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Today in History — April 9

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

Today is Monday, April 9, the 99th day of 2007. There are 266 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On April 9, 1865, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered his army to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.

On this date:

In 1682, French explorer Robert de La Salle claimed the Mississippi River Basin for France.

In 1939, singer Marian Anderson performed a concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington after she was denied the use of Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

In 1940, during World War II, Germany invaded Denmark and Norway.

In 1942, American and Philippine defenders on Bataan capitulated to Japanese forces; the surrender was followed by the notorious “Bataan Death March” which claimed nearly 10,000 lives.

In 1947, a series of tornadoes in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas claimed 181 lives.

In 1959, NASA announced the selection of America’s first seven astronauts: Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard and Donald Slayton.

In 1963, British statesman Winston Churchill was made an honorary U.S. citizen.

In 1965, the newly built Astrodome in Houston featured its first baseball game, an exhibition between the Astros and the New York Yankees. (The Astros won, 2-1, in 12 innings.)

In 1996, in a dramatic shift of purse-string power, President Clinton signed a line-item veto bill into law. (However, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the veto in 1998.)

In 2005, Britain’s Prince Charles married longtime love Camilla Parker Bowles, who took the title Duchess of Cornwall.

Ten years ago: The CIA apologized to Gulf War veterans for failing to do a better job in supplying information to U.S. troops who blew up an Iraqi bunker later found to contain chemical weapons. Social Security officials pulled the plug on an Internet site that provided individual earnings and retirement benefit records amid privacy concerns.

Five years ago: Former Arthur Andersen auditor David B. Duncan pleaded guilty in federal court in Houston to ordering the shredding of Enron Corp. documents, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. (However, Duncan later withdrew his plea.) Palestinian militants killed 13 Israeli soldiers during intense fighting in a refugee camp in Jenin, West Bank. Britain said goodbye to the Queen Mother Elizabeth with a funeral at Westminster Abbey. Figure skater Michelle Kwan won the 2001 Sullivan Award as the nation’s top amateur athlete.

One year ago: The White House sought to dampen the idea of a military strike on Iran, saying the United States was conducting “normal defense and intelligence planning” in response to Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. More than half a million people in 10 states rallied for immigrant rights. Phil Mickelson won his second Masters tournament.

Today’s Birthdays: Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner is 81. Naturalist Jim Fowler is 75. Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo is 74. Actress Michael Learned is 68. Country singer Margo Smith is 65. Country singer Hal Ketchum is 54. Actor Dennis Quaid is 53. Humorist Jimmy Tingle is 52. Golfer Severiano Ballesteros is 50. Country musician Dave Innis (Restless Heart) is 48. Actress-sports reporter Lisa Guerrero is 43. Actress-model Paulina Porizkova is 42. Actress Cynthia Nixon is 41. Rock singer Kevin Martin (Candlebox) is 38. Actress Keshia Knight Pulliam is 28. Rock musician Albert Hammond Jr. (The Strokes) is 27. Actor Ryan Northcott is 27. Actor-singer Jesse McCartney is 20. Actress Kristen Stewart is 17. Actress Elle Fanning is 9.

Thought for Today: “I always felt that the great high privilege, relief and comfort of friendship was that one had to explain nothing.” — Katherine Mansfield, New Zealander author (1888-1923)