Today in History

Today is Thursday, Feb. 26, the 57th day of 2015. There are 308 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 26, 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from exile on the Island of Elba and headed back to France in a bid to regain power.

On this date:

In 1904, the United States and Panama proclaimed a treaty under which the U.S. agreed to undertake efforts to build a ship canal across the Panama isthmus.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed a congressional act establishing Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.

In 1929, President Calvin Coolidge signed a measure establishing Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

In 1940, the United States Air Defense Command was created.

In 1945, authorities ordered a midnight curfew at nightclubs, bars and other places of entertainment across the nation.

In 1952, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that Britain had developed its own atomic bomb.

In 1962, after becoming the first American to orbit the Earth, astronaut John Glenn told a joint meeting of Congress, “Exploration and the pursuit of knowledge have always paid dividends in the long run.”

In 1970, National Public Radio was incorporated.

In 1987, the Tower Commission, which had probed the Iran-Contra affair, issued its report, which rebuked President Ronald Reagan for failing to control his national security staff.

In 1993, a truck bomb built by terrorists exploded in the parking garage of New York’s World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000 others.

In 1995, Barings PLC, Britain’s oldest investment banking firm, collapsed after Nick Leeson, a 28-year-old securities dealer, lost over $1.4 billion by gambling on Tokyo stock prices.

In 2012, Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot to death in Sanford, Florida, during an altercation with neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, who said he’d acted in self-defense. (Zimmerman was subsequently acquitted of second-degree murder.)

Ten years ago: Fifteen months after Japan’s last liftoff ended in a spectacular fireball, an orange and white H-2A rocket blasted off from a remote southern island, carrying a weather and navigation satellite into orbit. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered his country’s constitution changed to allow presidential challengers in an upcoming fall election. A fragment of granite bearing the name “John” – all that remained of a memorial to the six people killed in the 1993 terror attack on the World Trade Center – was installed as the central piece of a new post-9/11 memorial. Former Time magazine editor and U.S. ambassador to Austria, Henry A. Grunwald, died in New York at age 82.

Five years ago: New York Gov. David Paterson announced he wouldn’t seek re-election amid a criminal investigation over his handling of a domestic violence complaint against a top aide. (Investigators found no evidence of witness tampering.) At the Vancouver Olympics, the Americans reached 34 medals with a silver and a bronze in short-track speedskating.

One year ago: President Barack Obama, speaking in St. Paul, Minnesota, said he would ask Congress for $300 billion to update aging roads and railways. Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a bill pushed by social conservatives that would have allowed people with sincerely held religious beliefs to refuse to serve gays.

Today’s Birthdays: Game show host Tom Kennedy is 88. Singer Fats Domino is 87. Country-rock musician Paul Cotton (Poco) is 72. Actor-director Bill Duke is 72. Singer Mitch Ryder is 70. Actress Marta Kristen (TV: “Lost in Space”) is 70. Rock musician Jonathan Cain (Journey) is 65. Singer Michael Bolton is 62. The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is 61. Actor Greg Germann is 57. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., is 57. Bandleader John McDaniel is 54. Actress Jennifer Grant is 49. Rock musician Tim Commerford (Audioslave) is 47. Singer Erykah Badu (EHR’-ih-kah bah-DOO’) is 44. Rhythm-and-blues singer Rico Wade (Society of Soul) is 43. Olympic gold medal swimmer Jenny Thompson is 42. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kyle Norman (Jagged Edge) is 40. Actor Greg Rikaart is 38. Rock musician Chris Culos (O.A.R.) is 36. Rhythm-and-blues singer Corinne Bailey Rae is 36. Country singer Rodney Hayden is 35. Pop singer Nate Ruess (roos) (fun.) is 33. Tennis player Li Na is 33. Actor Alex Heartman is 25. Actress Taylor Dooley is 22.

Thought for Today: “Only the mediocrities of life hide behind the alibi ‘in conference.’ The great of this earth are not only simple but accessible.” – Isaac Frederick Marcosson, American journalist (1876-1961).

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