Today in History
Today is Tuesday, Feb. 21, the 52nd day of 2023. There are 313 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 21, 1975, former Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H.R. Haldeman and John D. Ehrlichman were sentenced to 2 1/2 to 8 years in prison for their roles in the Watergate cover-up (each ended up serving 1 1/2 years).
On this date:
In 1437, James I, King of Scots, was assassinated; his 6-year-old son succeeded him as James II.
In 1885, the Washington Monument was dedicated.
In 1911, composer Gustav Mahler, despite a fever, conducted the New York Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall in what turned out to be his final concert (he died the following May).
In 1964, the first shipment of U.S. wheat purchased by the Soviet Union arrived in the port of Odessa.
In 1965, minister and civil rights activist Malcolm X, 39, was shot to death inside Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom in New York. (Three men identified as members of the Nation of Islam were convicted of murder and imprisoned; all were eventually paroled. The convictions of two of the men were dismissed in November 2021; prosecutors said new evidence had undermined the case against them.)
In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon began his historic visit to China as he and his wife, Pat, arrived in Beijing.
In 1973, Israeli fighter planes shot down Libyan Arab Airlines Flight 114 over the Sinai Desert, killing all but five of the 113 people on board.
In 1992, Kristi Yamaguchi (yah-mah-GOO’-chee) of the United States won the gold medal in ladies’ figure skating at the Albertville Olympics; Midori Ito (mee-doh-ree ee-toh) of Japan won the silver, Nancy Kerrigan of the U.S. the bronze.
In 1995, Chicago adventurer Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean by balloon, landing in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada.
In 2019, teachers in Oakland, California, went on strike in the latest in a wave of teacher activism that had included walkouts in Denver, Los Angeles and West Virginia.
In 2020, a temporary truce between the United States and the Taliban in Afghanistan took effect, setting the stage for the two sides to sign a peace deal the following week.
Ten years ago: Opposition activists said at least 31 people were killed in a car bomb attack in Damascus near the headquarters of the ruling Baath party and the Russian Embassy. Drew Peterson, the Chicago-area police officer who gained notoriety after his much-younger fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished in 2007, was sentenced to 38 years in prison for murdering his third wife, Kathleen Savio.
Five years ago: The Rev. Billy Graham, a confidant of presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, died at his North Carolina home at age 99. A week after the Florida school shooting, President Donald Trump met with teen survivors of school violence and parents of slain children; Trump promised to be “very strong on background checks” and suggested he supported letting some teachers and other school employees carry weapons. Thousands of protesters swarmed the Florida state Capitol, calling for changes to gun laws, a ban on assault-type weapons and improved care for the mentally ill. The NBA fined Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban $600,000 for saying he had recently told some of his players that “losing is our best option.” (The Mavericks had one of the league’s worst records, putting them in position to land a high draft pick.)
One year ago: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered forces to “maintain peace” in separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, hours after the Kremlin recognized the area’s independence. The announcement raised fears that an invasion was imminent. (It would come three days later.) British Prime Minister Boris Johnson scrapped the last domestic coronavirus restrictions in England, including the requirement for people with COVID-19 to self-isolate. Italy’s Mount Etna roared back to spectacular action after months of relative quiet.
Today’s birthdays: Actor Gary Lockwood is 86. Actor-director Richard Beymer is 84. Actor Peter McEnery is 83. Film/music company executive David Geffen is 80. Actor Tyne Daly is 77. Actor Anthony Daniels is 77. Tricia Nixon Cox is 77. Former Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, R-Maine, is 76. Rock musician Jerry Harrison (Talking Heads) is 74. Actor Christine Ebersole is 70. Actor William Petersen is 70. Actor Kelsey Grammer is 68. Singer/guitarist Larry Campbell is 68. Country singer Mary Chapin Carpenter is 65. Actor Kim Coates is 65. Actor Jack Coleman is 65. Actor Christopher Atkins is 62. Actor William Baldwin is 60. Sen. Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., is 59. Rock musician Michael Ward is 56. Actor Aunjanue Ellis is 54. Blues musician Corey Harris is 54. Country singer Eric Heatherly is 53. Rock musician Eric Wilson is 53. Rock musician Tad Kinchla (Blues Traveler) is 50. Singer Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops) is 46. Actor Tituss Burgess is 44. Actor Jennifer Love Hewitt is 44. Comedian-actor Jordan Peele is 44. Actor Brendan Sexton III is 43. Singer Charlotte Church is 37. Actor Ashley Greene is 36. Actor Elliot Page is 36. Actor Corbin Bleu is 34. Actor Hayley Orrantia is 29. Actor Sophie Turner is 27.
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