Today is Wednesday, Feb. 22, the 53rd day of 2023. There are 312 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 22, 2021, the number of U.S. deaths from COVID-19 topped 500,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
On this date:
In 1630, English colonists in the Massachusetts Bay Colony first sampled popcorn brought to them by a Native American named Quadequina for their Thanksgiving celebration.
In 1732, the first president of the United States, George Washington, was born in Westmoreland County in the Virginia Colony.
In 1784, a U.S. merchant ship, the Empress of China, left New York for the Far East to trade goods with China.
In 1935, it became illegal for airplanes to fly over the White House.
In 1959, the inaugural Daytona 500 race was held; although Johnny Beauchamp was initially declared the winner, the victory was later awarded to Lee Petty.
In 1967, more than 25,000 U.S. and South Vietnamese troops launched Operation Junction City, aimed at smashing a Vietcong stronghold near the Cambodian border. (Although the communists were driven out, they later returned.)
In 1980, the “Miracle on Ice” took place in Lake Placid, New York, as the United States Olympic hockey team upset the Soviets, 4-3. (The U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.)
In 1987, pop artist Andy Warhol died at a New York City hospital at age 58.
In 1997, scientists in Scotland announced they had succeeded in cloning an adult mammal, producing a lamb named “Dolly.” (Dolly, however, was later put down after a short life marred by premature aging and disease.)
In 2010, Najibullah Zazi (nah-jee-BOO’-lah ZAH’-zee), accused of buying beauty supplies to make bombs for an attack on New York City subways, pleaded guilty to charges including conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction. (Zazi faced up to life in prison but spent nearly a decade after his arrest helping the U.S. identify and prosecute terrorists; he was given a 10-year sentence followed by supervised release.)
In 2016, the City Council of Charlotte, North Carolina, voted 7-4 to pass a new law allowing transgender people to choose public bathrooms that corresponded to their gender identity.
In 2020, Bernie Sanders scored a resounding win in Nevada’s presidential caucuses, cementing his status as the Democrats’ front-runner.
Ten years ago: The Justice Department joined a lawsuit against disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong alleging the former seven-time Tour de France champion had concealed his use of performance-enhancing drugs and defrauded his longtime sponsor, the U.S. Postal Service.
Five years ago: Defying his supporters in the National Rifle Association, President Donald Trump said the nation should keep assault rifles out of the hands of anyone under 21. Authorities announced that the armed officer who was on duty at the Parkland, Florida school where a shooter killed 17 people never went into the building to engage the gunman. The U.S. women’s hockey team won the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, beating Canada 3-2 after a shootout tiebreaker.
One year ago: The East-West faceoff over Ukraine escalated dramatically, with Russian lawmakers authorizing President Vladimir Putin to use military force outside his country and U.S. President Joe Biden and European leaders responding by slapping sanctions on Russian oligarchs and banks. (Russia would invade Ukraine two days later.) In Georgia, the three white men convicted of murder in Ahmaud Arbery’s fatal shooting are found guilty of federal hate crimes for violating Arbery’s civil rights and targeting him because he was Black. U.S. women soccer players reached a landmark agreement with the sport’s American governing body to end a six-year legal battle over equal pay.
Today’s birthdays: Actor Paul Dooley is 95. Actor James Hong is 94. Actor John Ashton is 75. Actor Miou-Miou is 73. Actor Julie Walters is 73. Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving is 73. Actor Ellen Greene is 72. Former Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is 71. Former White House adviser David Axelrod is 68. Actor Kyle MacLachlan is 64. World Golf Hall of Famer Vijay Singh is 60. Actor-comedian Rachel Dratch is 57. Actor Paul Lieberstein is 56. Actor Jeri Ryan is 55. Actor Thomas Jane is 54. TV host Clinton Kelly is 54. Actor Tamara Mello is 53. Actor-singer Lea Salonga is 52. Actor Jose Solano is 52. International Tennis Hall of Famer Michael Chang is 51. Rock musician Scott Phillips is 50. Singer James Blunt is 49. Actor Drew Barrymore is 48. Actor Liza Huber is 48. Rock singer Tom Higgenson (Plain White T’s) is 44. Rock musician Joe Hottinger (Halestorm) is 41. Actor Zach Roerig is 38.