Today in History Saturday, May 6, 2017


Today is Saturday, May 6, the 126th day of 2017. There are 239 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 6, 1937, the hydrogen-filled German airship Hindenburg burned and crashed in Lakehurst, New Jersey, killing 35 of the 97 people on board and a Navy crewman on the ground.

On this date:

In 1889, the Paris Exposition formally opened, featuring the just-completed Eiffel Tower.

In 1910, Britain’s Edwardian era ended with the death of King Edward VII; he was succeeded by George V.

In 1935, the Works Progress Administration began operating under an executive order signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1941, Josef Stalin assumed the Soviet premiership, replacing Vyacheslav M. Molotov. Comedian Bob Hope did his first USO show before an audience of servicemen as he broadcast his radio program from March Field in Riverside, California.

In 1942, during World War II, some 15,000 American and Filipino troops on Corregidor surrendered to Japanese forces.

In 1954, medical student Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile during a track meet in Oxford, England, in 3:59.4.

In 1957, Eugene O’Neill’s play “Long Day’s Journey into Night” won the Pulitzer Prize for drama; John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage” won the Pulitzer for biography or autobiography.

In 1960, Britain’s Princess Margaret married Antony Armstrong-Jones, a commoner, at Westminster Abbey. (They divorced in 1978.)

In 1974, West German Chancellor Willy Brandt resigned after one of his aides was exposed as an East German spy.

In 1987, Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart held a news conference in Hanover, New Hampshire, in which he denied ever having an affair with Miami model Donna Rice, but declined to say whether he’d ever committed adultery. CIA Director William J. Casey died at age 74, leaving questions unanswered about his knowledge of the Iran-Contra affair.

In 1992, former Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev delivered a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, where Winston Churchill had spoken of the “Iron Curtain”; Gorbachev said the world was still divided, between North and South, rich and poor. Actress Marlene Dietrich died at her Paris home at age 90.

In 2002, Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn (pihm fohr-TOWN’) was shot and killed in Hilversum, Netherlands. (Volkert van der Graaf was later convicted of killing Fortuyn and was sentenced to 18 years in prison — he was released in May 2014.)

Ten years ago: Conservative Nicolas Sarkozy (sahr-koh-ZEE’) won the French presidency by a comfortable margin over socialist opponent Segolene Royal (seh-goh-LEHN’ roy-AL’).

Five years ago: Vice President Joe Biden told NBC’s “Meet the Press” he was “absolutely comfortable” with gay couples who marry getting the same civil rights and liberties as heterosexual couples. Socialist Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH’ oh-LAWND’) defeated conservative incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy (sahr-koh-ZEE’) to become France’s next president. Greek voters turned against mainline parties that had backed the tough terms of the country’s massive international bailout. Actor George Lindsey, “Goober” on “The Andy Griffith Show,” died in Nashville at age 83.

One year ago: In his first remarks about Donald Trump’s status as the GOP’s presumptive nominee, President Barack Obama urged the media to undertake tougher scrutiny of presidential candidates, saying from the White House, “This is not entertainment; this is not a reality show.” For the second month in a row, the aerospace upstart SpaceX landed a rocket on an ocean platform just off the Florida coast, this time following the successful launch of a Japanese communications satellite. Police in Montgomery County, Maryland, arrested a suspect in a two-day shooting rampage that claimed the lives of three people, including the suspect’s estranged wife.

Today’s Birthdays: Baseball Hall-of-Famer Willie Mays is 86. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., is 83. Rock singer Bob Seger is 72. Singer Jimmie Dale Gilmore is 72. Gospel singer-comedian Lulu Roman is 71. Actor Alan Dale is 70. Actor Ben Masters is 70. Actor Richard Cox is 69. Actor Gregg Henry is 65. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is 64. TV personality Tom Bergeron is 62. Actress Roma Downey is 57. Rock singer John Flansburgh (They Might Be Giants) is 57. Actress Julianne Phillips is 57. Actor-director George Clooney is 56. Actor Clay O’Brien is 56. Rock singer-musician Tony Scalzo (Fastball) is 53. Actress Leslie Hope is 52. Rock musician Mark Bryan (Hootie and the Blowfish) is 50. Rock musician Chris Shiflett (Foo Fighters) is 46. Actress Stacey Oristano is 38. Model/TV personality Tiffany Coyne is 35. Actress Adrianne Palicki is 34. Actress Gabourey Sidibe (GA’-bah-ray SIH’-duh-bay) is 34. Actress-comedian Sasheer Zamata is 31. Actress-singer Naomi Scott is 24. Actor Noah Galvin (TV: “The Real O’Neals”) is 23.

Thought for Today: “No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” — Mary Wollstonecraft, British writer and philosopher (1759-1797).

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