Today is Monday, Feb. 26, the 57th day of 2018. There are 308 days left in the year.
Today in History
On Feb. 26, 1993, a truck bomb built by Islamic extremists exploded in the parking garage of the North Tower of New York’s World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000 others. (The bomb failed to topple the North Tower into the South Tower, as the terrorists had hoped; both structures were destroyed in the 9/11 attack eight years later.)
On this date:
In 1616, astronomer Galileo Galilei met with a Roman Inquisition official, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, who ordered him to abandon the “heretical” concept of heliocentrism, which held that the earth revolved around the sun, instead of the other way around.
In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from exile on the Island of Elba and headed back to France in a bid to regain power.
In 1904, the United States and Panama proclaimed a treaty under which the U.S. agreed to undertake efforts to build a ship canal across the Panama isthmus.
In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed a congressional act establishing Mount McKinley National Park (now Denali National Park) in the Alaska Territory.
In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed a congressional act establishing Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
In 1929, President Calvin Coolidge signed a measure establishing Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
In 1945, authorities ordered a midnight curfew at nightclubs, bars and other places of entertainment across the nation.
In 1952, Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that Britain had developed its own atomic bomb.
In 1962, after becoming the first American to orbit the Earth, astronaut John Glenn told a joint meeting of Congress, “Exploration and the pursuit of knowledge have always paid dividends in the long run.”
In 1970, National Public Radio was incorporated.
In 1987, the Tower Commission, which probed the Iran-Contra affair, issued a report rebuking President Ronald Reagan for failing to control his national security staff.
In 1998, a jury in Amarillo, Texas, rejected an $11 million lawsuit brought by Texas cattlemen who blamed Oprah Winfrey’s talk show for a price fall after a segment on food safety that included a discussion about mad cow disease.
Ten years ago
A power failure later blamed primarily on human error resulted in sporadic outages across large parts of Florida. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, visiting Beijing, won a verbal assurance from Chinese officials to use their influence to jump-start the stalled process of dismantling North Korea’s nuclear programs. The New York Philharmonic, led by Lorin Maazel, performed a historic concert in North Korea before the communist nation’s elite. Former Israeli military chief Dan Shomron, who commanded the 1976 hostage rescue at Entebbe, died in Tel Aviv at age 70.
Five years ago
A deeply divided Senate voted, 58-41, to confirm Republican Chuck Hagel to be U.S. defense secretary. A hot air balloon burst into flames during a sunrise flight over the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor and then plummeted 1,000 feet to earth, killing 19 tourists (one tourist and the balloon’s pilot survived).
One year ago
At the 89th Academy Awards, “Moonlight,” an LGBT coming of age drama, won three Oscars, including best picture of 2016 (in a startling gaffe, the musical “La La Land” was mistakenly announced as the best picture winner before the error was corrected). Joseph Wapner, the retired Los Angeles judge who presided over “The People’s Court” from 1981 to 1993, died at age 97. Kurt Busch won the Daytona 500, surviving a crash-filled season opener to win the race for the first time in 16 tries.
Game show host Tom Kennedy is 91. Country-rock musician Paul Cotton (Poco) is 75. Actor-director Bill Duke is 75. Singer Mitch Ryder is 73. Actress Marta Kristen (TV: “Lost in Space”) is 73. Rock musician Jonathan Cain (Journey) is 68. Singer Michael Bolton is 65.
The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is 64. Actor Greg Germann is 60. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., is 60. Bandleader John McDaniel is 57. Actor-martial artist Mark Dacascos is 54. Actress Jennifer Grant is 52. Rock musician Tim Commerford (Audioslave) is 50. Singer Erykah Badu (EHR’-ih-kah bah-DOO’) is 47. Actor Maz Jobrani (TV: “Superior Donuts”) is 46. Rhythm-and-blues singer Rico Wade (Society of Soul) is 46. Olympic gold medal swimmer Jenny Thompson is 45. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kyle Norman (Jagged Edge) is 43.
Actor Greg Rikaart is 41. Rock musician Chris Culos (O.A.R.) is 39. Rhythm-and-blues singer Corinne Bailey Rae is 39. Country singer Rodney Hayden is 38. Pop singer Nate Ruess (roos) (fun.) is 36. Tennis player Li Na is 36. Latin singer Natalia Lafourcade is 34. Actress Teresa Palmer is 32. Actor Alex Heartman is 28. Actress Taylor Dooley is 25.
Thought for Today
“One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas.” — Victor Hugo, French author (born this date in 1802, died 1885).