Today is Tuesday, April 21, the 111th day of 2015. There are 254 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 21, 1975, with Communist forces closing in, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu resigned after nearly ten years in office and fled the country.
On this date:
In 1649, the Maryland Toleration Act, providing for freedom of worship for all Christians, was passed by the Maryland assembly.
In 1789, John Adams was sworn in as the first vice president of the United States.
In 1836, an army of Texans led by Sam Houston defeated the Mexicans at San Jacinto, assuring Texas independence.
In 1910, author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain, died in Redding, Connecticut, at age 74.
In 1918, Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the German ace known as the “Red Baron,” was killed in action during World War I.
In 1930, a fire broke out inside the overcrowded Ohio Penitentiary in Columbus, killing 332 inmates.
In 1940, the quiz show that asked the “$64 question,” “Take It or Leave It,” premiered on CBS Radio.
In 1955, the Jerome Lawrence-Robert Lee play “Inherit the Wind,” inspired by the Scopes trial of 1925, opened at the National Theatre in New York.
In 1960, Brazil inaugurated its new capital, Brasilia, transferring the seat of national government from Rio de Janeiro.
In 1977, the musical play “Annie,” based on the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip, opened on Broadway, beginning a run of 2,377 performances.
In 1980, Rosie Ruiz was the first woman to cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon; however, she was later exposed as a fraud. (Canadian Jacqueline Gareau was named the actual winner of the women’s race.)
In 1992, Robert Alton Harris became the first person executed by the state of California in 25 years as he was put to death in the gas chamber for the 1978 murders of two teen-age boys, John Mayeski and Michael Baker.
Ten years ago: A commercial helicopter contracted by the U.S. Defense Department was shot down by missile fire north of Baghdad; 11 people, including six American bodyguards, were killed in the crash while a surviving Bulgarian pilot was gunned down by insurgents. Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar was convicted by a military jury at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, of premeditated murder and attempted murder in an attack that killed two of his comrades and wounded 14 others in Kuwait. (He was later sentenced to death.) Zhang Chunqiao, one of the Gang of Four that terrorized China during the Cultural Revolution, died at age 88.
Five years ago: Pope Benedict XVI promised “church action” to confront the clerical abuse scandal. Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was suspended for six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. (Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down the punishment after prosecutors decided not to bring charges in a case involving a 20-year-old college student who’d accused Roethlisberger of sexually assaulting her.) Juan Antonio Samaranch, 89, who’d served as president of the International Olympic Committee for 21 years, died in Barcelona, Spain. Former Nuremberg prosecutor Whitney Harris, 97, died in Frontenac, Missouri.
One year ago: More than 30,000 people defiantly ran the Boston Marathon a year after the deadly terrorist bombings; American Meb Keflezighi won the men’s race in 2:08:37 while Kenya’s Rita Jeptoo successfully defended her title, finishing in a course-record 2:18:57. Win Tin, 85, a prominent journalist who became Myanmar’s longest-serving political prisoner after challenging military rule, died in Yangon.
Today’s Birthdays: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is 89. Actress-comedian-writer Elaine May is 83. Actor Charles Grodin is 80. Actor Reni Santoni is 77. Singer-musician Iggy Pop is 68. Actress Patti LuPone is 66. Actor Tony Danza is 64. Actor James Morrison is 61. Actress Andie MacDowell is 57. Rock singer Robert Smith (The Cure) is 56. Rock musician Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) is 56. Actor John Cameron Mitchell is 52. Rapper Michael Franti (Spearhead) is 49. Actor Toby Stephens is 46. Rock singer-musician Glen Hansard (The Frames) is 45. Actor Rob Riggle is 45. Comedian Nicole Sullivan is 45. Football player-turned-actor Brian White is 42. Rock musician David Brenner (Theory of a Deadman) is 37. Actor James McAvoy is 36. NFL quarterback Tony Romo is 35. Actor Terrence J is 33. Actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Film: “Belle”) is 32. Actor Christoph (cq) Sanders is 27. Rock singer Sydney Sierota (Echosmith) is 18.
Thought for Today: “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.” — Stephen Leacock, Canadian economist and humorist (1869-1944).