Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 9, 1945, with World War II in Europe at an end, Soviet forces liberated Czechoslovakia from Nazi occupation. U.S. officials announced that a midnight entertainment curfew was being lifted immediately.
On this date:
In 1712, the Carolina Colony was officially divided into two entities: North Carolina and South Carolina.
In 1864, Union Maj. Gen. John Sedgwick was killed by a Confederate sniper during the Civil War Battle of Spotsylvania in Virginia.
In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson, acting on a joint congressional resolution, signed a proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
In 1926, Americans Richard Byrd and Floyd Bennett supposedly became the first men to fly over the North Pole. (However, U.S. scholars announced in 1996 that their examination of Byrd’s flight diary suggested he had turned back 150 miles short of his goal.)
In 1958, “Vertigo,” Alfred Hitchcock’s eerie thriller starring James Stewart and Kim Novak, premiered in San Francisco, the movie’s setting.
In 1961, in a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newton N. Minow decried the majority of television programming as a “vast wasteland.”
In 1962, scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology succeeded in reflecting a laser beam off the surface of the moon.
In 1965, Russian-born American pianist Vladimir Horowitz performed publicly for the first time in 12 years with a recital at Carnegie Hall in New York.
In 1970, President Richard Nixon made a surprise and impromptu pre-dawn visit to the Lincoln Memorial, where he chatted with a group of protesters who’d been resting on the Memorial steps after protests against the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings.
In 1974, the House Judiciary Committee opened public hearings on whether to recommend the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. (The committee ended up adopting three articles of impeachment against the president, who resigned before the full House took up any of them.)
In 1980, 35 people were killed when a freighter rammed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay in Florida, causing a 1,400-foot section of the southbound span to collapse.
In 1994, South Africa’s newly elected parliament chose Nelson Mandela to be the country’s first black president.
Ten years ago: Lena Horne, 92, the enchanting jazz singer known for her signature song, “Stormy Weather,” and for her triumph over bigotry that allowed her to entertain white audiences but not socialize with them, died in New York. Dallas Braden pitched the 19th perfect game in major league history, leading the Oakland Athletics in a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Five years ago: North Korea announced it had successfully test-fired a newly developed ballistic missile from a submarine in the latest display of the country’s advanced military capabilities. Actress Elizabeth Wilson, 94, died in New Haven, Connecticut. Renowned country fiddler Johnny Gimble, 88, died in Dripping Springs, Texas.
One year ago: President Donald Trump said he would nominate Patrick Shanahan to be his second secretary of defense; Shanahan had served as acting secretary since the beginning of the year following the resignation of Jim Mattis. (Shanahan would step down weeks later before his nomination went to the Senate, citing a “painful” family situation.) Trump honored the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox at the White House; all of the team’s white players attended, but nearly a dozen team members, all players of color, skipped the visit, as did manager Alex Cora, who had expressed frustration with the administration’s response to a devastating hurricane in his native Puerto Rico. Pope Francis issued a groundbreaking new church law requiring all Catholic priests and nuns to report clergy sexual abuse and cover-ups by their superiors to church authorities.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-writer Alan Bennett is 86. Actress-turned-politician Glenda Jackson is 84. Producer-director James L. Brooks is 83. Musician Sonny Curtis (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 83. Singer Tommy Roe is 78. Singer-musician Richie Furay (Buffalo Springfield and Poco) is 76. Actress Candice Bergen is 74. Pop singer Clint Holmes is 74. Actor Anthony Higgins is 73. Singer Billy Joel is 71. Blues singer-musician Bob Margolin is 71. Rock singer-musician Tom Petersson (Cheap Trick) is 70. Actress Alley Mills is 69. Actress Amy Hill is 67. Actress Wendy Crewson is 64. Actor John Corbett is 59. Singer Dave Gahan (GAHN) (Depeche Mode) is 58. Actress Sonja Sohn is 56. Rapper Ghostface Killah is 50. Country musician Mike Myerson (Heartland) is 49. Actor Chris Diamantopoulos (dy-uh-MAN’-toh-POO’-lehs) is 45. Rhythm-and-blues singer Tamia (tuh-MEE’-ah) is 45. Rock musician Dan Regan (Reel Big Fish) is 43. Actor Daniel Franzese is 42. Rock singer Pierre Bouvier (Simple Plan) is 41. Actress Rosario Dawson is 41. Rock singer Andrew W.K. is 41. Actress Rachel Boston is 38. TV personality Audrina Patridge is 35. Actress Grace Gummer is 34.
Thought for Today: “Life is a series of collisions with the future; it is not the sum of what we have been, but what we yearn to be.” — Jose Ortega y Gasset, Spanish philosopher (born this date in 1883, died in 1955).