Today In History...
In 1742 George Frederic Handel's "Messiah" is performed publicly for the first time, at the New Music Hall in Dublin, Ireland.
In 1796 The first elephant arrives in America for exhibition.
In 1870 The Metropolitan Museum of Art is founded in New York.
In 1943 President Franklin Roosevelt dedicates the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.
In 1961 The U.N. General Assembly votes to condemn apartheid, South Africa's policy of racial segregation.
In 1964 Ian Smith becomes the prime minister of Rhodesia.
In 1964 Sidney Poitier became the first black to be voted Best Actor for his performance in "Lilies of the Field."
In 1970 While on the way to the moon, a liquid oxygen tank bursts on Apollo XIII crippling the craft and threatening the crew's lives. The crew was able to return safely to Earth four days later.
In 1976 The U.S. offshore fishing limit increases from 12 to 200 miles.
In 1976 The $2.00 bill is re-introduced as United States currency.
In 1983 Illinois Rep. Harold Washington is declared the winner of Chicago's mayoral election, becoming the city's first black executive.
In 1984 The space shuttle Challenger lands safely at Edwards AFB, CA, following its successful mission to retrieve, repair and redeploy a crippled satellite.
In 1985 President Reagan is criticized for his visit to a West Germany cemetery where Nazi-troops were buried.
In 1986 Jack Nicklaus becomes a six-time Master Golf Tournament winner.
In 1986 Pope John Paul II visits a Rome synagogue in the first recorded papal visit of its kind.
In 1987 Pope John Paul II concludes his visit to South America.
In 1987 NBC announces "Hill Street Blues" will end it's six-year run.
In 1987 Gary Hart announces his bid for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination.
In 1988 A commandeered Kuwaiti jetliner takes off from Cyprus for Algeria, after the pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim hijackers on board freed 12 hostages.
In 1989 House Speaker Jim Wright delivers an emotional defense of his conduct against ethics charges.
In 1990 The Soviet Union accepts responsibility and apologizes for the massacre at Katyn Forest during World War II.
In 1992 The Great Chicago flood takes place as the city's century-old tunnel system and adjacent basements filled with water from the Chicago River after a section of wall collapsed.
In 1993 David McCullough wins the Pulitzer Prize for his biography "Truman."
In 1994 Islamic militants bomb an Israeli bus, killing six people and
In 1996 President Clinton calls on Congress to pass an anti-terrorist bill that had languished for a year despite a promise of quick action after the Oklahoma City bombing.
In 1997 With tanks, sharpshooters and thousands of police deployed to protect him, Pope John Paul II preaches forgiveness during a mass in Sarajevo.
In 1997 Tiger Woods became the youngest person to win the Masters Tournament.
In 1998 NationsBank and BankAmerica announce a $62.5 billion merger, creating the country's first coast-to-coast bank.
In 1998 A 500-pound steel joint falls from the upper level of New York's Yankee Stadium. No fans were inside the park at the time.
In 2002 Venezuela's interim president, Pedro Carmona, resigns a day after taking office.
In 2003 After three weeks of captivity, seven U.S. POW's, including Army Specialist Shoshana Johnson, are released by Iraqi troops.
In 2004 Barry Bonds hits his 661st homer, passing Willie Mays to take sole possession of third place on baseball's career list.