Today is Wednesday, May 7, the 127th day of 2014. There are 238 days left in the year.
On May 7, 1789, America’s first inaugural ball was held in New York in honor of President George Washington, who’d taken the oath of office a week earlier. (His wife, Martha, did not attend; she was back in Virginia, attending to family business.)
On this date:
In 1763, Pontiac, chief of the Ottawa Indians, attempted to lead a sneak attack on British-held Fort Detroit, but was foiled because the British had been tipped off in advance.
In 1824, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, had its premiere in Vienna.
In 1889, the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore opened its doors.
In 1915, nearly 1,200 people died when a German torpedo sank the British liner RMS Lusitania off the Irish coast.
In 1928, the minimum voting age for British women was lowered from 30 to 21 — the same age as men.
In 1942, U.S. Army Gen. Jonathan Wainwright went on a Manila radio station to announce the Allied surrender of the Philippines to Japanese forces during World War II.
In 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender at Allied headquarters in Rheims, France, ending its role in World War II.
In 1954, the 55-day Battle of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam ended with Vietnamese insurgents overrunning French forces.
In 1964, Pacific Air Lines Flight 773, a Fairchild F27, crashed near San Ramon, Calif., after a passenger apparently shot both pilots, then himself, killing all 44 people on board.
In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford formally declared an end to the “Vietnam era.” In Ho Chi Minh City — formerly Saigon — the Viet Cong celebrated its takeover.
In 1984, a $180 million out-of-court settlement was announced in the Agent Orange class-action suit brought by Vietnam veterans who charged they’d suffered injury from exposure to the defoliant.
In 1994, Norway’s most famous painting, “The Scream” by Edvard Munch, was recovered almost three months after it had been stolen from an Oslo museum.
Ten years ago: Army Pfc. Lynndie England, shown in photographs smiling and pointing at naked Iraqi prisoners, was charged by the military with assaulting the detainees and conspiring to mistreat them. (England was later convicted of conspiracy, mistreating detainees and committing an indecent act, and sentenced to 36 months; she served half that term.) Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld offered “my deepest apology” to abused Iraqi prisoners and warned that videos and photos yet to come could further inflame worldwide outrage.
Five years ago: A federal jury in Paducah, Ky., convicted a former soldier, Steven Dale Green, of raping and fatally shooting a 14-year-old girl after killing her parents and younger sister while he was serving in Iraq. (Green was sentenced to life without possibility of parole; he hanged himself in prison in February 2014.) Former Illinois police Sgt. Drew Peterson was indicted for murder in the death of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. (Peterson was convicted of murdering Savio, and was sentenced to 38 years in prison.) Mickey Carroll, one of the last surviving Munchkins from the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz,” died in Crestwood, Mo., at 89.
One year ago: President Barack Obama and South Korea’s new leader, Park Geun-hye, met at the White House, where they projected a united front as they warned North Korea against further nuclear provocations. Twenty-four people were killed by a gas tanker-truck explosion on the outskirts of Mexico City. The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 15,000 for the first time, ending the day at 15,056.20, up 87.31 points. Movie special effects wizard Ray Harryhausen, 92, died in London.