Today In History, May 21


UPDATED: Wednesday May 21, 2014 3:48 AM

Today is Wednesday, May 21, the 141st day of 2014. There are 224 days left in the year.
    
Today's Highlight in History:
    
On May 21, 1924, in a case that drew much notoriety, 14-year-old Bobby Franks was murdered in a "thrill killing" carried out by University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb (Bobby's cousin). Both men received life sentences; Loeb was killed by a fellow prison inmate in 1936 while Leopold was paroled in 1958, dying in 1971.
    
On this date:
    
In 1471, King Henry VI of England died in the Tower of London at age 49.
    
In 1542, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto died while searching for gold along the Mississippi River.
    
In 1881, Clara Barton founded the American Red Cross.
    
In 1892, the opera "Pagliacci," by Ruggero Leoncavallo, premiered in Milan, Italy.
    
In 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh landed his Spirit of St. Louis near Paris, completing the first solo airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 33 1/2 hours.
    
In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean as she landed in Northern Ireland, about 15 hours after leaving Newfoundland.
    
In 1941, a German U-boat sank the American merchant steamship SS Robin Moor in the South Atlantic after the ship's passengers and crew were allowed to board lifeboats.
    
In 1956, the United States exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.
    
In 1959, the musical "Gypsy," inspired by the life of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, opened on Broadway with Ethel Merman starring as Mama Rose.
    
In 1972, Michelangelo's Pieta, on display at the Vatican, was damaged by a hammer-wielding man who shouted he was Jesus Christ.
    
In 1982, during the Falklands War, British amphibious forces landed on the beach at San Carlos Bay.
    
In 1991, former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated during national elections by a suicide bomber.
    
    
Ten years ago: The U.N. Security Council approved a peacekeeping force of 5,600 troops for Burundi to help the African nation finally end a 10-year civil war. Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors Corp., struggling to survive, announced it would cut 11,000 jobs.
    
Five years ago: A day after the Senate voted to keep the Guantanamo prison camp open, President Barack Obama made his case for closing the facility, denouncing what he called "fear-mongering" by political opponents; Obama made his case moments before former Vice President Dick Cheney delivered his own address defending the Bush administration's creation of the camp. A 66-year-old woman with terminal cancer became the first person to die under Washington state's new assisted suicide law.
    
One year ago: Former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman told the Senate Finance Committee he first learned in the spring of 2012 that agents had improperly targeted political groups that vehemently opposed President Barack Obama's policies, saying he decided to let the inspector general look into the matter. Singer Kellie Pickler and pro partner Derek Hough were named "Dancing With the Stars" champions.
    
    
Today's Birthdays: Rhythm-and-blues singer Ron Isley (The Isley Brothers) is 73. Rock musician Hilton Valentine (The Animals) is 71. Actor Richard Hatch is 69. Musician Bill Champlin is 67. Singer Leo Sayer is 66. Actress Carol Potter is 66. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is 63. Actor Mr. T is 62. Music producer Stan Lynch is 59. Actor Judge Reinhold is 57. Actor-director Nick Cassavetes is 55. Actor Brent Briscoe is 53. Actress Lisa Edelstein is 48. Actress Fairuza Balk is 40. Rock singer-musician Mikel Jollett (Airborne Toxic Event) is 40. Rapper Havoc (Mobb Deep) is 40. Actress Ashlie Brillault is 27. Actor Scott Leavenworth is 24. Actress Sarah Ramos is 23.
    
    
Thought for Today: "If you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbors. There is no other." - Carl Schurz, American politician (1829-1906).

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