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May 8, 2013

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, May 8, the 128th day of 2013. There are 237 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On May 8, 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced on radio that Nazi Germany’s forces had surrendered, and that “the flags of freedom fly all over Europe.”

On this date:

In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River.

In 1794, Antoine Lavoisier, the father of modern chemistry, was executed on the guillotine during France’s Reign of Terror.

In 1884, the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, was born in Lamar, Mo.

In 1886, Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton invented the flavor syrup for Coca-Cola.

In 1921, Sweden’s Parliament voted to abolish the death penalty.

In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon was shoved, stoned, booed and spat upon by anti-American protesters in Lima, Peru.

In 1962, the musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” opened on Broadway.

In 1972, President Richard Nixon announced that he had ordered the mining of Haiphong Harbor during the Vietnam War.

In 1973, militant American Indians who’d held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for ten weeks surrendered.

In 1984, the Soviet Union announced it would boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

In 1988, science-fiction author Robert A. Heinlein died in Carmel, Calif., at age 80.

In 1993, the Muslim-led government of Bosnia-Herzegovina and rebel Bosnian Serbs signed an agreement for a nationwide cease-fire.

Ten years ago: The Senate unanimously endorsed adding to NATO seven former communist nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. A federal grand jury indicted Chinese-born California socialite Katrina Leung on charges that she’d illegally taken, copied and kept secret documents obtained from an FBI agent. (A federal judge later dismissed the case against Leung, rebuking prosecutors for misconduct.) The rear door of a Russian-built cargo plane burst open over Congo, hurling more than 100 Congolese soldiers and their families to their deaths.

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