Cecil Whig - - ACCENT -

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.

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