Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 7, 1789, America’s first inaugural ball was held in New York in honor of President George Washington, who had taken the oath of office a week earlier.
On this date:
In 1889, the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore opened its doors.
In 1915, a German U-boat torpedoed and sank the British liner RMS Lusitania off the southern coast of Ireland, killing 1,198 people, including 128 Americans, out of the nearly 2,000 on board.
In 1928, the minimum voting age for British women was lowered from 30 to 21 — the same age as men.
In 1939, Germany and Italy announced a military and political alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis.
In 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender at Allied headquarters in Rheims (rams), France, ending its role in World War II.
In 1946, Sony Corp. had its beginnings as the Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corp. was founded in the Japanese capital by Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka.
In 1954, the 55-day Battle of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam ended with Vietnamese insurgents overrunning French forces.
In 1963, the United States launched the Telstar 2 communications satellite.
In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford formally declared an end to the “Vietnam era.” In Ho Chi Minh City — formerly Saigon — the Viet Cong celebrated its takeover.
In 1992, the latest addition to America’s space shuttle fleet, Endeavour, went on its first flight.
In 1998, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz agreed to buy Chrysler Corp. for more than $37 billion. Londoners voted overwhelmingly to elect their own mayor for the first time in history. (In May 2000, Ken Livingstone was elected.)
In 2004, Army Pfc. Lynndie England, shown in photographs smiling and pointing at naked Iraqi prisoners, was charged by the military with assaulting the detainees and conspiring to mistreat them. (England was later convicted of conspiracy, mistreating detainees and committing an indecent act, and sentenced to 36 months; she served half that term.)
Ten years ago: A BP-chartered vessel lowered a 100-ton concrete-and-steel vault onto the ruptured Deepwater Horizon well in an unprecedented, and ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to stop most of the gushing crude fouling the sea. Before a record hockey crowd of 77,803, the United States lost to host Germany 2-1 in the opening game of the world ice hockey championships. Dave Fisher, lead singer of the 1960s folk group the Highwaymen, died in Rye, New York, at age 69.
Five years ago: After years of sharing power, British Prime Minister David Cameron pulled off an unexpected election triumph that gave the Conservative leader a second term with an outright parliamentary majority. A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of millions of Americans’ phone records was illegal. Alex Rodriguez passed Willie Mays for fourth on the career home run list, connecting for No. 661 and helping the New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-3.
One year ago: Two gunmen opened fire inside a charter school in a Denver suburb not far from Columbine High School, killing a student, 18-year-old Kendrick Castillo, who authorities said had charged at the shooters to protect classmates; two students at the school were charged in the attack. (A 16-year-old, Alec McKinney, pleaded guilty to 17 felonies and awaits sentencing; 19-year-old Devon Erickson pleaded not guilty to the same charges.) FBI Director Chris Wray told a Senate panel that he had no evidence that the FBI had illegally monitored President Donald Trump’s campaign during the 2016 election. Two Reuters journalists who’d been imprisoned in Myanmar for reporting on the military’s abuses of Rohingya Muslims were freed in a mass presidential pardon. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law one of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws, a measure that banned the procedure once a fetal heartbeat is detected. (A federal judge later blocked the law from taking effect.)
Today’s Birthdays: Rhythm-and-blues singer Thelma Houston is 77. Actress Robin Strasser is 75. Singer-songwriter Bill Danoff is 74. Rock musician Bill Kreutzmann (Grateful Dead) is 74. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is 73. Rock musician Prairie Prince is 70. Movie writer-director Amy Heckerling is 68. Actor Michael E. Knight is 61. Rock musician Phil Campbell (Motorhead) is 59. Country musician Rick Schell is 57. Rock singer-musician Chris O’Connor (Primitive Radio Gods) is 55. Actress Traci Lords is 52. Actor Morocco Omari is 50. Singer Eagle-Eye Cherry is 49. Actor Breckin Meyer is 46. Rock musician Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) is 34. Actress-comedian Aidy Bryant is 33. Actor Taylor Abrahamse is 29. Actor Alexander Ludwig is 28. Actress Dylan Gelula is 26.
Thought for Today: “There are those who believe something, and therefore will tolerate nothing; and on the other hand, those who tolerate everything, because they believe nothing.” — Robert Browning, English poet (born this date in 1812; died in 1889).