Today in History


Today in History

Today is Monday, May 15, the 135th day of 2017. There are 230 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On May 15, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, whose members came to be known as WACs. Wartime gasoline rationing went into effect in 17 Eastern states, limiting sales to three gallons a week for non-essential vehicles.

On this date:

In 1776, Virginia authorized its delegation to the Continental Congress to support independence from Britain.

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act establishing the Department of Agriculture.

In 1911, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil Co. was a monopoly in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and ordered its breakup.

In 1930, registered nurse Ellen Church, the first airline stewardess, went on duty aboard an Oakland-to-Chicago flight operated by Boeing Air Transport (a forerunner of United Airlines).

In 1955, the United States, the Soviet Union, Britain and France signed the Austrian State Treaty, which re-established Austria’s independence.

In 1963, astronaut L. Gordon Cooper blasted off aboard Faith 7 on the final mission of the Project Mercury space program.

In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court, in its unanimous In re Gault decision, ruled that juveniles accused of crimes were entitled to the same due process afforded adults. American realist painter Edward Hopper died in New York at age 84.

In 1970, just after midnight, Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, two black students at Jackson State College in Mississippi, were killed as police opened fire during student protests.

In 1972, Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot and left paralyzed by Arthur H. Bremer while campaigning for president in Laurel, Maryland. (Bremer served 35 years for attempted murder.)

In 1975, U.S. forces invaded the Cambodian island of Koh Tang and captured the American merchant ship Mayaguez, which had been seized by the Khmer Rouge. (All 39 crew members had already been released safely by Cambodia; some 40 U.S. servicemen were killed in connection with the operation.)

In 1988, the Soviet Union began the process of withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, more than eight years after Soviet forces entered the country.

In 1991, Edith Cresson was appointed by French President Francois Mitterrand (frahn-SWAH’ mee-teh-RAHN’) to be France’s first female prime minister.

Ten years ago: The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who built the Christian right into a political force, died in Lynchburg, Virginia, at age 73. Yolanda King, the firstborn child of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, died in Santa Monica, California, at age 51. President George W. Bush chose Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute to oversee the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan as a war czar. Taoiseach (TEE’-shuk) Bertie Ahern became the first Irish leader to address the joint houses of the British Parliament. Kenny Chesney collected his third consecutive entertainer of the year trophy from the Academy of Country Music.

Five years ago: Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH’ oh-LAWND’) became president of France after a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in central Paris; he was the country’s first Socialist leader since Francois Mitterrand (frahn-SWAH’ mee-teh-RAHN’) left office in 1995. In Bogota, Colombia, a midday bombing killed two bodyguards of an archconservative former interior minister, Fernando Londono, who was injured. Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving was named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.

One year ago: President Barack Obama urged graduates at Rutgers University to shun those who wanted to confront a rapidly changing world by building walls around the United States or by embracing ignorance, as he delivered a sharp and barely concealed critique of Donald Trump. A suicide bomber detonated explosives among policemen standing in line outside a police base in the southern Yemeni city of Mukalla, killing 25. “60 Minutes” said goodbye to Morley Safer, honoring the newsman who had been a fixture at the CBS newsmagazine for all but two of its 48 years (Safer died four days later at age 84).

Today’s Birthdays: Actress-singer Anna Maria Alberghetti is 81. Counterculture icon Wavy Gravy is 81. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is 80. Singer Trini Lopez is 80. Singer Lenny Welch is 79. Actress-singer Lainie Kazan is 75. Actress Gunilla Hutton is 75. Country singer K.T. Oslin is 75. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is 69. Singer-songwriter Brian Eno is 69. Actor Nicholas Hammond (Film: “The Sound of Music”) is 67. Actor Chazz Palminteri is 65. Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett is 64. Musician-composer Mike Oldfield is 64. Actor Lee Horsley is 62. TV personality Giselle Fernandez is 56. Actress Brenda Bakke is 54. Football Hall-of-Famer Emmitt Smith is 48. Actor Brad Rowe is 47. Actor David Charvet (shahr-VAY’) is 45. Actor Russell Hornsby is 43. Rock musician Ahmet Zappa is 43. Olympic gold-medal gymnast Amy Chow is 39. Actor David Krumholtz is 39. Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler is 36. Actress Alexandra Breckenridge is 35. Rock musician Brad Shultz (Cage the Elephant) is 35. Rock musician Nick Perri is 33. Tennis player Andy Murray is 30.

Thought for Today: “Vice is most dangerous when it puts on the garb of virtue.” — Danish proverb.

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