Good morning, it’s Thursday, Feb. 16, the 47th day of 2017. There are 318 days left in the year. Temperatures will be in the mid-30s at the start of the day and patchy fog is possible. We’re expecting highs this afternoon in the mid-60s before temperatures drop into the mid-40s overnight.
On February 16, 1949—68 years ago today—Texas native Pvt. Felix Longoria of Three Rivers, who was killed in action near the end of World War II in the Philippines, was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery after the funeral director in Three Rivers refused the use of his chapel because Longoria was “a Mexican.” Longoria was to have been buried in his family’s cemetery, but the dispute over the viewing before interment attracted national attention. The New York Times covered what became known as the Felix Longoria Affair, and popular radio commentator Walter Winchell once declared, “The big state of Texas looks might small tonight.” Finally, through the intercession of then freshman U.S. Sen. Lyndon Johnson and the American GI Forum and its head, Dr. Hector P. Garcia, arrangements were made for burial in Arlington in what came to serve as a model case in the struggle for Mexican-American civil rights.
Today's Highlight in Local History:
On February 16, 1916, an explosion destroyed the Mexia Opera House and damaged a half block of buildings, killing nine people and leaving eight others injured.
On February 16, 2010, former Whitewater special prosecutor Kenneth Starr was formally named Baylor’s 14th president. (News of the selection broke the day before).
On February 16, 2012, a mobile home fire on North 19th Street in the Bosqueville area claimed the life of a woman and two young children. A neighbor was able to rescue a third child from the burning home. Another neighbor and four firefighters were taken to local hospitals.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 16, 1862, the Civil War Battle of Fort Donelson in Tennessee ended as some 12,000 Confederate soldiers surrendered; Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's victory earned him the moniker "Unconditional Surrender Grant."
On This Date:
In 1804, Lt. Stephen Decatur led a successful raid into Tripoli Harbor to burn the U.S. Navy frigate Philadelphia, which had fallen into the hands of pirates during the First Barbary War.
In 1868, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was organized in New York City.
In 1923, the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen's recently unearthed tomb was unsealed in Egypt by English archaeologist Howard Carter.
In 1937, Du Pont research chemist Dr. Wallace H. Carothers, inventor of nylon, received a patent for the synthetic fiber, described as "linear condensation polymers."
In 1945, American troops landed on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines during World War II.
In 1959, Fidel Castro became premier of Cuba a month and a-half after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.
In 1961, the United States launched the Explorer 9 satellite.
In 1968, the nation's first 911 emergency telephone system was inaugurated in Haleyville, Alabama.
In 1977, Janani Luwum, the Anglican archbishop of Uganda, died in what Ugandan authorities said was an automobile accident, although it's generally believed that he was shot to death by agents of Idi Amin.
In 1987, John Demjanjuk went on trial in Jerusalem, accused of being "Ivan the Terrible," a guard at the Treblinka Nazi concentration camp. (Demjanjuk was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, but the conviction ended up being overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court.)
In 1996, 11 people were killed in a fiery collision between an Amtrak passenger train and a Maryland commuter train in Silver Spring, Maryland. Former California Governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown died in Beverly Hills, California, at age 90.
In 1998, a China Airlines Airbus A300-600R trying to land in fog near Taipei, Taiwan, crashed, killing all 196 people on board, plus six on the ground.
Ten years ago:
The Democratic-controlled House issued a symbolic rejection of President George W. Bush's decision to deploy more troops to Iraq, approving the nonbinding resolution by a vote of 246-182. An Italian judge indicted 25 suspected CIA agents and a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel in the kidnapping of an Egyptian terror suspect, Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, who was taken from Italy to Egypt, where he was allegedly tortured. (The Americans were later convicted in absentia.)
Five years ago:
A federal judge in Detroit ordered life in prison for "underwear bomber" Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who had tried to blow up a packed Northwest jetliner. New York Times correspondent Anthony Shadid, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, died of an apparent asthma attack in Syria while reporting on the uprising against its president; he was 43. Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter died in West Palm Beach, Florida, at age 57.
One year ago:
Former U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 93, died in Cairo. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's courtroom chair was draped in black to mark his death, a tradition dating to the 19th century. The Czech Museum of Music presented a cantata, "A Salute to the Recuperating Ophelia," a rare piece of music written in three parts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonio Salieri and an unknown composer, Cornetti, that was considered lost for more than 200 years. CJ the German shorthaired pointer won best in show at the Westminster Kennel Club.
Jazz/pop singer/actress Peggy King is 87. Actor Jeremy Bulloch is 72. Actor William Katt is 66. Rhythm-and-blues singer James Ingram is 65. Actor LeVar Burton is 60. Actor-rapper Ice-T is 59. Actress Lisa Loring is 59. International Tennis Hall of Famer John McEnroe is 58. Rock musician Andy Taylor is 56. Rock musician Dave Lombardo (Slayer) is 52. Actress Sarah Clarke is 46. Rock musician Taylor Hawkins (Foofighters) is 45. Olympic gold medal runner Cathy Freeman is 44. Actor Mahershala Ali is 43. Singer Sam Salter is 42. Electronic dance music artist Bassnectar is 39. Rapper Lupe Fiasco is 35. Actress Chloe Wepper is 31. Pop-rock singer Ryan Follese (Hot Chelle Rae) is 30. Rock musician Danielle Haim (HYM) is 28. Actress Elizabeth Olsen is 28. Actor Mike Weinberg is 24.
Thought for Today:
"The heart may think it knows better: the senses know that absence blots people out. We have really no absent friends." - Elizabeth Bowen, Irish-born author (1899-1973).