Today In History...
In 1742 George Frederic Handel's "Messiah" was performed publicly for the first time at the New Music Hall in Dublin, Ireland.
In 1796 The first elephant arrived in America for exhibition.
In 1870 The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded in New York.
In 1943 President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC.
In 1961 The U.N. General Assembly voted to condemn apartheid, South Africa's policy of racial segregation.
In 1964 Ian Smith became 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 team was able to return safely to Earth four days later.
In 1976 The U.S. offshore fishing limit increased from 12 to 200 miles.
In 1976 The $2.00 bill was re-introduced as United States currency.
In 1983 Illinois Rep. Harold Washington was declared the winner of Chicago's mayoral election, becoming the city's first black executive.
In 1984 The space shuttle Challenger landed safely at Edwards AFB, CA, following its successful mission to retrieve, repair and redeploy a crippled satellite.
In 1985 President Reagan was criticized for visiting a West German cemetery where Nazi troops were buried.
In 1986 Jack Nicklaus became a six-time Master Golf Tournament winner.
In 1986 Pope John Paul II visited a Rome synagogue in the first recorded papal visit.
In 1987 Pope John Paul II concluded his visit to South America.
In 1987 NBC announced "Hill Street Blues" would end its six-year run.
In 1987 Gary Hart announced his bid for the 1988 Democratic presidential nomination.
In 1988 A commandeered Kuwaiti jetliner took off from Cyprus for Algeria after the pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim hijackers on board freed 12 hostages.
In 1989 House Speaker Jim Wright delivered an emotional defense of his conduct against ethics charges.
In 1990 The Soviet Union accepted responsibility and apologized for the massacre at Katyn Forest during World War II.
In 1992 The Great Chicago flood took 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 won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography "Truman."
In 1994 Islamic militants bombed an Israeli bus, killing six people and
In 1996 President Clinton called 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 preached forgiveness during a mass in Sarajevo.
In 1997 Tiger Woods became the youngest person to win the Masters Tournament.
In 1998 NationsBank and BankAmerica announced a $62.5 billion merger, creating the country's first coast-to-coast bank.
In 1998 A 500-pound steel joint fell 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, resigned a day after taking office.
In 2003 After three weeks of captivity, seven U.S. POWs, including Army Specialist Shoshana Johnson, were released by Iraqi troops.
In 2004 Barry Bonds hit his 661st homer, passing Willie Mays to take sole possession of third place on baseball's career list.