Today in History — Feb. 19, 2018

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Today is Monday, Feb. 19, the 50th day of 2018. There are 315 days left in the year. This is Presidents Day.

Today in History

On Feb. 19, 1968, the children’s program “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” created by and starring Fred Rogers, made its network debut on National Educational Television, a forerunner of PBS, beginning a 31-season run.

On this date:

In 1473, astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus was born in Torun, Poland.

In 1881, Kansas prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages.

In 1915, during World War I, British and French warships launched their initial attack on Ottoman forces in the Dardanelles, a strait in northwestern Turkey. (The Gallipoli Campaign that followed proved disastrous for the Allies.)

In 1934, a blizzard began inundating the northeastern United States, with the heaviest snowfall occurring in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

In 1942, during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which paved the way for the relocation and internment of people of Japanese ancestry, including U.S.-born citizens. Imperial Japanese warplanes raided the Australian city of Darwin; at least 243 people were killed.

In 1945, Operation Detachment began during World War II as some 30,000 U.S. Marines began landing on Iwo Jima, where they commenced a successful month-long battle to seize control of the island from Japanese forces.

In 1959, an agreement was signed by Britain, Turkey and Greece granting Cyprus its independence.

In 1963, “The Feminine Mystique” by Betty Friedan was first published by W.W. Norton & Co.

In 1976, President Gerald R. Ford, calling the issuing of Executive Order 9066 in 1942 “a sad day in American history,” signed a proclamation formally confirming its termination.

In 1984, the Winter Olympics closed in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.

In 1986, the U.S. Senate approved, 83-11, the Genocide Convention, an international treaty outlawing “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group,” nearly 37 years after the pact was first submitted for ratification.

In 1997, Deng Xiaoping, the last of China’s major Communist revolutionaries, died at age 92.

Ten years ago

An ailing Fidel Castro resigned the Cuban presidency after nearly a half-century in power; his brother Raul was later named to succeed him. President George W. Bush, visiting Rwanda, pleaded with the global community for decisive action to stop grisly ethnic violence plaguing other African nations like Kenya and Sudan. Democrat Barack Obama cruised past Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Wisconsin primary and Hawaii caucuses.

Today’s Birthdays

Singer Smokey Robinson is 78. Actress Carlin Glynn is 78. Former Sony Corp. Chairman Howard Stringer is 76. Singer Lou Christie is 75. Actor Michael Nader is 73. Rock musician Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell) is 70. Actor Stephen Nichols is 67. Author Amy Tan is 66. Actor Jeff Daniels is 63. Rock singer-musician Dave Wakeling is 62. Tennis Hall of Famer Hana Mandlikova is 56. Singer Seal is 55. Actress Jessica Tuck is 55. Country musician Ralph McCauley (Wild Horses) is 54. Rock musician Jon Fishman (Phish) is 53. Actress Justine Bateman is 52. Actor Benicio Del Toro is 51.

Thought for Today

“There is, I think, nothing in the world more futile than the attempt to find out how a task should be done when one has not yet decided what the task is.” — Alexander Meiklejohn (MIHK’-ul-jahn), American educator (1872-1964).

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