Today is Tuesday, May 8, the 129th day of 2012. 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 (lah-vwahz-YAY’), 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 1961, New York’s recently created National League baseball team announced that it would be known as the Mets.
• In 1962, the musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” opened on Broadway.
• In 1972, President Richard M. 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 1987, Gary Hart, dogged by questions about his personal life, including his relationship with Miami model Donna Rice, withdrew from the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Ten years ago:
• FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate Judiciary Committee an FBI memo from Phoenix warning that several Arabs were suspiciously training at a U.S. aviation school wouldn’t have led officials to the Sept. 11 hijackers even if they’d followed up the warning with more vigor.
• Eleven French engineers, their Pakistani driver and a passer-by were killed in a suicide bombing in Karachi.
Five years ago:
• The Pentagon announced that it had notified more than 35,000 Army soldiers to be prepared to deploy to Iraq beginning in the fall.
• Bitter enemies from Northern Ireland’s bloody past joined forces atop a new Northern Ireland government.
One year ago:
• Relations between Egypt’s Muslims and Christians reached a new low after overnight riots left 12 people dead and a church burned.
• Fox television announced that Paula Abdul would be one of the judges on “The X Factor,” reuniting her with former “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell (however, Abdul’s stint did not last beyond the premiere season of the new talent show).
Comedian Don Rickles is 86. Naturalist Sir David Attenborough is 86. Singer Toni Tennille is 72. Actor James Mitchum is 71. Country singer Jack Blanchard is 70. Jazz musician Keith Jarrett is 67. Singer Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 61. Rock musician Chris Frantz (Talking Heads) is 61. Rockabilly singer Billy Burnette is 59. Rock musician Alex Van Halen is 59. Actor David Keith is 58. Actor Stephen Furst is 58. Actress Melissa Gilbert is 48. Rock musician Dave Rowntree (Blur) is 48. Country musician Del Gray is 44. Rock singer Darren Hayes is 40. Singer Enrique Iglesias is 37. Actor Matt Davis is 34. Singer Ana Maria Lombo (Eden’s Crush) is 34. Actress Julia Whelan is 28.