Today in History

The Associated Press
·4-min read

Today in History

Today is Friday, Feb. 12, the 43rd day of 2021. There are 322 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 12, 1973, Operation Homecoming began as the first release of American prisoners of war from the Vietnam conflict took place.

On this date:

In 1809, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was born in a log cabin in Hardin (now LaRue) County, Kentucky.

In 1818, Chile officially proclaimed its independence, more than seven years after initially renouncing Spanish rule.

In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded.

In 1912, Pu Yi (poo yee), the last emperor of China, abdicated, marking the end of the Qing Dynasty.

In 1914, groundbreaking took place for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. (A year later on this date, the cornerstone was laid.)

In 1924, George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” premiered in New York.

In 1959, the redesigned Lincoln penny — with an image of the Lincoln Memorial replacing two ears of wheat on the reverse side — went into circulation.

In 1999, the Senate voted to acquit President Bill Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice.

In 2000, Hall of Fame football coach Tom Landry, who’d led the Dallas Cowboys to five Super Bowls, died in Irving, Texas, at age 75.

In 2003, the U.N. nuclear agency declared North Korea in violation of international treaties, sending the dispute to the Security Council.

In 2013, At the Grammy Awards, Adele took home all five awards she was nominated for, including album (“25″), as well as record and song of the year (“Hello”).

In 2019, Mexico’s most notorious drug lord, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, was convicted in New York of running an industrial-scale smuggling operation; a jury whose members’ identities were kept secret as a security measure had deliberated for six days. (Guzman is serving a life sentence at the federal supermax prison facility in Florence, Colorado.)

Ten years ago: Thousands of Algerians defied government warnings and dodged barricades in their capital, demanding democratic reforms; demonstrations continued in Yemen as well. Death claimed actors Betty Garrett, 91, and Kenneth Mars, 75.

Five years ago: Pope Francis, while en route to Mexico, embraced Patriarch Kirill during a stopover in Cuba in the first-ever meeting between a pontiff and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church. New York Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia (HEN’-ree me-HEE’-uh) became the first player to receive a lifetime ban under Major League Baseball’s drug agreement after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance for the third time.

One year ago: Holland America Line said a cruise ship, the MS Westerdam, which had been barred from docking by four governments because of fears of the coronavirus, would arrive the next day in Cambodia. In Japan, officials confirmed 39 new cases on a cruise ship that had been quarantined at Yokohama, bringing the total number of cases on the Diamond Princess to 174. A second case of coronavirus was confirmed in the U.S. among evacuees from China; the person had been aboard a flight from Wuhan that arrived the previous week at a military base in Southern California. Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the last remaining African American candidate in the Democratic presidential field, ended his campaign after his late bid failed to catch fire. Pope Francis, in an eagerly awaited document, declined to approve the ordination of married men to address a priest shortage in the Amazon.

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director Costa-Gavras is 88. Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell is 87. Actor Joe Don Baker is 85. Author Judy Blume is 83. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is 79. Country singer Moe Bandy is 77. Actor Maud Adams is 76. Actor Cliff DeYoung is 75. Actor Michael Ironside is 71. Rock musician Steve Hackett is 71. Rock singer Michael McDonald is 69. Actor Joanna Kerns is 68. Actor Zach Grenier is 67. Actor-talk show host Arsenio Hall is 65. Actor John Michael Higgins is 58. Actor Raphael Sbarge is 57. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is 56. Actor Christine Elise is 56. Actor Josh Brolin is 53. Singer Chynna Phillips is 53. Rock musician Jim Creeggan (Barenaked Ladies) is 51. Actor Jesse Spencer is 42. Rapper Gucci Mane is 41. Actor Sarah Lancaster is 41. Actor Christina Ricci is 41. Actor Jennifer Stone is 28. Actors Baylie and Rylie Cregut (TV: “Raising Hope”) are 11.