Today is Friday, Feb. 14, the 45th day of 2020. There are 321 days left in the year. This is Valentine’s Day.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 14, 2018, a gunman identified as a former student opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, killing 17 people in the nation’s deadliest school shooting since the attack in Newtown, Connecticut, more than five years earlier.
On this date:
In 1859, Oregon was admitted to the Union as the 33rd state.
In 1876, inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray applied separately for patents related to the telephone. (The U.S. Supreme Court eventually ruled Bell the rightful inventor.)
In 1912, Arizona became the 48th state of the Union as President William Howard Taft signed a proclamation.
In 1913, labor leader Jimmy Hoffa was born in Brazil, Ind.; college football coach Woody Hayes was born in Clifton, Ohio; sports broadcaster Mel Allen was born in Birmingham, Ala.
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 1945, during World War II, British and Canadian forces reached the Rhine River in Germany.
In 1949, Israel’s Knesset convened for the first time.
In 1967, Aretha Franklin recorded her cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect” at Atlantic Records in New York.
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 1984, 6-year-old Stormie Jones became the world’s first heart-liver transplant recipient when the surgery was performed at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (she lived until November, 1990).
In 1985, Cable News Network reporter Jeremy Levin, held hostage by extremists in Lebanon, escaped from his captors.
In 2013, 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. American Airlines and US Airways announced an $11 billion merger that turned American into the world’s biggest airline.
Ten years ago: The Americans broke through the Nordic combined barrier at Vancouver as Johnny Spillane won the silver, the first U.S. Olympic medal in the sport dominated since its inception by the Europeans (Jason Lamy Chappuis of France won the gold). Jamie McMurray won the Daytona 500. The Eastern Conference edged the West 141-139 in the NBA All-Star game in Arlington, Texas. Larry Ellison’s space-age trimaran completed a two-race sweep in the 33rd America’s Cup. Death claimed best-selling British author Dick Francis at age 89 and Doug Fieger, leader of the power pop band The Knack, at age 57.
Five years ago: A Danish gunman attacked a free-speech seminar and a synagogue in Copenhagen, killing two people; the shooter was later slain by a special police team. Actor Louis Jourdan (LOO’-wee zhor-DAN’), 93, died in Beverly Hills, California. Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Philip Levine, 87, died in Fresno, California.
One year ago: William Barr was sworn in for his second stint as the nation’s attorney general; he succeeded Jeff Sessions, who’d been pushed out of office by President Donald Trump after Trump denounced Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Amazon abruptly dropped plans for a big new headquarters in New York after politicians and activists objected to the nearly $3 billion in incentives that had been promised to the company. European aviation giant Airbus said it would stop making its superjumbo A380 in 2021 after struggling to sell the plane, the world’s biggest passenger jet.
Today’s Birthdays: TV personality Hugh Downs is 99. Actor Andrew Prine is 84. Country singer Razzy Bailey is 81. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is 78. Jazz musician Maceo Parker is 77. Movie director Alan Parker is 76. Journalist Carl Bernstein is 76. Former Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., is 73. TV personality Pat O’Brien is 72. Magician Teller (Penn and Teller) is 72. Cajun singer-musician Michael Doucet (doo-SAY’) (Beausoleil) is 69. Actor Ken Wahl is 63. Opera singer Renee Fleming is 61. Actress Meg Tilly is 60. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly is 60. Singer-producer Dwayne Wiggins is 59. Actress Sakina Jaffey is 58. Actor Enrico Colantoni is 57. Actor Zach Galligan is 56. Actor Valente Rodriguez is 56. Rock musician Ricky Wolking (The Nixons) is 54. Former tennis player Manuela Maleeva is 53. Actor Simon Pegg is 50. Rock musician Kevin Baldes (Lit) is 48. Rock singer Rob Thomas (Matchbox Twenty) is 48. Former NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe is 48. Actress Danai Gurira is 42. Actor Matt Barr is 36. Actress Stephanie Leonidas is 36. Actor Jake Lacy is 34. Actress Tiffany Thornton is 34. Actor Brett Dier is 30. Actor Freddie Highmore is 28.
Thought for Today: “We are effectively destroying ourselves by violence masquerading as love.” — R.D. Laing, Scottish psychiatrist (1927-1989).