Today in History for May 20

Today is Monday, May 20, the 140th day of 2013. There are 225 days left in the year.

Monday, May 20, 2013  |  Updated 12:12 PM EDT
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Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis

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Today's Highlight in History:

On May 20, 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from Roosevelt Field in Long Island, N.Y., aboard the Spirit of St. Louis on his historic solo flight to France.

On this date:

In 1712, the original version of Alexander Pope's satirical mock-heroic poem "The Rape of the Lock" was published anonymously in Lintot's Miscellany.

In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, which was intended to encourage settlements west of the Mississippi River by making federal land available for farming.

In 1902, the United States ended a three-year military presence in Cuba as the Republic of Cuba was established under its first elected president, Tomas Estrada Palma.

In 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland to become the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic. (Because of weather and equipment problems, Earhart set down in Northern Ireland instead of her intended destination, France.)

In 1939, regular trans-Atlantic mail service began as a Pan American Airways plane, the Yankee Clipper, took off from Port Washington, N.Y., bound for Marseille, France.

In 1942, during World War II, the Office of Civilian Defense was established.

In 1959, nearly 5,000 Japanese-Americans had their U.S. citizenship restored after renouncing it during World War II.

In 1961, a white mob attacked a busload of Freedom Riders in Montgomery, Ala., prompting the federal government to send in U.S. marshals to restore order.

In 1969, U.S. and South Vietnamese forces captured Ap Bia Mountain, referred to as "Hamburger Hill" by the Americans, following one of the bloodiest battles of the Vietnam War.

In 1970, some 100,000 people demonstrated in New York's Wall Street district in support of U.S. policy in Vietnam and Cambodia.

In 1988, Laurie Dann, 30, walked into a Winnetka, Ill., elementary school classroom, where she shot to death 8-year-old Nicholas Corwin and wounded several other children. After wounding a young man at his home, Dann took her own life.

In 1993, an estimated 93 million people tuned in for the final first-run episode of the sitcom "Cheers" on NBC.

Ten years ago: The Bush administration, concerned that a wave of attacks overseas could spread to the United States, raised the terrorism alert level to orange. The United States banned all beef imports from Canada after a lone case of mad cow disease was discovered in the heart of Canada's cattle country.

Five years ago: Sen. Edward Kennedy was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor; some experts gave the Massachusetts Democrat less than a year to live. (Kennedy died in August 2009.) Hillary Rodham Clinton defeated Barack Obama in the Kentucky Democratic primary, while Obama won in Oregon. President Jimmy Carter's White House chief of staff, Hamilton Jordan, died in Atlanta at age 63. Olympic gold medal figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi and her professional dance partner, Mark Ballas, won ABC's "Dancing with the Stars."

One year ago: A two-day NATO summit hosted by President Barack Obama opened in Chicago; the allies declared the end of the long and unpopular Afghanistan war was in sight even as they struggled to hold their fighting force together in the face of dwindling patience and shaky unity. Thousands of protesters marched through downtown Chicago, airing grievances about war, climate change and a wide range of other complaints. Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, 60, the only man convicted in connection with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988, died in Tripoli, Libya. Robin Gibb, 62, who along with his brothers Maurice and Barry, defined the disco era as part of the Bee Gees, died in London.

Today's Birthdays: Actor-author James McEachin is 83. Actor Anthony Zerbe is 77. Actor David Proval is 71. Singer Joe Cocker is 69. Singer-actress Cher is 67. Actor-comedian Dave Thomas is 64. Rock musician Warren Cann is 61. Former New York Gov. David Paterson is 59. Actor Dean Butler is 57. TV-radio personality Ron Reagan is 55. Rock musician Jane Wiedlin (The Go-Go's) is 55. Actor Bronson Pinchot is 54. Singer Susan Cowsill is 54. Actor John Billingsley is 53. Actor Tony Goldwyn is 53. Singer Nick Heyward is 52. TV personality Ted Allen is 48. Actress Mindy Cohn is 47. Rock musician Tom Gorman (Belly) is 47. Actress Gina Ravera is 47. Actor Timothy Olyphant is 45. Rapper Busta Rhymes is 41. Actress Daya Vaidya is 40. Rock musician Ryan Martinie is 38. Actor Matt Czuchry is 36. Actress Angela Goethals is 36. Actress-singer Naturi Naughton is 29.

Thought for Today: "Intolerance of ambiguity is the mark of an authoritarian personality." — Theodor W. Adorno, German philosopher (1903-1969).

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