Today in History April 12

President Franklin Roosevelt dies; The American Civil War begins with the attack on Ft. Sumter; Yuri Gagarin is the first man to fly in space; Space Shuttle Columbia lifts off on its first mission; Late night TV host David Letterman born. (April 12)

Video Transcript


MIKE GRACIA: April 12, 1945. President Franklin Roosevelt dies of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia, at age 63.

FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT: Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

MIKE GRACIA: Roosevelt, who led America through the Great Depression and most of World War II, served a record 12 years in office. Vice President Harry Truman succeeds Roosevelt in the White House.

1861. Start of the American Civil War. Confederate forces fire on the Union garrison at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina. Fighting between the North and South lasts four years with more than half a million deaths.

1961. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man to fly in space, orbiting the Earth once before making a safe landing.

1981. America's first space shuttle, named Columbia, blasts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on its maiden flight. More than two decades later, Columbia meets a tragic end. It disintegrates on reentry, killing its seven-passenger crew.

And 1947.

DAVID LETTERMAN: My name is Dave Letterman. I am the host of "The Late Show," America's most successful C-student.

MIKE GRACIA: David Letterman, the late night TV talk show host, is born in Indianapolis. Today in history, April 12. Mike Gracia, the Associated Press.