Shepard

Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr., the first American to journey into space, peers into his Freedom 7 space capsule after it is recovered from the Atlantic Ocean and taken aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lake Champlain, May 5, 1961. The Freedom 7 (MR-7) spacecraft was launched by a Redstone vehicle at 9:34 a.m. EST. Shepard's flight, return from space, the splashdown at sea and recovery were seen on television by millions of viewers around the world. 

Today is Wednesday, May 5, the 125th day of 2021. There are 240 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History

On May 5, 1925: Schoolteacher John T. Scopes was charged in Tennessee with violating a state law that prohibited teaching the theory of evolution. (Scopes was found guilty, but his conviction was later set aside.)

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In 1494: During his second voyage to the Western Hemisphere, Christopher Columbus landed in Jamaica.

In 1818: Political philosopher Karl Marx, co-author of “The Communist Manifesto” and author of “Das Kapital,” was born in Prussia.

In 1891: New York’s Carnegie Hall (then named “Music Hall”) had its official opening night, featuring Russian composer Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky as a guest conductor.

In 1942: Wartime sugar rationing began in the United States.

In 1945: In the only fatal attack of its kind during World War II, a Japanese balloon bomb exploded on Gearhart Mountain in Oregon, killing the pregnant wife of a minister and five children. Denmark and the Netherlands were liberated as a German surrender went into effect.

In 1961: Astronaut Alan B. Shepard Jr. became America’s first space traveler as he made a 15-minute suborbital flight aboard Mercury capsule Freedom 7.

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In 1973: Secretariat won the Kentucky Derby, the first of his Triple Crown victories.

In 1978: Ben & Jerry’s ice cream had its beginnings as Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened an ice cream parlor at a converted gas station in Burlington, Vermont.

In 1981: Irish Republican Army hunger-striker Bobby Sands died at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland on his 66th day without food.

In 1987: The congressional Iran-Contra hearings opened with former Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard V. Secord the lead-off witness.

In 1994: Singapore caned American teenager Michael Fay for vandalism, a day after the sentence was reduced from six lashes to four in response to an appeal by President Bill Clinton.

In 2009: Texas health officials confirmed the first death of a U.S. resident with swine flu.

Ten years ago: Solemnly honoring victims of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, President Barack Obama hugged survivors at ground zero in New York and declared that the killing of Osama bin Laden was an American message to the world: “When we say we will never forget, we mean what we say.” Pakistan’s army broke its silence over the U.S. commando raid that killed bin Laden, acknowledging its “shortcomings” in finding him but threatening to review cooperation with Washington if there was another violation of Pakistani sovereignty. Director, playwright and screenwriter Arthur Laurents (“West Side Story”) died in New York at age 93.

Five years ago: Former Los Angeles trash collector Lonnie Franklin Jr. was convicted of 10 counts of murder in the “Grim Sleeper” serial killings that targeted poor, young Black women over two decades. President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentences of 58 federal convicts, part of a broader push to ease punishments for nonviolent drug offenders. Londoners cast votes in an election that gave the city its first Muslim mayor, Labour lawmaker Sadiq Khan, who succeeded outgoing Conservative Boris Johnson.

One year ago: President Donald Trump visited a Honeywell mask factory in Arizona, but ignored guidelines to wear a mask. Tyson Foods said it would resume limited operation of its huge pork processing plant in Waterloo, Iowa, with enhanced safety measures, more than two weeks after closing the facility because of a coronavirus outbreak among workers. Even though Joe Biden had no remaining opponents, a judge ruled that New York’s Democratic presidential primary would have to take place on June 23 because canceling it would be unconstitutional. Michigan communities saw record turnout for local elections, with votes cast largely by mail. Facebook said it had removed several accounts and pages linked to QAnon, taking action for the first time against the far-right conspiracy theory circulated among Trump supporters.