Today in History

  • Thursday, February 13, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

Today is Thursday, Feb. 13, the 44th day of 2020. There are 322 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On Feb. 13, 1945, during World War II, Allied planes began bombing the German city of Dresden. The Soviets captured Budapest, Hungary, from the Germans.

On this date:

In 1633, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome for trial before the Inquisition, accused of defending Copernican theory that the Earth revolved around the sun instead of the other way around. (Galileo was found vehemently suspect of heresy and ended up being sentenced to a form of house arrest.)

In 1861, Abraham Lincoln was officially declared winner of the 1860 presidential election as electors cast their ballots.

In 1935, a jury in Flemington, New Jersey, found Bruno Richard Hauptmann guilty of first-degree murder in the kidnap-slaying of Charles A. Lindbergh Jr., the 20-month-old son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. (Hauptmann was later executed.)

In 1965, during the Vietnam War, President Lyndon B. Johnson authorized Operation Rolling Thunder, an extended bombing campaign against the North Vietnamese.

In 1974, Nobel Prize-winning Russian author Alexander Solzhenitsyn was expelled from the Soviet Union.

In 1984, Konstantin Chernenko was chosen to be general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee, succeeding the late Yuri Andropov.

In 1991, during Operation Desert Storm, allied warplanes destroyed an underground shelter in Baghdad that had been identified as a military command center; Iraqi officials said 500 civilians were killed.

In 1998, Dr. David Satcher was sworn in as the 16th Surgeon General of the United States during an Oval Office ceremony.

In 2000, Tiger Woods saw his streak of six consecutive victories come to an end as he fell short to Phil Mickelson in the Buick Invitational.

In 2002, John Walker Lindh pleaded not guilty in federal court in Alexandria, Va., to conspiring to kill Americans and supporting the Taliban and terrorist organizations. (Lindh later pleaded guilty to lesser offenses and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He was released in September 2019 after serving 17 years of that sentence.)

In 2013, beginning a long farewell to his flock, a weary Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his final public Mass as pontiff, presiding over Ash Wednesday services inside St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.

In 2016, Justice Antonin Scalia, the influential conservative and most provocative member of the U.S. Supreme Court, was found dead at a private residence in the Big Bend area of West Texas; he was 79.

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama delivered a video address to the 7th U.S.-Islamic World Forum meeting in Doha, Qatar, as part of his continuing effort to repair strained U.S. relations with the world’s Muslims. Hannah Kearney won the women’s moguls for first U.S. gold medal at the Olympic Games in Vancouver; Apolo Anton Ohno won the silver medal in the short-track 1,500-meter speedskating final, to tie Bonnie Blair as the most decorated U.S. Winter Olympian.

Five years ago: Calling cyberspace the new “Wild West,” President Barack Obama told the private sector during a White House cybersecurity summit at Stanford University that it needed to do more to stop cyber attacks aimed at the U.S. every day. Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, a Democrat, resigned amid suspicions his fiancee had used her relationship with him to land contracts for her green-energy consulting business.

One year ago: NASA’s Mars rover “Opportunity,” which had been built to operate for just three months on the planet’s surface but kept rolling for years longer, was finally declared to be no longer operational, 15 years after it landed on Mars. The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Brock Long, resigned after a two-year tenure during which he managed the response to historic wildfires and major hurricanes but was dogged by questions about his use of government vehicles.

Today’s Birthdays: U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles E. “Chuck” Yeager (ret.) is 97. Actress Kim Novak is 87. Actor George Segal is 86. Actor Bo Svenson is 79. Actress Stockard Channing is 76. Talk show host Jerry Springer is 76. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., is 74. Singer Peter Gabriel is 70. Actor David Naughton is 69. Rock musician Peter Hook is 64. Actor Matt Salinger is 60. Singer Henry Rollins is 59. Actor Neal McDonough is 54. Singer Freedom Williams is 54. Actress Kelly Hu is 52. Rock singer Matt Berninger (The National) is 49. Rock musician Todd Harrell (formerly with 3 Doors Down) is 48. Country musician Scott Thomas (Parmalee) is 47. Singer Robbie Williams is 46. Singer-songwriter Feist is 44. Rhythm-and-blues performer Natalie Stewart is 41. Actress Mena Suvari is 41. Rock musician Dash Hutton is 35. Actress Katie Volding is 31. Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. (also known as Prince Michael Jackson I) is 23.

Thought for Today: “An explanation of cause is not a justification by reason.” — C.S. Lewis, English author (1898-1963).

Associated Press

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