Today in History – Saturday, May 20, 2017


Today is Saturday, May 20, the 140th day of 2017. There are 225 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 20, 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, New York, aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic solo flight to France.

On this date:

In 1506, explorer Christopher Columbus died in Spain.

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, which was intended to encourage settlements west of the Mississippi River by making federal land available for farming.

In 1902, the United States ended a three-year military presence in Cuba as the Republic of Cuba was established under its first elected president, Tomas Estrada Palma.

In 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. (Because of weather and equipment problems, Earhart set down in Northern Ireland instead of her intended destination, France.)

In 1941, during World War II, the Office of Civilian Defense was established.

In 1942, Glenn Miller and His Orchestra recorded “(I’ve Got a Gal in) Kalamazoo” at Victor Studios in Hollywood.

In 1956, the United States exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

In 1957, Frank Sinatra recorded the song “Witchcraft” by Cy Coleman and Carolyn Leigh at Capitol Records in Hollywood.

In 1961, a white mob attacked a busload of Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama, prompting the federal government to send in U.S. marshals to restore order.

In 1970, some 100,000 people demonstrated in New York’s Wall Street district in support of U.S. policy in Vietnam and Cambodia.

In 1989, actress-comedian Gilda Radner died in Los Angeles at age 42.

In 1996, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Romer v. Evans, struck down, 6-3, a Colorado measure banning laws that protected homosexuals from discrimination.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush welcomed NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (yahp duh hohp SKEHF’-ur) to his Crawford, Texas, ranch, to review strategy on a flurry of issues. A gunman took his own life following a rampage in Moscow, Idaho, that killed three victims, including his wife. A pair of investment firms agreed to acquire Alltel Corp. in a deal worth $27.5 billion. (Alltel was later acquired by Verizon Wireless and AT&T.)

Five years ago: A two-day NATO summit hosted by President Barack Obama opened in Chicago. Thousands of protesters marched through downtown Chicago, airing grievances about war, climate change and a wide range of other complaints. Abdel Baset al-Megrahi (AHB’-dehl BAH’-seht AH’-lee ahl-meh-GRAH’-hee), 60, the only man convicted in connection with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, died in Tripoli, Libya. Robin Gibb, 62, who along with his brothers Maurice and Barry, defined the disco era as part of the Bee Gees, died in London.

One year ago: A U.S. Secret Service officer shot a man with a gun who had approached a checkpoint outside the White House and refused to drop his weapon; Jesse Olivieri of Ashland, Pennsylvania, was later sentenced to eight months’ confinement. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (MOH’-shuh YAH’-uh-lohn) announced his resignation, saying the governing party had been taken over by “extremist and dangerous elements” and that he no longer trusted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-author James McEachin is 87. Actor Anthony Zerbe is 81. Actor David Proval is 75. Singer-actress Cher is 71. Actor-comedian Dave Thomas is 69. Rock musician Warren Cann is 67. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, is 66. Former New York Gov. David Paterson is 63. Actor Dean Butler is 61. TV-radio personality Ron Reagan is 59. Rock musician Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Go’s) is 59. Actor Bronson Pinchot is 58. Singer Susan Cowsill is 58. Actor John Billingsley is 57. Actor Tony Goldwyn is 57. Singer Nick Heyward is 56. TV personality Ted Allen is 52. Actress Mindy Cohn is 51. Rock musician Tom Gorman (Belly) is 51. Actress Gina Ravera is 51. Actor Timothy Olyphant is 49. Race car driver Tony Stewart is 46. Rapper Busta Rhymes is 45. Actress Daya Vaidya is 44. Rock musician Ryan Martinie is 42. Actor Matt Czuchry (zoo-KREE’) is 40. Actress Angela Goethals is 40. Actress-singer Naturi Naughton is 33. Country singer Jon Pardi is 32.

Thought for Today: “Intolerance of ambiguity is the mark of an authoritarian personality.” — Theodor W. Adorno, German philosopher (1903-1969).

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.