Today is Ash Wednesday, Feb. 14, the 45th day of 2018. There are 320 days left in the year. This is Valentine’s Day.
Birthdays: TV personality Hugh Downs is 97. Country singer Razzy Bailey is 79. Former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg is 76. Jazz musician Maceo Parker is 75. Movie director Alan Parker is 74. Journalist Carl Bernstein is 74. Former Republican senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire is 71. TV personality Pat O’Brien is 70. Magician Teller is 70. Representative Richard Neal of Massachusetts is 69. Cajun singer-musician Michael Doucet is 67. Actor Ken Wahl is 61. Opera singer Renee Fleming is 59. Actress Meg Tilly is 58. Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly is 58. Actor Simon Pegg is 48. Matchbox Twenty singer Rob Thomas is 46. Former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe is 46.
In 1663, New France (Canada) became a royal province under King Louis XIV.
In 1849, James K. Polk became the president to be photographed while in office as he posed for Matthew Brady in New York City.
In 1903, the Department of Commerce and Labor was established. (It was divided into separate departments of Commerce and Labor in 1913.)
In 1912, Arizona became the 48th state as President Taft signed a proclamation.
In 1929, the ‘‘St. Valentine’s Day Massacre’’ took place in a Chicago garage as seven rivals of Al Capone’s gang were gunned down.
In 1949, Israel’s Knesset convened for the first time.
In 1962, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy conducted a televised tour of the White House in a videotaped special that was broadcast on CBS and NBC (and several nights later on ABC).
In 1979, Adolph Dubs, the US ambassador to Afghanistan, was kidnapped in Kabul by Muslim extremists and killed in a shootout between his abductors and police.
In 2008, Republican campaign dropout Mitt Romney endorsed John McCain for the party’s presidential nomination.
In 2013, double-amputee and Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius shot and killed his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, at his home in Pretoria, South Africa; he was later convicted of murder and is serving a 13-year prison term. American Airlines and US Airways announced an $11 billion merger that turned American into the world’s biggest airline.
Last year, the Senate confirmed former wrestling entertainment executive Linda McMahon to lead the Small Business Administration.