On This Day: Memphis Belle completes 25th flight

On May 17, 1943, the Memphis Belle became one of the first B-17 to complete 25 missions in World War II, securing the plane and crew's reputations as rockstars.
By UPI Staff  |  May 17, 2018 at 3:00 AM
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On this date in history:

In 1792, 24 brokers met in New York City and formed the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1875, Aristides was the winner of the first Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

In 1943, the Memphis Belle became one of the first B-17 to complete 25 missions in World War II, securing the plane and crew's reputations as rockstars. The plane was the subject of a documentary at the time and a film about the crew was made in 1990 starring Matthew Modine, Eric Stoltz and Harry Connick Jr. Ten days after the 25th mission, the pilot, Capt. Robert K. Morgan and co-pilot, Capt. James Verinis, met the king and queen of England, to whom Morgan explained the origin of the plane's name.

In 1954, in a major civil rights victory, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kan., ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.

In 1973, the U.S. Senate Watergate Committee opened hearings into a break-in at Democratic National headquarters in Washington.

In 1987, two Iraqi Exocet missiles hit the frigate USS Stark in the Persian Gulf, killing 37 seamen. Iraq apologized for mistaking the ship's identity and the Stark's top officers were reprimanded and retired.

In 1989, 1 million people demonstrated for democratic reforms in Beijing. The number of students fasting to support the drive reached 3,000.

In 1999, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lost his bid for re-election when voters chose Ehud Barak, head of the center-left Israel One coalition, to succeed him.

File Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI

In 2000, prosecutors in Birmingham, Ala., charged two longtime suspects in the deaths of four girls in a church bombing in 1963 that became a watershed event in the civil rights movement. The suspects were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In 2005, Los Angeles voters elected Antonio Villaraigosa as the city's first Hispanic mayor since 1872.

In 2007, the United States' "minority" citizenship topped the 100 million mark, about one-third of the total U.S. population, the U.S. Census Bureau said. Hispanics made up the largest group, ahead of African-Americans, 44.3 million to 40.2 million.

In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court banned the sentencing of a juvenile to life in prison for a non-homicide case, calling the practice unconstitutional, and cruel and unusual punishment.

In 2011, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he and his wife of 25 years, Maria Shriver, had separated after she learned he had a child years earlier with a household employee. Shriver filed for divorce in July 2011.

File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI

In 2012, President Barack Obama said Myanmar was making progress "in the path to Democracy" and announced his nomination of Derek Mitchell as the first U.S. ambassador to the Southeast Asian country.

In 2013, Jorge Videla, former president of Argentina (1976-81), died in prison at age 87.

In 2015, a gunfight between rival biker gangs in Waco, Texas, leaves nine people dead and more than a dozen injured.

File Photo courtesy of Waco Police Department/Facebook
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