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Today in History

Today in History

Today is Sunday, May 21, the 141st day of 2017. There are 224 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 21, 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh landed his Spirit of St. Louis monoplane near Paris, completing the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 33 1/2 hours.

On this date:

In 1542, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto died while searching for gold along the Mississippi River.

In 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.

In 1892, the opera “Pagliacci,” by Ruggero Leoncavallo, premiered in Milan, Italy.

In 1917, the Great Atlanta Fire broke out, burning 300 acres, destroying nearly 2,000 buildings and displacing some 10,000 residents. Actor Raymond Burr (“Perry Mason”) was born in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada.

In 1924, in a case that drew much notoriety, 14-year-old Bobby Franks was murdered in a “thrill killing” carried out by University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb (Bobby’s cousin).

In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean as she landed in Northern Ireland, about 15 hours after leaving Newfoundland.

In 1941, a German U-boat sank the American merchant steamship SS Robin Moor in the South Atlantic after the ship’s passengers and crew were allowed to board lifeboats.

In 1945, actors Humphrey Bogart, 45, and Lauren Bacall, 20, were married at Malabar Farm in Lucas, Ohio (it was his fourth marriage, her first, and would last until Bogart’s death in 1957).

In 1955, Chuck Berry recorded his first single, “Maybellene,” for Chess Records in Chicago.

In 1972, Michelangelo’s Pieta, on display at the Vatican, was damaged by a hammer-wielding man who shouted he was Jesus Christ.

In 1982, during the Falklands War, British amphibious forces landed on the beach at San Carlos Bay.

In 1991, former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during national elections by a suicide bomber.

Ten years ago: The Supreme Court ruled that parents didn’t need to hire a lawyer in order to sue public school districts over their children’s special education needs. The Food and Drug Administration issued a safety alert for the diabetes drug Avandia, marketed by GlaxoSmithKline, which disputed a report saying it was linked to a greater risk of heart attack.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama and other world leaders meeting in Chicago locked in place an Afghanistan exit path that would keep their troops fighting there for two more years. Former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi (dah-ROON’ RAH’-vee), who used a webcam to spy on his gay roommate, Tyler Clementi, who then committed suicide, was sentenced to 30 days in jail (he served 20 days). A Yemeni man detonated a bomb during a rehearsal for a military parade, killing 96 fellow soldiers; al-Qaida’s branch in Yemen claimed responsibility. Grammy-winning polka great Eddie Blazonczyk, 70, died in Palos Heights, Illinois.

One year ago: President Barack Obama departed on a weeklong, 16,000-mile trip to Asia, part of his effort to pay more attention to the region and boost economic and security cooperation. The U.S. conducted a drone strike in Afghanistan that killed Taliban leader Mullah Mansour. Exaggerator seized the lead at the top of the stretch, splashing past a tiring Nyquist and went on for a 3 1/2-length victory over Cherry Wine in the Preakness.

Today’s Birthdays: Rhythm-and-blues singer Ron Isley (The Isley Brothers) is 76. Rock musician Hilton Valentine (The Animals) is 74. Musician Bill Champlin is 70. Singer Leo Sayer is 69. Actress Carol Potter is 69. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is 66. Actor Mr. T is 65. Music producer Stan Lynch is 62. Actor Judge Reinhold is 60. Actor-director Nick Cassavetes is 58. Actor Brent Briscoe is 56. Actress Lisa Edelstein is 51. Actress Fairuza Balk is 43. Rock singer-musician Mikel Jollett (Airborne Toxic Event) is 43. Rapper Havoc (Mobb Deep) is 43. Actor Sunkrish Bala is 33. Actor David Ajala is 31. Actress Ashlie Brillault is 30. Country singer Cody Johnson is 30. Actor Scott Leavenworth is 27. Actress Sarah Ramos is 26.

Thought for Today: “Our present addiction to pollsters and forecasters is a symptom of our chronic uncertainty about the future…. We watch our experts read the entrails of statistical tables and graphs the way the ancients watched their soothsayers read the entrails of a chicken.” — Eric Hoffer, American philosopher (1902-1983).

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