Today's Highlight in History:
On April 12, 1861, the American Civil War began as Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
On this date:
In 1606, England adopted as its flag the original version of the Union Jack.
In 1862, Union volunteers led by James J. Andrews stole a Confederate train near Marietta, Georgia, but were later caught. (This episode inspired the Buster Keaton comedy "The General.")
In 1934, "Tender Is the Night," by F. Scott Fitzgerald, was first published.
In 1945, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia, 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 on its first test flight.
In 1989, radical activist Abbie Hoffman was found dead at his home in New Hope, Pennsylvania, at age 52.
In 1989, former middleweight boxing champion Sugar Ray Robinson died in Culver City, California, at age 67.
In 1992, Euro Disneyland opened in France.
Ten years ago: In its first meeting, East Germany's first democratically elected parliament acknowledged responsibility for the Nazi Holocaust, and asked the forgiveness of Jews and others who had suffered.
Five years ago: In a move that stunned the business world, billionaire Kirk Kerkorian and former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca made an unsolicited $22.8 billion bid to buy the nation's third largest automaker; Chrysler responded that it wasn't for sale.
One year ago: US District Judge Susan Webber Wright cited President 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, Arkansas, acquitted Susan McDougal of obstructing Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's Whitewater inquiry and deadlocked on two other charges, causing a mistrial.
"Eternal truths will be neither true nor eternal unless they have fresh meaning for every new social situation."
-- President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945).