Today In History, May 18
Today is Sunday, May 18, the 138th day of 2014. There are 227 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On May 18, 1944, during World War II, Allied forces finally occupied Monte Cassino in Italy after a four-month struggle with Axis troops.
On this date:
In 1642, the Canadian city of Montreal was founded by French colonists.
In 1765, about one-fourth of Montreal was destroyed by a fire.
In 1896, the Supreme Court, in Plessy v. Ferguson, endorsed "separate but equal" racial segregation, a concept renounced 58 years later in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.
In 1910, Halley's Comet passed by earth, brushing it with its tail.
In 1926, evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson vanished while visiting a beach in Venice, California. (McPherson reappeared more than a month later, saying she'd escaped after being kidnapped and held for ransom.)
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure creating the Tennessee Valley Authority.
In 1934, Congress approved, and President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed, the so-called "Lindbergh Act," providing for the death penalty in cases of interstate kidnapping.
In 1953, Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier as she piloted a Canadair F-86 Sabre jet over Rogers Dry Lake, California.
In 1969, astronauts Eugene A. Cernan, Thomas P. Stafford and John W. Young blasted off aboard Apollo 10 on a mission to orbit the moon.
In 1974, India conducted its first nuclear test explosion.
In 1980, the Mount St. Helens volcano in Washington state exploded, leaving 57 people dead or missing.
In 1994, Israeli troops completed their withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as Palestinian authorities took over.
Ten years ago: Former New York City fire commissioner Thomas Von Essen and former police chief Bernard Kerik, lionized after the 9/11 attack, came under harsh criticism from some members of the September 11 commission who said there'd been an initial lack of cooperation between their departments. Stunning supporters, Sonia Gandhi announced she would "humbly decline" to be the next prime minister of India. Randy Johnson, at age 40, became the oldest pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game; the lefty retired all 27 batters to lead the Arizona Diamondbacks over the Atlanta Braves 2-0.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama told Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu during a White House meeting he needed to stop Jewish settlements and should grasp a "historic opportunity" to make peace with the Palestinians. Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi went on trial, charged with violating conditions of her yearslong detention by sheltering an American man, John Yettaw, who'd swum to her lakeside home. (Suu Kyi was convicted and sentenced to three years of hard labor; the sentence was later commuted to 18 months of house arrest. Yettaw was sentenced to seven years in prison but released on humanitarian grounds.) Spacewalking astronauts completed repairs to the Hubble Space Telescope.
One year ago: A car driven by an 87-year-old man plowed into dozens of hikers during a parade in Damascus, Virginia, injuring about 50 people. French President Francois Hollande signed a law authorizing same-sex marriages and adoption by gay couples. Oxbow, ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, led from start to finish to win the Preakness; Kentucky Derby winner Orb came in third.
Today's Birthdays: Actor Bill Macy is 92. Hall-of-Fame sportscaster Jack Whitaker is 90. Actor Robert Morse is 83. Actor Dwayne Hickman is 80. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Brooks Robinson is 77. Bluegrass singer-musician Rodney Dillard (The Dillards) is 72. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Reggie Jackson is 68. Actress Candice Azzara is 67. Country singer Joe Bonsall (The Oak Ridge Boys) is 66. Rock musician Rick Wakeman (Yes) is 65. Actor James Stephens is 63. Country singer George Strait is 62. Rhythm-and-blues singer Butch Tavares (Tavares) is 61. Actor Chow Yun-Fat is 59. Rock singer-musician Page Hamilton is 54. Contemporary Christian musician Barry Graul (MercyMe) is 53. Contemporary Christian singer Michael Tait is 48. Singer-actress Martika is 45. Comedian-writer Tina Fey is 44. Rapper Special Ed is 40. Rock singer Jack Johnson is 39. Country singer David Nail is 35. Rhythm-and-blues singer Darryl Allen (Mista) is 34. Actor Matt Long is 34. Actor Allen Leech (TV: "Downton Abbey") is 33. Christian-rock musician Kevin Huguley (Rush of Fools) is 32. Christian singer Francesca Battistelli is 29. Actor Spencer Breslin is 22.
Thought for Today: "People find life entirely too time-consuming." - Stanislaw J. Lec, Polish writer (1909-1966).