Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Today in History.....April 12

On this day in …

* 1606, England's King James I decreed the design of the original Union Flag (also referred to as the Union Jack), which combined the flags of England and Scotland

* 1861, the American Civil War began as Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina

* 1862, Union volunteers led by James J. Andrews stole a Confederate train near Marietta, Ga., but were later caught. (This episode inspired the Buster Keaton comedy "The General.")

* 1945, President Roosevelt died of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Ga., at age 63; he was succeeded by Vice President Harry S.

* 1955, the Salk vaccine against polio was declared safe and effective

* 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to fly in space, orbiting the earth once before making a safe landing

* 1981, the space shuttle Columbia blasted off from Cape Canaveral on its first test flight

* 1985, Sen. Jake Garn of Utah became the first senator to fly in space as the shuttle Discovery lifted off

* 1995, 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

* 2000, Attorney General Janet Reno met in Miami with the U.S.
relatives of Elian Gonzalez, after which she ordered them to bring the 6-year-old boy to an airport the next day so he could be taken to a reunion with his father in Washington. (Elian was seized by federal agents ten days after Reno's order to turn him over.)

* 2001, the 24 crew members of a U.S. spy plane arrived in Hawaii after being held for 11 days in China. ALSO: The Philippine military rescued U.S. hostage Jeffrey Schilling from practitioners of that "religion of peace" who had threatened to behead him

* 2005, three men with suspected al-Qaida ties, already in British custody, were charged with a years-long plot to attack the New York Stock Exchange and other East Coast financial institutions.
ALSO: President Bush visited soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, marking the two-year anniversary of the end of Saddam Hussein's regime


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