updated 4/6/2007 12:06:31 AM ET 2007-04-06T04:06:31

Today is Good Friday, April 6, the 96th day of 2007. There are 269 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 6, 1909, explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew A. Henson became the first men to reach the North Pole. (The claim, disputed by skeptics, was upheld in 1989 by the Navigation Foundation.)

On this date:
In 1830, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized by Joseph Smith in Fayette, N.Y.

In 1862, the Civil War Battle of Shiloh began in Pittsburg Landing, Tenn., as Confederate forces launched a surprise attack against Union troops, who were able to beat back the Confederates the next day.

In 1896, the first modern Olympic games formally opened in Athens, Greece.

In 1917, Congress approved a declaration of war against Germany.

In 1954, four weeks after being criticized by Edward R. Murrow on CBS’ “See It Now,” Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy (R-Wis.) delivered a filmed response in which he charged that Murrow had, in the past, “engaged in propaganda for Communist causes.”

In 1965, the U.S. launched the Intelsat 1, also known as the “Early Bird” communications satellite.

In 1971, Russian-born composer Igor Stravinsky died in New York City.

In 1983, saying rock-and-roll bands attracted “the wrong element,” Interior Secretary James Watt declined to invite the Beach Boys to perform at a Washington Fourth of July celebration — a stand he later reversed.

In 1987, Los Angeles Dodgers executive Al Campanis said on ABC’s “Nightline” that blacks “may not have some of the necessities” to hold managerial jobs in major league baseball (Campanis ended up being fired over his remarks).

In 1992, science fiction author Isaac Asimov died in New York at age 72.

Ten years ago: NASA officials announced they were cutting short the 16-day mission of space shuttle Columbia by 12 days because of a deteriorating and potentially explosive power generator on board the spacecraft. A blizzard shut down much of the northern Plains. Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke died at age 84.

Five years ago: President Bush repeated his call for Israel to “withdraw without delay” from West Bank towns it had occupied since launching an offensive after a string of suicide attacks. Bush also demanded the Palestinians call “an immediate and effective cease-fire.”

One year ago: At the death penalty trial of al-Qaida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani described his own harrowing experience in lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001. U.S. Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-Ga.) apologized for an altercation in which she’d entered a Capitol building unrecognized, refused to stop when asked by a police officer and then hit him.

Today’s Birthdays: Composer-conductor Andre Previn is 78. Actor Ivan Dixon is 76. Country singer Merle Haggard is 70. Actor Billy Dee Williams is 70. Actor Roy Thinnes is 69. Movie director Barry Levinson is 65. Actor John Ratzenberger is 60. Actress Marilu Henner is 55. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Janet Lynn is 54. Actor Michael Rooker is 52. Rock singer-musician Frank Black is 42. Author Vince Flynn is 41. Actress Ari Meyers is 38. Actor Paul Rudd is 38. Actor Jason Hervey is 35. Rock musician Markku Lappalainen (Hoobastank) is 34. Actor Zach Braff is 32. Actress Candace Cameron is 31. Actor Bret Harrison is 25.

Thought for Today: “History is the ship carrying living memories to the future.” — Sir Stephen Spender, British poet and critic (1909-1995).

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