Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 20, 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth as he flew aboard Project Mercury’s Friendship 7 spacecraft, which circled the globe three times in a flight lasting 4 hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds before splashing down safely in the Atlantic Ocean 800 miles southeast of Bermuda.
On this date:
In 1792, President George Washington signed an act creating the United States Post Office Department.
In 1862, William Wallace Lincoln, the 11-year-old son of President Abraham Lincoln and first lady Mary Todd Lincoln, died at the White House, apparently of typhoid fever.
In 1905, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, upheld, 7-2, compulsory vaccination laws intended to protect the public’s health.
In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an immigration act which excluded “idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane persons” from being admitted to the United States.
In 1933, Congress proposed the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to repeal Prohibition.
In 1938, Anthony Eden resigned as British foreign secretary following Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s decision to negotiate with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
In 1944, Batman & Robin comic strip premieres in newspapers.
In 1965, America’s Ranger 8 spacecraft crashed on the moon, as planned, after sending back thousands of pictures of the lunar surface.
In 1987, a bomb left by Unabomber Ted Kaczynski exploded behind a computer store in Salt Lake City, seriously injuring store owner Gary Wright.
In 1998, Tara Lipinski of the U.S. won the ladies’ figure skating gold medal at the Nagano (NAH’-guh-noh) Olympics; Michelle Kwan won the silver.
In 2003, a fire sparked by pyrotechnics broke out during a concert by the group Great White at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, Rhode Island, killing 100 people and injuring about 200 others.
In 2005, death claimed actor Sandra Dee at age 62; musical actor John Raitt at age 88; and counterculture writer Hunter S. Thompson at age 67.
In 2020, a poll by the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found more Americans expressing some concern about catching the flu than about catching the coronavirus.
Ten years ago: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev held an unprecedented meeting with opposition leaders, who said they were encouraged by his promises to make it easier for anti-Kremlin parties to take part in elections. Former senator and astronaut John Glenn celebrated the 50th anniversary of his history-making space flight at the Ohio State University by kicking off a forum about NASA’s future.
Five years ago: President Donald Trump tapped Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new national security adviser, replacing the ousted Michael Flynn.
One year ago: Debris from a United Airlines plane fell onto Denver suburbs during an emergency landing, with one very large piece that appeared to be part of the engine narrowly missing a home; authorities said nobody aboard or on the ground was reported hurt. Naomi Osaka won her fourth Grand Slam trophy by pulling away to beat Jennifer Brady 6-4, 6-3 in the Australian Open final.
Today’s Birthdays: Racing Hall of Famer Roger Penske is 85. Singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie is 81. Hockey Hall of Famer Phil Esposito is 80. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is 80. Movie director Mike Leigh is 79. Actor Brenda Blethyn is 76. Actor Sandy Duncan is 76. Actor Peter Strauss is 75. Rock musician Billy Zoom (X) is 74. Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is 71. Actor John Voldstad is 71. Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst is 68. Actor Anthony Head is 68. Country singer Leland Martin is 65. Actor James Wilby is 64. Rock musician Sebastian Steinberg is 63. Comedian Joel Hodgson (HAHD’-suhn) is 62. Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley is 59. Rock musician Ian Brown (Stone Roses) is 59. Actor French Stewart is 58. Actor Ron Eldard is 57. Model Cindy Crawford is 56. Actor Andrew Shue is 55. Actor Lili Taylor is 55. Actor Andrea Savage is 49. Singer Brian Littrell is 47. Actor Lauren Ambrose is 44. Actor Jay Hernandez is 44. Actor Chelsea Peretti is 44. Country musician Coy Bowles is 43. Actor Michael Zegen is 43. Actor Majandra Delfino is 41. Actor Jocko Sims is 41. Singer-musician Chris Thile (THEE’-lee) is 41. Actor-singer Jessie Mueller is 39. MLB All-Star pitcher Justin Verlander is 39. Comedian Trevor Noah is 38. Actor Jake Richardson is 37. Actor Daniella Pineda is 35. Actor Miles Teller is 35.
Singer Rihanna is 34. Actor Jack Falahee is 33.