Today in History

  • Monday, May 20, 2013 5:37pm
  • Life

Associated Press

Today’s highlight:

On May 21, 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean as she landed in Northern Ireland, about 15 hours after leaving Newfoundland.

On this date:

In 1471, King Henry VI of England died in the Tower of London at age 49.

In 1542, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto died while searching for gold along the Mississippi River.

In 1863, the Seventh-day Adventist Church was officially organized.

In 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.

In 1892, the opera “Pagliacci,” by Ruggero Leoncavallo, premiered in Milan, Italy.

In 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh landed his Spirit of St. Louis near Paris, completing the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 33½ hours.

In 1941, a German U-boat sank the American merchant steamship SS Robin Moor in the South Atlantic after the ship’s passengers and crew were allowed to board lifeboats.

In 1956, the United States exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

In 1959, the musical “Gypsy,” inspired by the life of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, opened on Broadway with Ethel Merman starring as Mama Rose.

In 1972, Michelangelo’s Pieta, on display at the Vatican, was damaged by a hammer-wielding man who shouted he was Jesus Christ.

In 1982, during the Falklands War, British amphibious forces landed on the beach at San Carlos Bay.

In 1998, teen gunman Kip Kinkel opened fire inside Thurston High School in Springfield, Ore., killing two students, a day after he’d killed his parents. (Kinkel was sentenced to nearly 112 years in prison.) In the wake of deadly protests, Indonesia President Suharto stepped down after 32 years in power.

Ten years ago: Christie Whitman resigned as Environmental Protection Agency administrator. The most devastating earthquake to hit Algeria in two decades killed at least 2,200 people. Ruben Studdard edged Clay Aiken to win the second “American Idol” competition on Fox.

Five years ago: Oil prices blew past $130 a barrel and gas prices climbed above $3.80 a gallon. Israel and Syria unexpectedly announced the resumption of peace talks after an eight-year break. David Cook won “American Idol” in a landslide over David Archuleta.

One year ago: President Barack Obama and other world leaders meeting in Chicago locked in place an Afghanistan exit path that would keep their troops fighting there for two more years. Former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi (dah-ROON’ RAH’-vee), who’d used a webcam to spy on his gay roommate, Tyler Clementi, who then committed suicide, was sentenced to 30 days in jail (he served 20). A Yemeni man detonated a bomb during a rehearsal for a military parade, killing 96 fellow soldiers; al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen claimed responsibility. Grammy-winning polka great Eddie Blazonczyk, 70, died in Palos Heights, Ill.

Today’s Birthdays: Rhythm-and-blues singer Ron Isley (The Isley Brothers) is 72. Rock musician Hilton Valentine (The Animals) is 70. Actor Richard Hatch is 68. Musician Bill Champlin is 66. Singer Leo Sayer is 65. Actress Carol Potter is 65. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is 62. Actor Mr. T is 61. Music producer Stan Lynch is 58. Actor Judge Reinhold is 56. Actor-director Nick Cassavetes is 54. Actor Brent Briscoe is 52. Actress Lisa Edelstein is 47. Actress Fairuza Balk is 39. Rock singer-musician Mikel Jollett (Airborne Toxic Event) is 39. Rapper Havoc (Mobb Deep) is 39. Actress Ashlie Brillault is 26. Actor Scott Leavenworth is 23. Actress Sarah Ramos is 22.

Thought for Today: “Our present addiction to pollsters and forecasters is a symptom of our chronic uncertainty about the future…. We watch our experts read the entrails of statistical tables and graphs the way the ancients watched their soothsayers read the entrails of a chicken.” — Eric Hoffer, American philosopher (1902-1983).

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