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Today in History — May 13

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, May 13, the 133rd day of 2007. There are 232 days left in the year. This is Mother’s Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On May 13, 1607, English colonists arrived by ship at the site of what became the Jamestown settlement in Virginia (the colonists went ashore the next day).

On this date:

In 1846, the United States declared that a state of war already existed against Mexico.

In 1917, three peasant children near Fatima, Portugal, reported seeing a vision of the Virgin Mary.

In 1918, the first U.S. airmail stamps, featuring a picture of a Curtiss JN4 biplane, were introduced with a face value of 24 cents. (On some of the stamps, the biplane was printed upside-down; the “inverted Jenny,” as it came to be called, instantly became a collector’s item.)

In 1940, in his first speech as prime minister of Britain, Winston Churchill told the House of Commons, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Act.

In 1954, the musical “The Pajama Game” opened on Broadway.

In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon’s limousine was battered by rocks thrown by anti-U.S. demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela.

In 1968, a one-day general strike took place in France in support of student protesters.

In 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter’s Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca.

In 1985, a confrontation between Philadelphia authorities and the radical group MOVE ended as police dropped an explosive onto the group’s headquarters; 11 people died in the resulting fire.

Ten years ago: At the Oklahoma City bombing trial, prosecutors showed jurors the key to the Ryder truck used to blow up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building, alleging Timothy McVeigh left it behind in the same alley he’d picked to stash his getaway car.

Five years ago: President George Bush announced that he and Russian President Vladimir Putin would sign a treaty to shrink their countries’ nuclear arsenals by two-thirds. President Bush signed a $190 billion farm bill guaranteeing higher subsidies to growers in Midwestern and Southern states. In Baltimore, Dontee Stokes shot and wounded the Rev. Maurice Blackwell, a Roman Catholic priest. (Stokes, who accused Blackwell of sexually abusing him as a boy, was later acquitted of attempted murder, but was convicted of gun charges and sentenced to house arrest.)

One year ago: Former Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton helped Tulane University celebrate its “miracle” commencement, nine months after Hurricane Katrina put two-thirds of the campus under water and scattered students to more than 600 schools nationwide.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Beatrice Arthur is 85. Critic Clive Barnes is 80. Actor Buck Taylor is 69. Actor Harvey Keitel is 68. Author Charles Baxter is 60. Actor Franklyn Ajaye is 58. Actress Zoe Wanamaker is 58. Singer Stevie Wonder is 57. Actress Julianne Phillips is 47. Basketball player Dennis Rodman is 46. Actor-comedian Stephen Colbert is 43. Actor Tom Verica is 43. Country singer Lari White is 42. Singer Darius Rucker (Hootie and the Blowfish) is 41. Actress Susan Floyd is 39. Actress Samantha Morton is 30. Rock musician Mickey Madden (Maroon 5) is 28.

Thought for Today: “When your mother asks, ’Do you want a piece of advice?’ it is a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.” — Erma Bombeck, American humorist (1927-1996).