This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, May 14, 2003

In Alaska

• In 1898, President McKinley approved an Act of Congress granting a right-of-way to the White Pass Railway.

• In 1939, noted musher Charles "Slim"" Williams began his trip from Fairbanks to the World's Fair in New York, traveling by motorcycle along the proposed route of the International American-Canadian Highway.

• In 1949, the Federal Housing Administration announced its first commitment to insure a mortgage in the Alaskan Housing Project, The Turnagain Apartments in Anchorage.

In the nation

• In 1804, the Lewis and Clark expedition to explore the Louisiana Territory left St. Louis.

• In 1904, the first Olympic games to be held in the United States opened in St. Louis.

• In 1942, Aaron Copland's Lincoln Portrait was first performed, by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

• In 1942, the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps was established.

• In 1973, the United States launched Skylab, its first manned space station.

• In 1980, President Carter inaugurated the Department of Health and Human Services.

• In 1988, 27 people, mostly teenagers, were killed when their church bus collided with a pickup truck going the wrong way on a highway near Carrollton, Ky. The truck driver, Larry Mahoney, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 16 years' imprisonment; he was released in September 1999.

• In 1992, President Clinton told a news conference his threat of military force to halt the war in the former Yugoslavia was "still on the table" despite opposition from European allies.

• In 1998, singer-actor Frank Sinatra died at a Los Angeles hospital at age 82. The hit sitcom "Seinfeld" aired its final episode after nine years on NBC.

In the world

• In 1643, Louis XIV became king of France at age 4.

• In 1948, the independent state of Israel was proclaimed in Tel Aviv.

• In 1955, representatives from eight Communist bloc countries, including the Soviet Union, signed the Warsaw Pact in Poland.

• In 1975, U.S. forces raided the Cambodian island of Koh Tang and recaptured the American merchant ship Mayaguez. All 40 crew members were released safely by Cambodia, but some 40 U.S. servicemen were killed in the military operation.

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