Today is April 15.
Less than three hours after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic, the luxury liner Titanic -- on its first voyage from England to New York -- did what it supposedly was designed not to do. It sank. More than 1,500 lives were lost. About 700 people were rescued from the icy waters off Newfoundland by the liner Carpathia, which reached the scene about two hours after Titanic went down.
By the way, the ship took less time to sink beneath the waves than filmmaker James Cameron did to tell its story in the 1997 blockbuster movie "Titanic."
President Lincoln sent Congress a message on this date in 1861, recognizing a state of war with the Southern states and calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers.
On this date in 1999, astronomers from San Francisco State University, working at an observatory in Arizona, announced they had discovered evidence of a multi-planet solar system in the constellation Andromeda. It was the only known solar system other than our own.
The first McDonald's franchise opened on this date in 1955. Where? In the Chicago suburb of Des Plaines, Ill. Ray Kroc had gotten the idea for what became his fast-food empire from a hamburger joint in San Bernardino, Calif., run by the McDonald brothers. Today, that first McDonald's in Des Plaines is a museum and a new, modern Mickey D's sits across the street.
And it was on this date in 1989 that Tone Loc's "Loc-ed After Dark" became the first rap album by a black artist to top the Billboard Top-200 album chart.
We now return you to the present, already in progress.