The Associated Press
Today is Palm Sunday, April 13, the 103rd day of 2014. There are 262 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 13, 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first black performer in a leading role to win an Academy Award for his performance in “Lilies of the Field.” (Patricia Neal was named best actress for “Hud”; best picture went to “Tom Jones.”)
On this date:
In 1613, Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan, was captured by English Capt. Samuel Argall in the Virginia Colony and held in exchange for English prisoners and stolen weapons. (During a yearlong captivity, Pocahontas converted to Christianity and ultimately opted to stay with the English. )
In 1742, Handel’s “Messiah” had its first public performance in Dublin, Ireland.
In 1743, the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, was born in Shadwell in the Virginia Colony.
In 1861, at the start of the Civil War, Fort Sumter in South Carolina fell to Confederate forces.
In 1912, the Royal Flying Corps, a predecessor of Britain’s Royal Air Force, was created.
In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., on the 200th anniversary of the third American president’s birth. Radio Berlin announced the discovery of thousands of graves of massacred Polish officers in Russia’s Katyn Forest; the Nazis blamed the killings on the Soviets, who in turn blamed the Nazis. (Post-Soviet Russia has acknowledged the massacre was carried out by Josef Stalin’s secret police.)
In 1958, Van Cliburn of the United States won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition for piano in Moscow; Russian Valery Klimov won the violin competition.
In 1970, Apollo 13, four-fifths of the way to the moon, was crippled when a tank containing liquid oxygen burst. (The astronauts managed to return safely.)
In 1974, NASA launched Westar 1, America’s first commercial communications satellite, for Western Union.
In 1986, Pope John Paul II visited the Great Synagogue of Rome in the first recorded papal visit of its kind to a Jewish house of worship.
In 1992, the Great Chicago Flood took place as the city’s century-old tunnel system and adjacent basements filled with water from the Chicago River.
In 1999, right-to-die advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian was sentenced in Pontiac, Mich., to 10 to 25 years in prison for second-degree murder in the lethal injection of a Lou Gehrig’s disease patient. (Kevorkian ended up serving eight years.)
Ten years ago: Conceding a couple of “tough weeks in Iraq,” President George W. Bush signaled he was ready to put more American troops on the front lines and use decisive force if necessary to restore order despite “gut-wrenching” televised images of fallen Americans. Barry Bonds hit his 661st homer, passing Willie Mays to take sole possession of third place on baseball’s career list. Swimmer Michael Phelps won the 2003 Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete.
Five years ago: The U.N. Security Council condemned North Korea’s April 5 rocket launch. President Barack Obama allowed Americans to make unlimited transfers of money and visits to relatives in Cuba. Music producer Phil Spector was found guilty by a Los Angeles jury of second-degree murder in the shooting of actress Lana Clarkson (he was later sentenced to 19 years to life in prison). Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Mark “The Bird” Fidrych died in an accident on his Massachusetts farm; he was 54. Harry Kalas, whose “Outta here!” home run calls thrilled Philadelphia baseball fans, died after collapsing in the broadcast booth before the Phillies’ 9-8 victory over the Nationals in Washington; he was 73.
One year ago: Francine Wheeler, the mother of a 6-year-old boy killed in the Connecticut school shooting, used the opportunity to fill in for President Barack Obama during his weekly radio and Internet address to make a personal plea from the White House for action to combat gun violence. All 108 passengers and crew survived after a new Lion Air Boeing 737 crashed into the ocean and snapped in two while attempting to land on the Indonesian resort island of Bali. Hundreds of opponents of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher partied in London’s Trafalgar Square to celebrate her death, sipping Champagne and chanting “Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead.”
Today’s Birthdays: Movie director Stanley Donen is 90. Former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Colo., is 81. Actor Lyle Waggoner is 79. Actor Edward Fox is 77. Actor Paul Sorvino is 75. Rhythm-and-blues singer Lester Chambers is 74. Movie-TV composer Bill Conti is 72. Rock musician Jack Casady is 70. Actor Tony Dow is 69. Singer Al Green is 68. Actor Ron Perlman is 64. Actor William Sadler is 64. Singer Peabo Bryson is 63. Bandleader/rock musician Max Weinberg is 63. Bluegrass singer-musician Sam Bush is 62. Rock musician Jimmy Destri is 60. Singer-musician Louis Johnson (The Brothers Johnson) is 59. Comedian Gary Kroeger is 57. Actress Saundra Santiago is 57. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Pa., is 54. Rock musician Joey Mazzola (Sponge) is 53. Chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov is 51. Actress Page Hannah is 50. Actress-comedian Caroline Rhea (RAY) is 50. Rock musician Lisa Umbarger is 49. Rock musician Marc Ford is 48. Reggae singer Capleton is 47. Actor Ricky Schroder is 44. Rock singer Aaron Lewis (Staind) is 42. Actor Bokeem Woodbine is 41. Singer Lou Bega is 39. Actor-producer Glenn Howerton is 38. Actor Kyle Howard is 36. Actress Courtney Peldon is 33. Pop singer Nellie McKay (mih-KY’) is 32. Actress Allison Williams (TV: “Girls”) is 26. Actress Hannah Marks is 21.
Thought for Today: “Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better.” — Samuel Beckett, Irish playwright and author (born this date in 1906, died in 1989).