Today in History

Today is Monday, Feb. 23, the 54th day of 2015. There are 311 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 23, 1945, during World War II, U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima captured Mount Suribachi, where they raised the American flag. (There were actually two flag-raisings, the second of which was captured in the iconic photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal of The Associated Press.)

On this date:

In 1836, the siege of the Alamo began in San Antonio, Texas.

In 1848, the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, died in Washington, D.C., at age 80.

In 1863, British explorers John H. Speke and James A. Grant announced they had found the source of the Nile River to be Lake Victoria.

In 1870, Mississippi was readmitted to the Union.

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an agreement with Cuba to lease the area around Guantanamo Bay to the United States.

In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill creating the Federal Radio Commission, forerunner of the Federal Communications Commission.

In 1934, Leopold III succeeded his late father, Albert I, as King of the Belgians.

In 1954, the first mass inoculation of schoolchildren against polio using the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh as some 5,000 students were vaccinated.

In 1965, film comedian Stan Laurel, 74, died in Santa Monica, California.

In 1970, Guyana became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations.

In 1989, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted 11-9 along party lines to recommend rejection of John Tower as President George H.W. Bush’s defense secretary. (Tower’s nomination went down to defeat in the full Senate the following month.)

In 1995, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above the 4,000 mark for the first time, ending the day at 4,003.33.

Ten years ago: A jury was selected in Santa Maria, California, to decide Michael Jackson’s fate on charges that he’d molested a teenage boy at his Neverland Ranch. (Jackson was later acquitted.) President George W. Bush and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder  agreed to turn down the volume on their disagreements about Iraq and Iran. French film star Simone Simon, 94, died in Paris.

Five years ago: The House Energy and Commerce Committee, looking into cases of sudden, unintended acceleration of Toyota automobiles, heard tearful testimony from Rhonda Smith of Sevierville, Tennessee, who said her Lexus had raced out of control to speeds up to 100 miles an hour. Dutch skater Sven Kramer lost the Olympic gold medal to Lee Seung-hoon of South Korea when coach Gerard Kemkers sent him the wrong way on a changeover during the 10,000-meter speedskating race at Vancouver, causing Kramer to be disqualified.

One year ago: The Sochi Olympics completed a 17-day run with Canada’s 3-0 victory over Sweden in the men’s hockey final, the last of 98 gold medal events. Dale Earnhardt Jr. persevered through rain and wrecks to win the Daytona 500 for the second time, a decade after his first victory in the “Great American Race.” Alice Herz Sommer, 110, believed to be the oldest survivor of the Holocaust, died in London. Samuel Sheinbein, 33, who’d fled from the U.S. to Israel after murdering and dismembering a Maryland man in 1997, was killed in a shootout at an Israeli prison.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Peter Fonda is 75. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff is 72. Author John Sandford is 71. Country-rock musician Rusty Young is 69. Actress Patricia Richardson is 64. Rock musician Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) is 63. Singer Howard Jones is 60. Rock musician Michael Wilton (Queensryche) is 53. Country singer Dusty Drake is 51. Actress Kristin Davis is 50. Tennis player Helena Sukova is 50. Actor Marc Price is 47. TV personality/businessman Daymond John (TV: “Shark Tank”) is 46. Actress Niecy Nash is 45. Rock musician Jeff Beres (Sister Hazel) is 44. Country singer Steve Holy is 43. Rock musician Lasse Johansson (The Cardigans) is 42. Actress Kelly Macdonald is 39. Actor Josh Gad is 34. Actress Emily Blunt is 32. Actor Aziz Ansari is 32. Actress Dakota Fanning is 21.

Thought for Today: “The essential conditions of everything you do must be choice, love, passion.” — Nadia Boulanger, French composer and teacher (1887-1979).

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