Today in History

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Today is Tuesday, May 15, the 135th day of 2018. There are 230 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 15, 1968, two days of tornado outbreaks began in 10 Midwestern and Southern states; twisters were blamed for 72 deaths, including 45 in Arkansas and 18 in Iowa.

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On this date:

In 1567, Mary, Queen of Scots, married her third husband, James Hepburn, the Earl of Bothwell, who had been implicated in (but acquitted of) the death of Mary’s second husband, Lord Darnley.

In 1776, Virginia authorized its delegation to the Continental Congress to support independence from Britain.

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act establishing the Department of Agriculture.

In 1918, U.S. airmail began service between Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York.

In 1928, the Walt Disney cartoon character Mickey Mouse made his debut in the silent animated short “Plane Crazy.”

In 1930, registered nurse Ellen Church, the first airline stewardess, went on duty aboard an Oakland-to-Chicago flight operated by Boeing Air Transport, a forerunner of United Airlines.

In 1948, hours after declaring its independence, the new state of Israel was attacked by Transjordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon received a hero’s welcome from President Dwight D. Eisenhower and other well-wishers on his return to Washington from a violence-marred tour of Latin America. The MGM movie musical “Gigi,” starring Leslie Caron as a young French courtesan-in-training, was released.

In 1972, Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot and left paralyzed while campaigning for president in Laurel, Maryland, by Arthur H. Bremer, who served 35 years for attempted murder.

In 1975, U.S. forces invaded the Cambodian island of Koh Tang and captured the American merchant ship Mayaguez, which had been seized by the Khmer Rouge. (All 39 crew members had already been released safely by Cambodia; some 40 U.S. servicemen were killed in connection with the operation.)

In 1988, the Soviet Union began the process of withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, more than eight years after Soviet forces entered the country.

In 1998, hundreds of looters died inside a burning shopping mall in rioting that laid smoking waste to Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, addressing the Israeli Knesset, gently urged Mideast leaders to “make the hard choices necessary for peace” and condemned what he called “the false comfort of appeasement.” California’s Supreme Court declared same-sex couples in the state could marry — a victory for the gay rights movement that was overturned the following November by the passage of Proposition 8, which was ultimately struck down by the courts. Emmy-winning composer Alexander “Sandy” Courage, who created the otherworldly theme for the original “Star Trek” TV series, died in Pacific Palisades, California, at age 88.

Five years ago: Under mounting pressure, President Barack Obama released a trove of documents related to the Benghazi attack and forced out the top official at the Internal Revenue Service following revelations the agency had targeted conservative political groups.

One year ago: The United States accused Syria of executing thousands of imprisoned political opponents and burning their bodies in a crematorium to hide the evidence. The Supreme Court shut the door on North Carolina Republicans’ effort to revive a state law that mandated voter identification and scaled back early voting, provisions that a lower court said improperly targeted minority voters.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress-singer Anna Maria Alberghetti is 82. Counterculture icon Wavy Gravy is 82. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is 81. Singer Trini Lopez is 81. Singer Lenny Welch is 80. Actress-singer Lainie Kazan is 76. Actress Gunilla Hutton is 76. Country singer K.T. Oslin is 76. Actor Chazz Palminteri is 72.Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is 70. Singer-songwriter Brian Eno is 70. Actor Nicholas Hammond (Film: “The Sound of Music”) is 68. Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett is 65. Musician-composer Mike Oldfield is 65. Actor Lee Horsley is 63. TV personality Giselle Fernandez is 57. Actress Brenda Bakke is 55. Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith is 49. Actor Brad Rowe is 48. Actor David Charvet (shahr-VAY’) is 46. Actor Russell Hornsby is 44. Rock musician Ahmet Zappa is 44. Olympic gold medal gymnast Amy Chow is 40. Actor David Krumholtz is 40. Rock musician David Hartley (The War on Drugs) is 38. Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler is 37. Actress Alexandra Breckenridge is 36. Rock musician Brad Shultz (Cage the Elephant) is 36. Rock musician Nick Perri is 34. Tennis player Andy Murray is 31.