This Day in History: Feb. 26

On this day, Feb. 26 ...

1993: A truck bomb built by Islamic extremists explodes in the parking garage of the North Tower of New York’s World Trade Center, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000 others. (The bomb fails to topple the North Tower into the South Tower, as the terrorists hoped; both structures would be destroyed in the 9/11 attack eight years later.)

Also on this day:

  • 1616: Astronomer Galileo Galilei meets with a Roman Inquisition official, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine, who orders him to abandon the “heretical” concept of heliocentrism, which holds that the Earth revolves around the Sun, instead of the other way around.
  • 1815: Napoleon Bonaparte escapes from exile on the Island of Elba and heads back to France in a bid to regain power.
  • 1829: Levi Strauss, founder of Levi Strauss & Co., which would make the first blue jeans, is born in Buttenheim, Bavaria, Germany.
  • 1904: The United States and Panama proclaim a treaty under which the U.S. agrees to undertake efforts to build a ship canal across the Panama isthmus.
  • 1917: President Woodrow Wilson signs a congressional act establishing Mount McKinley National Park (now known as Denali National Park) in the Alaska Territory.
  • 1919: President Woodrow Wilson signs a congressional act establishing Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
  • 1929: President Calvin Coolidge signs a measure establishing Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
  • 1952: Prime Minister Winston Churchill announces that Britain has developed its own atomic bomb.
  • 1984: The last U.S. Marines deployed to Beirut as part of an international peacekeeping force withdraw from the Lebanese capital.
  • 1987: The Tower Commission, which probed the Iran-Contra affair, issues a report rebuking President Ronald Reagan for failing to control his national security staff.
David Koresh is the subject of a new documentary on the Smithsonian Channel.

David Koresh is the subject of a new documentary on the Smithsonian Channel. (Reuters)

  • 1994: A jury in San Antonio acquits 11 followers of David Koresh of murder, rejecting claims they ambushed federal agents. However, five are convicted of voluntary manslaughter.
  • 1998: A jury in Amarillo, Texas, rejects an $11 million lawsuit brought by Texas cattlemen who blame Oprah Winfrey’s talk show for a price dip following a food safety segment that included a discussion about mad cow disease.
  • 2009: General Motors Corp. posts a $9.6 billion loss for the fourth quarter of 2008.
  • 2009: The Pentagon, reversing an 18-year-old policy, says it would allow some media coverage of returning war dead, with family approval.
  • 2014: President Barack Obama, speaking in St. Paul, Minn., says he would ask Congress for $300 billion to update aging roads and railways.