Today in History
Today is Sunday, May 7, the 127th day of 2017. There are 238 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 7, 1942, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Jonathan Wainwright went on a Manila radio station to announce the Allies’ surrender of the Philippines to Japanese forces during World War II.
On this date:
In 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.
In 1824, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, had its premiere in Vienna.
In 1915, a German U-boat torpedoed and sank the British liner RMS Lusitania off the southern coast of Ireland, killing 1,198 people, including 128 Americans, out of the nearly 2,000 on board.
In 1939, Germany and Italy announced a military and political alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis.
In 1941, Glenn Miller and His Orchestra recorded “Chattanooga Choo Choo” for RCA Victor.
In 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender at Allied headquarters in Rheims (rams), 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 1963, the United States launched the Telstar 2 communications satellite.
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 1977, Seattle Slew won the Kentucky Derby, the first of his Triple Crown victories.
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 1992, the latest addition to America’s space shuttle fleet, Endeavour, went on its first flight. A 203-year-old proposed constitutional amendment barring Congress from giving itself a midterm pay raise received enough votes for ratification as Michigan became the 38th state to approve it.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush welcomed Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II to the White House, drawing laughter when he mistakenly started to say that the queen had previously helped the U.S. celebrate its bicentennial in “17…,” then quickly corrected himself to say “1976.” Six Muslim immigrants from the former Yugoslavia and the Middle East were arrested and accused of plotting to massacre U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey. (Five were later convicted in federal court of conspiring to kill military personnel; the sixth was charged only with gun offenses, and pleaded guilty.) Yahweh Ben Yahweh, a former cult leader in Miami linked to nearly two dozen gruesome killings in the 1980s, died at age 71.
Five years ago: Education Secretary Arne Duncan broke ranks with the White House, stating his unequivocal support for same-sex marriage a day after Vice President Joe Biden said on NBC that he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay couples marrying. (Two days later, President Barack Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage, a position he had previously stopped short of embracing.) Vladimir Putin took the oath of office as Russia’s president for the next six years in a brief but regal Kremlin ceremony.
One year ago: A Tesla Model S sedan that was in self-driving mode crashed into the side of a tractor-trailer in Williston, Florida, killing its occupant, Joshua D. Brown. Convicted drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who twice pulled off brazen jailbreaks, was transferred to a prison in northern Mexico near the Texas border. President Barack Obama told the graduating class at Howard University in Washington, D.C. that the country was “a better place today” than when he left college more than 30 years earlier, but acknowledged that gaps persisted, citing racism and inequality. A single ticket purchased in New Jersey won a Powerball jackpot worth $429.6 million. Nyquist won the Kentucky Derby by 1 1/4 lengths, finishing in 2:01.31.
Today’s Birthdays: Former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., is 85. Rhythm-and-blues singer Thelma Houston is 74. Actress Robin Strasser is 72. Singer-songwriter Bill Danoff is 71. Rock musician Bill Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead) is 71. Rock musician Prairie Prince is 67. Movie writer-director Amy Heckerling is 65. Actor Michael E. Knight is 58. Rock musician Phil Campbell (Motorhead) is 56. Country musician Rick Schell is 54. Rock singer-musician Chris O’Connor (Primitive Radio Gods) is 52. Actress Traci Lords is 49. Actor Morocco Omari (TV: “Empire”) is 47. Singer Eagle-Eye Cherry is 46. Actor Breckin Meyer is 43. Rock musician Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) is 31. Actress-comedian Aidy Bryant is 30. Actor Taylor Abrahamse is 26. Actor Alexander Ludwig is 25. Actress Dylan Gelula is 23.
Thought for Today: “There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience, and that is not learning from experience.” — Archibald MacLeish, American poet and writer (born this date in 1892, died 1982).