April 9

On this day. 1865: Word reached Washington that the South had surrendered, bringing the Civil War to a close. The Civil War remains by far the bloodiest war in U.S. history: 620,000 Americans were killed — 2 percent of the entire U.S. population in just four years. The surrender at Appomattox by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant brought relief to President Lincoln — who would live for only a few more days.

On this day. 1962: President Kennedy threw out the first pitch at the season opener for the Washington Senators. The new ballpark – "DC Stadium" – would be renamed RFK Stadium after the 1968 murder of JFK's brother, Robert F. Kennedy. JFK's ceremonial first pitch continued a tradition begun by President William Howard Taft in 1910. In 1950, Harry Truman dazzled the crowd by tossing two pitches – one right handed, the other left-handed.

Quote of the day

"It is only when the people become ignorant and corrupt, when they degenerate into a populace, that they are incapable of exercising their sovereignty." -James Monroe

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