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February 20, 2013

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Feb. 20, the 51st day of 2013. There are 314 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Feb. 20, 2003, a fire sparked by pyrotechnics broke out during a concert by the group Great White at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., killing 100 people and injuring about 200 others.

On this date:

  • In 1792, President George Washington signed an act creating the U.S. Post Office.
  • In 1809, the Supreme Court ruled that no state legislature could annul the judgments or determine the jurisdictions of federal courts.
  • In 1839, Congress prohibited dueling in the District of Columbia.
  • In 1862, William Wallace Lincoln, the 11-year-old son of President Abraham Lincoln and first lady Mary Todd Lincoln, died at the White House, apparently of typhoid fever.
  • In 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an immigration act which excluded "idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane persons" from being admitted to the United States.
  • In 1933, Congress proposed the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to repeal Prohibition.
  • In 1938, Anthony Eden resigned as British foreign secretary following Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's decision to negotiate with Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
  • In 1944, during World War II, U.S. bombers began raiding German aircraft manufacturing centers in a series of attacks that became known as "Big Week."
  • In 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth as he flew aboard Project Mercury's Friendship 7 spacecraft.
  • In 1965, the Ranger 8 spacecraft crashed on the moon, as planned, after sending back thousands of pictures of the lunar surface.
  • In 1971, the National Emergency Warning Center in Colorado erroneously ordered U.S. radio and TV stations off the air; some stations heeded the alert, which was not lifted for about 40 minutes.
  • In 1998, Tara Lipinski of the U.S. won the ladies' figure skating gold medal at the Nagano Olympics; Michelle Kwan won the silver.

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