Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 22, 2021, the number of U.S. deaths from COVID-19 topped 500,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
On this date:
In 1630, English colonists in the Massachusetts Bay Colony first sampled popcorn brought to them by a Native American named Quadequina for their Thanksgiving celebration.
In 1732 (New Style date), the first president of the United States, George Washington, was born in Westmoreland County in the Virginia Colony.
In 1784, a U.S. merchant ship, the Empress of China, left New York for the Far East to trade goods with China.
In 1935, it became illegal for airplanes to fly over the White House.
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 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.)
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 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 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.
In 2020, Bernie Sanders scored a resounding win in Nevada’s presidential caucuses, cementing his status as the Democrats’ front-runner.
Ten years ago: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum swapped accusations about health care, spending earmarks and federal bailouts in the 20th debate of the roller-coaster race for the Republican presidential nomination, held in Mesa, Arizona. Two Marine Corps helicopters collided over a remote section of the California desert during a nighttime exercise, killing seven Marines.
Five years ago: 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. Most of the Dakota Access pipeline opponents abandoned their protest camp ahead of a government deadline to get off the federal land. A shooting at a bar in Olathe (oh-LAY’-thuh), Kansas, left one man dead and two others wounded; witnesses said a man yelled, “Get out of my country” before opening fire on two Indian nationals who worked as engineers at GPS-maker Garmin. (The gunman was sentenced to life in prison for murder, attempted murder and hate crimes.)
One year ago: In a significant defeat for former President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court declined to step in to halt the turnover of his tax records to a New York state prosecutor. Dominion Voting Systems filed a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against the founder and CEO of MyPillow, saying that Mike Lindell falsely accused the company of rigging the 2020 presidential election; the company had filed similar lawsuits against Trump lawyers Rudolph Giuliani and Sidney Powell. State lawmakers gave final approval to a bill to end capital punishment in Virginia, a state that had executed more people in its history than any other. Poet, publisher and bookseller Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who helped launch and perpetuate the Beat movement, died in San Francisco at age 101.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Paul Dooley is 94. Actor James Hong is 93. Actor John Ashton is 74. Actor Miou-Miou is 72. Actor Julie Walters is 72. Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving is 72. Actor Ellen Greene is 71. Former Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is 70. Former White House adviser David Axelrod is 67. Actor Kyle MacLachlan is 63. World Golf Hall of Famer Vijay Singh is 59. Actor-comedian Rachel Dratch is 56. Actor Paul Lieberstein is 55. Actor Jeri Ryan is 54. Actor Thomas Jane is 53. TV host Clinton Kelly is 53. Actor Tamara Mello is 52. Actor-singer Lea Salonga (LAY’-uh suh-LONG’-guh) is 51. Actor Jose Solano is 51. International Tennis Hall of Famer Michael Chang is 50. Rock musician Scott Phillips is 49. Singer James Blunt is 48. Actor Drew Barrymore is 47. Actor Liza Huber is 47.
Rock singer Tom Higgenson (Plain White T’s) is 43. Rock musician Joe Hottinger (Halestorm) is 40. Actor Zach Roerig is 37.