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Today in history

by The Associated Press | February 23, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.

Today is Tuesday, Feb. 23, the 54th day of 2021. There are 311 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Feb. 23, 1836, the siege of the Alamo began in San Antonio, Texas.

On this date:

• In 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington to take office, following word of a possible assassination plot in Baltimore.

• In 1870, Mississippi was readmitted to the Union.

• In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an agreement with Cuba to lease the area around Guantanamo Bay to the United States.

• In 1942, the first shelling of the U.S. mainland during World War II occurred as a Japanese submarine fired on an oil refinery near Santa Barbara, California, causing little damage.

• In 1945, during World War II, U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima captured Mount Suribachi, where they raised two American flags (the second flag-raising was captured in the iconic Associated Press photograph.)

• In 1954, the first mass inoculation of schoolchildren against polio using the Salk vaccine began in Pittsburgh as some 5,000 students were vaccinated.

• In 1965, film comedian Stan Laurel, 74, died in Santa Monica, California.

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

• In 1995, the Dow Jones industrial average closed above the 4,000 mark for the first time, ending the day at 4,003.33.

• In 1998, 42 people were killed, some 2,600 homes and businesses damaged or destroyed, by tornadoes in central Florida.

• In 2007, a Mississippi grand jury refused to bring any new charges in the 1955 slaying of Emmett Till, the Black teenager who was beaten and shot after being accused of whistling at a white woman, declining to indict the woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, for manslaughter.

• In 2006, Japan's Shizuka Arakawa (shih-ZOO'-kuh ah-rah-KAH'-wah) stunned favorites Sasha Cohen of the United States and Irina Slutskaya (sloot-SKY'-yah) of Russia to claim the ladies' figure skating gold medal at the Turin Winter Olympics.

Ten years ago: In a major policy reversal, the Obama administration said it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage.

Today's Birthdays: Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Fred Biletnikoff is 78. Author John Sandford is 77. Country-rock musician Rusty Young is 75. Former NFL player Ed "Too Tall" Jones is 70. Rock musician Brad Whitford (Aerosmith) is 69. Rock musician Michael Wilton (Queensryche) is 59. Country singer Dusty Drake is 57. Former tennis player Helena Sukova is 56. Actor Marc Price is 53. TV personality/businessman Daymond John (TV: "Shark Tank") is 52. Country singer Steve Holy is 49. Rock musician Lasse (loss) Johansson (The Cardigans) is 48. Rapper Residente (Calle 13) is 43. Actor Josh Gad is 40. Actor Emily Blunt is 38. Actor Aziz Ansari is 38. Actor Tye White (TV: "Greenleaf") is 35. Actor Dakota Fanning is 27.

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