IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Today in history: May 3

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

Today is Tuesday, May 3, the 123rd day of 2005. There are 242 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 3, 1945, during World War II, Japanese forces on Okinawa launched their only major counter-offensive, but failed to break the American lines.

On this date:
In 1802, Washington, D.C., was incorporated as a city.

In 1916, Irish nationalist Padraic Pearse and two others were executed by the British for their roles in the Easter Rising.

In 1921, West Virginia imposed the first state sales tax.

In 1933, Nellie T. Ross became the first female director of the U.S. Mint.

In 1944, U.S. wartime rationing of most grades of meats ended.

In 1945, Indian forces captured Rangoon, Burma, from the Japanese.

In 1948, the Supreme Court ruled that covenants prohibiting the sale of real estate to blacks or members of other racial groups were legally unenforceable.

In 1971, anti-war protesters began four days of demonstrations in Washington, D.C., aimed at shutting down the nation’s capital.

In 1979, Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher was chosen to become Britain’s first female prime minister as the Tories ousted the incumbent Labor government in parliamentary elections.

In 1986, in NASA’s first post-Challenger launch, an unmanned Delta rocket lost power in its main engine shortly after liftoff, forcing safety officers to destroy it by remote control.

Ten years ago: The government reported that its Index of Leading Economic Indicators dropped half a percentage point in March 1995, its biggest tumble in two years.

Five years ago: The trial of two alleged Libyan intelligence agents accused of blowing Pan Am Flight 103 out of the sky over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988 opened in the Netherlands. (One of the defendants, Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, was convicted of murder; the other defendant, Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, was acquitted.) The archbishop of New York, Cardinal John O’Connor, died at age 80.

One year ago: The U.S. military said it had reprimanded seven officers in the abuse of inmates at Baghdad’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison, the first known punishments in the case; two of the officers were relieved of their duties. Former postmaster general Marvin Runyon died in Nashville, Tenn., at age 79.

Today’s Birthdays: Broadway librettist Betty Comden is 86. Folk singer Pete Seeger is 86. Singer James Brown is 72. Singer Engelbert Humperdinck is 69. Sports announcer Greg Gumbel is 59. Singer Christopher Cross is 54. Country musician Cactus Moser (Highway 101) is 48. Rock musician David Ball (Soft Cell) is 46. Country singer Shane Minor is 37. Country singer Brad Martin is 32. Actor Dule Hill is 30. Actress Jill Berard is 15.

Thought for Today: “God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.” — Reinhold Niebuhr, American clergyman and author (1892-1971).