Today in History: April 1
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Today is Easter Sunday, April 1, the 91st day of 2018. There are 274 days left in the year. This is April Fool’s Day.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 1, 1918, Britain’s Royal Air Force came into being toward the end of World War I as the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service were merged into a single, independent entity.
On this date:
In 1789, the U.S. House of Representatives held its first full meeting in New York; Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania was elected the first House speaker.
In 1865, during the Civil War, Union forces routed Confederate soldiers in the Battle of Five Forks in Virginia.
In 1933, Nazi Germany staged a daylong national boycott of Jewish-owned businesses.
In 1945, American forces launched the amphibious invasion of Okinawa during World War II. (U.S. forces succeeded in capturing the Japanese island on June 22.)
In 1954, the United States Air Force Academy was established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
In 1962, the Katherine Anne Porter novel “Ship of Fools,” an allegory about the rise of Nazism in Germany, was published by Little, Brown & Co.
In 1972, the first Major League Baseball players’ strike began; it lasted 12 days.
In 1983, tens of thousands of anti-nuclear demonstrators linked arms in a 14-mile human chain spanning three defense installations in rural England, including the Greenham Common U.S. Air Base.
In 1984, recording star Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his father, Marvin Gay (cq), Sr. in Los Angeles, the day before his 45th birthday. (The elder Gay pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, and received probation.)
In 1988, the scientific bestseller “A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes” by British physicist Stephen Hawking was first published in the United Kingdom and the United States by Bantam Books.
In 1992, the National Hockey League Players’ Association went on its first-ever strike, which lasted 10 days.
In 2003, American troops entered a hospital in Nasiriyah (nah-sih-REE’-uh), Iraq, and rescued Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who had been held prisoner since her unit was ambushed on March 23.
Ten years ago: The Pentagon made public a legal memo dated March 14, 2003 that approved the use of harsh interrogation techniques against terror suspects, saying that President George W. Bush’s wartime authority trumped any international ban on torture. (The memo was rescinded in December 2003.) Top executives of the country’s five biggest oil companies told a skeptical Congress they knew record fuel prices were hurting people, but argued it wasn’t their fault and that their huge profits were in line with other industries.
Five years ago: Prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty for James Holmes should he be convicted in the July 2012 Colorado movie theater attack that killed 12 people. (Holmes, found guilty of murder, ended up being sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.) A cast member of the MTV reality show “BUCKWILD,” Shain Gandee, 21, was found dead in a sport utility vehicle in a West Virginia ditch along with his uncle and a friend; the cause was accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
One year ago: An avalanche of water from three overflowing rivers swept through a small city in Colombia, leaving more than 300 dead. Bob Dylan finally received his Nobel Literature diploma and medal during a small gathering in Stockholm, where he was performing a concert.
Acclaimed Russian poet Yevgeny A. Yevtushenko died at a Tulsa, Oklahoma, hospital. Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu produced a remarkable comeback to win the men’s world figure skating title in Helsinki.
Two-time NBA scoring champion Tracy McGrady, Kansas coach Bill Self, former Chicago Bulls executive Jerry Krause and former UConn star Rebecca Lobo were among 11 people named to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Jane Powell is 89. Actor Don Hastings is 84. Baseball Hall of Famer Phil Niekro is 79. Actress Ali MacGraw is 79. Rhythm-and-blues singer Rudolph Isley is 79. Reggae singer Jimmy Cliff is 70. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is 68. Rock musician Billy Currie (Ultravox) is 68. Actress Annette O’Toole is 66. Movie director Barry Sonnenfeld is 65. Singer Susan Boyle is 57. Actor Jose Zuniga is 56. Country singer Woody Lee is 50. Actress Jessica Collins is 47. Rapper-actor Method Man is 47. Movie directors Albert and Allen Hughes are 46. Political commentator Rachel Maddow is 45. Tennis player Magdalena Maleeva is 43. Actor David Oyelowo (oh-YEHLOH’-oh) is 42. Actor JJ Field is 40. Singer Bijou Phillips is 38. Actor Sam Huntington is 36. Comedian-actor Taran Killam is 36. Actor Matt Lanter is 35. Actor Josh Zuckerman is 33. Country singer Hillary Scott (Lady Antebellum) is 32. Actor Asa Butterfield is 21.
Thought for Today: “Life would be tragic if it weren’t funny.” — Stephen Hawking (1942-2018).