Today in history

  • Thursday, May 8, 2014 1:37pm
  • Life

Today is Friday, May 9, the 129th day of 2014. There are 236 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson, acting on a joint congressional resolution, signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

On this date:

In 1754, a political cartoon in Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette depicted a snake cut into eight pieces, each section representing a part of the American colonies; the caption read, “JOIN, or DIE.”

In 1814, the Jane Austen novel “Mansfield Park” was first published in London.

In 1864, Union Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick was killed by a Confederate sniper during the Civil War Battle of Spotsylvania in Virginia.

In 1914, country music star Hank Snow was born in Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, Canada.

In 1926, Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett supposedly became the first men to fly over the North Pole. (However, U.S. scholars announced in 1996 that their examination of Byrd’s recently discovered flight diary suggested he had turned back 150 miles short of his goal.)

In 1936, Italy annexed Ethiopia.

In 1945, U.S. officials announced that a midnight entertainment curfew was being lifted immediately.

In 1951, the U.S. conducted its first thermonuclear experiment as part of Operation Greenhouse by detonating a 225-kiloton device on Enewetak Atoll in the Pacific nicknamed “George.”

In 1961, in a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton N. Minow decried the majority of television programming as a “vast wasteland.”

In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee opened public hearings on whether to recommend the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. (The committee ended up adopting three articles of impeachment against the president, who resigned before the full House took up any of them.)

In 1980, 35 people were killed when a freighter rammed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay in Florida, causing a 1,400-foot section of the southbound span to collapse.

In 1994, South Africa’s newly elected parliament chose Nelson Mandela to be the country’s first black president.

Ten years ago: A bomb planted by Caucasus rebels destroyed the VIP section at a stadium during a Victory Day celebration in the Chechen capital of Grozny, killing some two dozen people, including the province’s president, Akhmad Kadyrov. Canada rallied to beat Sweden for the second straight year in the gold-medal game at the world hockey championships, 5-3. Comedian Alan King died in New York at age 76.

Five years ago: The top religious adviser to Jordan’s king thanked visiting Pope Benedict XVI for expressing regret after a 2006 speech that many Muslims deemed insulting to the Prophet Muhammad. Pakistani warplanes pounded the Taliban-held Swat Valley in what the country’s prime minister called a “war of the country’s survival.”

One year ago: Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who had irked Washington with his frequent criticism of U.S. military operations in his country, said his government was ready to let U.S. have nine bases across Afghanistan after the withdrawal of most foreign forces in 2014. A 72-foot-long, high-tech catamaran sailboat capsized in San Francisco Bay while practicing for the America’s Cup races, killing English Olympic gold medalist Andrew “Bart” Simpson. Malcolm Shabazz, 29, grandson of civil rights activist Malcolm X, died in Mexico City of blunt trauma injuries sustained in a bar dispute.

Associated Press

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