This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, May 15, 2007

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

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In Alaska

• In 1926, the dirigible Norge, carrying famed explorer Roald Amundsen, arrived in Teller at 2 a.m. after a flight over the North Pole.

• In 1941, the contract was approved for construction of the $42,000 Juneau International Airport.

• In 1959, a new state minimum wage of $1.50 per hour took effect, a 25-cent increase.

• In 1961, retired Rear Adm. Bafford Lewellen assumed his duties as the director and general manager of the newly formed Alaska Marine Highway System.

In the nation

• In 1911, the Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of Standard Oil Co., ruling it was a monopoly in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

• In 1918, U.S. airmail began service between Washington, Philadelphia and New York.

• In 1930, registered nurse Ellen Church, the first airline stewardess, went on duty aboard an Oakland-to-Chicago flight operated by Boeing Air Transport (a forerunner of United Airlines).

• In 1940, nylon stockings went on general sale for the first time in the United States.

• In 1942, wartime gasoline rationing went into effect in 17 states, limiting sales to three gallons a week for nonessential vehicles.

• In 1963, astronaut L. Gordon Cooper blasted off aboard Faith 7 on the final mission of the Project Mercury space program.

• In 1970, Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, two black students at Jackson State University in Mississippi, were killed when police opened fire during student protests.

• In 1972, George C. Wallace was shot by Arthur Bremer and left paralyzed while campaigning in Laurel, Md., for the Democratic presidential nomination.

• In 1986, searchers on Oregon's Mount Hood found two teenage survivors of a hiking expedition that became trapped in a whiteout blizzard. Nine other climbers died.

• In 1997, space shuttle Atlantis blasted off on a mission to deliver urgently needed repair equipment and a fresh American astronaut to Russia's orbiting Mir station. Attorney General Janet Reno requested the death penalty for Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski. (However, under an arrangement in which he admitted his guilt, Kaczynski agreed to be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.)

• In 2002, the White House acknowledged that in the weeks before the 9/11 attacks, President George Bush was told by U.S. intelligence that Osama bin Laden's terrorist network might hijack American airplanes, but that officials did not know that suicide hijackers were plotting to use planes as missiles. Financier Martin Frankel pleaded guilty in New Haven, Conn., to pulling off one of the most brazen swindles Wall Street had ever seen.

• In 2006, in an Oval Office address, President Bush said he would order as many as 6,000 National Guard troops to secure the U.S. border with Mexico, and he urged Congress to give millions of illegal immigrants a chance at citizenship. A defiant Saddam Hussein refused to enter a plea at his trial, insisting he was still Iraq's president as a judge formally charged him with crimes against humanity. The Pentagon disclosed the names of everyone detained at the Guantanamo Bay prison since it opened four years earlier. The U.S. removed Libya from its list of terrorist states.

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