Today in History 5/1

Today is Tuesday, May 1, the 122nd day of 2012. There are 244 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 1, 1982, the World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tenn., was opened by President Ronald Reagan. The fair’s theme: “Energy Turns the World.” (The six-month exposition’s last day was October 31.)

On this date:

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

• 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 1931, New York’s 102-story Empire State Building was dedicated.

• 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 1962, the first Target discount store opened in Roseville, Minn.

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

• 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?”

Today’s Birthdays:

Former astronaut Scott Carpenter is 87. Country singer Sonny James is 83. Singer Judy Collins is 73. Singer Rita Coolidge is 67. Pop singer Nick Fortuna (The Buckinghams) is 66. Hall of Fame jockey Steve Cauthen is 52. Actress Maia Morgenstern is 50. Actor Charlie Schlatter is 46. Country singer Tim McGraw is 45. Rock musician Johnny Colt is 44. Rock musician D’Arcy is 44. Movie director Wes Anderson is 43. Actress Julie Benz is 40. Country singer Cory Morrow is 40. Gospel/rhythm-and-blues singer Tina Campbell (Mary Mary) is 38.