Garcia is 59. Movie director Walter Salles is 59. Country singer Vince Gill is 58. Actress Suzzanne (cq) Douglas is 58. Rock musician Will Sergeant (Echo & the Bunnymen) is 57. Rock singer Art Alexakis (Everclear) is 53. Country singer Deryl Dodd is 51. Folk-pop singer Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) is 51. Actress Alicia Coppola is 47. Rock singer Nicholas Hexum (311) is 45. Actor Nicholas Brendon is 44. Actress Shannen Doherty is 44. Actress Marley Shelton is 41. Actress Sarah Jane Morris is 38. Actress Jordana Spiro is 38. Rock musician Guy Berryman (Coldplay) is 37. Actress Claire Danes is 36. Actress Jennifer Morrison is 36. Actor Matt McGorry is 29. Contemporary Christian musician Joe Rickard (Red) is 28. Rock singer-musician Brendon Urie (Panic at the Disco) is 28. Actress Saoirse Ronan is 21.

Thought for Today: “It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945).

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