GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

April 25, 2013

Today in History

The Associated Press
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Today is Thursday, April 25, the 115th day of 2013. There are 250 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On April 25, 1983, 10-year-old Samantha Smith of Manchester, Maine, received a reply from Soviet leader Yuri V. Andropov to a letter she’d written expressing concern about possible nuclear war; Andropov reassured Samantha that the Soviet Union did not want war, and he invited her to visit his country, a trip Samantha made the following July.

On this date:

In 1507, a world map produced by German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller contained the first recorded use of the term “America,” in honor of Italian navigator Amerigo Vespucci.

In 1792, highwayman Nicolas Jacques Pelletier became the first person under French law to be executed by the guillotine.

In 1859, ground was broken for the Suez Canal.

In 1862, during the Civil War, a Union fleet commanded by Flag Officer David G. Farragut captured the city of New Orleans.

In 1898, the United States formally declared war on Spain.

In 1901, New York Gov. Benjamin Barker Odell Jr. signed an automobile registration bill which imposed a 15 mph speed limit on highways.

In 1915, during World War I, Allied soldiers invaded the Gallipoli Peninsula in an unsuccessful attempt to take the Ottoman Empire out of the war.

In 1944, the United Negro College Fund was founded.

In 1945, during World War II, U.S. and Soviet forces linked up on the Elbe River, a meeting that dramatized the collapse of Nazi Germany’s defenses. Delegates from some 50 countries met in San Francisco to organize the United Nations.

In 1959, the St. Lawrence Seaway opened to shipping.

In 1972, Polaroid Corp. introduced its SX-70 folding camera, which ejected self-developing photographs. Actor George Sanders was found dead in his hotel room near Barcelona, Spain; he was 65.

In 1993, hundreds of thousands of gay rights activists and their supporters marched in Washington, D.C., demanding equal rights and freedom from discrimination.

Ten years ago: The Pentagon announced that Army Secretary Thomas White, whose tenure as civilian chief of the military’s largest service was marked by tensions with his boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, was leaving office. Georgia lawmakers voted to scrap the Dixie cross from the state’s flag.

Five years ago: Three New York police detectives were acquitted in the 50-shot killing of Sean Bell, an unarmed groom-to-be, on his wedding day. Triathlete David Martin, 66, was killed by a great white shark in the waters off San Diego County.

One year ago: The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Arizona’s tough immigration law. (A divided court later threw out major parts of the law.) The Senate offered a lifeline to the nearly bankrupt U.S. Postal Service, voting to give the struggling agency an $11 billion cash infusion while delaying controversial decisions on closing post offices and ending Saturday delivery. (The House didn’t pass a bill.)

Today’s birthdays: Movie director-writer Paul Mazursky is 83. Actor Al Pacino is 73. Ballroom dance judge Len Goodman (TV: “Dancing with the Stars”) is 69. Musician Stu Cook (Creedence Clearwater Revival) and singer Bjorn Ulvaeus (ABBA) are 68. Actress Talia Shire is 67. Actor Jeffrey DeMunn is 66. Musician Michael Brown (The Left Banke) is 64. Musician Steve Ferrone (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers) is 63. Country singer-songwriter Rob Crosby is 59. Actor Hank Azaria and singer Andy Bell (Erasure) are 49. Musicians Eric Avery (Jane’s Addiction) and Rory Feek (Joey + Rory) are 48. TV personality Jane Clayson is 46. Actresses Renee Zellweger and Gina Torres are 44. Actors Jason Lee and Jason Wiles are 43. Actress Emily Bergl is 38. Actress Marguerite Moreau is 36. Singer Jacob Underwood is 33. Actress Sara Paxton is 25. Actress Allisyn Ashley Arm is 17.

Thought for today: “There are two great rules of life, the one general and the other particular. The first is that everyone can, in the end, get what he wants if he only tries. This is the general rule. The particular rule is that every individual is more or less an exception to the general rule.” — Samuel Butler, English author (1835-1902).