This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, May 16, 2007

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

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In Alaska

• In 1910, the "Million Dollar" Miles Glacier bridge was completed on the Copper River & Northwestern Railway.

• In 1949, Bert Griffin, a University of Alaska geology professor, was rescued by the U.S. Air Force from Innoko River in the first night glider rescue.

• In 1979, the 140 villagers of Anaktuvuk Pass tested for higher levels of radiation from fallout because of their exclusive reliance on caribou. Caribou eat lichen, which retains radiation for years.

In the nation

• In 1866, Congress authorized minting of the first five-cent piece, also known as the "shield nickel."

• In 1868, the Senate failed by one vote to convict President Andrew Johnson as it took its first ballot on one of the 11 articles of impeachment against him.

• In 1929, the first Academy Awards were presented during a banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The movie "Wings" won "best production," while Emil Jannings and Janet Gaynor were named best actor and best actress.

• In 1946, the Irving Berlin musical "Annie Get Your Gun," starring Ethel Merman as Annie Oakley, opened on Broadway.

• In 1960, a Big Four summit conference in Paris collapsed on its opening day as the Soviet Union leveled spy charges against the U.S. in the wake of the U2 incident.

• In 1977, five people were killed when a New York Airways helicopter, idling atop the Pan Am Building in midtown Manhattan, toppled over, sending a huge rotor blade flying.

• In 1997, President Bill Clinton publicly apologized for the notorious Tuskegee experiment, in which government scientists deliberately allowed black men to weaken and die of treatable syphilis.

• In 2002, the White House defended President Bush for not disclosing intelligence before the Sept. 11 attacks that Osama bin Laden wanted to hijack U.S. airplanes, saying there had been no specific threat.

• In 2006, the Pentagon released the first video images of American Airlines Flight 77 crashing into the military headquarters building and killing 189 people on 9/11. Richard Hatch, who had won $1 million in the debut season of "Survivor," was sentenced in Providence, R.I., to more than four years in prison for failing to pay taxes on his reality TV prize and other income. Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden, the winningest coaches in Division I-A football, were elected to the college football Hall of Fame.

In the world

• In 1770, Marie Antoinette, age 14, married the future King Louis XVI of France, who was 15.

• In 1920, Joan of Arc was canonized by Pope Benedict XV.

• In 1975, Japanese climber Junko Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

• In 1991, Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to address the U.S. Congress.

• In 1997, the space shuttle Atlantis docked with Russia's Mir station. In Zaire, President Mobutu Sese Seko ended 32 years of autocratic rule, giving control of the country to rebel forces.

• In 2002, the remains of kidnapped Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl were unearthed in Pakistan.

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