Today in History


Today is Monday, April 17, the 107th day of 2023. There are 258 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 17, 1961, some 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in an attempt to topple Fidel Castro, whose forces crushed the incursion by the third day.

On this date:

In 1521, Martin Luther went before the Diet of Worms (vohrms) to face charges stemming from his religious writings. (Luther was later declared an outlaw by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.)

In 1961, “The Apartment” won the Academy Award for best picture of 1960; Burt Lancaster was named best actor for “Elmer Gantry,” while the best actress award went to Elizabeth Taylor for “Butterfield 8.”

In 1964, Ford Motor Co. unveiled the Mustang at the New York World’s Fair.

In 1969, a jury in Los Angeles convicted Sirhan Sirhan of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

In 1970, Apollo 13 astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft while en route to the moon.

In 1972, the Boston Marathon allowed women to compete for the first time; Nina Kuscsik was the first officially recognized women’s champion, with a time of 3:10:26.

In 1973, Federal Express (later FedEx) began operations as 14 planes carrying 186 packages took off from Memphis International Airport, bound for 25 U.S. cities.

In 1975, Cambodia’s five-year war ended as the capital Phnom Penh fell to the Khmer Rouge, which instituted brutal, radical policies that claimed an estimated 1.7 million lives until the regime was overthrown in 1979.

In 1986, at London’s Heathrow Airport, a bomb was discovered in the bag of Anne-Marie Murphy, a pregnant Irishwoman about to board an El Al jetliner to Israel; she’d been tricked into carrying the bomb by her Jordanian fiance, Nezar Hindawi.

In 1991, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 3,000 for the first time, ending the day at 3,004.46, up 17.58.

In 1993, a federal jury in Los Angeles convicted two former police officers of violating the civil rights of beaten motorist Rodney King; two other officers were acquitted. Turkish President Turgut Ozal died at age 66.

In 2020, President Donald Trump urged supporters to “LIBERATE” three states led by Democratic governors, apparently encouraging protests against stay-at-home mandates aimed at stopping the coronavirus.

Ten years ago: Fifteen people were killed when a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas. Sports returned to Boston two days after the deadly Marathon bombing as the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Bruins in a 3-2 shootout (players on both teams wore “Boston Strong” decals on their helmets). Senate Republicans backed by a small band of rural-state Democrats scuttled the most far-reaching gun control legislation in two decades, rejecting tighter background checks for buyers and a ban on assault weapons.

Five years ago: Barbara Bush, who was both a first lady and the mother of a president, died in Houston at the age of 92; she was survived by her husband, George H.W. Bush, with whom she had the longest marriage of any presidential couple in American history – a marriage of more than 73 years. A Southwest Airlines jet made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after the jet apparently blew an engine, got hit by debris and lost a window; a woman sitting near the window was pulled partially out of the plane and later died. Americans were given an extra day to file their taxes after key elements of the IRS website crashed on deadline day.

One year ago: Ukrainian fighters holed up in a steel plant in the last known pocket of resistance inside the shattered city of Mariupol ignored a surrender-or-die ultimatum from the Russians and continued to hold out against the capture of the strategically vital port. A container ship the length of more than three football fields was pried from the muddy bottom of the Chesapeake Bay more than a month after it ran aground. China announced it would launch three more astronauts to its newest space station after the latest crew returned following a six-month stay in orbit.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor David Bradley is 81. Composer-musician Jan Hammer (yahn HAH’-mur) is 75. Actor Olivia Hussey is 72. Actor Clarke Peters is 71. Rapper Afrika Bambaataa is 66. Actor Sean Bean is 64. Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason is 62. Actor Joel Murray is 61. Rock singer Maynard James Keenan (Tool) is 59. Actor Lela Rochon is 59. Actor William Mapother is 58. Actor Leslie Bega is 56. Actor Henry Ian Cusick is 56. Actor Kimberly Elise is 56. Singer Liz Phair is 56. Director/producer Adam McKay is 55. Rapper-actor Redman is 53. Actor Jennifer Garner is 51. Singer Victoria Beckham is 49. Actor-singer Lindsay Korman is 45. Actor Tate Ellington is 44. Actor Nicholas D’Agosto is 43. Actor Charlie Hofheimer is 42. Actor Rooney Mara is 38. Actor Jacqueline MacInnes Wood is 36. Actor Paulie Litt is 28. Actor Dee Dee Davis is 27.

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