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April 15 has been a pretty terrible day in history, then came DaVinci, Ray Kroc and Jackie Robinson

April 15 has been a pretty terrible day in history, then came DaVinci, Ray Kroc and Jackie Robinson

April 15: A Historically Bad Day

April 15 has been a pretty terrible day in history, then came DaVinci, Ray Kroc and Jackie Robinson

It’s April 15, and while it is not the day of infamy that President Franklin Roosevelt spoke of, it has been a date that has seen some great tragedies.

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The date is the anniversary of the most famous disaster at sea, the death of one president and the funeral of another; a historic flood and the spark of an uprising in China.

We could mention Tax Day, but who needs that downer.

But the date has also seen triumphs of the human spirit, the birth of one of history's greatest inventors and the start of a hamburger empire.

Here are just some of the things that have happened on this day in history:

  • President Abraham Lincoln died at 7:22 a.m. on April 15, 1865, about nine hours after being shot in the head as he and his wife, Mary, attended a performance of the play “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. Lincoln was the first U.S. president to be assassinated.
  • At 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, the Titanic sunk to the bottom of the North Atlantic as members of the ship’s band played “Nearer My God to Thee.” There were not enough lifeboats on the ship as she embarked on her maiden voyage just days before, and 1,514 people lost their lives when the ship hit an iceberg and sank.
  • After months of heavy rains through the Mississippi Valley, 15 inches of rain fell in 18 hours on April 15, 1927 causing the Mississippi River to flood more than 27,000 square miles in 10 states. Singer Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927” was written about that flood.
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt was buried on the grounds of his Hyde Park home on April 15, 1945. He died from a cerebral hemorrhage – a stroke – on April 12, 1945, in Warm Springs, Georgia.
  • A meteor exploded over Indonesia at 11:20 a.m. on April 15, 1988. The blast, which witnesses say created a flash of light equivalent to the brightness of the sun, was calculated to be equal to 5,000 tons of high explosives.
  • Students in Beijing launched a series of pro-democracy protests on April 15, 1989. Those demonstrations would end as the Chinese government clashed with the students at Tiananmen Square. A photo of a student standing in front of a tank in the square would be seen around the world.

  • On April 15, 2013, bombs encased in pressure cookers would explode at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three people, including an 8-year-old, and injuring 260 more. One of the two brothers who planned and executed the attack was killed later during a shootout with police. The other brother was captured, tried, convicted and sentenced to death.
  • Into the early morning hours of April 15, 2014, more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls were abducted by the terror group Boko Haram.

Lest you go through the day with a cloud over your head, remember, good things have happened on April 15, as well. Here are a few:

