The Olympic Games got a reboot on April 6, 1896. Previously a long-lost tradition of ancient Greece, the first modern Olympics in Athens welcomed athletes from 13 nations to the international competition. Participants competed in 43 events, including swimming, gymnastics, cycling, wrestling, weightlifting, fencing, shooting and tennis. All the competitors were men, and a few of the entrants were tourists who stumbled upon the games and were allowed to sign up.
However, today is also remembered for less celebratory reasons. On April 6, 1917, the United States formally entered the Great War. When World War I erupted in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson pledged neutrality, a position favored by many Americans. However, public opinion began to turn against Germany starting with when the British-owned ocean liner Lusitania was torpedoed without warning, killing Americans on board.
This week also marks the passing of several notable names. On April 7, 2012, broadcast journalist Mike Wallace, a full-time correspondent for “60 Minutes” from its debut in 1968 until 2006, died at age 93. Also on April 7, but in 1947, auto pioneer Henry Ford died at at the age of 83. And on April 8, 2013, Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister, died at age 87.