April 22, 1970:
The first Earth Day.
Earth Day, an event to increase public awareness of the world’s environmental problems, is celebrated in the United States for the first time on April 22, 1970. Millions of Americans, including students from thousands of colleges and universities, participated in rallies, marches and educational programs across the country.
Earth Day was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, a staunch environmentalist who hoped to provide unity to the grassroots environmental movement and increase ecological awareness. “The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy,” Senator Nelson said, “and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.”
The 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring—about the effects of pesticides—is often cited as the beginning of the modern environmental movement in the U.S. Sustainability, organic eating and the “back-to-the-land” movement continued to gain steam throughout the 1960s.
The first Earth Day indeed increased environmental awareness in America, and in July of 1970 the Environmental Protection Agency was established by special executive order to regulate and enforce national pollution legislation. Earth Day also led to the the passage of the Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.
On April 22, 1990, the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, more than 200 million people in 141 countries participated in Earth Day celebrations. Senator Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton. (He died in 2005.)
Earth Day has been celebrated on different days by different groups internationally. The United Nations officially celebrates it on the vernal equinox, which usually occurs about March 21. Earth Day 2021—the 51st anniversary—is celebrated on April 22.
April 22, 1945:
Hitler admits defeat.
On April 22, 1945, Adolf Hitler, learning from one of his generals that no German defense was offered to the Russian assault at Eberswalde, admits to all in his underground bunker that the war is lost and that suicide is his only recourse.
Almost as confirmation of Hitler’s assessment, a Soviet mechanized corps reaches Treuenbrietzen, 40 miles southwest of Berlin, liberates a POW camp and releases, among others, Norwegian Commander in Chief Otto Ruge.
April 22, 1957:
John Irving Kennedy plays for Phillies, fully integrating the National League.
On April 22, 1957, John Irvin Kennedy becomes the first African-American player on the Philadelphia Phillies, fully integrating the National League 10 years after Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier. In the eighth inning of a 5-1 loss to the Brooklyn Dodgers at Roosevelt Stadium in Jersey City, N.J., Kennedy enters the game as a pinch-runner.
In 1959, Elijah “Pumpsie” Green was the first Black player on the Boston Red Sox, the last Major League Baseball team to integrate.
After playing in the declining Negro Leagues, Kennedy signed with the Phillies in October 1956 and was invited to spring training in 1957. He received an endorsement from Phillies scout Bill Yancey, who compared Kennedy’s swing to future Hall of Famer Ernie Banks’s and predicted he would become one of baseball’s better hitters.
In spring training, Kennedy sparkled, hitting .333 (second on the team) and making only one error at shortstop. But 10 days before the opener, the Phillies spent $75,000 to acquire Cuban shortstop Chico Fernandez from the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1957, Fernandez played in 149 games for the Phillies. Kennedy, 30, played in only five, getting two at-bats and no hits.
“I would not say they made a huge commitment to the development of John Kennedy,” Chris Threston, author of The Integration of Baseball in Philadelphia, told BillyPenn.Com in 2017. “They just wanted to get it over with.”
Kennedy never made it back to the majors after 1957. “I was up for a few weeks. Some… Negro League players never even got that,” he told the Philadelphia Daily News in 1997.
Kennedy died on April 27, 1998.
April 22, 2004:
Pat Tillman killed by friendly fir in Afghanistan.
Pat Tillman, who gave up his pro football career to enlist in the U.S. Army after the terrorist attacks of September 11, is killed by friendly fire while serving in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. The news that Tillman, age 27, was mistakenly gunned down by his fellow Rangers, rather than enemy forces, was initially covered up by the U.S. military.
Patrick Daniel Tillman was born the oldest of three brothers on November 6, 1976, in San Jose, California. He played linebacker for Arizona State University, where during his senior year he was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. In 1998, Tillman was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals. He became the team’s starting safety as well as one of its most popular players. In 2000, he broke the team record for tackles with 224. In May 2002, Tillman turned down a three-year, multi-million-dollar deal with the Cardinals and instead, prompted by the events of 9/11, joined the Army along with his brother Kevin, a minor-league baseball player. The Tillman brothers were assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Lewis, Washington, and did tours in Iraq in 2003, followed by Afghanistan the next year.
On April 22, 2004, Pat Tillman was killed by gunfire while on patrol in a rugged area of eastern Afghanistan. The Army initially maintained that Tillman and his unit were ambushed by enemy forces. Tillman was praised as a national hero, awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart medals and posthumously promoted to corporal. Weeks later, Tillman’s family learned his death had been accidental. His parents publicly criticized the Army, saying they had been intentionally deceived by military officials who wanted to use their son as a patriotic poster boy. They believed their son’s death was initially covered up by military officials because it could’ve undermined support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A criminal investigation was eventually launched into the case and in 2007 the Army censured retired three-star general Philip Kensinger, who was in charge of special operations at the time of Tillman’s death, for lying to investigators and making other mistakes. “Memorandums of concern” were also sent to several brigadier generals and lower-ranking officers who the Army believed acted improperly in the case.
Taken from: https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history