Today is Saturday, May 24, the 144th day of 2014. There are 221 days left in the year.
On May 24, 1844, Samuel F.B. Morse transmitted the message “What hath God wrought” from Washington to Baltimore as he formally opened America’s first telegraph line.
On this date:
In 1775, John Hancock was elected President of the Continental Congress, succeeding Peyton Randolph.
In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge, linking Brooklyn and Manhattan, was dedicated by President Chester Alan Arthur and New York Gov. Grover Cleveland.
In 1889, Germany’s Reichstag passed a mandatory disability and old-age insurance law.
In 1935, the first major league baseball game to be played at night took place at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field as the Reds beat the Philadelphia Phillies, 2-1.
In 1941, the German battleship Bismarck sank the British battle cruiser HMS Hood in the North Atlantic, killing all but three of the 1,418 men on board.
In 1959, former U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles died in Washington, D.C. at age 71.
In 1962, astronaut Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the Earth as he flew aboard Aurora 7.
In 1974, American jazz composer and bandleader Duke Ellington, 75, died in New York.
In 1976, Britain and France opened trans-Atlantic Concorde supersonic transport service to Washington.
In 1989, the action-adventure movie “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” starring Harrison Ford and Sean Connery, was released by Paramount Pictures.
In 1994, four men convicted of bombing New York’s World Trade Center in 1993 were each sentenced to 240 years in prison.
In 2001, 23 people were killed when the floor of a Jerusalem wedding hall collapsed beneath dancing guests, sending them plunging several stories into the basement.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, trying to dispel rising doubts about the Iraq war, declared the United States would stay in Iraq until it was free and democratic and suggested more U.S. soldiers might be needed to stop enemy forces bent on destroying the new government. A federal court in Portland, Oregon, threw out the case brought against Brandon Mayfield, an American lawyer once linked to the Madrid train bombings because of a fingerprint-identification error. Severe storms flooded villages in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, resulting in an estimated 3,000 deaths.
Five years ago: Space shuttle Atlantis and its seven astronauts returned to Earth, ending a 13-day mission to repair and enhance the Hubble Space Telescope. Brazil’s Helio Castroneves became the ninth driver to win the Indianapolis 500 three times.
One year ago: President Barack Obama addressed the sexual assault epidemic staining the military, telling U.S. Naval Academy graduates to remember their honor depended on what they do when nobody is looking and said the crime has “no place in the greatest military on earth.” British fighter jets intercepted a Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 777 carrying more than 300 people from Pakistan and diverted it to an isolated runway at London-Stansted Airport, where two passengers who’d allegedly threatened to destroy the plane were arrested.