Today in History 5/2


Today is Wednesday, May 2, the 123rd day of 2012. There are 243 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden, the face of global terrorism and architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was killed in a firefight with elite American forces at his Pakistan compound, then quickly buried at sea in a stunning finale to a furtive decade on the run.

On this date:

• In 1519, artist Leonardo da Vinci died at Cloux, France, at age 67.

• In 1670, the Hudson’s Bay Co. was chartered by England’s King Charles II.

• In 1863, Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was accidentally wounded by his own men at Chancellorsville, Va.; he died eight days later.

• In 1890, the Oklahoma Territory was organized.

• In 1932, Jack Benny’s first radio show, sponsored by Canada Dry, made its debut on the NBC Blue Network.

• In 1936, “Peter and the Wolf,” a symphonic tale for children by Sergei Prokofiev, had its world premiere in Moscow.

• In 1945, the Soviet Union announced the fall of Berlin, and the Allies announced the surrender of Nazi troops in Italy and parts of Austria.

• In 1952, the era of commercial jet passenger service began as a BOAC de Havilland Comet carrying 36 passengers took off on a multi-stop flight from London to Johannesburg, South Africa.

• In 1957, Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., died at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.

• In 1960, Caryl Chessman, who’d become a best-selling author and cause celebre while on death row for kidnapping, rape and robbery, was executed at San Quentin Prison in California.

• In 1972, a fire at the Sunshine silver mine in Kellogg, Idaho, claimed the lives of 91 workers who succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. Longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover died in Washington at age 77.

• In 1982, the Weather Channel made its debut.

Ten years ago:

• Yasser Arafat emerged from his West Bank headquarters, hours after Israeli troops withdrew from his compound and released the Palestinian leader from months of confinement.

• The Rev. Paul Shanley, a priest at the epicenter of the clergy sex abuse scandal, turned himself in to authorities in San Diego to face charges in Massachusetts of raping boys during the 1980s. (Shanley was later convicted of repeatedly raping one boy, and was sentenced to 12 to 15 years in prison.)

Five years ago:

• In a defeat for anti-war Democrats, Congress failed to override President George W. Bush’s veto of legislation requiring the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

• In a speech to construction contractors in Washington, President Bush declared al-Qaida “public enemy no. 1 in Iraq.”

One year ago:

• During a somber ceremony in the White House East Room, President Barack Obama bestowed the Medal of Honor posthumously on two Army privates — Anthony T. Kaho’ohanohano of Pukalani, Hawaii, and Henry Svehla of Belleville, N.J. — who had given their lives in the Korean War.

• Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper won a coveted majority government in Canadian elections while the opposition Liberals and Quebec separatists suffered a shattering defeat.

Today’s Birthdays:

Actor Theodore Bikel is 88. Singer Engelbert Humperdinck is 76. Actress and political activist Bianca Jagger is 67. Country singer R.C. Bannon is 67. Singer Lesley Gore is 66. Actor David Suchet is 66. Singer-songwriter Larry Gatlin is 64. Rock singer Lou Gramm (Foreigner) is 62. Actress Christine Baranski is 60. Singer Angela Bofill is 58. Movie director Stephen Daldry (“The Reader”) is 52. Actress Elizabeth Berridge is 50. Country singer Ty Herndon is 50. Rock musician Todd Sucherman (Styx) is 43. Wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson is 40. Soccer player David Beckham is 37. Actress Jenna Von Oy is 35. Actress Ellie Kemper is 32. Actor Robert Buckley is 31. Actor Gaius Allen is 27. Olympic gold medal figure skater Sarah Hughes is 27. Rock musician Jim Almgren (Carolina Liar) is 26. Actress Kay Panabaker is 22.