Today is Easter Sunday, April 12, the 102nd day of 2009. There are 263 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On April 12, 1861, the American Civil War began as Confederate forces bombarded Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
On this date:
In 1606, England's King James I decreed the design of the original Union Flag, which combined the flags of England and Scotland.
In 1877, the catcher's mask was first used in a baseball game, by James Tyng of Harvard in a game against the Lynn Live Oaks.
In 1908, fire devastated the city of Chelsea, Mass.
In 1934, "Tender Is the Night" by F. Scott Fitzgerald was first published in book form by Charles Scribner's Sons after being serialized in Scribner's Magazine.
In 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Ga., at age 63; he was succeeded by Vice President Harry S. Truman.
In 1955, the Salk vaccine against polio was declared safe and effective.
In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space, orbiting the earth once before making a safe landing.
In 1981, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on its first test flight.
In 1983, Chicagoans went to the polls to elect Harold Washington the city's first black mayor.
In 1989, former boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson died in Culver City, Calif., at age 67; radical activist Abbie Hoffman was found dead at his home in New Hope, Pa., at age 52.
Ten years ago: U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright cited President Bill Clinton for contempt of court, concluding that the president had lied about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky in a deposition in the Paula Jones case. A jury in Little Rock, Ark., acquitted Susan McDougal of obstructing Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's Whitewater inquiry and deadlocked on two other charges, causing a mistrial.
Five years ago: A federal judge allowed a nationwide ban on dietary supplements containing ephedra to take effect, turning aside a plea from two manufacturers. Abelardo Flores and Fatima Holloway pleaded guilty in Houston to taking part in a smuggling scheme that resulted in the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants abandoned in a sweltering truck trailer. Barry Bonds hit his 660th home run to tie godfather Willie Mays for third on baseball's career list.
One year ago: Democrat Barack Obama conceded that comments he'd made privately during a fundraiser about bitter working class voters who "cling to guns or religion" were ill chosen. Boston College won the NCAA hockey championship, 4-1, over Notre Dame. The United States won its second women's world hockey championship, upsetting Canada 4-3 in Harbin, China.
Today's Birthdays: Country singer Ned Miller is 84. Actress Jane Withers is 83. Opera singer Montserrat Caballe is 76. Actor Charles Napier is 73. Jazz musician Herbie Hancock is 69. Actor Frank Bank ("Leave It to Beaver") is 67. Rock singer John Kay (Steppenwolf) is 65. Actor Ed O'Neill is 63. Author Tom Clancy is 62. Actor Dan Lauria is 62. Talk show host David Letterman is 62. Author Scott Turow is 60. Singer David Cassidy is 59. Actor-playwright Tom Noonan is 58. Rhythm-and-blues singer JD Nicholas (The Commodores) is 57. Singer Pat Travers is 55. Actor Andy Garcia is 53. Movie director Walter Salles is 53. Country singer Vince Gill is 52. Actress Suzzanne (cq) Douglas is 52. Rock musician Will Sergeant (Echo & the Bunnymen) is 51. Rock singer Art Alexakis (Everclear) is 47. Country singer Deryl Dodd is 45. Folk-pop singer Amy Ray (Indigo Girls) is 45. Actress Alicia Coppola is 41. Rock singer Nicholas Hexum (311) is 39. Actor Nicholas Brendon is 38. Actress Shannen Doherty is 38. Actress Marley Shelton is 35. Actress Jordana Spiro is 32. Rock musician Guy Berryman (Coldplay) is 31. Actress Claire Danes is 30. Actress Jennifer Morrison is 30. Rock singer-musician Brendon Urie (Panic at the Disco) is 22. Actress Saoirse Ronan ("Atonement") is 15.
Thought for Today: "Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are." — President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945).
Source: AP News