Friday, February 16, 2007

Today in History....February 16

On this day 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

* 1862, during the Civil War, some 14,000 Confederate soldiers surrendered at Fort Donelson, Tenn. (Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's victory earned him the nickname ''Unconditional Surrender Grant.'')

* 1918, Lithuania proclaimed its independence, which lasted until World War II (it again declared independence in 1990)

* 1923, the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen's recently unearthed tomb was unsealed in Egypt by English archaeologist Howard Carter.

* 1945, American troops landed on the island of Corregidor in the Philippines during World War II

* 1959, Fidel Castro became premier of Cuba after the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista

* 1968, the nation's first 911 emergency telephone system was inaugurated, in Haleyville, Ala.

* 1987, John Demjanjuk went on trial in Jerusalem, accused of being ''Ivan the Terrible,'' a guard at the Treblinka Nazi concentration camp. (Demjanjuk was convicted, but the conviction ended up being overturned by the Israeli Supreme Court.)

* 2002, President Bush, en route to a three-nation tour of Asia, stopped off at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska, where he told hundreds of cheering U.S. soldiers that ''America will not blink''
in the fight against terrorism and Osama bin Laden. ALSO:
Authorities in Noble, Ga., arrested Ray Brent Marsh, who'd been operating a crematory where hundreds of decomposing corpses were found stacked in storage sheds and scattered in the woods behind it.
(Marsh later pleaded guilty and is serving a 12-year sentence.)

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