Today

Published May 8, 2013 at 05:00AM

It's Wednesday, May 8, the 128th day of 2013. There are 237 days left in the year.

History

Highlight: In 1945, President Harry S. Truman announced on radio that Nazi Germany's forces had surrendered, and that “the flags of freedom fly all over Europe.”

In 1541, Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto reached the Mississippi River.

In 1794, Antoine Lavoisier, the father of modern chemistry, was executed on the guillotine during France's Reign of Terror.

In 1884, the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, was born in Lamar, Mo.

In 1886, Atlanta pharmacist John Pemberton invented the flavor syrup for Coca-Cola.

In 1921, Sweden's Parliament voted to abolish the death penalty.

In 1958, Vice President Richard Nixon was shoved, stoned, booed and spat upon by anti-American protesters in Lima, Peru.

In 1962, the musical comedy “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” opened on Broadway.

In 1972, President Richard Nixon announced that he had ordered the mining of Haiphong Harbor during the Vietnam War.

In 1973, militant American Indians who'd held the South Dakota hamlet of Wounded Knee for 10 weeks surrendered.

In 1984, the Soviet Union announced it would boycott the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

In 1988, science-fiction author Robert A. Heinlein died in Carmel, Calif., at age 80.

In 1993, the Muslim-led government of Bosnia-Herzegovina and rebel Bosnian Serbs signed an agreement for a nationwide cease-fire.

Ten years ago: The Senate unanimously endorsed adding to NATO seven former communist nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. A federal grand jury indicted Chinese-born California socialite Katrina Leung on charges that she'd illegally taken, copied and kept secret documents obtained from an FBI agent. (A federal judge later dismissed the case against Leung, rebuking prosecutors for misconduct.)

Five years ago: Sen. Barack Obama got a front-runner's welcome back at the U.S. Capitol, where he was surrounded on the House floor by well-wishers calling him “Mr. President” and reaching out to pat him on the back or shake his hand. Silvio Berlusconi was sworn in as Italy's premier. Country music star Eddy Arnold died near Nashville at age 89.

One year ago: Six-term veteran Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar lost a bitter Republican primary challenge, his nearly four-decade career in the Senate ended by tea party-backed state Treasurer Richard Mourdock. North Carolina voters decided overwhelmingly to strengthen their state's gay marriage ban. Children's book author Maurice Sendak died in Danbury, Conn.

— From wire reports

Birthdays

Comedian Don Rickles is 87. Naturalist Sir David Attenborough is 87. Actor James Mitchum is 72. Rock musician Alex Van Halen is 60. Actress Melissa Gilbert is 49. Singer Enrique Iglesias is 38.

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