- The Washington Times - Friday, April 3, 2009

Today is Friday, April 3, the 93rd day of 2009. There are 272 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 3, 1860, the legendary Pony Express began service between St. Joseph, Mo., and Sacramento, Calif.

On this date:

In 1776, George Washington received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Harvard College.

In 1865, Union forces occupied the Confederate capital of Richmond, Va.

In 1882, outlaw Jesse James was shot to death in St. Joseph, Mo., by Robert Ford, a member of James’ gang.

In 1936, Bruno Hauptmann was electrocuted in Trenton, N.J., for the kidnap-murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr.

In 1946, Lt. Gen. Masaharu Homma, the Japanese commander responsible for the Bataan Death March, was executed by firing squad outside Manila, Philippines.

In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed into law the Marshall Plan, designed to help European allies rebuild after World War II and resist Communism.

In 1968, the day before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “mountaintop” speech to a rally of striking sanitation workers. North Vietnam agreed to meet with U.S. representatives to set up preliminary peace talks.

In 1974, deadly tornadoes struck wide parts of the South and Midwest before jumping across the border into Canada; more than 300 fatalities resulted.

In 1979, Jane M. Byrne was elected mayor of Chicago, defeating Republican Wallace D. Johnson.

In 1996, an Air Force jetliner carrying Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and American business executives crashed in Croatia, killing all 35 people aboard.

Ten years ago: NATO missiles struck downtown Belgrade for the first time, destroying the headquarters of security forces accused of waging a campaign against Kosovo Albanians.

Five years ago: Surrounded by police, five suspects in the Madrid railway bombings blew themselves up in a building outside the Spanish capital, also killing a special forces agent. Soccer player Freddy Adu, age 14, became the youngest athlete in a major American professional sport in well over a century as he entered a game between his team, D.C. United, and the San Jose Earthquakes (D.C. United won 2-1).

One year ago: NATO allies meeting in Bucharest, Romania, gave President George W. Bush strong support for a missile defense system in Europe and urged Moscow to drop its angry opposition to the program. Model Naomi Campbell was arrested at London Heathrow Airport after getting into an altercation with police during a dispute about lost luggage aboard a British Airways plane. (Campbell was later sentenced to 200 hours of community service and fined 2,300 pounds.) Ohio State defeated Massachusetts 92-85 for basketball’s National Invitation Tournament title.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress-singer Doris Day is 86. Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is 79. Actor William Gaunt is 72. Actor Eric Braeden is 68. Actress Marsha Mason is 67. Singer Wayne Newton is 67. Singer Billy Joe Royal is 67. Singer Tony Orlando is 65. Comedy writer Pat Proft is 62. Folk-rock singer Richard Thompson is 60. Country musician Curtis Stone (Highway 101) is 59. Blues singer-guitarist John Mooney is 54. Rock musician Mick Mars (Motley Crue) is 53. Actor Alec Baldwin is 51. Actor David Hyde Pierce is 50. Rock singer John Thomas Griffith (Cowboy Mouth) is 49. Comedian-actor Eddie Murphy is 48. Rock singer-musician Mike Ness (Social Distortion) is 47. Rock singer Sebastian Bach is 41. Rock musician James MacDonough is 39. Actress Jennie Garth is 37. Comedian Aries Spears is 34. Actress Cobie Smulders is 27. Minnesota Vikings star Jared Allen is 27. Rock-pop singer Leona Lewis is 24. Actress Amanda Bynes is 23.

Thought for Today: “Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can.” _ Elsa Maxwell, American socialite (1883-1963).

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