By The Associated Press
Today in History
Today is Friday, May 15, the 136th day of 2020. There are 230 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On May 15, 1948, hours after declaring its independence, the new state of Israel was attacked by Transjordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
On this date:
In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed an act establishing the Department of Agriculture.
In 1918, U.S. airmail began service between Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York.
In 1930, registered nurse Ellen Church, the first airline stewardess, went on duty aboard an Oakland-to-Chicago flight operated by Boeing Air Transport, a forerunner of United Airlines.
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure creating the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, whose members came to be known as WACs. Wartime gasoline rationing went into effect in 17 Eastern states, limiting sales to three gallons a week for non-essential vehicles.
In 1954, the Fender Stratocaster guitar, created by Leo Fender, was officially released.
In 1963, Weight Watchers was incorporated in New York.
In 1968, two days of tornado outbreaks began in 10 Midwestern and Southern states; twisters were blamed for 72 deaths, including 45 in Arkansas and 18 in Iowa.
In 1970, just after midnight, Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, two black students at Jackson State College in Mississippi, were killed as police opened fire during student protests.
In 1972, Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace was shot and left paralyzed while campaigning for president in Laurel, Maryland, by Arthur H. Bremer, who served 35 years for attempted murder.
In 1975, U.S. forces invaded the Cambodian island of Koh Tang and captured the American merchant ship Mayaguez, which had been seized by the Khmer Rouge. (All 39 crew members had already been released safely by Cambodia; some 40 U.S. servicemen were killed in connection with the operation.)
In 1988, the Soviet Union began the process of withdrawing its troops from Afghanistan, more than eight years after Soviet forces entered the country.
In 2000, by a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a key provision of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, saying that rape victims could not sue their attackers in federal court.
Ten years ago: Jessica Watson, a 16-year-old Australian who’d spent seven months at sea in her pink yacht, became the youngest person to sail around the world solo, nonstop and unassisted as she arrived in Sydney.
Five years ago: A jury sentenced Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR’ tsahr-NEYE’-ehv) to death for the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and left more than 250 wounded. Elisabeth Bing, the Lamaze International co-founder who popularized what was known as natural childbirth and helped change how women and doctors approached the delivery room, died in New York at age 100.