GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

May 1, 2013

Today in History

The Associated Press
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Today is Wednesday, May 1, the 121st day of 2013. There are 244 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On May 1, 1963, James W. Whittaker became the first American to conquer Mount Everest as he and Sherpa guide Nawang Gombu reached the summit.

On this date:

In 1707, the Kingdom of Great Britain was created as a treaty merging England and Scotland took effect.

In 1786, Mozart’s opera “The Marriage of Figaro” premiered in Vienna.

In 1898, Commodore George Dewey gave the command, “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley,” as an American naval force destroyed a Spanish squadron in Manila Bay during the Spanish-American War.

In 1911, the song “I Want a Girl (Just Like the Girl That Married Dear Old Dad),” by Harry Von Tilzer and Will Dillon, was first published.

In 1931, New York’s 102-story Empire State Building was dedicated. Singer Kate Smith made her debut on CBS Radio on her 24th birthday.

In 1941, the Orson Welles motion picture “Citizen Kane” premiered in New York.

In 1960, the Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance plane over Sverdlovsk and captured its pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

In 1961, the first U.S. airline hijacking took place as Antulio Ramirez Ortiz, a Miami electrician, commandeered a National Airlines plane that was en route to Key West, Fla., and forced the pilot to fly to Cuba.

In 1963, the Coca-Cola Co. began marketing TaB, its first low-calorie beverage.

In 1971, the intercity passenger rail service Amtrak went into operation.

In 1982, the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tenn., was opened by President Ronald Reagan.

In 1992, on the third day of the Los Angeles riots, a visibly shaken Rodney King appeared in public to appeal for calm, pleading, “Can we all get along?”

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, co-piloting an S-3B Viking, landed on the deck of the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln off the Southern California coast; standing below a banner strung across the ship’s bridge proclaiming “Mission Accomplished,” Bush declared that major combat in Iraq was over, but also said “difficult work” remained ahead. A magnitude 6.4 earthquake killed 177 people in Turkey.

Five years ago: Three dozen people were killed in a double suicide bombing during a wedding procession in Balad Ruz, Iraq. A military jury at Fort Hood, Texas, acquitted Army Sgt. Leonard Trevino of premeditated murder in the death of an unarmed Iraqi insurgent. A U.S. missile strike in central Somalia killed the reputed leader of al-Qaida in Somalia. President George W. Bush imposed new sanctions against property owned or controlled by the military junta in Myanmar. Deborah Jeane Palfrey, 52, the so-called “D.C. Madam” convicted of running a prostitution ring, hanged herself in Tarpon Springs, Fla. Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager, believed to be the last surviving member of the inner circle of plotters who attempted to kill Adolf Hitler, died in Altenahr, Germany, at age 90.

One year ago: In a swift and secretive trip to the Afghan war zone, President Barack Obama signed an agreement vowing long-term ties with Afghanistan after America’s combat forces returned home. Hundreds of activists across the U.S. joined worldwide May Day protests, with Occupy Wall Street members in several cities leading demonstrations and in some cases clashing with police.

Today’s birthdays: Former astronaut Scott Carpenter is 88. Country singer Sonny James is 84. Singer Judy Collins is 74. Actor Stephen Macht is 71. Singer Rita Coolidge is 68. Pop singer Nick Fortuna (The Buckinghams) is 67. Actor-director Douglas Barr is 64. Actor Dann Florek is 62. Singer-songwriter Ray Parker Jr. is 59. Hall of Fame jockey Steve Cauthen is 53. Actress Maia Morgenstern is 51. Country singer Wayne Hancock is 48. Actor Charlie Schlatter is 47. Country singer Tim McGraw is 46. Rock musicians Johnny Colt and D’Arcy are 45. Movie director Wes Anderson is 44. Actress Julie Benz, actor Bailey Chase and country singer Cory Morrow are 41. Singer Tina Campbell (Mary Mary) is 39. Actor Darius McCrary is 37. Actress Kerry Bishe (Film: “Argo”) is 29.

Thought for today: “He who is swift to believe is swift to forget.”

— Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, Polish-born scholar (1907-1972).