Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
TODAY IN HISTORY
Today is Thursday, April 4, the 94th day of 2013. There are 271 days left in the year.
On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot to death as he stood on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. (James Earl Ray later pleaded guilty to assassinating King, then spent the rest of his life claiming he'd been the victim of a setup.)
On this date:
In 1818, Congress decided the flag of the United States would consist of 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars, with a new star to be added for every new state of the Union.
In 1841, President William Henry Harrison succumbed to pneumonia one month after his inaugural, becoming the first U.S. chief executive to die in office.
In 1933, the Navy airship USS Akron crashed in severe weather off the New Jersey coast with the loss of 73 lives.
In 1949, 12 nations, including the United States, signed the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, D.C.
In 1973, the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center were officially dedicated. (The towers were destroyed in the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001.)
In 1975, more than 130 people, most of them children, were killed when a U.S. Air Force transport plane evacuating Vietnamese orphans crash-landed shortly after takeoff from Saigon.
In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger roared into orbit on its maiden voyage. (It was destroyed in the disaster of January 1986.)
Ten years ago: U.S. forces seized Saddam International Airport outside Baghdad.
Five years ago: Texas authorities started removing the first of more than 400 girls from a compound built by a polygamist sect.
Today's birthdays: Author-poet Maya Angelou is 85. Recording executive Clive Davis is 81. Actor Craig T. Nelson is 69. Actress Christine Lahti is 63. Country singer Steve Gatlin (The Gatlin Brothers) is 62. Rock musician Craig Adams (The Cult) is 51. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is 48. Actress Nancy McKeon is 47. Actor Barry Pepper is 43. Rock singer Josh Todd (Buckcherry) is 42. Rock musician Magnus Sveningsson (The Cardigans) is 41. Magician David Blaine is 40. Actress Natasha Lyonne is 34. Actor Eric Andre is 30. Actress Amanda Righetti is 30.
Thought for today: "Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter." -- Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)