Today in History
Today is Tuesday, Feb. 28, the 59th day of 2023. There are 306 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 28, 1993, a gun battle erupted at a religious compound near Waco, Texas, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents tried to arrest Branch Davidian leader David Koresh on weapons charges; four agents and six Davidians were killed as a 51-day standoff began.
On this date:
In 1844, a 12-inch gun aboard the USS Princeton exploded as the ship was sailing on the Potomac River, killing Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur, Navy Secretary Thomas W. Gilmer and several others.
In 1849, the California gold rush began in earnest as regular steamship service started bringing gold-seekers to San Francisco.
In 1911, President William Howard Taft nominated William H. Lewis to be the first Black Assistant Attorney General of the United States.
In 1953, scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick announced they had discovered the double-helix structure of DNA.
In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai issued the Shanghai Communique, which called for normalizing relations between their countries, at the conclusion of Nixon’s historic visit to China.
In 1975, 42 people were killed in London’s Underground when a train smashed into the end of a tunnel.
In 1983, Final TV episode of “M*A*S*H”, a 2-hour special directed by series star Alan Alda titled “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen”, airs (CBS); record 125 million watch in the US.
In 1996, Britain’s Princess Diana agreed to divorce Prince Charles. (Their 15-year marriage officially ended in August 1996; Diana died in a car crash in Paris a year after that.)
In 2009, Paul Harvey, the news commentator and talk-radio pioneer whose staccato style made him one of the nation’s most familiar voices, died in Phoenix at age 90.
In 2014, delivering a blunt warning to Moscow, President Barack Obama expressed deep concern over reported military activity inside Ukraine by Russia and warned “there will be costs” for any intervention.
In 2018, Walmart announced that it would no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21 and would remove items resembling assault-style rifles from its website. Dick’s Sporting Goods said it would stop selling assault-style rifles and ban the sale of all guns to anyone under 21.
In 2020, the number of countries touched by the coronavirus climbed to nearly 60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the week 12.4% lower in the market’s worst weekly performance since the 2008 financial crisis.
Ten years ago: In 2013, Benedict XVI became the first pope in 600 years to resign, ending an eight-year pontificate. (Benedict was succeeded the following month by Pope Francis.) Chelsea Manning, the Army private arrested in the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history, pleaded guilty at Fort Meade, Maryland, to 10 charges involving illegal possession or distribution of classified material. (Manning was sentenced to up to 35 years in prison after being convicted of additional charges in a court-martial, but had her sentence commuted in 2017 by President Barack Obama.)
Five years ago: Students and teachers returned under police guard to Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as classes resumed for the first time since a shooting that killed 17 people. President Donald Trump called for substantial changes to the nation’s gun laws, criticizing lawmakers for being fearful of the National Rifle Association. Political leaders paid tribute to the Rev. Billy Graham as his casket rested in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.
One year ago: Russian forces shelled Ukraine’s second-largest city, rocking a residential neighborhood, and closed in on the capital, Kyiv, in a 17-mile convoy of hundreds of tanks and other vehicles. Talks aimed at stopping the fighting yielded only an agreement to keep talking. A Texas man charged with storming the U.S. Capitol with a holstered handgun on his waist became the first Jan. 6 defendant to go on trial.
Today’s birthdays: Architect Frank Gehry is 94. Singer Sam the Sham is 86. Actor-director-dancer Tommy Tune is 84. Hall of Fame auto racer Mario Andretti is 83. Actor Kelly Bishop is 79. Actor Stephanie Beacham is 76. Writer-director Mike Figgis is 75. Actor Mercedes Ruehl is 75. Actor Bernadette Peters is 75. Former Energy Secretary Steven Chu is 75. Actor Ilene Graff is 74. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is 70. Basketball Hall of Famer Adrian Dantley is 68. Actor John Turturro is 66. Rock singer Cindy Wilson is 66. Actor Rae Dawn Chong is 62. Actor Maxine Bahns is 54. Actor Robert Sean Leonard is 54. Rock singer Pat Monahan is 54. Author Daniel Handler (aka “Lemony Snicket”) is 53. Actor Tasha Smith is 52. Actor Rory Cochrane is 51. Actor Ali Larter is 47.
Country singer Jason Aldean is 46. Actor Geoffrey Arend is 45. Actor Melanie Chandra (TV: “Code Black”) is 39. Actor Michelle Horn is 36. MLB relief pitcher Aroldis Chapman is 35. Actor True O’Brien is 29. Actor Madisen Beaty is 28. Actor Quinn Shephard is 28. Actor Bobb’e J. Thompson is 27.