Today in History
Today is Friday, Feb. 17, the 48th day of 2023. There are 317 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 17, 1801, the U.S. House of Representatives broke an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, electing Jefferson president; Burr became vice president.
On this date:
In 1815, the United States and Britain exchanged the instruments of ratification for the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.
In 1863, the International Red Cross was founded in Geneva.
In 1864, during the Civil War, the Union ship USS Housatonic was rammed and sunk in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, by the Confederate hand-cranked submarine HL Hunley in the first naval attack of its kind; the Hunley also sank.
In 1897, the forerunner of the National PTA, the National Congress of Mothers, convened its first meeting in Washington.
In 1944, during World War II, U.S. forces invaded Eniwetok Atoll, encountering little initial resistance from Imperial Japanese troops. (The Americans secured the atoll less than a week later.)
In 1959, the United States launched Vanguard 2, a satellite that carried meteorological equipment.
In 1964, the Supreme Court, in Wesberry v. Sanders, ruled that congressional districts within each state had to be roughly equal in population.
In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon departed the White House with his wife, Pat, on a historic trip to China.
In 1988, Lt. Col. William Higgins, a Marine Corps officer serving with a United Nations truce monitoring group, was kidnapped in southern Lebanon by Iranian-backed terrorists (he was later slain by his captors).
In 1995, Colin Ferguson was convicted of six counts of murder in the December 1993 Long Island Rail Road shootings (he was later sentenced to a minimum of 200 years in prison).
In 2014, Jimmy Fallon made his debut as host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.”
In 2015, Vice President Joe Biden opened a White House summit on countering extremism and radicalization, saying the United States needed to ensure that immigrants were fully included in the fabric of American society to prevent violent ideologies from taking root at home.
Ten years ago: Danica Patrick won the Daytona 500 pole, becoming the first woman to secure the top spot for any Sprint Cup race. (Patrick covered the 2½-mile Superspeedway in 45.817 seconds, averaging 196.434 mph. A week later, Jimmie Johnson won the race, while Patrick finished eighth.) The Western Conference beat the East 143-138 in the NBA All-Star game played in Houston. Mindy McCready, 37, who’d hit the top of U.S. country music charts before personal problems sidetracked her career, died by her own hand in Heber Springs, Arkansas.
Five years ago: President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, told a conference in Germany that there was now “incontrovertible” evidence of a Russian plot to disrupt the 2016 U.S. election; the statement stood in stark contrast to Trump’s claim that Russian interference in his election victory was a hoax. Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu made Olympic figure skating history in the men’s free skate event in South Korea, becoming the first man to repeat as Olympic champion since Dick Button in 1952.
One year ago: U.S. President Joe Biden warned that Russia could still invade Ukraine within days and Russia expelled the No. 2 diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, as tensions flared anew in the worst East-West standoff in decades. (Russia would invade Ukraine three days later.) Anna Shcherbakova won a stunning gold medal in women’s figure skating at the Beijing Games, while Russian teammate Kamila Valieva tumbled all the way out of the medals after a mistake-filled end to her controversial Olympics.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-comedian Barry Humphries (aka “Dame Edna”) is 89. Actor Christina Pickles is 88. Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown is 87. Actor Brenda Fricker is 78. Actor Becky Ann Baker is 70. Actor Rene Russo is 69. Actor Richard Karn is 67. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips is 61. Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan is 60. Actor-comedian Larry, the Cable Guy is 60. TV personality Rene Syler is 60. Movie director Michael Bay is 59. Singer Chante Moore is 56. Rock musician Timothy J. Mahoney (311) is 53. Actor Dominic Purcell is 53. Olympic gold and silver medal skier Tommy Moe is 53. Actor Denise Richards is 52. Rock singer-musician Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) is 51. Actor Jerry O’Connell is 49. Country singer Bryan White is 49. Actor Kelly Carlson is 47. Actor Ashton Holmes is 45. Actor Conrad Ricamora is 44. Actor Jason Ritter is 43. TV personality Paris Hilton is 42. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is 42. TV host Daphne Oz is 37. Actor Chord Overstreet is 34.
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