Today in History: 02-18-17


Today is Saturday, Feb. 18, the 49th day of 2017. There are 316 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 18, 1977, the space shuttle prototype Enterprise, sitting atop a Boeing 747, went on its debut
“flight” above Edwards Air Force Base in California.
On this date:
In 1546, Martin Luther, leader of the Protestant Reformation in Germany, died in Eisleben.
In 1861, Jefferson Davis was sworn in as provisional president of the Confederate States of America in
Montgomery, Alabama.
In 1913, Mexican President Francisco I. Madero and Vice President Jose Maria Pino Suarez were arrested
during a military coup (both were shot to death on Feb. 22).
In 1930, photographic evidence of Pluto (now designated a “dwarf planet”) was discovered by Clyde W.
Tombaugh at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona.
In 1943, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, wife of the Chinese leader, addressed members of the Senate and then the
House, becoming the first Chinese national to address both houses of the U.S. Congress.
In 1953, “Bwana Devil,” the movie that heralded the 3D fad of the 1950s, had its New York opening.
In 1960, the 8th Winter Olympic Games were formally opened in Squaw Valley, California, by Vice President
Richard M. Nixon.
In 1967, American theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer died in Princeton, New Jersey, at age 62.

In 1970, the “Chicago Seven” defendants were found not guilty of conspiring to incite riots at the 1968
Democratic national convention; five were convicted of violating the Anti-Riot Act of 1968 (those
convictions were later reversed).
In 1984, Italy and the Vatican signed an accord under which Roman Catholicism ceased to be the state
religion of Italy.
In 1997, astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery completed their tuneup of the Hubble Space Telescope
after 33 hours of spacewalking; the Hubble was then released using the shuttle’s crane.
In 2001, auto racing star Dale Earnhardt Sr. died in a crash at the Daytona 500; he was 49.
Ten years ago: A military helicopter crashed in southeastern Afghanistan, killing eight U.S. service
members; 14 survived with injuries. Twin car bombs blew up in a mostly Shiite area of Baghdad, killing
at least 62 people. A pair of bombs on a train headed from India to Pakistan killed 68 people. Kevin
Harvick nosed out Mark Martin in a frantic wreck-filled finish to win the Daytona 500. The West routed
the East, 153-132, in the NBA All-Star game.
Five years ago: A star-studded funeral service was held for pop singer Whitney Houston at New Hope
Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, a week after her death at age 48. Syrian security forces fired
live rounds and tear gas at thousands of people marching in a funeral procession that turned into one of
the largest protests in Damascus since the 11-month uprising against President Bashar Assad began.
Vitali Klitschko’s 10th successful defense of his WBC heavyweight title in Munich ended in chaos when
challenger Dereck Chisora brawled with former WBA champion David Haye during the post-match news
One year ago: In what was seen as a criticism of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, Pope
Francis said that a person who advocated building walls was “not Christian”; Trump quickly retorted it
was “disgraceful” to question a person’s faith. (A Vatican spokesman said the next day that the pope’s
comment was not intended as a “personal attack” on the real estate mogul.) Dallas-based Heritage
Auctions said a rare copy of a comic book featuring the first appearance of Spider-Man had been sold to
an anonymous collector for $454,100.

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