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Moments in time

 

 

• On May 10, 1869, the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah, and drive a ceremonial last spike into a rail line that connects their railroads. This made transcontinental railroad travel possible for the first time in U.S. history.

• On May 16, 1929, the first-ever Academy Awards ceremony is held, with some 270 people in attendance. Movies were just making the transition from silent films to “talkies,” but all the nominated films were without sound.

• On May 11, 1934, a massive dust storm sends millions of tons of topsoil flying across the parched Great Plains to the East Coast and as far away as ships 300 miles offshore. Farmers had pushed their fields to the limit, plowing under more and more grassland.

• On May 15, 1942, Lt. Ronald Reagan, a cavalry officer, applies for reassignment to the Army Air Force. As a public relations officer, the actor and future president produced military training, morale and propaganda films.

• On May 12, 1975, the American freighter Mayaguez is captured by communist government forces gunboats in Cambodia. Two days later President Ford ordered the bombing of the Cambodian port where the gunboats had come from. Forty-one Americans died, many in an accidental explosion during the attack.

• On May 13, 1985, in Philadelphia, police begin evacuating people from their homes in order to prepare for an operation against MOVE, a radical cult group. MOVE had begun assembling a large arsenal and building bunkers in their row house. The government gave $1.5 million to three survivors of the raid.

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