Today in History

Today is Sunday, Feb. 22, the 53rd day of 2015. There are 312 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 22, 1732 (New Style date), the first president of the United States, George Washington, was born in Westmoreland County in the Virginia Colony.

On this date:

In 1784, a U.S. merchant ship, the Empress of China, left New York for the Far East to trade goods with China.

In 1862, Jefferson Davis, already the provisional president of the Confederacy, was inaugurated for a six-year term following his election in Nov. 1861.

In 1865, Tennessee amended its constitution to abolish slavery.

In 1909, the Great White Fleet, a naval task force sent on a round-the-world voyage by President Theodore Roosevelt, returned after more than a year at sea.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge delivered the first radio broadcast from the White House as he addressed the country over 42 stations.

In 1935, it became illegal for airplanes to fly over the White House.

In 1940, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, was enthroned at age four in Lhasa, Tibet.

In 1959, the inaugural Daytona 500 race was held; although Johnny Beauchamp was initially declared the winner, the victory was later awarded to Lee Petty.

In 1965, a new, color videotape version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein TV musical “Cinderella,” starring Lesley Ann Warren in the title role and Stuart Damon as the Prince, first aired on CBS. Former Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter, 82, died in Washington D.C.

In 1974, Pakistan officially recognized Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan).

In 1980, the “Miracle on Ice” took place in Lake Placid, New York, as the United States Olympic hockey team upset the Soviets, 4-3. (The U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.)

In 1995, actor Ed Flanders, 60, died at his own hand in Denny, California.

Ten years ago: A powerful earthquake struck central Iran, killing more than 600 people. A Virginia man was charged with plotting with al-Qaida to kill President George W. Bush. (Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was convicted on all counts in November 2005; he was sentenced to life in prison after a 30-year sentence was overturned.) Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth II would not attend the civil marriage ceremony of her son Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles — but that her absence should not be interpreted as a snub.

Five years ago: Najibullah Zazi (nah-jee-BOO’-lah ZAH’-zee), accused of buying beauty supplies to make bombs for an attack on New York City subways, pleaded guilty to conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction, conspiring to commit murder in a foreign country and providing material support for a terrorist organization. New York City police officer Richard Kern, accused of sodomizing a drug suspect in a subway station, was acquitted at trial; two colleagues were acquitted of a cover-up.

One year ago: Retired Pope Benedict XVI joined Pope Francis in a ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica creating the cardinals who will elect their successor in an unprecedented blending of papacies past, present and future. Ukraine’s former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko (YOOL’-yah tee-moh-SHEN’-koh) left prison as her arch foe, President Viktor Yanukovych, decamped to the country’s east, vowing to remain in power. At the Sochi Olympics, Marit Bjoergen became the most decorated female Winter Olympian in history, winning her sixth career gold medal by leading a Norwegian sweep in the women’s 30-kilometer cross-country race. Mario Matt of Austria won the men’s slalom to become at age 34 the oldest Alpine champion in Olympic history.

Today’s Birthdays: TV producer Bud Yorkin is 89. Actor Paul Dooley is 87. Actor James Hong is 86. Hollywood “ghost singer” Marni Nixon is 85. Movie director Jonathan Demme is 71. Actor John Ashton is 67. Actress Miou-Miou is 65. Actress Julie Walters is 65. Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving is 65. Actress Ellen Greene is 64. Former Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is 63. Former White House adviser David Axelrod is 60. Actor Kyle MacLachlan is 56. World Golf Hall of Famer Vijay Singh is 52. Actress-comedian Rachel Dratch is 49. Actor Paul Lieberstein is 48. Actress Jeri Ryan is 47. Actor Thomas Jane is 46. TV host Clinton Kelly is 46. Actress Tamara Mello is 45. Actress-singer Lea Salonga is 44. Actor Jose Solano is 44. International Tennis Hall-of-Famer Michael Chang is 43. Rock musician Scott Phillips is 42. Actress Drew Barrymore is 40. Actress Liza Huber is 40. Singer James Blunt is 38. Rock singer Tom Higgenson (Plain White T’s) is 36. Actor Zach Roerig is 30. Actor Daniel E. Smith is 25.

Thought for Today: “Authority without wisdom is like a heavy ax without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.” — Anne Bradstreet, American poet (1612-1672).

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