“Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. If no use is made of the labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge.”
~Marcus Tulius Cicero
1898 – On February 17, 1898, the battleship USS Maine, moored in Havana’s harbor, was destroyed after being rocked by two explosions; 252 men on board were killed. Hawks in the media and within the government immediately blamed Spain.
On April 20, 1898, President William McKinley abandoned his hopes for neutrality in a Cuban-Spanish conflict and bowed to pressure from the American media (led by newspaper baron Randolph Hearst, who lambasted McKinley as weak and whipped up popular sentiment for a war to give Cubans their independence) and asked Congress to declare war on Spain.
It was later discovered that the explosion was caused by the spontaneous ignition of faulty ammunition on board the Maine.
1916 – The Chicago Cubs played their first game at Weeghman Park, defeating Cincinnati, 7-6 in 11 innings. Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. acquired complete control of the Cubs in 1921. The stadium was named Cubs Park from 1920 to 1926 before being renamed Wrigley Field in 1927.
1980 – The Castro regime announced that all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the U.S. were free to board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift. The first of 125,000 Cuban refugees from Mariel reached Florida the next day.
1992 – Comedian Alfred Hawthorne “Benny” Hill, best known for his long-running internationally popular television program The Benny Hill Show, died from a blood clot inside a blood vessel of his heart. He was 68.
1999 – Two teenage gunmen killed 13 people in a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. At about 11:20 a.m., Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris began shooting students outside the school before moving inside to continue their rampage. By the time SWAT team officers finally entered the school at about 3:00 p.m., Klebold and Harris had killed 12 fellow students and a teacher, and had wounded another 23 people. Around noon, they had turned their guns on themselves and committed suicide.
2010 – An explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, killed 11 people and triggered the largest offshore oil spill in American history. The rig had been in the final phases of drilling an exploratory well for BP, the British oil giant. By the time the well was capped three months later, an estimated 4.9 million barrels (or around 206 million gallons) of crude oil had poured into the Gulf.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2017 RayLemire.com. / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.