Today in history


By the Associated Press



Today is Wednesday, Feb. 19, the 50th day of 2020. There are 316 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 19, 1945, Operation Detachment began during World War II as some 30,000 U.S. Marines began landing on Iwo Jima, where they commenced a successful month-long battle to seize control of the island from Japanese forces.

On this date:

In 1803, Congress voted to accept Ohio’s borders and constitution.

In 1807, former Vice President Aaron Burr, accused of treason, was arrested in the Mississippi Territory, in present-day Alabama. (Burr was acquitted at trial.)

In 1846, the Texas state government was formally installed in Austin, with J. Pinckney Henderson taking the oath of office as governor.

In 1878, Thomas Edison received a U.S. patent for “an improvement in phonograph or speaking machines.”

In 1934, the U.S. Army Air Corps began delivering mail after President Franklin D. Roosevelt canceled private contracts that had come under suspicion. (The hastily arranged, ill-equipped military flights claimed the lives of a dozen pilots, sparking a public outcry before they were dropped several months later.)

In 1942, during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which paved the way for the relocation and internment of people of Japanese ancestry, including U.S.-born citizens. Imperial Japanese warplanes raided the Australian city of Darwin; at least 243 people were killed.

In 1968, the children’s program “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” created by and starring Fred Rogers, made its network debut on National Educational Television, a forerunner of PBS, beginning a 31-season run.

In 1986, the U.S. Senate approved, 83-11, the Genocide Convention, an international treaty outlawing “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” nearly 37 years after the pact was first submitted for ratification.

In 1997, Deng Xiaoping (dung shah-oh-ping), the last of China’s major Communist revolutionaries, died at age 92.

In 2003, an Iranian military plane carrying 275 members of the elite Revolutionary Guards crashed in southeastern Iran, killing all on board.

In 2006, Israel halted the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax money to the Palestinians after Hamas took control of the Palestinian parliament.

In 2008, an ailing Fidel Castro resigned the Cuban presidency after nearly a half-century in power; his brother Raul was later named to succeed him.

Ten years ago: In a televised 13-minute statement, golfer Tiger Woods admitted infidelity and acknowledged receiving therapy. The FBI concluded that Army scientist Bruce Ivins acted alone in the 2001 anthrax mailings that killed five people, and formally closed the case. Pope Benedict XVI approved sainthood for Mother Mary MacKillop, who became Australia’s first saint.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama urged delegates from 63 countries at a summit on violent extremism to “confront the warped ideology” espoused by terror groups, particularly using Islam to justify violence.

One year ago: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said he would again seek the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. President Donald Trump directed the Pentagon to develop plans for a new Space Force within the Air Force, accepting less than the full-fledged department he had wanted. Designer Karl Lagerfeld, whose creations at Chanel and Fendi had an unprecedented impact on the entire fashion industry, died in Paris. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to the Supreme Court bench, eight weeks after surgery for lung cancer. Former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe, who was one of the first black players in the major leagues and went on to win the Rookie of the Year, MVP and Cy Yong awards, died at 92 after a long illness.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Smokey Robinson is 80. Actress Carlin Glynn is 80. Former Sony Corp. Chairman Howard Stringer is 78. Singer Lou Christie is 77. Actor Michael Nader is 75. Rock musician Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell) is 72. Actor Stephen Nichols is 69. Author Amy Tan is 68. Actor Jeff Daniels is 65. Rock singer-musician Dave Wakeling is 64. Talk show host Lorianne Crook is 63. Actor Ray Winstone is 63. Actor Leslie David Baker is 62. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is 61. Britain’s Prince Andrew is 60. Tennis Hall of Famer Hana Mandlikova is 58. Singer Seal is 57. Actress Jessica Tuck is 57. Country musician Ralph McCauley (Wild Horses) is 56. Rock musician Jon Fishman (Phish) is 55. Actress Justine Bateman is 54. Actor Benicio Del Toro is 53. Actress Bellamy Young is 50. Rock musician Daniel Adair is 45. Pop singer-actress Haylie Duff is 35. Actress Arielle Kebbel is 35. Christian rock musician Seth Morrison (Skillet) is 32. Actor Luke Pasqualino is 30. Actress Victoria Justice is 27. Actor David (dah-VEED’) Mazouz (TV: “Gotham”) is 19. Actress Millie Bobby Brown is 16.

Thought for Today: “Passion and prejudice govern the world; only under the name of reason.” — John Wesley, English theologian (1703-1791).

By the Associated Press