Today in History

Published 12:01 am Saturday, February 17, 2018

Today is Saturday, Feb. 17, the 48th day of 2018. There are 317 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 17, 1968, the original Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, located on the campus of Springfield College in Massachusetts, was opened to the public.

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On this date:

In 1815, the United States and Britain exchanged the instruments of ratification for the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812.

In 1864, during the Civil War, the Union ship USS Housatonic was rammed and sunk in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, by the Confederate hand-cranked submarine HL Hunley in the first naval attack of its kind; the Hunley also sank.

In 1865, during the Civil War, Columbia, South Carolina, burned as the Confederates evacuated and Union forces moved in.

In 1897, the forerunner of the National PTA, the National Congress of Mothers, convened its first meeting in Washington.

In 1913, the Armory Show, a landmark modern art exhibit, opened in New York City.

In 1925, the first issue of The New Yorker magazine (bearing the cover date of Feb. 21) was published.

In 1933, Newsweek magazine was first published under the title “News-Week.”

In 1944, during World War II, U.S. forces invaded Eniwetok Atoll, encountering little initial resistance from Imperial Japanese troops. (The Americans secured the atoll less than a week later.)

In 1959, the United States launched Vanguard 2, a satellite which carried meteorological equipment.

In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon departed the White House with his wife, Pat, on a historic trip to China.

In 1988, Lt. Col. William Higgins, a Marine Corps officer serving with a United Nations truce monitoring group, was kidnapped in southern Lebanon by Iranian-backed terrorists (he was later slain by his captors).

In 1996, world chess champion Garry Kasparov beat IBM supercomputer “Deep Blue,” winning a six-game match in Philadelphia (however, Kasparov lost to Deep Blue in a rematch in 1997).

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush rejected proposed Democratic changes to his prized AIDS relief program, issuing a challenge to Congress from Tanzania to “stop the squabbling” and renew it as is. (Bush signed a compromise version into law in July 2008.) Kosovo declared itself a nation in defiance of Serbia and Russia. Ryan Newman snapped an 81-race winless streak, giving car owner Roger Penske his first Daytona 500 victory. The East beat the Western Conference 134-128 in the NBA All-Star Game played in New Orleans.

Five years ago: Danica Patrick won the Daytona 500 pole, becoming the first woman to secure the top spot for any Sprint Cup race. (Patrick covered the 2½-mile Superspeedway in 45.817 seconds, averaging 196.434 mph. A week later, Jimmie Johnson won the race, while Patrick finished eighth.) The Western Conference beat the East 143-138 in the NBA All-Star game played in Houston. Mindy McCready, 37, who’d hit the top of U.S. country music charts before personal problems sidetracked her career, died by her own hand in Heber Springs, Arkansas.

One year ago: Over the strong objections of environmental groups, the Senate confirmed Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency; Pruitt was sworn in later in the day by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. Making his debut on the world stage, Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Germany, looking to reassure skeptical allies in Europe about U.S. foreign policy under President Donald Trump, who had made his “America First” mantra a centerpiece of his new administration.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Hal Holbrook is 93. Actor-comedian Barry Humphries (aka “Dame Edna”) is 84. Country singer-songwriter Johnny Bush is 83. Actress Christina Pickles is 83. Football Hall of Famer Jim Brown is 82. Actress Brenda Fricker is 73. Actress Becky Ann Baker is 65. Actress Rene Russo is 64. Actor Richard Karn is 62. Actor Lou Diamond Phillips is 56. Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan is 55. Actor-comedian Larry, the Cable Guy is 55. TV personality Rene Syler is 55. Movie director Michael Bay is 54. Singer Chante Moore is 51. Rock musician Timothy J. Mahoney (311) is 48. Actor Dominic Purcell is 48. Olympic gold and silver medal skier Tommy Moe is 48. Actress Denise Richards is 47. Rock singer-musician Billie Joe Armstrong (Green Day) is 46. Rock musician Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters) is 46. Actor Jerry O’Connell is 44. Country singer Bryan White is 44. Actress Kelly Carlson is 42. Actor Ashton Holmes is 40. Actor Conrad Ricamora is 39. Actor Jason Ritter is 38. TV personality Paris Hilton is 37. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is 37. TV host Daphne Oz is 32. Actor Chord Overstreet is 29. Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is 27. Actress Meaghan Martin is 26. Actress Sasha Pieterse is 22.