Today’s Highlight in History:
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 1506, explorer Christopher Columbus died in Spain.
In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, which was intended to encourage settlements west of the Mississippi River by making federal land available for farming.
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 1948, Chiang Kai-shek (chang ky-shehk) was inaugurated as the first president of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
In 1956, the United States exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.
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 1978, Japan’s Narita International Airport began operations after years of protests over its construction by local residents.
In 1985, Radio Marti, operated by the U.S. government, began broadcasting; Cuba responded by attempting to jam its signal.
In 1993, the series finale of Cheers aired. Began in 1982, ran 11 seasons & 270 episodes.
In 1995, President Bill Clinton announced that the two-block stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House would be permanently closed to motor vehicles as a security measure.
In 2009, suspended NFL star Michael Vick was released after 19 months in prison for running a dogfighting ring to begin two months’ home confinement.
In 2015, four of the world’s biggest banks — JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup’s banking unit Citicorp, Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland — agreed to pay more than $5 billion in penalties and plead guilty to rigging the currency markets.
Ten years ago: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the idea of using his country’s 1967 boundaries as the basis for a neighboring Palestinian state, declaring his objections during a face-to-face meeting with President Barack Obama, who had raised the idea in an effort to revive stalled Mideast peace talks. Randy “Macho Man” Savage, 58, a larger-than-life personality from professional wrestling’s 1980s heyday, died in Pinellas County, Florida.
Five years ago: A U.S. Secret Service officer shot a man with a gun who had approached a checkpoint outside the White House and refused to drop his weapon; Jesse Olivieri of Ashland, Pennsylvania, was later sentenced to eight months’ confinement.
One year ago: President Donald Trump threatened to hold up federal funds for two election battleground states (Michigan and Nevada) that were making it easier to vote by mail during the pandemic. Police ticketed seven people for cutting hair during a protest against coronavirus restrictions outside the Michigan Capitol, where about a dozen barbers and hair stylists defied stay-at-home orders to give free haircuts. Apple and Google released smartphone technology that could notify people if they might have been exposed to the coronavirus. Former Green Beret Michael Taylor and his son Peter were arrested in Massachusetts on charges that they had smuggled Nissan Chairman Carlos Ghosn from Japan to Lebanon in a box as he faced financial misconduct charges. (The Taylors were extradited to Japan in March 2021.) Government figures showed that U.S. births continued to fall in 2019, leading to the lowest number of newborns in 35 years.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-author James McEachin is 91. Actor Anthony Zerbe is 85. Actor David Proval is 79.
Singer-actor Cher is 75. Actor-comedian Dave Thomas is 73. Rock musician Warren Cann is 71. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, is 70. Former New York Gov. David Paterson is 67. Delaware Gov. John Carney is 65. Actor Dean Butler is 65. TV-radio personality Ron Reagan is 63. Rock musician Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Go’s) is 63. Actor Bronson Pinchot is 62. Singer Susan Cowsill is 62. Actor John Billingsley is 61. Actor Tony Goldwyn is 61. Singer Nick Heyward is 60. TV personality Ted Allen is 56. Actor Mindy Cohn is 55. Rock musician Tom Gorman (Belly) is 55. Actor Gina Ravera is 55. Actor Timothy Olyphant is 53. Former race car driver Tony Stewart is 50. Rapper Busta Rhymes is 49. Actor Daya Vaidya is 48. Actor Matt Czuchry (zoo-KREE’) is 44. Actor Angela Goethals is 44. Actor-singer Naturi Naughton is 37. Country singer Jon Pardi is 36.