TODAY IN HISTORY


Today is Tuesday, May 5, the 126th day of 2020. There are 240 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 5, 1961, astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. became America’s first space traveler as he made a 15-minute suborbital flight aboard Mercury capsule Freedom 7.

On this date:

In 1494, during his second voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus landed in Jamaica.

In 1865, what’s believed to be America’s first train robbery took place as a band of criminals derailed a St. Louis-bound train near North Bend, Ohio; they proceeded to rob the passengers and loot safes on board before getting away.

In 1925, schoolteacher John T. Scopes was charged in Tennessee with violating a state law that prohibited teaching the theory of evolution. (Scopes was found guilty, but his conviction was later set aside.)

In 1942, wartime sugar rationing began in the United States.

In 1945, in the only fatal attack of its kind during World War II, a Japanese balloon bomb exploded on Gearhart Mountain in Oregon, killing the pregnant wife of a minister and five children. Denmark and the Netherlands were liberated as a German surrender went into effect.

In 1985, President Ronald Reagan kept a controversial promise to West German Chancellor Helmut Kohl by leading a wreath-laying ceremony at the military cemetery in Bitburg.

In 2009, Texas health officials confirmed the first death of a U.S. resident with swine flu.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Pat Carroll is 93. Former AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney is 86. Country singer-musician Roni Stoneman is 82. Actor Michael Murphy is 82. Actor Lance Henriksen is 80. Comedian-actor Michael Palin is 77. Actor John Rhys-Davies is 76. Rock correspondent Kurt Loder is 75. Rock musician Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) is 72. Actress Melinda Culea is 65. Actress Lisa Eilbacher is 63. NBC newsman Brian Williams is 61. Rock musician Shawn Drover (Megadeth) is 54.

Thought for Today: “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” — Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, “father” of America’s nuclear navy (1900-1986).