updated 2/24/2005 12:12:36 AM ET 2005-02-24T05:12:36

Today is Thursday, Feb. 24, the 55th day of 2005. There are 310 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:
On Feb. 24, 1868, the House of Representatives impeached President Andrew Johnson following his attempted dismissal of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton; Johnson was later acquitted by the Senate.

On this date:
In 1821, Mexico declared its independence from Spain.

In 1863, Arizona was organized as a territory.

In 1903, the United States signed an agreement acquiring a naval station at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

In 1920, a fledgling German political party held its first meeting of importance in Munich; it became known as the Nazi Party, and its chief spokesman was Adolf Hitler.

In 1942, the Voice of America went on the air for the first time.

In 1945, American soldiers liberated the Philippine capital of Manila from Japanese control during World War II.

In 1955, 50 years ago, the Cole Porter musical “Silk Stockings” opened at the Imperial Theater on Broadway.

In 1980, the U.S. hockey team defeated Finland, four goals to two, to clinch the gold medal at the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.

In 1983, a congressional commission released a report condemning the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II as a “grave injustice.”

In 1989, a state funeral was held in Japan for Emperor Hirohito, who had died the month before at age 87.

Ten years ago: Under pressure from farm-state Republicans, House leaders abandoned a campaign promise to disband the food stamp program.

Five years ago: The state of Texas executed Betty Lou Beets, 62, by injection for murdering her fifth husband after Gov. George W. Bush refused to intervene. The U.N. Security Council approved a U.S.-drafted plan to send an observer force into Congo to monitor a fragile cease-fire. Pope John Paul II arrived in Egypt on a pilgrimage to retrace some of the most epic passages from the Bible.

One year ago: Democrat John Kerry defeated John Edwards by large margins in Utah and Florida, and also won in Hawaii, where Edwards ran third behind Dennis Kucinich. President Bush urged approval of a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages. A 6.5-magnitude earthquake devastated an isolated region of northern Morocco, killing more than 600 people. Character actor John Randolph died in Hollywood at age 88.

Today’s birthdays: Actor Abe Vigoda is 84. Actor Steven Hill is 83. Actor-singer Dominic Chianese (“The Sopranos”) is 74. Movie composer Michel Legrand is 73. Actor James Farentino is 67. Actor Barry Bostwick is 60. Actor Edward James Olmos is 58. Singer-writer-producer Rupert Holmes is 58. Actress Debra Jo Rupp is 54. Actress Helen Shaver is 54. News anchor Paula Zahn is 49. Country singer Sammy Kershaw is 47. Singer Michelle Shocked is 43. Movie director Todd Field is 41. Actor Billy Zane is 39. Actress Bonnie Somerville is 31. R&B singer Brandon Brown (Mista) is 22.

Thought for today: “It’s a complex fate, being an American.” — Henry James, American author (1843-1916).

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