Today is Thursday, May 5, the 126th day of 2016. There are 240 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 5, 1866, the town of Waterloo, N.Y., observed a day honoring the fallen soldiers of the Civil War. (Although a proclamation signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966 recognizes this observance as the first Memorial Day, the claim is disputed by other communities who say they were the first to create a holiday commemorating America’s war dead.)
On this date:
In 1821, Napoleon Bonaparte, 51, died in exile on the island of St. Helena.
In 1862, Mexican troops defeated French occupying forces in the Battle of Puebla.
In 1891, New York’s Carnegie Hall (then named “Music Hall”) had its official opening night, featuring Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky as a guest conductor.
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 1936, the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, fell to Italian invaders.
In 1941, Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie returned to Addis Ababa after the Italians were driven out with the help of Allied forces.
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 1955, West Germany became a fully sovereign state. The baseball musical “Damn Yankees” opened on Broadway.
In 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.
In 1973, Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby, the first of his Triple Crown victories.
In 1981, Irish Republican Army hunger-striker Bobby Sands died at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland in his 66th day without food.
In 1994, Singapore caned American teenager Michael Fay for vandalism, a day after the sentence was reduced from six lashes to four in response to an appeal by President Bill Clinton.
Ten years ago: A military transport helicopter crashed in eastern Afghanistan, killing all 10 U.S. soldiers on board. CIA Director Porter Goss resigned in a second-term shake-up of President George W. Bush’s team. British Prime Minister Tony Blair shuffled his Cabinet, replacing Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
Five years ago: Solemnly honoring victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, President Barack Obama hugged survivors at ground zero in New York and declared that the killing of Osama bin Laden was an American message to the world: “When we say we will never forget, we mean what we say.” Pakistan’s army broke its silence over the U.S. commando raid that killed bin Laden, acknowledging its “shortcomings” in finding him but threatening to review cooperation with Washington if there were another similar violation of Pakistani sovereignty. Director, playwright and screenwriter Arthur Laurents (“West Side Story”) died in New York at age 93. Actress Dana Wynter (“Invasion of the Body Snatchers”) died in Ojai, Calif., at age 79.
One year ago: Secretary of State John Kerry made an unannounced trip to Somalia in a show of solidarity with a government trying to defeat al-Qaida-allied militants and end decades of war in the African country; Kerry was the first top U.S. diplomat ever to visit Somalia. President Barack Obama tapped Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., a highly respected combat commander, to be his next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Pat Carroll is 89. Former AFL-CIO president John J. Sweeney is 82. Saxophonist Ace Cannon is 82. Country singer-musician Roni Stoneman is 78. Actor Michael Murphy is 78. Actor Lance Henriksen is 76. Comedian-actor Michael Palin is 73. Actor John Rhys-Davies is 72. Rock correspondent Kurt Loder is 71. Rock musician Bill Ward (Black Sabbath) is 68. Actress Melinda Culea is 61. Actress Lisa Eilbacher is 59. Actor Richard E. Grant is 59. Former broadcast journalist John Miller is 58. Rock singer Ian McCulloch (Echo and the Bunnymen) is 57. NBC newsman Brian Williams is 57. Rock musician Shawn Drover (Megadeth) is 50. TV personality Kyan Douglas is 46. Actress Tina Yothers is 43. Rhythm and blues singer Raheem DeVaughn is 41. Actor Santiago Cabrera is 38. Actor Vincent Kartheiser is 37. Singer Craig David is 35. Actress Danielle Fishel is 35. Actor Henry Cavill is 33. Actor Clark Duke is 31. Soul singer Adele is 28. Rock singer Skye Sweetnam is 28. Rhythm-and-blues singer Chris Brown is 27.
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).