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Today in history: April 3

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Monday, April 3, the 93rd day of 2006. There are 272 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 3, 1860, the legendary Pony Express began service between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California.

On this date:
In 1865, Union forces occupied the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia.

In 1882, outlaw Jesse James was shot to death in St. Joseph, Missouri, by Robert Ford, a member of James’ gang.

In 1936, Bruno Hauptmann was electrocuted in Trenton, New Jersey, for the kidnap-murder of the Lindbergh child.

In 1946, Lieutenant General Masaharu Homma, the Japanese commander responsible for the Bataan Death March, was executed outside Manila.

In 1948, President Truman signed the Marshall Plan, which allocated more than $5 billion in aid for 16 European countries.

In 1968, the day before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior delivered his famous “mountaintop” speech to a rally of striking sanitation workers.

In 1968, North Vietnam agreed to meet with U.S. representatives to set up preliminary peace talks.

In 1974, deadly tornadoes struck wide parts of the South and Midwest before jumping across the border into Canada; more than 300 fatalities resulted.

In 1979, Jane M. Byrne was elected mayor of Chicago, defeating Republican Wallace D. Johnson.

In 1991, English novelist Graham Greene died at age 86.

Ten years ago: An Air Force jetliner carrying Commerce Secretary Ron Brown and American business executives crashed in Croatia, killing all 35 people aboard. Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski was arrested. Former Cleveland Mayor Carl Stokes, the first black elected mayor of a major U.S. city, died at age 68.

Five years ago: President Bush warned China it risked damaging relations with the United States unless it quickly released the American crew of a damaged Navy spy plane. (The plane had made an emergency landing in China after colliding with a Chinese fighter.)

One year ago: A day after the death of Pope John Paul II, the body of the pontiff lay in state. Millions prayed and wept at services across the globe, as the Vatican prepared for the ritual-filled funeral and conclave that would choose a successor.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress-singer Doris Day is 82. Actress Miyoshi Umeki is 77. Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is 76. Jazz musician Jimmy McGriff is 70. Actor William Gaunt is 69. Actor Eric Braeden is 65. Actress Marsha Mason is 64. Singer Wayne Newton is 64. Singer Billy Joe Royal is 64. Singer Tony Orlando is 62. Comedy writer Pat Proft is 59. Singer Richard Thompson is 57. Country musician Curtis Stone (Highway 101) is 56. Rock musician Mick Mars (Motley Crue) is 50. Actor Alec Baldwin is 48. Actor David Hyde Pierce is 47. Comedian-actor Eddie Murphy is 45. Rock singer-musician Mike Ness (Social Distortion) is 44. Rock singer Sebastian Bach is 38. Rock musician James MacDonough is 36. Actress Jennie Garth is 34. Actress Cobie Smulders is 24. Actress Amanda Bynes is 20.

Thought for Today: “Our firmest convictions are apt to be the most suspect, they mark our limitations and our bounds. Life is a petty thing unless it is moved by the indomitable urge to extend its boundaries.” — Jose Ortega y Gasset, Spanish philosopher (1883-1955).