  • In 1755, Samuel Johnson published the first English dictionary, “A Dictionary of the English Language,” in London.
  • On April 15, 1923, Lee De Forest introduced Phonofilm to an audience at the Rialto Theater in New York City. The quality of Phonofilm, a sound-on-film system which had synchronized sound and dialogue, wasn’t very good, but was the forerunner of talking films.
  • Rand McNally published its first road atlas on April 15, 1924.
  • In 1947, Jackie Robinson became the first African-American to play in a Major League Baseball game in the modern era when he made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Moses Fleetwood Walker was the first black baseball player in the major leagues. He played for one season, 63 years before Robinson took the field on that April day. 
  • Ray Kroc began the McDonald’s chain of fast-food restaurants on April 15, 1955.
  • On April 15, 2011, a replica of Elvis Presley’s home Graceland opened in Randers, Denmark. The building contains a museum, restaurant and shop in addition to the nearly identical replica of the Presley’s Memphis home.
  • Leonardo DaVinci was born on April 15, 1452. Author and Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom was born on this day in 1892 (she died on her birthday in 1983); singer Bessie Smith and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev were both born on April 15, 1894; country singer Roy Clark was born on April 15, 1933; Princess Diana’s boyfriend, Dodi Al-Fayed, was born on April 15, 1955; comedian Seth Rogen was born on this date in 1982 and Emma Watson was born on April 15, 1990.
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  • A 19-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department is accused of assaulting a homeless man who was allegedly shoplifting pants from a Walmart, KNXV reported. >> Read more trending news  Roger Moran, 22, was arrested Dec. 8, and his mugshot shows several cuts and bruises on his face, the television station reported. According to Maricopa County court documents, Moran is accused on three occasions of resisting arrest and trying to assault an officer. The officer, Tim Baiardi, is accused of delivering “23 knee strikes to (the suspect's) face,' KNXV reported. The Phoenix Police Department has recommended Baiardi be charged with aggravated assault, the television station reported. The report, written by a different responding officer, added '(Moran) attempted to escape again and the officer was able to deliver 45 closed fist strikes,' the television station reported. When Moran continued to resist arrest, Baiardi allegedly 'struck (the suspect) about 23 more times with a closed fist,' according to the incident report. Phoenix Police Department officials said they have launched an internal investigation, KNXV reported.
  • A woman driving along a Nevada highway had a scary moment when a ladder bounced off her windshield, KTNV reported. >> Read more trending news  Madi Nelson was driving on U.S. 95 near Las Vegas when a van ran over a ladder on the highway, the television station reported. Video obtained by KTNV shows the ladder going airborne after a van drove over it and bouncing off Nelson’s windshield, cracking it. 'From across the right lane, the ladder kind of rolls and everyone else kind of rolls over it. I was in the far left lane, so I was just able to get over to the emergency lane. I threw my hazards on and I was just trying to figure out what just happened,' Nelson said. 
  • Easter is a day to spend with family and friends.  And if you don’t want to spend that time in the kitchen rushing to get a meal together, plenty of restaurants will be opening their doors Sunday. If you are going to take the day off from cooking and want to relax with family and friends at a local restaurant, here are a few deals that you might want to consider.  Some restaurants require reservations, and some locations may not be open. Call ahead to your local restaurant to make sure they will be open. Here are some restaurants open on Easter: Baskin-Robbins  Bob Evans   Boston Market >>Easter 2019: When is it; what is it; why isn't it on the same date every year? Buca di Beppo   The Capital Grille  Claim Jumper  Cracker Barrel  Eddie V’s Prime Seafood  >>Easter 2019: How to make perfect hard-boiled eggs for Easter egg dyeing Fleming’s  Hometown Buffet   Krispy Kreme    Legal Sea Foods   Maggiano’s Marie Callender’s   McCormick & Schmick’s   Mimi’s Cafe Country Buffet  Ruth’s Chris Ryan’s  >>How did crucifixion kill Jesus? Shoney’s  Waffle House 
  • A woman is accused of assaulting a 70-year-old Houston parking enforcement volunteer who was writing her father -- a double amputee -- a ticket for not having a disabled permit placard, KTRK reported. >> Read more trending news  Jade Williams, 18, was charged with misdemeanor assault for the Tuesday incident, according to the Harris County Pct. 5 Constable's Office.  David Hansen said he was writing a citation when the SUV owner and his daughters confronted him about it, KPRC reported. 'Then she wanted to fight me,' Hansen told KTRK. 'She's walking around going, 'Come on, let's fight.' I kept retreating all the way back to my truck, and when I got to my truck, she, with an open hand, slapped my face and that's when I called 911.'  Williams’ father, Byron Williams, was wearing a prosthetic leg at the time of the incident, KTRK reported. He also lost his arm in a motorcycle accident. 'He started swinging,' Williams told the television station. 'Yes, he pushed my dad and when he pushed my dad, my dad backed up, like my dad was about to fall, and I said, 'Don't put your hands on him.''  In a statement, Houston city officials said they were “very upset to hear about this incident,” KPRC reported. Williams denies she hit Hansen.  'He's trying to make it seem like since I'm young, I assaulted an elderly person,' Williams told KTRK. 'That's not me. I'm a very respectful person.' 
  • Three people, including a 1-year-old boy, were shot early Friday morning at a South Fulton apartment complex, police said.  Officers responded to the triple shooting at the Hickory Park Apartments shortly after midnight, according to South Fulton police spokesman Lt. Derrick Rogers. Investigators at the scene in the 4900 block of Delano Road learned there was an argument about a burglary at one of the apartments inside the complex. “The argument became very heated and at some point, gunfire erupted resulting in the three victims receiving a gunshot wound,” Rogers told Channel 2 Action News in a statement. A stray bullet hit the 1-year-old boy in the leg, according to the news station. He is expected to be OK. The others are stable at a hospital, Lt. Marcus Dennard told Channel 2 from the scene. Their injuries are not considered life-threatening.  “I have no details on suspect(s) at this time and no names of the victims,” Rogers said in the statement.  We’re working to learn more. —Please return to for updates. In other news:
  • Who will sit on the Iron Throne when “Game of Thrones” ends its run later this year? You can -- well, sort of. >> Read more trending news  A student at a Kentucky welding school built a 200-pound replica of the Iron Throne as a wedding gift for his wife, WLKY reported. He is also renting it out, the television station reported. Michael Hayes is a student at the Knight School of Welding in Louisville. He and his instructors spent nearly 110 hours over two months to craft the throne, which includes 400 swords, WLKY reported. The school funded the project, which cost $7,000. The throne is not made of iron or steel, but aluminum, otherwise “it would pretty much stay wherever it sat,' Hayes told the television station. Hayes said he made the throne as a wedding gift for his wife, Kacie Hayes. 'The show is one of the first things my wife and I bonded over,” Michael Hayes told WLKY. “It's a really important thing to us.” >>  Social media reacts to season premiere of ‘Game of Thrones’ The throne was a centerpiece at the Hayes’ wedding, and the couple struck a pose similar to ones by “Game of Thrones” characters Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen. 'Besides the awesome fact that my wife pretty much does look like Daenerys, especially when she's in her get-up,” Michael Hayes told WLKY. “It made it all the more awesome when I could see her sitting in the throne and doing her thing. It's just been awesome.” Hayes said if you want to rent the throne, email him at, WLKY reported.