Today in History
On May 12, 1949, the Soviet Union lifted the Berlin Blockade, which the Western powers had succeeded in circumventing with their Berlin Airlift.
On this date:
In 1780, during the Revolutionary War, the besieged city of Charleston, South Carolina, surrendered to British forces.
In 1870, an act creating the Canadian province of Manitoba was given royal assent, to take effect in July.
In 1914, author and broadcast journalist Howard K. Smith was born in Ferriday, Louisiana.
In 1922, a 20-ton meteor crashed near Blackstone, Virginia.
In 1932, the body of Charles Lindbergh Jr., the kidnapped son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh, was found in a wooded area near Hopewell, New Jersey.
In 1937, Britain’s King George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey; his wife, Elizabeth, was crowned as queen consort.
In 1943, during World War II, Axis forces in North Africa surrendered. The two-week Trident Conference, headed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, opened in Washington.
In 1958, the United States and Canada signed an agreement to create the North American Air Defense Command (later the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD).
In 1963, Betty Miller became the first woman to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean as she landed her Piper Apache in Brisbane, Australia, having left Oakland, California, on April 30, making three stopovers along the way.
In 1970, the Senate voted unanimously to confirm Harry A. Blackmun as a Supreme Court justice.
In 1982, in Fatima, Portugal, security guards overpowered a Spanish priest armed with a bayonet who attacked Pope John Paul II. (In 2008, the pope’s longtime private secretary revealed that the pontiff was slightly wounded in the assault.)
In 1994, British Labor Party leader John Smith died at age 55.
Ten years ago: Members of Congress expressed outrage after they were privately shown fresh pictures and videos of Iraqi prisoners being abused by U.S. troops. NBC completed a merger with the Universal television and entertainment businesses to create a major media conglomerate.
Five years ago: The government warned that without changes, Social Security would be depleted in 2037, and the Medicare trust fund would become insolvent in 2017. Five Miami men were convicted in a plot to blow up FBI buildings and Chicago’s Sears Tower; one man was acquitted. Suspected Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was deported from the United States to Germany. On the second day of his Holy Land tour, Pope Benedict XVI took his message of peace to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
One year ago: Pope Francis gave the Catholic church new saints, including hundreds of 15th-century martyrs who were beheaded for refusing to convert to Islam, as he led his first canonization ceremony before tens of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square. Nineteen people were wounded when shots rang out during a Mother’s Day parade in New Orleans (nine people have been charged in connection with the case). Serena Williams kept her No. 1 ranking and added career title No. 50 as she beat Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-4 in the final of the Madrid Open.
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