Today's Highlight in History:
On Feb. 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was born in present-day Larue County, Ky.
On this date:
In 1554, Lady Jane Grey, who'd claimed the throne of England for nine days, and her husband, Guildford Dudley, were beheaded after being condemned for high treason.
In 1818, Chile officially proclaimed its independence, more than seven years after initially renouncing Spanish rule.
In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was founded.
In 1912, Pu Yi, the last emperor of China, abdicated, marking the end of the Qing Dynasty.
In 1914, groundbreaking took place for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. (A year later on this date, the Memorial's cornerstone was laid.)
In 1924, George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" premiered in New York.
In 1940, the radio play "The Adventures of Superman" debuted with Bud Collyer as the Man of Steel.
In 1959, the redesigned Lincoln penny — with an image of the Lincoln Memorial replacing two ears of wheat on the reverse side — went into circulation.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with a reception at the White House. A Northwest Orient Airlines Boeing 720 broke up during severe turbulence and crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing all 43 people aboard.
In 1973, Operation Homecoming began as the first release of American prisoners of war from the Vietnam conflict took place.
In 1994, the 17th Winter Olympic Games opened in Lillehammer, Norway. A version of Edvard Munch's painting "The Scream" was stolen from the National Gallery in Oslo, Norway (it was recovered a few months later in a sting operation).
In 1999, the Senate voted to acquit President Bill Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice.
Ten years ago: Defying a California law, San Francisco officials began performing weddings for same-sex couples. Four men were charged in a 42-count indictment alleging they'd run a steroid-distribution ring that provided performance-enhancing drugs to dozens of athletes in the NFL, the major leagues and track and field. (All four later pleaded guilty to drug charges.)
Five years ago: Saying "I made a mistake," Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., abruptly withdrew his nomination as President Barack Obama's commerce secretary. A Colgan Air commuter plane crashed into a suburban Buffalo, N.Y., home, killing all 49 aboard and a person in the house. (The victims included Alison Des Forges, 66, a noted expert on the 1994 Rwanda genocide, and Gerry Niewood, 64, and Coleman Mellett, 34, members of Chuck Mangione's band.) Irish playwright Hugh Leonard ("Da") died in Dublin at age 82.
One year ago: The manhunt for rogue ex-Los Angeles cop Christopher Dorner came to an end with his apparent suicide in a mountain cabin following a gunbattle with law enforcement; authorities blamed Dorner for killing four people, including two officers. President Barack Obama set up high-stakes clashes over guns, immigration, taxes and climate change in his State of the Union address. A bitterly divided Senate Armed Services Committee approved, 14-11, President Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary. Defying U.N. warnings, North Korea conducted its third underground nuclear test. IOC leaders dropped wrestling for the 2020 Games in a surprise decision to scrap one of the oldest sports on the Olympic program.
Today's Birthdays: Movie director Franco Zeffirelli is 91. Actor Louis Zorich is 90. Baseball Hall-of-Fame sportscaster Joe Garagiola is 88. Movie director Costa-Gavras is 81. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Bill Russell is 80. Actor Joe Don Baker is 78. Author Judy Blume is 76. Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak is 72. Country singer Moe Bandy is 70. Actress Maud Adams is 69. Actor Cliff DeYoung is 68. Actor Michael Ironside is 64. Rock musician Steve Hackett is 64. Rock singer Michael McDonald is 62. Actress Joanna Kerns is 61. Actor-talk show host Arsenio Hall is 58. Actor John Michael Higgins is 51. Actor Raphael Sbarge is 50. Actress Christine Elise is 49. Actor Josh Brolin is 46. Singer Chynna Phillips is 46. Rock musician Jim Creeggan (Barenaked Ladies) is 44. Rhythm-and-blues musician Keri Lewis is 43. Actor Jesse Spencer is 35. Actress Sarah Lancaster is 34. Actress Christina Ricci is 34. NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III is 24. Actress Jennifer Stone is 21. Actresses Baylie and Rylie Cregut (TV: "Raising Hope") are four.
Thought for Today: "Human beings are the only creatures who are able to behave irrationally in the name of reason." — Ashley Montagu, English anthropologist (1905-1999).