Today in History

AP News
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Posted: May 09, 2015 12:00 AM

Today is Saturday, May 9, the 129th day of 2015. There are 236 days left in the year.

Today's Highlights in History:

On May 9, 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.

On this date:

In 1754, a political cartoon in Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette depicted a snake cut into eight pieces, each section representing a part of the American colonies; the caption read, "JOIN, or DIE."

In 1814, the Jane Austen novel "Mansfield Park" was first published in London.

In 1864, Union Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick was killed by a Confederate sniper during the Civil War Battle of Spotsylvania in Virginia.

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 recently discovered flight diary suggested he had turned back 150 miles short of his goal.)

In 1936, Italy annexed Ethiopia.

In 1951, the U.S. conducted its first thermonuclear experiment as part of Operation Greenhouse by detonating a 225-kiloton device on Enewetak Atoll in the Pacific nicknamed "George."

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 1965, Russian-born American pianist Vladimir Horowitz performed publicly for the first time in 12 years with a recital at Carnegie Hall in New York.

In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee opened public hearings on whether to recommend the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. (The committee ended up adopting three articles of impeachment against the president, who resigned before the full House took up any of them.)

In 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.

In 1994, South Africa's newly elected parliament chose Nelson Mandela to be the country's first black president.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany with a lavish military parade in Moscow. President Bush then traveled to the republic of Georgia, the first American chief executive to visit. Actress Renee Zellweger married country music star Kenny Chesney on the Caribbean island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands (however, the marriage was annulled just months later). The news and opinion website The Huffington Post was launched.

Five years ago: Lena Horne, 92, the enchanting jazz singer known for her signature song, "Stormy Weather," and for her triumph over bigotry that allowed her to entertain white audiences but not socialize with them, died in New York. Dallas Braden pitched the 19th perfect game in major league history, leading the Oakland Athletics in a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

One year 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.

Today's Birthdays: Actor-writer Alan Bennett is 81. Rock musician Nokie Edwards (The Ventures) is 80. Actor Albert Finney is 79. Actress-turned-politician Glenda Jackson is 79. Producer-director James L. Brooks is 78. Musician Sonny Curtis (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 78. Singer Tommy Roe is 73. Singer-musician Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield and Poco) is 71. Actress Candice Bergen is 69. Pop singer Clint Holmes is 69. Actor Anthony Higgins is 68. Singer Billy Joel is 66. Blues singer-musician Bob Margolin is 66. Rock singer-musician Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick) is 65. Actress Alley Mills is 64. Actress Amy Hill is 62. Actress Wendy Crewson is 59. Actor John Corbett is 54. Singer Dave Gahan (GAHN) (Depeche Mode) is 53. Actress Sonja Sohn is 51. Rapper Ghostface Killah is 45. Country musician Mike Myerson (Heartland) is 44. Actor Chris Diamantopoulos (dy-uh-MAN'-toh-POO'-lehs) is 40. Rhythm-and-blues singer Tamia (tuh-MEE'-ah) is 40. Rock musician Dan Regan (Reel Big Fish) is 38. Rock singer Pierre Bouvier (Simple Plan) is 36. Actress Rosario Dawson is 36. Rock singer Andrew W.K. is 36. Actress Rachel Boston is 33. TV personality Audrina Patridge is 30. Actress Grace Gummer (TV: "American Horror Story") is 29.

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).

(Above Advance for Use Saturday, May 9)

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