Today in History


Today is Saturday, April 22, the 112th day of 2023. There are 253 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 22, 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.

On this date:

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

In 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 (EE’-preh) in Belgium during World War I; thousands of soldiers are believed to have died.

In 1937, thousands of college students in New York City staged a “peace strike” opposing American entry into another possible world conflict.

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

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

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

In 1993, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was dedicated in Washington, D.C., to honor victims of Nazi extermination.

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 2004, Army Ranger Pat Tillman, who’d traded in a multi-million-dollar NFL contract to serve in Afghanistan, was killed by friendly fire; he was 27.

In 2005, Zacarias Moussaoui (zak-uh-REE’-uhs moo-SOW’-ee) pleaded guilty in a federal courtroom outside Washington, D.C., to conspiring with the Sept. 11 hijackers to kill Americans. (Moussaoui is serving a life prison sentence.)

In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, operated by BP, sank into the Gulf of Mexico two days after a massive explosion that killed 11 workers.

In 2016, leaders from 175 countries signed the Paris Agreement on climate change at the United Nations as the landmark deal took a key step toward entering into force years ahead of schedule.

Ten years ago: A seriously wounded Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR’ tsahr-NEYE’-ehv) was charged in his hospital room with bombing the Boston Marathon in a plot with his older brother, Tamerlan (TAM’-ehr-luhn), who died after a fierce gunbattle with police. Richie Havens, 72, the folk singer and guitarist who was the first performer at the 1969 Woodstock festival, died in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Five years ago: A nearly naked gunman carrying an assault rifle stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee, shooting four people to death before a customer rushed him and wrestled the weapon away; after a manhunt lasting more than 24 hours, Travis Reinking was arrested on charges including four counts of criminal homicide. (After being ordered to receive treatment for schizophrenia, Reinking was convicted on four counts of murder and sentenced in February 2022 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.) An Islamic State suicide bomber attacked a voter registration center in the Afghan capital, killing 60 people and wounding 130 others.

One year ago: Russia shifted a dozen crack military units from the shattered port of Mariupol to eastern Ukraine and pounded away at cities across the region as the two sides hurtled toward what portended to be an epic battle for control of the country’s industrial heartland. Israeli police in full riot gear stormed a sensitive Jerusalem holy site sacred to Jews and Muslims after Palestinian youths hurled stones at a gate where they were stationed. The renewed violence at the site, sacred to Jews and Muslims, came despite Israel temporarily halting Jewish visits, which were seen by the Palestinians as a provocation. Hockey Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur, who helped the Montreal Canadiens win five Stanley Cup titles in the 1970s, died at age 70.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Jack Nicholson is 86. Singer Mel Carter is 84. Author Janet Evanovich is 80. Country singer Cleve Francis is 78. Movie director John Waters is 77. Singer Peter Frampton is 73. Rock singer-musician Paul Carrack (Mike and the Mechanics; Squeeze) is 72. Actor Joseph Bottoms is 69. Actor Ryan Stiles is 64. Baseball manager Terry Francona is 64. Comedian and entertainment executive Byron Allen is 62. Actor Chris Makepeace is 59. Rock musician Fletcher Dragge (Pennywise) is 57. Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan is 57. Actor Sheryl Lee is 56. Actor-talk show host Sherri Shepherd is 56. Country singer-musician Heath Wright (Ricochet) is 56. Country singer Kellie Coffey is 52. Actor Eric Mabius is 52. Actor Ingo Rademacher (RAH’-deh-mah-ker) is 52. Rock musician Shavo Odadjian (System of a Down) is 49. Rock singer-musician Daniel Johns (Silverchair) is 44. Actor Malcolm Barrett is 43. Actor Cassidy Freeman is 41. Actor Michelle Ryan is 39. Actor Zack Gottsagen is 38. Actor Amber Heard is 37. Singer-songwriter BC Jean (Alexander Jean) is 36. Drummer Tripp Howell (LANCO) is 34. Rapper/singer Machine Gun Kelly is 33.

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