GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

February 2, 2013

Today in History

The Associated Press
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Today is Saturday, Feb. 2, the 33rd day of 2013. There are 332 days left in the year. This is Groundhog Day.

Today’s highlight in history:

On Feb. 2, 1913, New York City’s rebuilt Grand Central Terminal officially opened to the public at one minute past midnight.

On this date:

In 1536, present-day Buenos Aires, Argentina, was founded by Pedro de Mendoza of Spain.

In 1653, New Amsterdam — now New York City — was incorporated.

In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, ending the Mexican-American War, was signed.

In 1870, the “Cardiff Giant,” supposedly the petrified remains of a human discovered in Cardiff, N.Y., was revealed to be nothing more than carved gypsum.

In 1887, Punxsutawney, Pa., held its first Groundhog Day festival.

In 1912, Frederick R. Law parachuted from the torch of the Statue of Liberty in a stunt filmed by Pathe News.

In 1922, the James Joyce novel “Ulysses” was published in Paris on Joyce’s 40th birthday.

In 1943, the remainder of Nazi forces from the Battle of Stalingrad surrendered in a major victory for the Soviets in World War II.

In 1961, hijackers of a Portuguese ocean liner, the Santa Maria, allowed the passengers and crew to disembark in Brazil, a week and a-half after seizing the ship.

In 1971, Idi Amin, having seized power in Uganda, proclaimed himself president.

In 1988, in a speech the broadcast television networks declined to carry live, President Ronald Reagan pressed his case for aid to the Nicaraguan Contras.

Ten years ago: The search continued for pieces of the space shuttle Columbia, a day after the spacecraft disintegrated during re-entry over Texas, killing all seven astronauts. A hotel fire in northeastern China killed some three dozen people. An explosion destroyed a bank building in Lagos, Nigeria, killing at least 46 people.

Five years ago: A gunman killed five women at a Lane Bryant store in Tinley Park, Ill., in an apparent botched robbery attempt (the case remains unsolved). French President Nicolas Sarkozy and former supermodel Carla Bruni were married at the presidential Elysee Palace.

One year ago: Egyptian security forces clashed with stone-throwing protesters enraged by the failure of police to prevent a soccer riot that killed 74 people. Donald Trump announced his endorsement of Republican Mitt Romney for president.

Today’s birthdays: Actress Elaine Stritch is 88. Former French President Valery Giscard d’Estaing is 87. Actor Robert Mandan is 81. Comedian Tom Smothers is 76. Rock singer-guitarist Graham Nash, actor Bo Hopkins and television executive Barry Diller are 71. Country singer Howard Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) is 67. TV chef Ina Garten is 65. Actors Jack McGee and Brent Spiner, and musician Ross Valory (Journey) are 64. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, is 61. Model Christie Brinkley is 59. Actors Michael Talbott and Kim Zimmer are 58. Actor Michael T. Weiss is 51. Actor-comedian Adam Ferrara and musician Robert DeLeo (Army of Anyone; Stone Temple Pilots) are 47. Actress Jennifer Westfeldt is 43. Rock musician Ben Mize is 42. Rapper T-Mo is 41. Actress Marissa Jaret Winokur is 40. Actress Lori Beth Denberg is 37. Singer Shakira is 36. Country singer Blaine Larsen is 27. Actress Zosia Mamet (TV: “Girls”) is 25.

Thought for today: “Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it inflames the great.” — Bussy-Rabutin, French soldier and writer (1618-1693).