Today is Thursday, Feb. 23, the 54th day of 2012. There are 312 days left in the year.
On Feb. 23, 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, Calif., causing little damage.
On this date:
In 1685, composer George Frideric Handel was born in Germany.
In 1836, the siege of the Alamo began in San Antonio, Texas.
In 1848, the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, died in Washington, D.C., at age 80.
In 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington to take office, following word of a possible assassination plot in Baltimore.
In 1870, Mississippi was readmitted to the Union.
In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill creating the Federal Radio Commission, forerunner of the Federal Communications Commission.
In 1945, during World War II, U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima captured Mount Suribachi.
In 1954, the first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh.
In 1965, film comedian Stan Laurel, 74, died in Santa Monica, Calif.
In 1970, Guyana became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations.
In 1981, an attempted coup began in Spain as 200 members of the Civil Guard invaded Parliament, taking lawmakers hostage. (However, the attempt collapsed 18 hours later.)
In 1992, the XVI Winter Olympic Games ended in Albertville, France.