Today In History, October 4th


Today is Sunday, Oct. 4, the 278th day of 2020. There are 88 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlights in History:
On Oct. 4, 1957, the Space Age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit.
On this date:
In 1861, during the Civil War, the United States Navy authorized construction of the first ironclad ship, the USS Monitor.
In 1940, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini conferred at Brenner Pass in the Alps.
In 1951, the MGM movie musical “An American in Paris,” starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron (ka-ROHN’), had its U.S. premiere in New York.
In 1957, James R. Hoffa was elected president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The family comedy series “Leave It to Beaver” premiered on CBS.
In 1965, Pope Paul VI, making the first-ever papal visit to the Western Hemisphere, addressed the U.N. General Assembly, where he urged delegates to adopt as their solemn oath: “No more war, war never again.”
In 1970, rock singer Janis Joplin, 27, was found dead in her Hollywood hotel room.
In 1990, for the first time in nearly six decades, German lawmakers met in the Reichstag for the first meeting of reunified Germany’s parliament.
In 1991, 26 nations, including the United States, signed the Madrid Protocol, which imposed a 50-year ban on oil exploration and mining in Antarctica.
In 2001, a Russian airliner flying from Israel to Siberia was accidentally downed by a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile over the Black Sea, killing all 78 people aboard. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hit his 70th home run to tie Mark McGwire’s 1998 record in a 10-2 victory over the Houston Astros.
In 2002, “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh received a 20-year sentence after a sobbing plea for forgiveness before a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia. He was released from prison in May, 2019. In a federal court in Boston, a laughing Richard Reid pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives in his shoes (the British citizen was later sentenced to life in prison).
In 2004, the SpaceShipOne rocket plane broke through Earth’s atmosphere to the edge of space for the second time in five days, capturing the $10 million Ansari X prize aimed at opening the final frontier to tourists. Pioneering astronaut Gordon Cooper died in Ventura, California, at age 77.
In 2017, President Donald Trump visited hospital bedsides and a police base in Las Vegas in the aftermath of the shooting rampage three nights earlier that left 58 people dead.
Ten years ago: The Supreme Court began a new era with three women serving together for the first time as Elena Kagan took her place at the end of the bench. The Nobel Prize in medicine went to Robert Edwards of Britain, whose work led to the first test tube baby. The Europeans reclaimed the Ryder Cup, winning 14 1/2-13 1/2.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama paid tribute to firefighters who had died in the line of duty and cited the sacrifices they’d made in service to a grateful nation during an annual memorial service at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Pope Francis opened a divisive meeting of the world’s bishops on family issues by forcefully asserting that marriage was an indissoluble bond between man and woman, but saying the church had to “seek out and care for hurting couples with the balm of acceptance and mercy.”
One year ago: The impeachment probe reached directly into the White House as House Democrats subpoenaed officials about contacts with Ukraine; President Donald Trump signaled that his administration would not cooperate. Faced with months of pro-democracy protests that had spiraled into violence, Hong Kong’s government invoked emergency powers to ban masks from public gatherings. Security forces in central Baghdad opened fire directly at hundreds of anti-government demonstrators, killing at least 17 protesters and injuring dozens. Bernie Sanders was discharged from a Las Vegas hospital; his presidential campaign confirmed that Sanders had a heart attack earlier in the week. Diahann Carroll died in Los Angeles at the age of 84 after a bout with breast cancer; she’d been the first Black woman to star as a non-servant in her own television show with the series “Julia,” which ran from 1968 to 1973.
Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Leroy Van Dyke is 91. Actor Felicia Farr is 88. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Sam Huff is 86. Author Roy Blount Jr. is 79. Author Anne Rice is 79. Actor Lori Saunders (TV: “Petticoat Junction”) is 79. Baseball Hall of Famer Tony La Russa is 76. Actor Clifton Davis is 75. The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, is 74. Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is 74. Actor Susan Sarandon is 74. Blues musician Duke Robillard is 72. Playwright Lee Blessing is 71. Actor Armand Assante is 71. Actor Alan Rosenberg is 70. Actor Christoph Waltz is 64. Actor Bill Fagerbakke is 63. Music producer Russell Simmons is 63. Actor Kyra Schon (Film: “Night of the Living Dead”) is 63. Actor-singer Wendy Makkena is 62. Musician Chris Lowe (The Pet Shop Boys) is 61. Country musician Gregg “Hobie” Hubbard (Sawyer Brown) is 60. Actor David W. Harper is 59. Singer Jon Secada is 59. TV personality John Melendez is 55. Actor-comedian Jerry Minor is 53. Actor Liev Schreiber is 53. Actor Abraham Benrubi is 51. Country singer-musician Heidi Newfield is 50. Singer-guitarist M. Ward (She & Him) is 47. Actor Alicia Silverstone is 44. Actor Dana Davis is 42. Rock musician Robbie Bennett (The War on Drugs) is 42. Actor Phillip Glasser is 42. Rock singer-musician Marc Roberge (O.A.R.) is 42. Actor Brandon Barash is 41. Actor Rachael Leigh Cook is 41. Actor Tim Peper is 40. Actor Jimmy Workman is 40. Bassist Cubbie Fink is 38. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jessica Benson (3lw) is 33. Actor Michael Charles Roman is 33. Actor Melissa Benoist is 32. NBA All-Star Derrick Rose is 32. Actor Dakota Johnson is 31. Figure skater Kimmie Meisner is 31. Actor Leigh-Anne Pinnock (Little Mix) is 29. Actor Ryan Scott Lee is 24.