A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  April 1, 2003 at 3:15 AM
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Today is April 7.

Many scholars figure this is the date in A.D. 30 that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified in Jerusalem. No one's really sure exactly when the events written about in the New Testament took place. Records from that era are not exactly complete.

Millions of Americans were left without telephone service by a nationwide strike that began on this date in 1947. It lasted 23 days. Can you imagine not having phone service for that long today?

Suspected arson fires aboard the ferry Scandinavian Star killed at least 75 people on this date in 1990. It was Scandinavia's worst post-war maritime disaster.

And it was on this date in 1992 that a plane carrying P.L.O. Chairman Yasser Arafat from Sudan was reported missing over the Libyan desert. He was later found after his plane made an emergency landing in a sandstorm.

And in 1990, the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati and its director paid a price for displaying the controversial photo exhibit of Robert Mapplethorpe when indictments on obscenity and child pornography charges were handed down.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is April 8.

On this date in 2002, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein temporarily halted his country's oil exports. He described it as a tactic to damage U.S. economy.

It was on this date in 1949 that three-year-old Kathy Fiscus of San Marino, Calif., fell into an abandoned well while playing. The nation's attention was riveted on the tragedy while rescue workers toiled to reach her. The girl's body was recovered two days later. An alarmed nation suddenly became aware of abandoned wells and similar hazards and "Kathy Fiscus laws" were passed in a number of places, requiring safety measures to prevent such an accident from happening again.

Another youngster died on this date in 1990. Ryan White, 18, had put the face of a child on the AIDS epidemic. The boy, a hemophiliac, was banned from public school in Kokomo, Ind., in 1984 after he contracted the HIV virus from a blood transfusion. He and his family moved to Cicero, Ind., where he was accepted by the students and faculty. White's funeral in Indianapolis was attended by scores of celebrities, including Elton John, who performed at the service.

One of the founding fathers of the Seattle grunge rock movement -- Nirvana lead singer Kurt Cobain -- was found dead in his Seattle home on this date in 1994. Cause of death -- a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Cobain was 27.

And it was on this date in 1974 that Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run, breaking the career record set by Babe Ruth. Aaron played two more seasons and finished his career with 755 homers.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is April 9.

The Civil War ended on this date in 1865 when Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Virginia. Grant wrote the terms of surrender, which ended four years of bloodshed that had cost an estimated 500,000 lives. The formal surrender took place three days later.

The investigation into the Enron Corporation scandal netted its first guilty plea on this date in 2002. David Duncan, a former partner with Arthur Andersen, accounting firm for Enron, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.

It was on this date in 1992 -- two years after U.S. troops invaded Panama to get him -- that a federal jury in Miami convicted deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega on cocaine trafficking charges.

British statesman Winston Churchill became an honorary U.S. citizen by an act of Congress on this date in 1963.

The U.S. government declared the crisis at Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island nuclear power plant was over on this date in 1979. And, gosh, were we relieved to hear that!

And it was on this date in 1987 that the National Park Service voted against removing Beale Street in Memphis from the list of National Landmarks.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is April 10.

It was on this date in 1945 that members of the U.S. 80th Division of the Army entered the Buchenwald concentration camp north of Weimar, Germany. It was the first of the Nazi concentration camps to be liberated by Allied troops. Buchenwald had been established in 1937 and an estimated 56,000 people died there.

A U.S. Navy tragedy took place on this date in 1963. The nuclear submarine Thresher sank in the Atlantic Ocean, 220 miles east of Boston. All 129 men on board were lost.

Two decades after controversial politics drove him away, the "Little Tramp" came back to Hollywood. Movie pioneer and comic genius Charlie Chaplin returned from his self-imposed "exile" abroad to accept an honorary Academy Award for his "incalculable" contribution to the art of filmmaking on this date in 1972.

He was seen as a symbol of the nation's savings and loan debacle. And on this date in 1992, Charles Keating Jr. was sentenced to 10 years in prison for securities fraud. He got off relatively easy -- many people had lost their life savings and were left destitute.

The U.S. table tennis team arrived in China on this date in 1971 -- the first American group to penetrate the so-called "Bamboo Curtain" since the 1950s. No, we don't think any of the team members were named Forrest Gump.

