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This Day in U.S. History: April 28


1788 – Maryland becomes the seventh state to ratify the United States Constitution.

1869 – Chinese and Irish laborers for the Central Pacific Railroad working on the First Transcontinental Railroad lay ten miles of track in one day, a feat which has never been matched.

1881 – Billy the Kid escapes from the Lincoln County jail in Mesilla, New Mexico.

1930 – The Independence Producers hosted the first night game in the history of Organized Baseball in Independence, Kansas.

1944 – World War II: Nine German E-boats attacked US and UK units during Exercise Tiger, the rehearsal for the Normandy landings, killing 946.

1945 – Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci are executed by a firing squad consisting of members of the Italian resistance movement.

1948 – Igor Stravinsky conducted the premier of his American ballet, Orpheus, in New York City at New York City Center.

1952 – Dwight D. Eisenhower resigns as Supreme Allied Commander of NATO.

1952 – Occupied Japan by the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers: The United States occupation of Japan ends as the Treaty of San Francisco, ratified September 8, 1951, comes into force.

1965 – United States occupation of the Dominican Republic: American troops land in the Dominican Republic to "forestall establishment of a Communist dictatorship" and to evacuate U.S. Army troops.

1967 – Vietnam War: Boxer Muhammad Ali refuses his induction into the United States Army and is subsequently stripped of his championship and license.

1970 – Vietnam War: U.S. President Richard Nixon formally authorizes American combat troops to fight communist sanctuaries in Cambodia.

1975 – General Cao Văn Viên, chief of the South Vietnamese military, departs for the US as the North Vietnamese Army closed in on victory.

1986 – The United States Navy aircraft carrier USS Enterprise becomes the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to transit the Suez Canal, navigating from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to relieve the USS Coral Sea.

1988 – Near Maui, Hawaii, flight attendant Clarabelle "C.B." Lansing is blown out of Aloha Airlines Flight 243, a Boeing 737, and falls to her death when part of the plane's fuselage rips open in mid-flight.

1994 – Former Central Intelligence Agency counterintelligence officer and analyst Aldrich Ames pleads guilty to giving U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union and later Russia.

1996 – Whitewater controversy: President Bill Clinton gives a 4½ hour videotaped testimony for the defense.


1758 – James Monroe, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 5th President of the United States (d. 1831)

1865 – Charles W. Woodworth, American entomologist and academic (d. 1940)

1878 – Lionel Barrymore, American actor and director (d. 1954)

1926 – Harper Lee, American novelist (d. 2016)

1928 – Eugene Merle Shoemaker, American geologist and astronomer (d. 1997)

1941 – Ann-Margret, Swedish-American actress, singer, and dancer

1949 – Indian Larry, American motorcycle rider and engineer (d. 2004)

1950 – Jay Leno, American comedian, talk show host, and producer

1960 – Elena Kagan, American lawyer and jurist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States


1945 – Benito Mussolini, Italian journalist and politician, 27th Prime Minister of Italy (b. 1883)

1945 – Clara Petacci, Italian mistress of Benito Mussolini (b. 1912)

2002 – Lou Thesz, American wrestler and trainer (b. 1916)

2007 – Tommy Newsom, American saxophonist and bandleader (b. 1929)