By The Associated Press

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Feb. 23, the 54th day of 2023. There are 311 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 23, 1954, the first mass inoculation of schoolchildren against polio using the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh as some 5,000 students were vaccinated.

On this date:

In 1685, composer George Frideric Handel was born in present-day Germany.

In 1822, Boston was granted a charter to incorporate as a city.

In 1836, the siege of the Alamo began in San Antonio, Texas.

In 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington to take office, following word of a possible assassination plot in Baltimore.

In 1896, Tootsie Roll introduced by Leo Hirshfield.

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an agreement with Cuba to lease the area around Guantanamo Bay to the United States.

In 1942, the first shelling of the U.S. mainland during World War II occurred as a Japanese submarine fired on an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California, causing little damage.

In 1945, during World War II, U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima captured Mount Suribachi, where they raised two American flags (the second flag-raising was captured in the iconic Associated Press photograph.)

In 1998, 42 people were killed, some 2,600 homes and businesses damaged or destroyed, by tornadoes in central Florida.

In 2007, a Mississippi grand jury refused to bring any new charges in the 1955 slaying of Emmett Till, the Black teenager who was beaten and shot after being accused of whistling at a white woman, declining to indict the woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, for manslaughter.

In 2011, in a major policy reversal, the Obama administration said it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage.

In 2020, Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man, was fatally shot on a residential Georgia street; a white father and son had armed themselves and pursued him after seeing him running through their neighborhood. (Greg and Travis McMichael and neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan were convicted of murder, aggravated assault and other charges and were sentenced to life in prison.)

In 2021, golfer Tiger Woods was seriously injured when his SUV crashed into a median and rolled over several times on a steep road in suburban Los Angeles.

Ten years ago: Some 30 NASCAR fans were injured when rookie Kyle Larson’s car was propelled by a crash into the fence at Daytona International Speedway, and large chunks of debris flew into the grandstands. The Ultimate Fighting Championship held its first women’s bout as Ronda Rousey beat Liz Carmouche on an armbar, her signature move, with 11 seconds left in the first round of their bantamweight title fight at UFC 157 in Anaheim, California.

Five years ago: Rick Gates, a former senior adviser to Donald Trump’s election campaign, pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy and false-statements charges, becoming a cooperating witness in the probe of Trump’s campaign and Russia’s election interference. Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced plans to put more armed guards in schools and make it harder for young adults and some with mental illness to buy guns. Teachers and staff returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, for the first time since the shooting that left 17 people dead. Canada’s Olympic men’s hockey team failed to reach the final at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, losing to Germany 4-3 in the semifinals.

One year ago: The Kremlin said rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine asked Russia for military assistance to help fend off Ukrainian “aggression” while Ukraine declared a nationwide state of emergency amid growing fears of an all-out invasion by Russian troops. (The invasion would become a reality a day later.) Gary Brooker, the Procol Harum frontman who sang one of the 1960s’ most enduring hits, “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” died at age 76.

Today’s birthdays: Football Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff is 80. Author John Sandford is 79. Actor Patricia Richardson is 72. Former NFL player Ed “Too Tall” Jones is 72. Rock musician Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) is 71.

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Singer Howard Jones is 68. Rock musician Michael Wilton (Queensryche) is 61. Country singer Dusty Drake is 59. Actor Kristin Davis is 58. Former tennis player Helena Sukova is 58. Actor Marc Price is 55. TV personality/businessman Daymond John (TV: “Shark Tank”) is 54. Actor Niecy Nash is 53. Rock musician Jeff Beres (Sister Hazel) is 52. Country singer Steve Holy is 51. Rock musician Lasse Johansson (The Cardigans) is 50. Film and theater composer Robert Lopez is 48. Actor Kelly Macdonald is 47. Rapper Residente (Calle 13) is 45. Actor Josh Gad is 42. Actor Emily Blunt is 40. Actor Aziz Ansari is 40. Actor Tye White (TV: “Greenleaf”) is 37. Actor Dakota Fanning is 29.