This Day in History

Posted: Friday, May 07, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1885, Alfred P. Swineford took office as the second governor of the District of Alaska, appointed by President Grover Cleveland.

In the nation

• In 1789, the first inaugural ball was held in New York in honor of President and Mrs. George Washington.

• In 1847, the American Medical Association was founded in Philadelphia.

• In 1963, the United States launched the Telstar Two communications satellite.

• In 1977, Seattle Slew won the Kentucky Derby, the first of its Triple Crown victories.

• In 1984, a $180 million out-of-court settlement was announced in the Agent Orange class-action suit brought by Vietnam veterans who charged they'd suffered injury from exposure to the defoliant.

• In 1994, Go For Gin won the 120th Kentucky Derby.

• In 1999, NATO jets struck the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, killing three people and injuring 20; President Clinton called the attack a "tragic mistake." A jury in Pontiac, Mich., ordered "The Jenny Jones Show" to pay $25 million to the family of Scott Amedure, a gay man who was shot to death after revealing a crush on Jonathan Schmitz, a fellow guest on the talk show. (However, the Michigan Court of Appeals later overturned the award, and the Michigan Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal.)

• In 2002, Seattle Slew died in Lexington, Kentucky, at age 28.

• In 2003, the White House announced President Bush had chosen New Mexico oilman Colin R. McMillan to be secretary of the Navy and Air Force Secretary James Roche to replace the dismissed secretary of the Army, Thomas White. (However, McMillan died an apparent suicide the following July, while Roche's nomination is being held up in Congress.)

In the world

• In 1915, nearly 1,200 people died when a German torpedo sank the British liner Lusitania off the Irish coast.

• In 1939, Germany and Italy announced a military and political alliance known as the Rome-Berlin Axis.

• In 1945, Germany signed an unconditional surrender at Allied headquarters in Rheims, France.

• In 1954, 50 years ago, the 55-day Battle of Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam ended with Vietnamese insurgents overrunning French forces.

• In 1975, President Ford formally declared an end to the "Vietnam era." In Ho Chi Minh City - formerly Saigon - the Viet Cong celebrated its takeover.

• In 1994, Norway's most famous painting, "The Scream" by Edvard Munch, was recovered almost three months after it was stolen from an Oslo museum.



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