Today in History

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Today is Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, the 45th day of 2018. There are 320 days left in the year. This is Valentine’s Day.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Feb. 14, 1918, Russia converted from the Old Style Julian calendar to the New Style Gregorian calendar, “losing” 13 days in the process (for Russians, the day before was Jan. 31). The musical “Sinbad,” starring Al Jolson and featuring the song “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody,” opened on Broadway.

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On this date:

In 1663, New France (Canada) became a royal province under King Louis XIV.

In 1778, the American ship Ranger carried the recently adopted Stars and Stripes to a foreign port for the first time as it arrived in France.

In 1849, President James K. Polk became the first U.S. chief executive to be photographed while in office as he posed for Matthew Brady in New York City.

In 1859, Oregon was admitted to the Union as the 33rd state.

In 1903, the Department of Commerce and Labor was established. (It was divided into separate departments of Commerce and Labor in 1913.)

In 1912, Arizona became the 48th state of the Union as President William Howard Taft signed a proclamation.

In 1929, the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” took place in a Chicago garage as seven rivals of Al Capone’s gang were gunned down.

In 1949, Israel’s Knesset convened for the first time.

In 1962, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy conducted a televised tour of the White House in a videotaped special that was broadcast on CBS and NBC (and several nights later on ABC).

In 1979, Adolph Dubs, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, was kidnapped in Kabul by Muslim extremists and killed in a shootout between his abductors and police.

In 1988, Broadway composer Frederick Loewe, who wrote the scores for “Brigadoon,” ”My Fair Lady” and “Camelot,” died in Palm Springs, California, at age 86.

In 1990, 92 people were killed when an Indian Airlines passenger jet crashed while landing at a southern Indian airport.

Ten years ago: A former student dressed in black walked onto the stage of a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University and opened fire on a packed science class; the 27-year-old gunman killed five students before committing suicide. Republican campaign dropout Mitt Romney endorsed John McCain for the party’s presidential nomination.

Five years ago: Double-amputee and Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home in Pretoria, South Africa; he was later convicted of murder and is serving a 13-year prison term. Billionaire Warren Buffett agreed to buy H.J. Heinz Co. for $23.3 billion. American Airlines and US Airways announced an $11 billion merger that turned American into the world’s biggest airline.

One year ago: Authorities lifted an evacuation order for nearly 200,000 Northern California residents living below the Oroville Dam after declaring that the risk of catastrophic collapse of a damaged spillway had been significantly reduced. A former store clerk was convicted in New York of murder in one of the nation’s most haunting missing-child cases, nearly 38 years after 6-year-old Etan Patz (AY’-tahn payts) disappeared while on the way to a school bus stop. The Senate confirmed former wrestling entertainment executive Linda McMahon to lead the Small Business Administration. Rumor the German shepherd won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

Today’s Birthdays: TV personality Hugh Downs is 97. Actor Andrew Prine is 82. Country singer Razzy Bailey is 79. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is 76. Jazz musician Maceo Parker is 75. Movie director Alan Parker is 74. Journalist Carl Bernstein is 74. Former Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., is 71. TV personality Pat O’Brien is 70. Magician Teller (Penn and Teller) is 70. Cajun singer-musician Michael Doucet (doo-SAY’) (Beausoleil) is 67. Actor Ken Wahl is 61. Opera singer Renee Fleming is 59. Actress Meg Tilly is 58. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly is 58. Singer-producer Dwayne Wiggins is 57. Actress Sakina Jaffey is 56. Actor Enrico Colantoni is 55. Actor Zach Galligan is 54. Actor Valente Rodriguez is 54. Rock musician Ricky Wolking (The Nixons) is 52. Tennis player Manuela Maleeva is 51. Actor Simon Pegg is 48. Rock musician Kevin Baldes (Lit) is 46. Rock singer Rob Thomas (Matchbox Twenty) is 46. Former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe is 46. Actor Matt Barr is 34. Actress Stephanie Leonidas is 34. Actor Jake Lacy is 32. Actress Tiffany Thornton is 32. Actor Brett Dier is 28. Actor Freddie Highmore is 26.