Today in History

·4-min read

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, May 26, the 146th day of 2021. There are 219 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 26, 1940, Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of some 338,000 Allied troops from Dunkirk, France, began during World War II.

On this date:

In 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed a measure creating the Montana Territory.

In 1938, the House Un-American Activities Committee was established by Congress.

In 1954, explosions rocked the aircraft carrier USS Bennington off Rhode Island, killing 103 sailors. (The initial blast was blamed on leaking catapult fluid ignited by the flames of a jet.)

In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in Moscow. (The U.S. withdrew from the treaty in 2002.)

In 1977, George Willig scaled the outside of the South Tower of New York’s World Trade Center; he was arrested at the top of the 110-story building.

In 1981, 14 people were killed when a Marine jet crashed onto the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz off Florida.

In 1994, Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley were married in the Dominican Republic. (The marriage ended in 1996.)

In 1998, the U.S. Supreme Court made it far more difficult for police to be sued by people hurt during high-speed chases. The Supreme Court also ruled that Ellis Island, historic gateway for millions of immigrants, was mainly in New Jersey, not New York.

In 2004, nearly a decade after the Oklahoma City bombing, Terry Nichols was found guilty of 161 state murder charges for helping carry out the attack. (Nichols later received 161 consecutive life sentences.)

In 2005, President George W. Bush received Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at the White House; Bush called Abbas a courageous democratic reformer and bolstered his standing at home with $50 million in assistance.

In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. California’s Supreme Court upheld the Proposition 8 gay marriage ban but said the 18,000 same-sex weddings that had taken place before the prohibition passed were still valid.

In 2015, challenging Hillary Rodham Clinton from the left, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders formally kicked off his Democratic presidential bid in Burlington, Vermont, with a pitch to liberals to join him in a “political revolution” to transform the nation’s economy and politics.

Ten years ago: Congress passed a four-year extension of post-Sept. 11 powers contained in the Patriot Act to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists; President Barack Obama, in France, signed the measure using an autopen machine minutes before the provisions were set to expire at midnight. Ratko Mladic (RAHT’-koh MLAH’-dich), the brutal Bosnian Serb general suspected of leading the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys, was arrested after a 16-year manhunt. (Mladic was extradited to face trial in The Hague, Netherlands.)

Five years ago: President Barack Obama, visiting Japan, said foreign leaders were “rattled” by Donald Trump and had good reason to feel that way, as he accused the presumptive Republican presidential nominee of ignorance about world affairs. First lady Michelle Obama told graduates at a Native American high school in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to take pride in their history and cultures at a time when she said the “loudest voices in the national conversation” suggested turning away from the tribal values that were part of their education.

One year ago: Minneapolis police issued a statement saying George Floyd had died after a “medical incident,” and that he physically resisted officers and appeared to be in medical distress; minutes after the statement was released, bystander video was posted online. Protests over Floyd’s death began, with tense skirmishes developing between protesters and Minneapolis police. Four police officers who were involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired.

Today’s Birthdays: Sportscaster Brent Musberger is 82. Rock musician Garry Peterson (Guess Who) is 76. Singer Stevie Nicks is 73. Actor Pam Grier is 72. Actor Philip Michael Thomas is 72. Country singer Hank Williams Jr. is 72. Former British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is 72. Actor Margaret Colin is 63. Country singer-songwriter Dave Robbins is 62. Actor Doug Hutchison is 61. Actor Genie Francis is 59. Comedian Bobcat Goldthwait is 59. Singer-actor Lenny Kravitz is 57. Actor Helena Bonham Carter is 55. Distance runner Zola Budd is 55. Rock musician Phillip Rhodes is 53. Actor Joseph Fiennes (FYNZ) is 51. Singer Joey Kibble (Take 6) is 50. Actor-producer-writer Matt Stone is 50. Singer Lauryn Hill is 46. Contemporary Christian musician Nathan Cochran is 43. Actor Elisabeth Harnois is 42. Actor Hrach Titizian is 42.

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