On May 20, 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York, aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic solo flight to France.
On this date:
In 1521, Ignatius of Loyola was wounded by a cannonball while defending Pamplona against the French; during his convalescence he turned to religion, becoming a leader of the Counter-Reformation and the founder of the Jesuits.
In 1873, Levi Strauss and tailor Jacob Davis received a U.S. patent for men’s work pants made with copper rivets.
In 1899, taxi driver Jacob German was pulled over and arrested by a police officer riding a bicycle for speeding down Manhattan’s Lexington Avenue in his electric car at 12 miles an hour at a time when the speed limit was 8 mph; it was the first recorded speeding arrest in U.S. history.
In 1915, Israeli soldier-statesman Moshe Dayan was born at Deganya Alef Kibbutz.
In 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. (Because of weather and equipment problems, Earhart set down in Northern Ireland instead of her intended destination, France.)
In 1939, regular trans-Atlantic mail service began as a Pan American Airways plane, the Yankee Clipper, took off from Port Washington, New York, bound for Marseille, France.
In 1948, Chiang Kai-shek was inaugurated as the first president of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
In 1959, nearly 5,000 Japanese-Americans had their U.S. citizenships restored after choosing to renounce them during World War II.
In 1961, a white mob attacked a busload of Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Alabama, prompting the federal government to send in U.S. marshals to restore order.
In 1985, Radio Marti, operated by the U.S. government, began broadcasting; Cuba responded by attempting to jam its signal.
In 1993, an estimated 93 million people tuned in for the final first-run episode of the sitcom “Cheers” on NBC.
In 1998, the government unveiled the design for the new $20 bill, featuring a larger and slightly off-center portrait of Andrew Jackson.
Ten years ago: In a rare, bipartisan defeat for President Barack Obama, the Senate voted overwhelmingly, 90-6, to keep the prison at Guantanamo Bay open for the foreseeable future and forbid the transfer of any detainees to facilities in the United States. A commission published a damning report on decades of rapes, humiliation and beatings at Catholic Church-run reform schools in Ireland. Suspended NFL star Michael Vick was released after 19 months in prison for running a dogfighting ring to begin two months’ home confinement. An Indonesian C-130 Hercules military plane carrying troops and their families crashed in East Java province, killing 99 people. Kris Allen won the eighth season of “American Idol,” defeating fellow finalist Adam Lambert.
Five years ago: In Kentucky’s primary, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell dispatched his tea party challenger, Matt Bevin, with ease; Democrats chose Alison Lundergan Grimes to oppose McConnell in the fall (McConnell went on to win). Pennsylvania’s ban on gay marriage was overturned by a federal judge. A group of retired professional football players filed suit against the NFL, accusing the league of cynically supplying them with powerful painkillers and other drugs that kept them in the game but led to serious complications later in life. Two car bombs hit a busy bus terminal and a market in the central Nigerian city of Jos, killing at least 118 people.
One year ago: Venezuelan officials declared socialist leader Nicolas Maduro the easy winner of the country’s presidential election; his leading challenger questioned the legitimacy of a vote marred by irregularities.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-author James McEachin is 89. Actor Anthony Zerbe is 83. Actor David Proval is 77. Singer-actress Cher is 73. Actor-comedian Dave Thomas is 71. Rock musician Warren Cann is 69. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, is 68. Former New York Gov. David Paterson is 65. Delaware Gov. John Carney is 63. Actor Dean Butler is 63. TV-radio personality Ron Reagan is 61. Rock musician Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Go’s) is 61. Actor Bronson Pinchot is 60. Singer Susan Cowsill is 60. Actor John Billingsley is 59. Actor Tony Goldwyn is 59. Singer Nick Heyward is 58. TV personality Ted Allen is 54. Actress Mindy Cohn is 53. Rock musician Tom Gorman (Belly) is 53. Actress Gina Ravera is 53. Actor Timothy Olyphant is 51. Former race car driver Tony Stewart is 48. Rapper Busta Rhymes is 47. Actress Daya Vaidya is 46. Rock musician Ryan Martinie is 44. Actor Matt Czuchry is 42. Actress Angela Goethals is 42. Actress-singer Naturi Naughton is 35. Country singer Jon Pardi is 34.
Thought for Today: “If you want to make peace, you don’t talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.” — Moshe Dayan (1915-1981).