Today's Highlight in History:
On April 17, 1972, the Boston Marathon allowed women to compete for the first time; Nina Kuscsik was the first officially recognized women's champion, with a time of 3:10:26.
On April 17:
In 1492, a contract was signed by Christopher Columbus and a representative of Spain's King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, giving Columbus a commission to seek a westward ocean passage to Asia.
In 1521, Martin Luther went before the Diet of Worms to face charges stemming from his religious writings. (Luther was later declared an outlaw by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.)
In 1861, the Virginia State Convention voted to secede from the Union.
In 1961, some 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in an attempt to topple Fidel Castro, whose forces crushed the incursion by the third day.
In 1964, Geraldine "Jerrie" Mock became the first woman to complete a solo airplane trip around the world as she returned to Columbus, Ohio, after 29½ days in her Cessna 180. Ford Motor Co. unveiled the Mustang at the New York World's Fair.
In 1969, a jury in Los Angeles convicted Sirhan Sirhan of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.
In 1970, Apollo 13 astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft while en route to the moon.
In 1973, Federal Express (later FedEx) began operations as 14 planes carrying 186 packages took off from Memphis International Airport, bound for 25 U.S. cities.
In 1986, at London's Heathrow Airport, a bomb was discovered in the bag of Anne-Marie Murphy, a pregnant Irishwoman about to board an El Al jetliner to Israel; she'd been tricked into carrying the bomb by her Jordanian fiance, Nezar Hindawi.
In 1991, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above 3,000 for the first time, ending the day at 3,004.46, up 17.58.
In 2009, Richard Phillips, the cargo ship captain rescued by Navy snipers from the clutches of Somali pirates, made a triumphant return to his home state of Vermont, insisting, "I'm not a hero, the military is."
In 2014, Ukraine and Russia agreed on a tentative halt to violence and to calm tensions along their shared border after more than a month of Cold-War style military posturing triggered by Moscow's annexation of Crimea.
In 2018, Barbara Bush, who was both a first lady and the mother of a president, died in Houston at the age of 92; she was survived by her husband, George H.W. Bush, with whom she had the longest marriage of any presidential couple in American history - a marriage of more than 73 years. A Southwest Airlines jet made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after the jet apparently blew an engine, got hit by debris and lost a window; a woman sitting near the window was pulled partially out of the plane and later died. Americans were given an extra day to file their taxes after key elements of the IRS website crashed on deadline day.
Thought for Today:
"I think America is richer in intelligence than any other country in the world; and that its intelligence is more scattered than in any country of the world."
— Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)