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Today in History

Today in History

Today is Monday, May 8, the 128th day of 2017. There are 237 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 8, 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced on radio that Nazi Germany’s forces had surrendered, and that “the flags of freedom fly all over Europe.”

On this date:

In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River.

In 1794, Antoine Lavoisier (lah-vwahz-YAY’), the father of modern chemistry, was executed on the guillotine during France’s Reign of Terror.

In 1846, the first major battle of the Mexican-American War was fought at Palo Alto, Texas; U.S. forces led by Gen. Zachary Taylor were able to beat back Mexican forces.

In 1884, the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, was born in Lamar, Missouri.

In 1915, Regret became the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby.

In 1921, Sweden’s Parliament voted to abolish the death penalty.

In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon was shoved, stoned, booed and spat upon by anti-American protesters in Lima, Peru.

In 1962, the musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” opened on Broadway.

In 1973, militant American Indians who’d held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for ten weeks surrendered.

In 1984, the Soviet Union announced it would boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

In 1987, Gary Hart, dogged by questions about his personal life, including his relationship with Miami model Donna Rice, withdrew from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In 1996, South Africa took another step from apartheid to democracy by adopting a constitution that guaranteed equal rights for blacks and whites.

Ten years ago: The Pentagon announced that it had notified more than 35,000 Army soldiers to be prepared to deploy to Iraq beginning in the fall. Bitter enemies from Northern Ireland’s bloody past joined forces atop a new Northern Ireland government.

Five years ago: Six-term veteran Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar lost a bitter Republican primary challenge, his nearly four-decade career in the Senate ended by tea party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who was defeated the following November by Democrat Joe Donnelly. North Carolina voters decided overwhelmingly to strengthen their state’s gay marriage ban. Children’s book author Maurice Sendak, 83, died in Danbury, Connecticut. Former U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach, 90, died in Skillman, New Jersey. Josh Hamilton became the 16th player to hit four home runs in a game, carrying the Texas Rangers to a 10-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

One year ago: London’s newly elected Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, paid respect to the millions of Jews slain in the Holocaust as his first public engagement in office — and received a hero’s welcome from London’s Jewish community at the end. William Schallert, a veteran TV performer and Hollywood union leader who played Patty Duke’s father — and uncle — on television and led a long, contentious strike for actors, died in Pacific Palisades, California at age 93.

Today’s Birthdays: Naturalist Sir David Attenborough is 91. Singer Toni Tennille is 77. Actor James Mitchum is 76. Country singer Jack Blanchard is 75. Jazz musician Keith Jarrett is 72. Actor Mark Blankfield is 69. Singer Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 66. Rock musician Chris Frantz (Talking Heads) is 66. Rockabilly singer Billy Burnette is 64. Rock musician Alex Van Halen is 64. Actor David Keith is 63. Actor Stephen Furst is 63. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is 56. Actress Melissa Gilbert is 53. Rock musician Dave Rowntree (Blur) is 53. Country musician Del Gray is 49. Rock singer Darren Hayes is 45. Singer Enrique Iglesias is 42. Blues singer-musician Joe Bonamassa is 40. Actor Matt Davis is 39. Singer Ana Maria Lombo (Eden’s Crush) is 39. Actor Elyes Gabel is 34. Actor Domhnall Gleeson is 34. Neo-soul drummer Patrick Meese (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats) is 34. Actress Julia Whelan (WAY’-lan) is 33. Actress Nora Anezeder is 28.

Thought for Today: “Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.” — Robert A. Heinlein, American science-fiction writer (born 1907, died this date in 1988).

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