Today in History
Today is Thursday, May 9, the 129th day of 2019. There are 236 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 9, 1980, 35 people were killed when a freighter rammed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay in Florida, causing a 1,400-foot section of the southbound span to collapse.
On this date:
In 1712, the Carolina Colony was officially divided into two entities: North Carolina and South Carolina.
In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson, acting on a joint congressional resolution, signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
In 1926, Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett supposedly became the first men to fly over the North Pole. (However, U.S. scholars announced in 1996 that their examination of Byrd’s flight diary suggested he had turned back 150 miles short of his goal.)
In 1945, with World War II in Europe at an end, Soviet forces liberated Czechoslovakia from Nazi occupation. U.S. officials announced that a midnight entertainment curfew was being lifted immediately.
In 1958, “Vertigo,” Alfred Hitchcock’s eerie thriller starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, premiered in San Francisco, the movie’s setting.
In 1961, in a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton N. Minow decried the majority of television programming as a “vast wasteland.”
In 1962, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology succeeded in reflecting a laser beam off the surface of the moon.
In 1970, President Richard Nixon made a surprise and impromptu pre-dawn visit to the Lincoln Memorial, where he chatted with a group of protesters who’d been resting on the Memorial steps after protests against the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings.
In 1994, South Africa’s newly elected parliament chose Nelson Mandela to be the country’s first black president.
In 2008, jury selection began in the Chicago trial of R&B superstar R. Kelly, accused of videotaping himself having sex with a girl as young as 13. (Kelly was later acquitted on all counts.)
In 2012, President Barack Obama declared his unequivocal support for same-sex marriage in a historic announcement that came three days after Vice President Joe Biden spoke in favor of such unions on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
In 2017, President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey, ousting the nation’s top law enforcement official in the midst of an FBI investigation into whether Trump’s campaign had ties to Russia’s meddling in the election that sent him to the White House.
Ten years ago: The top religious adviser to Jordan’s king thanked visiting Pope Benedict XVI for expressing regret after a 2006 speech that many Muslims deemed insulting to the Prophet Muhammad. Pakistani warplanes pounded the Taliban-held Swat Valley in what the country’s prime minister called a “war of the country’s survival.”
Five years ago: Russian President Vladimir Putin made his first trip to Crimea since its annexation, calling it “historic justice” during a Victory Day display of military pomp and patriotism. A judge struck down Arkansas’ ban on same-sex marriage, saying the state had “no rational reason” for preventing gay couples from marrying.
One year ago: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in North Korea to finalize plans for a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Three Americans who had spent more than a year in prison in North Korea were freed during his visit and left North Korea aboard Pompeo’s plane.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-writer Alan Bennett is 85. Actress-turned-politician Glenda Jackson is 83. Producer-director James L. Brooks is 82. Musician Sonny Curtis (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 82. Singer Tommy Roe is 77. Singer-musician Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield and Poco) is 75. Actress Candice Bergen is 73. Pop singer Clint Holmes is 73. Actor Anthony Higgins is 72. Singer Billy Joel is 70. Blues singer-musician Bob Margolin is 70. Rock singer-musician Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick) is 69. Actress Alley Mills is 68. Actress Amy Hill is 66. Actress Wendy Crewson is 63. Actor John Corbett is 58. Singer Dave Gahan (GAHN) (Depeche Mode) is 57. Actress Sonja Sohn is 55. Rapper Ghostface Killah is 49. Country musician Mike Myerson (Heartland) is 48. Actor Chris Diamantopoulos (dy-uh-MAN’-toh-POO’-lehs) is 44. Rhythm-and-blues singer Tamia (tuh-MEE’-ah) is 44. Rock musician Dan Regan (Reel Big Fish) is 42. Actor Daniel Franzese is 41. Rock singer Pierre Bouvier (Simple Plan) is 40. Actress Rosario Dawson is 40. Rock singer Andrew W.K. is 40. Figure skater Angela Nikodinov is 39. Actress Rachel Boston is 37. TV personality Audrina Patridge is 34. Actress Grace Gummer is 33.
Thought for Today: “Television has changed the American child from an irresistible force into an immovable object.” — Laurence J. Peter, Canadian-born educator (1919-1990).