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Today in history: May 6

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

Today is Friday, May 6, the 126th day of 2005. There are 239 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 6, 1937, the hydrogen-filled German dirigible “Hindenburg” burned and crashed in Lakehurst, N.J., killing 35 of the 97 people on board and a Navy crewman on the ground.

On this date:
In 1861, Arkansas seceded from the Union.

In 1889, the Paris Exposition formally opened, featuring the just-completed Eiffel Tower.

In 1910, Britain’s King Edward the VII died.

In 1935, the Works Progress Administration began operating.

In 1942, during World War II, some 15,000 Americans and Filipinos on Corregidor surrendered to the Japanese.

In 1954, medical student Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile during a track meet in Oxford, England, in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds.

In 1981, Yale architecture student Maya Ying Lin was named winner of a competition to design the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

In 1987, CIA Director William J. Casey died at age 74.

In 1994, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and French President Francois Mitterrand formally opened the Channel Tunnel between their countries.

In 1996, the body of former CIA director William E. Colby was found washed up on a riverbank in southern Maryland, eight days after he’d disappeared.

Ten years ago: Friends and relatives of the Oklahoma City bombing victims made a somber pilgrimage to the site of the attack to say goodbye to their loved ones. In London, thousands of World War II veterans celebrated the 50th anniversary of VE Day. Long-shot Thunder Gulch won the 121st Kentucky Derby.

Five years ago: Jack Mazzan, who’d spent 20 years on death row for the murder of a judge’s son, was released on bail, three months after the Nevada Supreme Court reversed his conviction. (Before he could be tried again, Mazzan pleaded guilty to killing Richard Minor Jr. and received a life sentence; Mazzan has since sought parole, unsuccessfully.) Fusaichi Pegasus became the first favorite to win the Kentucky Derby since Spectacular Bid in 1979.

One year ago: President Bush apologized for the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers, calling it “a stain on our country’s honor”; he rejected calls for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation. The FBI arrested Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield as part of the investigation into the Madrid train bombings; however, the bureau later said Mayfield’s arrest had been a mistake, and apologized. An estimated 51.1 million people tuned in for the final first-run episode of “Friends” on NBC.

Today’s Birthdays: Baseball Hall-of-Famer Willie Mays is 74. Senate Banking Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., is 71. Rock singer Bob Seger is 60. Singer Jimmie Dale Gilmore is 60. Actor Ben Masters is 58. Actor Gregg Henry is 53. British Prime Minister Tony Blair is 52. TV game show host Tom Bergeron is 50. Rock singer John Flansburgh (They Might Be Giants) is 45. Actor George Clooney is 44. Actor Clay O’Brien is 44. Actress Roma Downey is 42. Rock singer-musician Tony Scalzo (Fastball) is 41. Rock musician Mark Bryan (Hootie and the Blowfish) is 38. Rock musician Chris Shiflett (Foo Fighters) is 34.

Thought for Today: “Give me the luxuries of life and I will willingly do without the necessities.” — Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect (1869-1959).