Today in History


Today is Wednesday, Feb. 6, the 37th day of 2019. There are 328 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 6, 1911, Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, was born in Tampico, Illinois.

On this date:

In 1778, during the American Revolutionary War, the United States won official recognition and military support from France with the signing of a Treaty of Alliance in Paris.

In 1788, Massachusetts became the sixth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

In 1933, the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the so-called “lame duck” amendment, was proclaimed in effect by Secretary of State Henry Stimson.

In 1952, Britain’s King George VI, 56, died at Sandringham House in Norfolk, England; he was succeeded as monarch by his 25-year-old elder daughter, who became Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1968, the Winter Olympic Games were opened in Grenoble, France, by French President Charles de Gaulle.

In 1987, Wall Street Journal reporter Gerald Seib (syb) was released after being detained six days by Iran, accused of being a spy for Israel; Iran said the detention was a result of misunderstandings.

In 1991, comedian and television performer Danny Thomas died in Los Angeles at age 79.

In 1993, tennis Hall of Famer and human rights advocate Arthur Ashe died in New York at age 49.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton signed a bill changing the name of Washington National Airport to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Pop music star Falco, who had a 1986 hit with “Rock Me Amadeus,” died in a traffic accident in the Dominican Republic; he was 40. Carl Wilson, a founding member of The Beach Boys, died in Los Angeles at age 51.

In 2000, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton launched her successful candidacy for the U.S. Senate.

In 2003, Edging closer to war, President George W. Bush declared “the game is over” for Saddam Hussein and urged skeptical allies to join in disarming Iraq. ABC’s “20/20” aired a British documentary, “Living With Michael Jackson,” in which the King of Pop revealed he sometimes let children sleep in his bed.

In 2008, the Bush White House defended the use of the interrogation technique known as waterboarding, saying it was legal — not torture as critics argued — and had saved American lives. The Phoenix Suns acquired Shaquille O’Neal in a stunning blockbuster deal that sent four-time All-Star Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks to the Miami Heat.

Ten years ago: Key senators and the White House reached tentative agreement on an economic stimulus measure at the heart of President Barack Obama’s recovery plan. Federal health officials said Peanut Corp. of America, a Georgia peanut processor, had knowingly shipped salmonella-laced products as far back as 2007. Death claimed actors James Whitmore at age 87 and Philip Carey at age 83.

Five years ago: House Speaker John Boehner all but ruled out passage of immigration legislation before the fall elections. A suicide bomber blew himself up at the gates of a Syrian prison and rebels stormed in behind him, freeing hundreds of inmates. Jay Leno said goodbye to NBC’s “The Tonight Show” for the second time, making way for Jimmy Fallon to take over as host. Baseball Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, 91, died in Rancho Mirage, California. Former U.S. poet laureate Maxine Kumin died in Warner, New Hampshire, at age 88.

One year ago: Casino mogul Steve Wynn resigned as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts amid sexual misconduct allegations. SpaceX’s big new rocket blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center on its first test flight, carrying a red sports car on a route that would take it to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Poland’s president signed legislation making it a crime to blame Poland for Holocaust crimes committed by Nazi Germany.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Rip Torn is 88. Actress Mamie Van Doren is 88. Actor Mike Farrell is 80. Former NBC News anchorman Tom Brokaw is 79. Singer Fabian is 76. Actress Gayle Hunnicutt is 76. Actor Michael Tucker is 75. Producer-director-writer Jim Sheridan is 70. Actor Jon Walmsley is 63. Actress Kathy Najimy is 62. Rock musician Simon Phillips (Toto) is 62. Actor-director Robert Townsend is 62. Actor Barry Miller is 61. Actress Megan Gallagher is 59. Rock singer Axl Rose (Guns N’ Roses) is 57. Country singer Richie McDonald is 57. Singer Rick Astley is 53. Rock musician Tim Brown (Boo Radleys) is 50. “Good Morning America” co-host Amy Robach is 46. Actor Josh Stewart is 42. Actor Ben Lawson is 39. Actor Brandon Hammond is 35. Actress Crystal Reed (TV: “Teen Wolf”) is 34. Actress Alice Greczyn (GREH’-chihn) is 33. Actress Anna Diop is 31. Rhythm and blues singer/actress Tinashe is 26.

Thought for Today: “Cherish your wilderness.” — Maxine Kumin (1925-2014).

By The Associated Press

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