Today in History: May 8, Truman announces Nazi surrender

Today in History

Today is Sunday, May 8, the 128th day of 2022. There are 237 days left in the year. This is Mother’s Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 8, 1996, South Africa took another step from apartheid to democracy by adopting a constitution that guaranteed equal rights for Blacks and whites.

On this date:

In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River.

In 1846, the first major battle of the Mexican-American War was fought at Palo Alto, Texas; U.S. forces led by Gen. Zachary Taylor were able to beat back Mexican forces.

In 1915, Regret became the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby.

In 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced on radio that Nazi Germany’s forces had surrendered, and that “the flags of freedom fly all over Europe.”

In 1972, President Richard Nixon announced that he had ordered the mining of Haiphong Harbor during the Vietnam War.

In 1973, militant American Indians who had held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for 10 weeks surrendered.

In 1978, David R. Berkowitz pleaded guilty in a Brooklyn courtroom to murder, attempted murder and assault in connection with the “Son of Sam” shootings that claimed six lives and terrified New Yorkers. (Berkowitz was sentenced to six consecutive life prison terms.)

In 1984, the Soviet Union announced it would boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

In 1993, the Muslim-led government of Bosnia-Herzegovina and rebel Bosnian Serbs signed an agreement for a nationwide cease-fire.

In 2003, the Senate unanimously endorsed adding to NATO seven former communist nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

In 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the nuclear accord with Iran and restored harsh sanctions; Trump had been a severe critic of the deal negotiated by the Obama administration in which Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program.

In 2020, the unemployment level surged to 14.7%, a level last seen when the country was in the throes of the Great Depression; the government reported that 20 million Americans had lost their jobs in April amid the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Ten years ago: Six-term veteran Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar lost a bitter Republican primary challenge, his nearly four-decade career in the Senate ended by tea party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who was defeated the following November by Democrat Joe Donnelly. North Carolina voters decided overwhelmingly to strengthen their state’s gay marriage ban. Children’s book author Maurice Sendak, 83, died in Danbury, Connecticut.

Five years ago: A suspect, Aaron Juan Saucedo, was arrested in a string of serial killings that terrified a Phoenix neighborhood, a huge break in a case that involved nine deaths and a dozen separate shootings. (Saucedo has pleaded not guilty; he is still awaiting trial.)

One year ago: Colonial Pipeline, the operator of a major pipeline system that carried fuel across the East Coast, said it had been victimized by a ransomware attack and had halted all pipeline operations to deal with the threat. A car bombing attack in Afghanistan’s capital killed more than 90 people, many of them students leaving a girls’ school.

Today’s Birthdays: Naturalist Sir David Attenborough is 96. Singer Toni Tennille is 82. Actor James Mitchum is 81. Country singer Jack Blanchard is 80. Jazz musician Keith Jarrett is 77. Actor Mark Blankfield is 74. Singer Philip Bailey (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 71. Rock musician Chris Frantz (Talking Heads) is 71. Rockabilly singer Billy Burnette is 69. Rock musician Alex Van Halen is 69. Actor David Keith is 68. Actor Raoul Max Trujillo is 67. Sports commentator/former NFL coach Bill Cowher is 65. Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is 61. Actor Melissa Gilbert is 58. Rock musician Dave Rowntree (Blur) is 58. Country musician Del Gray is 54. Rock singer Darren Hayes is 50. Singer Enrique Iglesias is 47. Blues singer-musician Joe Bonamassa is 45. Actor Matt Davis is 44. Actor Elyes Gabel is 39. Actor Domhnall Gleeson is 39. Actor Julia Whelan (WAY’-lan) is 38. Actor Nora Anezeder is 33.

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