Today's Highlight in History:
On May 31st, 1819, poet Walt Whitman was born in West Hill, New York.
On this date:
In 1889, more than 2,000 people perished when a dam break sent water rushing through Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
In 1910, the Union of South Africa was founded.
In 1913, the 17th amendment to the Constitution, providing for the popular election of US senators, was declared in effect.
In 1961, South Africa became an independent republic.
In 1962, World War Two Gestapo official Adolf Eichmann was hanged in Israel for his role in the Nazi Holocaust.
In 1970, tens of thousands of people died in an earthquake in Peru.
In 1976, Martha Mitchell, the estranged wife of former Attorney General John N. Mitchell, died in New York.
In 1977, the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, three years in the making, was completed.
In 1989, House Speaker Jim Wright, dogged by questions about his ethics, announced he would resign. (Thomas Foley later succeeded him.)
In 1994, the United States announced it was no longer aiming long-range nuclear missiles at targets in the former Soviet Union.
Ten years ago: President Bush and his wife, Barbara, welcomed Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev in a ceremony on South Lawn of the White House. The two leaders and their aides then held talks on German reunification.
Five years ago: President Clinton declared he was ready to permit the temporary use of American ground forces in Bosnia to help UN peacekeepers move to safer positions if necessary. Senator Bob Dole accused Hollywood of promoting violence, rape and casual sex in music and movies, and said "the mainstreaming of deviancy must come to an end."
One year ago: During a Memorial Day visit to Arlington National Cemetery, President Clinton asked Americans to reconsider their ambivalence about Kosovo, calling it "a very small province in a small country. But it is a big test of what we believe in." In Turkey, the treason trial of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan opened. (Ocalan was later convicted and sentenced to death.)
"In the faces of men and women I see God."
-- Walt Whitman (1819-1892).