Today in History

Today is Wednesday, April 22, the 112th day of 2015. There are 253 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 22, 1915, the first full-scale use of deadly chemicals in warfare took place as German forces unleashed chlorine gas against Allied troops at the start of the Second Battle of Ypres in Belgium during World War I; thousands of soldiers are believed to have died.

On this date:

In 1864, Congress authorized the use of the phrase “In God We Trust” on U.S. coins.

In 1889, the Oklahoma Land Rush began at noon as thousands of homesteaders staked claims.

In 1930, the United States, Britain and Japan signed the London Naval Treaty, which regulated submarine warfare and limited shipbuilding.

In 1944, during World War II, U.S. forces began invading Japanese-held New Guinea with amphibious landings at Hollandia and Aitape.

In 1952, an atomic test in Nevada became the first nuclear explosion shown on live network television as a 31-kiloton bomb was dropped from a B-50 Superfortress.

In 1954, the publicly televised sessions of the Senate Army-McCarthy hearings began.

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson opened the New York World’s Fair.

In 1970, millions of Americans concerned about the environment observed the first “Earth Day.”

In 1983, the West German news magazine Stern announced the discovery of 60 volumes of personal diaries purportedly written by Adolf Hitler; however, the diaries turned out to be a hoax.

In 1990, pro-Iranian kidnappers in Lebanon freed American hostage Robert Polhill after nearly 39 months of captivity.

In 1994, Richard M. Nixon, the 37th president of the United States, died at a New York hospital four days after suffering a stroke; he was 81.

In 2000, in a dramatic pre-dawn raid, armed immigration agents seized Elian Gonzalez, the Cuban boy at the center of a custody dispute, from his relatives’ home in Miami; Elian was reunited with his father at Andrews Air Force Base near Washington. Broadway producer Alexander Cohen died in New York at age 79.

Ten years ago: Zacarias Moussaoui pleaded guilty in a federal courtroom outside Washington D.C. to conspiring with the September 11 hijackers to kill Americans. (Moussaoui is serving a life prison sentence.) President George W. Bush named General Peter Pace to be the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Five years ago: The Deepwater Horizon oil platform, operated by BP, sank into the Gulf of Mexico two days after a massive explosion that killed 11 workers. The NCAA announced a 14-year, $10.8 billion deal with CBS and Turner Broadcasting under which every game during an expanded March Madness schedule would be broadcast live nationally for the first time in the tournament’s 73-year history.

One year ago: In a blow to affirmative action, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld, 6-2, a voter-approved change to the Michigan Constitution forbidding the state’s public colleges to take race into account in admissions. Vice President Joe Biden told Ukrainian political leaders the United States stood with them against “humiliating threats” and encouraged them to root out corruption as they rebuilt their government. Albert Pujols became the first major leaguer to hit his 499th and 500th homers in the same game, driving in five runs to help the Los Angeles Angels beat the Washington Nationals 7-2.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor George Cole is 90. Actress Charlotte Rae is 89. Actress Estelle Harris is 87. Singer Glen Campbell is 79. Actor Jack Nicholson is 78. Singer Mel Carter is 72. Author Janet Evanovich is 72. Country singer Cleve Francis is 70. Movie director John Waters is 69. Singer Peter Frampton is 65. Rock singer-musician Paul Carrack (Mike and the Mechanics; Squeeze) is 64. Actor Joseph Bottoms is 61. Actor Ryan Stiles is 56. Baseball manager Terry Francona is 56. Comedian Byron Allen is 54. Actor Chris Makepeace is 51. Rock musician Fletcher Dragge is 49. Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan is 49. Actress Sheryl Lee is 48. Actress-talk show host Sherri Shepherd is 48. Country singer-musician Heath Wright (Ricochet) is 48. Country singer Kellie Coffey is 44. Actor Eric Mabius is 44. Actor Ingo Rademacher is 44. Rock musician Shavo Odadjian (System of a Down) is 41. Rock singer-musician Daniel Johns (Silverchair) is 36. Actress Cassidy Freeman is 33. Actress Michelle Ryan is 31. Actress Amber Heard is 29.

Thought for Today: “What’s vice today may be virtue, tomorrow.” – Henry Fielding, English novelist (born this date in 1707, died in 1754).

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