Today in History
Today is Sunday, May 12, the 132nd day of 2019. There are 233 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlights in History:
On May 12, 1949, the Soviet Union lifted the Berlin Blockade, which the Western powers had succeeded in circumventing with their Berlin Airlift.
On this date:
In 1780, during the Revolutionary War, the besieged city of Charleston, South Carolina, surrendered to British forces.
In 1932, the body of Charles Lindbergh Jr., the 20-month-old kidnapped son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh, was found in a wooded area near Hopewell, New Jersey.
In 1937, Britain’s King George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey; his wife, Elizabeth, was crowned as queen consort.
In 1943, during World War II, Axis forces in North Africa surrendered. The two-week Trident Conference, headed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, opened in Washington.
In 1955, Manhattan’s last elevated rail line, the Third Avenue El, ceased operation.
In 1958, the United States and Canada signed an agreement to create the North American Air Defense Command (later the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD).
In 1978, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that hurricanes would no longer be given only female names.
In 1982, in Fatima, Portugal, security guards overpowered a Spanish priest armed with a bayonet who attacked Pope John Paul II. (In 2008, the pope’s longtime private secretary revealed that the pontiff was slightly wounded in the assault.)
In 2002, Jimmy Carter arrived in Cuba, becoming the first U.S. president in or out of office to visit since the 1959 revolution that put Fidel Castro in power.
In 2003, the Texas House ground to a standstill after 51 Democratic lawmakers left the state in a dispute over a Republican congressional redistricting plan. (The Democrats returned four days later from Oklahoma, having succeeded in killing the bill.)
In 2008, a devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake in China’s Sichuan province left more than 87,000 people dead or missing.
In 2017, dozens of countries were hit with a huge cyberextortion attack that locked up computers and held users’ files for ransom at a multitude of hospitals, companies and government agencies.
Ten years ago: Five Miami men were convicted in a plot to blow up FBI buildings and Chicago’s Sears Tower; one man was acquitted. Suspected Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was deported from the United States to Germany. On the second day of his Holy Land tour, Pope Benedict XVI took his message of peace to the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
Five years ago: Scientists expressed concern during a NASA news conference over a pair of studies which said the huge West Antarctic ice sheet was starting a glacially slow collapse in an unstoppable way, a melt that could eventually add 4 to 12 feet to current sea levels.
One year ago: North Korea said it would dismantle its nuclear test site later in the month, in what analysts described as a mostly symbolic event that wouldn’t represent a material step toward denuclearization. Iraq held its first elections since the collapse of the Islamic State group; there was a record-low turnout for balloting that saw the political coalition of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr win the most seats in parliament without capturing a majority.
Today’s Birthdays: Critic John Simon is 94. Composer Burt Bacharach is 91. Actress Millie Perkins is 83. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jayotis Washington is 78. Country singer Billy Swan is 77. Actress Linda Dano is 76. Actress Lindsay Crouse is 71. Singer-musician Steve Winwood is 71. Actor Gabriel Byrne is 69. Actor Bruce Boxleitner is 69. Singer Billy Squier is 69. Blues singer-musician Guy Davis is 67. Country singer Kix Brooks is 64. Actress Kim Greist is 61. Rock musician Eric Singer (KISS) is 61. Actor Ving Rhames is 60. Rock musician Billy Duffy is 58. Actor Emilio Estevez is 57. Actress April Grace is 57. Actress Vanessa A. Williams is 56. TV personality/chef Carla Hall is 55. Country musician Eddie Kilgallon is 54. Actor Stephen Baldwin is 53. Actor Scott Schwartz is 51. Actress Kim Fields is 50. Actress Samantha Mathis is 49. Actress Jamie Luner is 48. Actor Christian Campbell is 47. Actress Rhea Seehorn is 47. Actor Mackenzie Astin is 46. Country musician Matt Mangano (The Zac Brown Band) is 43. Actress Rebecca Herbst is 42. Actress Malin Akerman is 41. Actor Jason Biggs is 41. Actor Rami Malek (RAH’-mee MA’-lihk) is 38. Actress-singer Clare Bowen is 35. Actress Emily VanCamp is 33. Actor Malcolm David Kelley is 27. Actor Sullivan Sweeten is 24.
Thought for Today: “We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers — but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.” — Katharine Hepburn, American actress (born this date in 1907, died 2003).