A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  Feb. 7, 2003 at 3:00 AM
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Today is Feb. 7.

It was on this date in 1964 that Beatlemania reached the shores of North America with the arrival of the Beatles at New York's Kennedy Airport. Thousands of screaming fans were on hand to welcome them. John, Paul, George and Ringo were in the United States for a brief tour and to perform on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

Despite exchanges between Israel and the Palestinians that at times approached outright warfare, Israeli Prime Minister Sharon said in 2002 that he expected a Palestinian state to emerge from the conflict.

The Senate voted on this day in 1973 to set up a committee to investigate the break-in that had occurred the previous June at the Democratic National Headquarters in Washington, D.C.'s Watergate complex. What they would find was a cover-up that reached all the way to the Oval Office and led to the resignation of President Nixon in August 1974.

It was on this date in 1904 when fire broke out in downtown Baltimore and by the time it was put out 31 hours later, an 80-block area had been destroyed. Miraculously no live or homes were lost. Authorities believed a discarded cigarette had caused the fire.

D.W. Griffith's silent masterpiece "The Birth Of A Nation," a landmark in the history of cinema and the first American full-length motion picture, opened in Los Angeles on this date in 1915. It was a smash hit though many found its racist nature to be offensive. The still controversial movie had a rebirth on video in 2002.

On this date in 1986, both Ferdinand Marcos and challenger Corazon Aquino claimed victory in the Philippine presidential election. What became known as the "People's Revolution" would force Marcos and his family to flee the country later in the month, leaving behind Imelda's thousands of pairs of shoes.

Also in 1986, Haiti's President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier fled to France. "Baby Doc" -- as he was called, but probably not to his face -- had succeeded his dictator father, "Papa Doc," in ruling the Caribbean island nation with an iron fist.

Five years later, in 1991, Jean-Bertrand Aristide was inaugurated as Haiti's first democratically elected president in 186 years. A military coup would later oust Aristide, but the threat of a U.S. invasion restored him to office.

Sen. Bob Packwood apparently had been a very busy man: on this date in 1993, another 13 women accused the Oregon Republican of improper advances, bringing the total to 23 women who had said the lawmaker harassed them with unwelcome sexual overtures.

And on this day in 1959, 1,000 mourners attended Buddy Holly's funeral in Lubbock, Texas. He'd been killed four days earlier -- along with J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson and Richie Valens -- when their plane crashed in an Iowa cornfield.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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