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Today in History: April 6, first modern Olympics begin

Today in History

Today is Saturday, April 6, the 97th day of 2024. There are 269 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On April 6, 1896, the first modern Olympic games formally opened in Athens, Greece.

On this date:

In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Shiloh began in Tennessee as Confederate forces launched a surprise attack against Union troops, who beat back the Confederates the next day.

In 1864, Louisiana opened a convention in New Orleans to draft a new state constitution, one that called for the abolition of slavery.

In 1909, American explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson and four Inuits became the first men to reach the North Pole.

In 1917, the United States entered World War I as the House joined the Senate in approving a declaration of war against Germany that was then signed by President Woodrow Wilson.

In 1943, "Le Petit Prince" (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupery was first published by Reynal & Hitchcock of New York.

In 1945, during World War II, the Japanese warship Yamato and nine other vessels sailed on a suicide mission to attack the U.S. fleet off Okinawa; the fleet was intercepted the next day.

In 1954, Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., responding to CBS newsman Edward R. Murrow's broadside against him on "See It Now," said in remarks filmed for the program that Murrow had, in the past, "engaged in propaganda for Communist causes."

In 1968, 41 people were killed by two consecutive natural gas explosions at a sporting goods store in downtown Richmond, Indiana.

In 1974, Swedish pop group ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest held in Brighton, England, with a performance of the song "Waterloo."

In 2008, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, speaking at a private fundraiser in San Francisco, spoke of voters in Pennsylvania's Rust Belt communities who "cling to guns or religion" because of bitterness about their economic lot; Democratic rival Hillary Rodham Clinton seized on the comment, calling it "elitist."

In 2012, five Black people were shot, three fatally, in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Jake England and Alvin Watts, who admitted targeting the victims because of race, pleaded guilty to murder, and were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

In 2014, legendary Hollywood actor Mickey Rooney, 93, died in North Hollywood.

In 2017, comedian Don Rickles, known for his biting insults, died in Beverly Hills, California at age 90.

In 2020, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was transferred to the intensive care unit of a London hospital where he was being treated for COVID-19, after his condition deteriorated.

In 2021, Major League Baseball announced that the All-Star Game would be played at Coors Field in Denver; the game had been pulled from Atlanta because of objections to changes in Georgia's voting laws.

In 2022, the mayor of the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol said more than 5,000 civilians had been killed during the invasion by Russian troops. In response, the U.S. and its Western allies moved to impose new sanctions against the Kremlin over what they branded war crimes.

Today's Birthdays: Nobel Prize-winning scientist James D. Watson is 96. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 87. Actor Roy Thinnes is 86. Movie director Barry Levinson is 82. Actor John Ratzenberger is 77. Actor Patrika Darbo is 76. Baseball Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven is 73. Actor Marilu Henner is 72. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Janet Lynn is 71. Actor Michael Rooker is 69. Former U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is 68. Rock musician Warren Haynes is 64. Rock singer-musician Black Francis (The Pixies) is 59. Actor Ari Meyers is 55. Actor Paul Rudd is 55. Actor-producer Jason Hervey is 52. Actor Zach Braff is 49. Actor Joel Garland is 49. Actor Candace Cameron Bure (buhr-RAY') is 48. Actor Teddy Sears is 47. Jazz and R&B musician Robert Glasper is 46. Actor Eliza Coupe is 43. Singer and guitarist Kenneth Pattengale (Milk Carton Kids) is 42. Actor Bret Harrison is 42. Actor Charlie McDermott is 34.