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Today in History - Feb. 23

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Friday, Feb. 23, the 54th day of 2007. There are 311 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 23, 1945, during World War II, U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima captured Mount Suribachi, where they raised the American flag. (Actually, there were two flag-raisings that day — the second was the one captured in the famous Associated Press photograph taken by Joe Rosenthal.)

On this date:
In 1633, English diarist Samuel Pepys was born in London.

In 1822, Boston was granted a charter to incorporate as a city.

In 1836, the siege of the Alamo began in San Antonio.

In 1847, U.S. troops under Gen. Zachary Taylor defeated Mexican General Santa Anna at the Battle of Buena Vista in Mexico.

In 1848, the sixth president of the United States, John Quincy Adams, died in Washington at age 80.

In 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington to take office, an assassination plot having been foiled in Baltimore.

In 1870, Mississippi was readmitted to the Union.

In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge signed a bill creating the Federal Radio Commission, forerunner of the Federal Communications Commission.

In 1965, Stan Laurel — the “skinny” half of the Laurel and Hardy comedy team — died in Santa Monica, Calif.

In 1981, an attempted coup began in Spain as 200 members of the Civil Guard invaded the Parliament, taking lawmakers hostage. (However, the attempt collapsed 18 hours later.)

Ten years ago: Scientists in Scotland announced they had succeeded in cloning an adult mammal, producing a lamb named “Dolly.” (Dolly, however, was later put down after a short life marred by premature aging and disease.) Ali Hassan Abu Kamal, a Palestinian teacher, opened fire on the 86th-floor observation deck of New York’s Empire State Building, killing one person and wounding six others before shooting himself to death. In eastern India, nearly 200 people were killed when fire swept through a tent built for a religious festival.

Five years ago: Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt was kidnapped by a rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. (She reportedly remains in captivity.) Penn State pole vaulter Kevin Dare died after landing on his head during the Big Ten indoor championships in Minneapolis.

One year ago: The snow-covered roof of a Moscow market collapsed, killing 66 people. A United Arab Emirates company volunteered to postpone its takeover of significant operations at six major U.S. seaports, giving the White House more time to convince skeptical lawmakers the deal posed no increased risks from terrorism. Japan’s Shizuka Arakawa stunned favorites Sasha Cohen of the United States and Irina Slutskaya of Russia to claim the women’s figure skating gold medal at the Turin Winter Olympics.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Peter Fonda is 67. Author John Sandford is 63. Singer-musician Johnny Winter is 63. Country-rock musician Rusty Young is 61. Actress Patricia Richardson is 56. Rock musician Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) is 55. Singer Howard Jones is 52. Rock musician Michael Wilton (Queensryche) is 45. Country singer Dusty Drake is 43. Actress Kristin Davis is 42. Tennis player Helena Sukova is 42. Actor Marc Price is 39. Rock musician Jeff Beres (Sister Hazel) is 36. Country singer Steve Holy is 35. Rock musician Lasse Johansson (The Cardigans) is 34. Actress Dakota Fanning is 13.

Thought for Today: “Loving a child doesn’t mean giving in to all his whims; to love him is to bring out the best in him, to teach him to love what is difficult.” — Nadia Boulanger, French composer and teacher (1887-1979).