April 12 (UPI) -- On this date in history:
In 1861, the Civil War began when Confederate troops opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
In 1945, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the longest-serving president in U.S. history, died of a cerebral hemorrhage at Warm Springs, Ga., three months into his fourth term. About 3 hours later, Vice President Harry S. Truman was sworn in as chief executive.
In 1981, the Columbia was launched on the first U.S. space shuttle flight. The crowd of more than 3,000 VIPs oohed-and-aahed, shouting, "Go Baby Go," and staring into the bright early morning sky long after Columbia was out of sight over the Atlantic Ocean.
In 2009, U.S. Navy SEALs rescued a U.S. ship captain, Richard Phillips, held hostage by pirates off the Somalia coast, by killing three of the kidnappers four days after the standoff began. The incident inspired the 2013 Tom Hanks movie, Captain Phillips.
In 2014, pro-Russian gunmen seized police stations and other facilities in an escalating crisis in eastern Ukraine.