Today in History

  • Friday, May 24, 2013 2:23pm
  • Life

Today’s highlight:

On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy told Congress: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth.”

On this date:

In 1787, the Constitutional Convention began at the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia after enough delegates had shown up for a quorum.

1810, Argentina began its revolt against Spanish rule with the forming of the Primera Junta in Buenos Aires.

In 1895, playwright Oscar Wilde was convicted of a morals charge in London; he was sentenced to two years in prison.

In 1935, Babe Ruth hit the 714th and final home run of his career, for the Boston Braves, in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In 1942, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Joseph Stilwell, frustrated over being driven out of Burma by Japanese troops during World War II, told reporters in Delhi, India: “I claim we got a hell of a beating.”

In 1946, Transjordan (now Jordan) became a kingdom as it proclaimed its new monarch, Abdullah I.

In 1963, the Organisation of African Unity was founded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (The OAU was disbanded in 2002 in favor of the African Union.)

In 1968, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis was dedicated by Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Interior Secretary Stewart Udall.

In 1979, 273 people died when an American Airlines DC-10 crashed just after takeoff from Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. Six-year-old Etan Patz disappeared while on his way to a school bus stop in lower Manhattan.

In 1981, daredevil Dan Goodwin, wearing a Spiderman costume, scaled the outside of Chicago’s Sears Tower in 7 hours.

In 1986, an estimated 7 million Americans participated in “Hands Across America” to raise money for the nation’s hungry and homeless.

In 1988, the final episode of “St. Elsewhere” aired on NBC-TV.

Ten years ago: In a historic vote cast under intense U.S. pressure, Israel’s government conditionally approved by a narrow margin an internationally backed “road map” to peace. Nestor Kirchner was sworn in as Argentina’s first popularly elected president since the country’s financial meltdown in December 2001. Director Gus Van Sant’s “Elephant,” a disturbing film loosely based on the Columbine school shooting, won top prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Gil de Ferran won the Indianapolis 500.

Five years ago: A tornado tore through Parkersburg, Iowa, killing eight people. NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander arrived to begin searching for water on the Red Planet. Seven crashes and spinouts marred the first Indianapolis 500 since the two warring open-wheel series (CART and IRL) came together under the IndyCar banner; Scott Dixon stayed ahead of the trouble to win the race. The French film “The Class” won top honors at the Cannes Film Festival. J.R. Simplot, Idaho’s billionaire potato king, died in Boise at age 99.

One year ago: The private company SpaceX made history as its Dragon capsule docked with the International Space Station. In Syria, more than 100 people were killed in one day in a cluster of villages in central Homs province; U.N. investigators blamed pro-government gunmen for at least some of the killings, but the Syrian regime denied responsibility and blamed rebels for the deaths.

Associated Press

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