Today in History

Today in History

Today is Friday, May 8, the 129th day of 2020. There are 237 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 8, 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced on radio that Nazi Germany’s forces had surrendered, and that “the flags of freedom fly all over Europe.”

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On this date:

In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River.

In 1846, the first major battle of the Mexican-American War was fought at Palo Alto, Texas; U.S. forces led by Gen. Zachary Taylor were able to beat back Mexican forces.

In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon was shoved, stoned, booed and spat upon by anti-American protesters in Lima, Peru.

In 1970, anti-war protests took place across the United States and around the world; in New York, construction workers broke up a demonstration on Wall Street.

In 1973, militant American Indians who had held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for 10 weeks surrendered.

In 1978, David R. Berkowitz pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn courtroom to murder, attempted murder and assault in connection with the “Son of Sam” shootings that claimed six lives and terrified New Yorkers. (Berkowitz was sentenced to six consecutive life prison terms.)

In 1984, the Soviet Union announced it would boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

In 1987, Gary Hart, dogged by questions about his personal life, including his relationship with Miami model Donna Rice, withdrew from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.

In 1993, the Muslim-led government of Bosnia-Herzegovina and rebel Bosnian Serbs signed an agreement for a nationwide cease-fire.

In 1996, South Africa took another step from apartheid to democracy by adopting a constitution that guaranteed equal rights for blacks and whites.

In 2003, the Senate unanimously endorsed adding to NATO seven former communist nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Ten years ago: Republican Sen. Bob Bennett of Utah, targeted by tea party activists and other groups, lost his bid to serve a fourth term after failing to advance past the GOP state convention in Salt Lake City. A coal mine in western Siberia was rocked by the first of two methane explosions that claimed the lives of 90 miners. Actress Betty White hosted NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” as the result of a Facebook campaign.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama visited Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, where he made a pitch for a Trans-Pacific agreement that would open up commerce among the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim countries. A Pakistani army helicopter crashed on its way to an inauguration at a resort in the country’s north, killing four foreigners — ambassadors from the Philippines and Norway, as well as the wives of the ambassadors from Malaysia and Indonesia — and a three-member crew.

One year ago: The House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress, escalating the Democrats’ legal battle with the Trump administration over access to the special counsel’s Russia report. Iran threatened to enrich its uranium stockpile closer to weapons-grade levels in 60 days if world powers failed to negotiate new terms for the 2015 nuclear deal.

Today’s Birthdays: Naturalist Sir David Attenborough is 94. Singer Toni Tennille is 80. Actor James Mitchum is 79. Country singer Jack Blanchard is 78. Jazz musician Keith Jarrett is 75. Actor Mark Blankfield is 72. Singer Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 69. Rock musician Chris Frantz (Talking Heads) is 69. Rockabilly singer Billy Burnette is 67. Rock musician Alex Van Halen is 67. Actor David Keith is 66. Actor Raoul Max Trujillo is 65. Sports commentator/former NFL coach Bill Cowher is 63. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is 59. Actress Melissa Gilbert is 56. Rock musician Dave Rowntree (Blur) is 56. Country musician Del Gray is 52. Rock singer Darren Hayes is 48. Singer Enrique Iglesias is 45. Blues singer-musician Joe Bonamassa is 43. Actor Matt Davis is 42. Singer Ana Maria Lombo (Eden’s Crush) is 42. Actor Elyes Gabel is 37. Actor Domhnall Gleeson is 37. Neo-soul drummer Patrick Meese (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats) is 37. Actress Julia Whelan (WAY’-lan) is 36. Actress Nora Anezeder is 31.

Thought for Today: “What you see is news, what you know is background, what you feel is opinion.” — Lester Markel, American editor (1894-1977).

(Above Advance for Use Friday, May 8)

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