Today is Wednesday, May 15, the 135th day of 2002. There are 230 days left in the year.
On May 15, 1942, gasoline rationing went into effect in 17 states, limiting sales to three gallons a week for non-essential vehicles.
On this date:
In 1602, Cape Cod was discovered by English navigator Bartholomew Gosnold.
In 1886, poet Emily Dickinson died in Amherst, Mass.
In 1911, the Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of Standard Oil Co., ruling it was in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.
In 1918, U.S. airmail began service between Washington, Philadelphia and New York.
In 1930, Ellen Church, the first airline stewardess, went on duty aboard a United Airlines flight between San Francisco and Cheyenne, Wyo.
In 1940, nylon stockings went on general sale for the first time in the United States.
In 1963, U.S. astronaut L. Gordon Cooper blasted off aboard Faith 7 on the final mission of the Project Mercury space program.
In 1970, Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, two black students at Jackson State University in Mississippi, were killed when police opened fire during student protests.
In 1972, George C. Wallace was shot by Arthur Bremer and left paralyzed while campaigning in Laurel, Md., for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In 1991, French President Francois Mitterrand appointed Edith Cresson to be France’s first female premier.
Ten years ago:
A judge in Los Angeles ordered police officer Laurence Powell retried on a charge of excessive force in the beating of Rodney King (however, the charge was eventually dropped).
Five years ago:
Space shuttle Atlantis blasted off on a mission to deliver urgently needed repair equipment and a fresh American astronaut to Russia’s orbiting Mir station. Attorney General Janet Reno requested the death penalty for Unabomber suspect Theodore Kaczynski. (However, under an arrangement in which he admitted his guilt, Kaczynski later agreed to be sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.)
One year ago:
Tens of thousands of Palestinians packed town squares in the West Bank town of Ramallah as they marked what they called the day of “catastrophe” in 1948, when they were uprooted and the state of Israel created. A celebratory mood took hold of Japan after the palace formally announced that Crown Princess Masako was pregnant. A runaway freight train rolled about 70 miles through Ohio with no one aboard before a railroad employee jumped onto the locomotive and brought it to a stop.
Actress Constance Cummings is 92. Singer Eddy Arnold is 84. Actor Joseph Wiseman is 84. Playwright Sir Peter Shaffer (“Equus”) is 76. Playwright Paul Zindel is 66. Actress-singer Anna Maria Alberghetti is 66. Counterculture icon Wavy Gravy is 66. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is 65. Singer Trini Lopez is 65. Singer Lenny Welch is 64. Actress-singer Lainie Kazan is 62. Actor-director Paul Rudd (“Knots Landing”) is 62. Country singer K.T. Oslin is 60. Singer-songwriter Brian Eno is 54. Actor Nicholas Hammond (“The Sound of Music”) is 52. Actor Chazz Palminteri is 51. Baseball Hall-of-Famer George Brett is 49. Actor Lee Horsley is 47. Singer-rapper Prince Be (PM Dawn) is 32. Actor Brad Rowe is 32. Actor David Charvet is 30. Rock musician Ahmet Zappa is 28. Olympic gold-medal gymnast Amy Chow is 24. Actress Jamie-Lynn Sigler (“The Sopranos”) is 21.