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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This day in history

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[May 13, 2009]  (AP)  Today is Wednesday, May 13, the 133rd day of 2009. There are 232 days left in the year.

Today's highlight in history:

On May 13, 1918, the first U.S. airmail stamps, featuring a picture of a Curtiss JN-4 biplane, were issued to the public with a face value of 24 cents. (On a few of the stamps, the biplane was inadvertently printed upside-down; the "inverted Jenny" stamp instantly became a collector's item.)

On this date:

In 1607, English colonists arrived by ship at the site of what became the Jamestown settlement in Virginia (the colonists went ashore the next day).

In 1846, the United States declared that a state of war already existed with Mexico.

In 1917, three shepherd children near Fatima, Portugal, reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary.

In 1940, in his first speech as prime minister of Britain, Winston Churchill told the House of Commons, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Act. The musical play "The Pajama Game" opened on Broadway.

In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife, Pat, were spat upon and their limousine battered by rocks thrown by anti-U.S. demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela.

In 1968, a one-day general strike took place in France in support of student protesters.

In 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter's Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca.


In 1985, a confrontation between Philadelphia authorities and the radical group MOVE ended as police dropped an explosive onto the group's headquarters; 11 people died in the resulting fire.

In 1994, President Bill Clinton nominated federal appeals Judge Stephen G. Breyer to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice Harry A. Blackmun.

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Ten years ago: Russian lawmakers opened hearings on whether President Boris Yeltsin should be impeached. (The lower chamber of parliament ended up rejecting all five charges raised against Yeltsin, including one accusing him of starting the Chechen War.) Pulitzer Prize-winning editor and columnist Meg Greenfield died in Washington at age 68.

Five years ago: Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld visited the Abu Ghraib prison camp in Iraq, where he insisted the Pentagon did not try to cover up abuses there. During a campaign swing in West Virginia, President George W. Bush said he felt "disgraced" by the images of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners, but reminded his listeners that actions of a handful of Americans should not sully the nation's military. TV anchorman Floyd Kalber died in Burr Ridge, Ill., at age 79.


One year ago: An embattled Hillary Rodham Clinton trounced Barack Obama in the West Virginia Democratic primary. Seven bombs hit crowded markets and streets outside Hindu temples in Jaipur, India, killing 80. LPGA great Annika Sorenstam announced she would retire at the end of the season. Actor John Phillip Law died in Los Angeles at age 70.

Today's birthdays: Actor Buck Taylor is 71. Actor Harvey Keitel is 70. Author Charles Baxter is 62. Actor Franklyn Ajaye is 60. Actress Zoe Wanamaker is 60. Singer Stevie Wonder is 59. Former NBA player Dennis Rodman is 48. Actor-comedian Stephen Colbert is 45. Actor Tom Verica is 45. Country singer Lari White is 44. Singer Darius Rucker (Hootie and the Blowfish) is 43. Actress Susan Floyd is 41. Contemporary Christian musician Andy Williams (Casting Crowns) is 37. Actress Samantha Morton is 32. Rock musician Mickey Madden (Maroon 5) is 30. Actor Hunter Parrish is 22.

Thought for today: "I can usually judge a fellow by what he laughs at." -- Wilson Mizner, American playwright (1876-1933)

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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