Today in History

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Today is Tuesday, Feb. 27, the 58th day of 2018. There are 307 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Feb. 27, 1968, at the conclusion of a CBS News special report on the Vietnam War, Walter Cronkite delivered a commentary in which he said that the conflict appeared “mired in stalemate.” Former teen singing idol Frankie Lymon, known for such songs as “Why Do Fools Fall in Love” and “Goody Goody,” was found dead of a drug overdose in New York at age 25.

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On this date:

In 1700, English explorer William Dampier became the first known European visitor to the island of New Britain in the Southwest Pacific.

In 1801, the District of Columbia was placed under the jurisdiction of Congress.

In 1911, inventor Charles F. Kettering demonstrated his electric automobile starter in Detroit by starting a Cadillac’s motor with just the press of a switch, instead of hand-cranking.

In 1922, the Supreme Court, in Leser v. Garnett, unanimously upheld the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which guaranteed the right of women to vote.

In 1933, Germany’s parliament building, the Reichstag (RYKS’-tahg), was gutted by fire; Chancellor Adolf Hitler, blaming the Communists, used the fire to justify suspending civil liberties.

In 1943, during World War II, Norwegian commandos launched a successful raid to sabotage a German-operated heavy water plant in Norway. An explosion inside a coal mine near Bearcreek, Montana, killed 74 miners and one rescue worker. The U.S. government, responding to a copper shortage, began circulating one-cent coins made of steel plated with zinc (the steel pennies proved unpopular, since they were easily mistaken for dimes).

In 1951, the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, limiting a president to two terms of office, was ratified.

In 1960, the U.S. Olympic hockey team defeated the Soviets, 3-2, at the Winter Games in Squaw Valley, California. (The U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.)

In 1973, members of the American Indian Movement occupied the hamlet of Wounded Knee in South Dakota, the site of the 1890 massacre of Sioux men, women and children. (The occupation lasted until the following May.)

In 1986, the U.S. Senate approved telecasts of its debates on a trial basis.

In 1991, Operation Desert Storm came to a conclusion as President George H.W. Bush declared that “Kuwait is liberated, Iraq’s army is defeated,” and announced that the allies would suspend combat operations at midnight, Eastern time.

In 1993, actress Lillian Gish died in New York at age 99.

Ten years ago: William F. Buckley Jr., 82, the author and conservative commentator, was found dead at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. Civil rights leader John Lewis, a Democratic congressman from Atlanta, dropped his support for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton in favor of Barack Obama.

Five years ago: The Senate confirmed Jacob Lew to be Treasury secretary by a vote of 71-26. President Barack Obama unveiled a statue of civil rights icon Rosa Parks at the U.S. Capitol. Van Cliburn, the internationally celebrated pianist whose triumph at a 1958 Moscow competition launched a spectacular career that made him the rare classical musician to enjoy rock star status, died in Fort Worth, Texas, at age 78.

One year ago: President Donald Trump proposed a huge $54 billion surge in U.S. military spending for new aircraft, ships and fighters in his first federal budget while slashing big chunks from domestic programs and foreign aid to make the government “do more with less.” The Senate confirmed billionaire investor Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary by a vote of 72-27.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Joanne Woodward is 88. Consumer advocate Ralph Nader is 84. Opera singer Mirella Freni is 83. Actress Barbara Babcock is 81. Actor Howard Hesseman is 78. Actress Debra Monk is 69. Rock singer-musician Neal Schon (Journey) is 64. Rock musician Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden) is 61. Actor Timothy Spall is 61. Rock musician Paul Humphreys (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark) is 58. Country singer Johnny Van Zant (Van Zant) is 58. Rock musician Leon Mobley (Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals) is 57. Basketball Hall of Famer James Worthy is 57. Actor Adam Baldwin is 56. Actor Grant Show is 56. Rock musician Mike Cross (Sponge) is 53. Actor Noah Emmerich is 53. Actor Donal Logue (DOH’-nuhl LOHG) is 52. Rhythm-and-blues singer Chilli (TLC) is 47. Rock musician Jeremy Dean (Nine Days) is 46. Rhythm-and-blues singer Roderick Clark is 45. Country-rock musician Shonna Tucker is 40. Chelsea Clinton is 38. Actor Brandon Beemer is 38. Rock musician Cyrus Bolooki (New Found Glory) is 38. Rock musician Jake Clemons (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) is 38. Rhythm-and-blues singer Bobby Valentino is 38. Singer Josh Groban is 37. Banjoist Noam (cq) Pikelny is 37. Rock musician Jared Champion (Cage the Elephant) is 35. Actress Kate Mara is 35. Actress Lindsey Morgan is 28.