Today is Wednesday, Feb. 1, the 32nd day of 2012. There are 334 days left in the year.
On Feb. 1, 1862, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” a poem by Julia Ward Howe, was published in the Atlantic Monthly.
On this date:
In 1790, the U.S. Supreme Court convened for the first time in New York. (However, since only three of the six justices were present, the court recessed until the next day.)
In 1861, Texas voted to leave the Union at a Secession Convention in Austin.
In 1922, in one of Hollywood’s most enduring mysteries, movie director William Desmond Taylor was shot to death in his Los Angeles home; the killing has never been solved.
In 1942, the Voice of America broadcast its first program to Europe, relaying it through the facilities of the British Broadcasting Corp. in London.
In 1943, one of America’s most highly decorated military units, the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, made up almost exclusively of Japanese-Americans, was authorized.
In 1946, Norwegian statesman Trygve Lie was chosen to be the first secretary-general of the United Nations.
In 1960, four black college students began a sit-in protest at a Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C., where they’d been refused service.
In 1962, the Ken Kesey novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” was first published by Viking Press.
In 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini received a tumultuous welcome in Tehran as he ended nearly 15 years of exile.
In 1982, “Late Night with David Letterman” premiered on NBC.
In 1991, 34 people were killed when an arriving USAir jetliner crashed atop a commuter plane on a runway at Los Angeles International Airport.
In 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry, killing all seven of its crew members.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush responded to the collapse of Enron by proposing regulation reforms of 401(k) retirement plans. Justice Department investigators directed President Bush’s staff to preserve the paper trail of any contact with Enron. Actress Winona Ryder was charged with four felony counts stemming from her shoplifting arrest at a Saks Fifth Avenue store in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Ryder was later convicted of felony grand theft and vandalism, and received three years’ probation.) The NCAA placed Alabama on five years’ probation, jolting the program with a two-year bowl ban and heavy scholarship reductions.
Five years ago: The departing top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that improving security in Baghdad would take fewer than half as many extra troops as President George W. Bush had chosen to commit. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad launched anniversary celebrations for Iran’s Islamic Revolution with a defiant promise to push ahead with the country’s controversial nuclear program. Pulitzer Prize-winning opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti died in Monaco at age 95.
One year ago: Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced he would not run for a new term in September elections but rejected protesters’ demands he step down immediately and leave the country, vowing to die on Egypt’s soil, after a dramatic day in which a quarter-million Egyptians staged their biggest protest to date calling on him to go.