Today in History

Today is Tuesday, April 4, the 94th day of 2017. There are 271 days left in the year.

Birthdays: Former senator Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, is 85. Recording executive Clive Davis is 85. Bandleader Hugh Masekela is 78. Author Kitty Kelley is 75. Actor Craig T. Nelson is 73. Actress Christine Lahti is 67. Country singer Steve Gatlin is 66. Writer-producer David E. Kelley is 61. Actor Robert Downey Jr. is 52. Actor Barry Pepper is 47. Singer Jill Scott is 45. Magician David Blaine is 44.

In 1818, Congress decided the US flag would consist of 13 red and white stripes and 20 stars, with a new star to be added for every new state.


In 1841, President William Henry Harrison succumbed to pneumonia a month after his inaugural, becoming the first US leader to die in office.

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In 1859, ‘‘Dixie’’ was performed publicly for the first time by Bryant’s Minstrels at Mechanics’ Hall in New York.

In 1917, the Senate voted 82-6 in favor of declaring war against Germany (the House followed suit two days later by a vote of 373-50).

In 1949, 12 nations, including the United States, signed the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington, D.C.

In 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., 39, was shot and killed on a balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.


In 1975, more than 130 people, most of them children, were killed when a US Air Force transport plane evacuating Vietnamese orphans crash-landed shortly after takeoff from Saigon. Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque, N.M.

In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger roared into orbit on its maiden voyage. (It was destroyed in the disaster of January 1986.)

In 1991, Senator John Heinz, Republican of Pennsylvania, and six other people were killed when a helicopter collided with Heinz’s plane over a schoolyard in Merion, Pa.

Last year, Kris Jenkins hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to lift Villanova to the national title with a 77-74 victory over North Carolina in one of the wildest finishes in the history of the NCAA Tournament.