Today in History
Today is Monday, Feb. 22, the 53rd day of 2021. There are 312 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 22, 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.)
On this date:
In 1732 (New Style date), the first president of the United States, George Washington, was born in Westmoreland County in the Virginia Colony.
In 1889, President Grover Cleveland signed an enabling act paving the way for the Dakotas, Montana and Washington to become states.
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 1967, more than 25,000 U.S. and South Vietnamese troops launched Operation Junction City, aimed at smashing a Vietcong stronghold near the Cambodian border. (Although the communists were driven out, they later returned.)
In 1984, David Vetter, a 12-year-old Texas boy who’d spent most of his life in a plastic bubble because he had no immunity to disease, died 15 days after being removed from the bubble for a bone-marrow transplant.
In 1987, pop artist Andy Warhol died at a New York City hospital at age 58.
In 1997, scientists in Scotland announced they had succeeded in cloning an adult mammal, producing a lamb named “Dolly.” (Dolly, however, was later put down after a short life marred by premature aging and disease.)
In 2004, consumer advocate Ralph Nader announced he was running again for president, this time as an independent.
In 2005, 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.
In 2010, 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 charges including conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction. (Zazi faced up to life in prison but spent nearly a decade after his arrest helping the U.S. identify and prosecute terrorists; he was given a 10-year sentence followed by supervised release.)
In 2017, the Trump administration lifted federal guidelines that said transgender students should be allowed to use public school bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity.
In 2019, a California couple pleaded guilty to torture and years of abuse that included shackling some of their 13 children to beds and starving them. (The couple would be sentenced to up to life in prison.) Producers of the Fox TV show “Empire” announced that actor Jussie Smollett’s character would be removed from the final two episodes of the season after his arrest on charges that he staged a racist, anti-gay attack on himself.
Ten years ago: A defiant Moammar Gadhafi vowed to fight to his “last drop of blood” and roared at supporters to strike back against Libyan protesters to defend his embattled regime. A magnitude-6.1 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, killed 184 people. Somali pirates shot to death four Americans taken hostage on their yacht several hundred miles south of Oman. Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama sent lawmakers an official $1.9 billion request to combat the spread of the Zika virus in Latin America and the U.S. (Congress passed a $1.1 billion package in Sept. 2016.) The City Council of Charlotte, North Carolina, voted 7-4 to pass a new law allowing transgender people to choose public bathrooms that corresponded to their gender identity. Country singer Sonny James, 87, died in Nashville. British cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, 103, died in London. The Lady Vols’ streak of 565 consecutive weeks in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll ended as Tennessee fell out of the Top 25.
One year ago: A dozen towns in northern Italy effectively went into lockdown after the deaths of two people infected with the coronavirus. South Korea reported an eight-fold jump in viral infections, with more than 400 cases mostly linked to a church and a hospital. Bernie Sanders scored a resounding win in Nevada’s presidential caucuses, cementing his status as the Democrats’ front-runner. Self-styled daredevil Mike Hughes, 64, died after a rocket in which he launched himself crashed into the ground near Barstow, California; he had said he wanted to fly to the edge of outer space to see if the world is round. Barbara Smith, known as “B.” Smith, a top Black model who went on to open restaurants and launch a home products line, died at the age of 70 at her suburban New York home after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. British boxer Tyson Fury beat Deontay Wilder in their rematch in Las Vegas to win the heavyweight title for a second time.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Paul Dooley is 93. Actor James Hong is 92. Actor John Ashton is 73. Actor Miou-Miou is 71. Actor Julie Walters is 71. Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving is 71. Actor Ellen Greene is 70. Former Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is 69. Former White House adviser David Axelrod is 66. Actor Kyle MacLachlan is 62. World Golf Hall of Famer Vijay Singh is 58. Actor-comedian Rachel Dratch is 55. Actor Paul Lieberstein is 54. Actor Jeri Ryan is 53. Actor Thomas Jane is 52. TV host Clinton Kelly is 52. Actor Tamara Mello is 51. Actor-singer Lea Salonga (LAY’-uh suh-LONG’-guh) is 50. Actor Jose Solano is 50. International Tennis Hall of Famer Michael Chang is 49. Rock musician Scott Phillips is 48. Singer James Blunt is 47. Actor Drew Barrymore is 46. Actor Liza Huber is 46. Rock singer Tom Higgenson (Plain White T’s) is 42. Rock musician Joe Hottinger (Halestorm) is 39. Actor Zach Roerig is 36. Actor Daniel E. Smith is 31.