Say it isn't so, Paul! Paul McCartney announced on this date in 1970 that he was leaving the Beatles -- citing personal differences with John Lennon. One of the personal differences was said to be Yoko Ono.

And it was on this date in 1998 that the anti-impotence drug Viagra went on the market and became one of the best-selling new medications of all time.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is April 11.

"Houston, we have a problem." It was on this date in 1970 that Apollo 13 blasted off from Cape Kennedy, Fla., on the third U.S. moon-landing mission. Much was made about the mission's designation as the 13th, the fact that the numbers of the launch date (4-11-70) added up to 13, and that blast-off occurred at 13:13 military time (1:13 p.m. EDT). Two days later -- ironically on the 13th -- and most of the way to the moon, the lives of astronauts Lovell, Haise and Swigert were endangered when the oxygen tanks aboard their service module ruptured, leaving them low on precious oxygen and energy to get back home. The planned moon landing was canceled and the world waited breathlessly as the crew limped home, surviving in the lunar module until they could splash down safely in the Pacific on April 17.

25 years later, Hollywood made a blockbuster film about the incident, which starred Tom Hanks as Lovell.

It was on this date in 1947 that Jackie Robinson became the first black in major league baseball, playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers against the New York Yankees in an exhibition game.

In another human rights milestone -- on this date in 1968, one week after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., President Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act of 1968. It protected civil rights workers, expanded the rights of American Indians, and provided anti-discrimination measures in housing.

And in 1996, 7-year-old Jessica Dubroff, her father and her flight instructor were killed when their plane crashed upon take off from Cheyenne, Wyo. The girl had been trying to become the youngest person to fly across the United States. The incident raised questions about how much parents push their kids into attempting dangerous stunts such as this.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is April 12.

After months of rising tensions, the Civil War began on this date in 1861 when Major Robert Anderson refused to evacuate Fort Sumter in South Carolina and Confederate troops opened fire on the harbor fort. The barrage continued until Anderson surrendered. No lives were lost in what was the first major engagement of the Civil War.

Yuri Gagarin became the first human to orbit the earth on this date in 1961 when he was launched aboard Vostok I by the Soviet Union. The cosmonaut spent 108 minutes in space and returned safely.

20 years later, on this date in 1981, long after Ameriuca had pulled far ahead in the space race, the first U.S. space shuttle flight was launched. The flight of the Columbia was the first manned U.S. space mission since Apollo-Soyuz in July 1976.

Three months into his fourth term and only a few months before the end of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage on this date in 1945 at Warm Springs, Ga. FDR, the 32nd president of the United States, was the only president to serve more than two terms -- he was elected to four consecutive terms. About three hours after his death, Vice President Harry Truman was sworn in as chief executive.

It was on this date in 1999 that a federal judge in Little Rock, Ark., found President Clinton in contempt of court for lying during his sworn deposition in January 1998, when he had testified that he had not had sexual relations with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton -- who was fined $1,202, the cost of the judge's trip to Washington to preside over the deposition -- was the first sitting president ever to be held in contempt of court.

And Bill Haley and the Comets recorded "Rock Around The Clock" on this date in 1954. It's considered by many experts to be the first song of the rock 'n' roll era.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is April 13.

It was one of the more unusual disasters of modern times. On this date in 1992, construction workers breeched a retaining wall in the Chicago River, sending millions of gallons of water flooding through an underground freight tunnel system that connected buildings in the downtown business district. Buildings in the greater Loop area (including UPI's Chicago bureau) were evacuated as electricity was cut off ahead of the rising water in building basements. Efforts to plug the leak in the river finally succeeded.

Some important milestones on this date:

In 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first black man to win an Oscar for best actor. He was honored for his work in the film "Lilies of the Field."

One year later, on this date in 1965, Lawrence Bradford Jr., a 16-year-old from New York City, became the first black page ever to serve in either chamber of Congress.

And in 1997, Tiger Woods, 21, won the Masters Tournament. He was the youngest Masters champion and the first African-American to win any of the four major professional golf tournaments for men.

It was on this date in 1987 that the Population Reference Bureau reported the world's population had exceeded 5 billion.

And in 1985, USA for Africa's famine relief song "We Are the World" topped the pop singles charts. The song -- written by Lionel Richie and Michael Jackson and produced by Quincy Jones -- had been recorded following that year's Grammy Awards ceremonies.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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