Havana, Cuba (JFK+50) 116 years ago today, February 15, 1898, the USS Maine exploded here in Havana harbor killing 260 American sailors.
The battleship had been sent to Cuba by President William McKinley at the request of the US ambassador to protect American citizens during a time of increasing tensions between Cubans and the Spanish government.
A US Navy court of inquiry concluded in March 1898 that the explosion was caused by a mine. This was interpreted to mean the Spanish were guilty and the American "yellow press" fanned the flames for war with Spain.
A 1976 investigation, however, concluded the explosion was caused by a fire in the ammunition storeroom.
Miami, Florida (JFK+50) President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt survived an apparent assassination attempt here in Miami 81 years ago today, February 15, 1933.
The President-elect had just completed a speech at Bayfront Park when shots rang out.
Six shots were fired but none hit FDR.
One of the shots, however, seriously wounded Chicago mayor, Anton Cermak while four other bystanders were also hit.
The suspect was identified as Giuseppe Zangara, a 32 year old man who said to police...
"I hate all officials and anyone who is rich."
Mayor Cermak died 19 days later.
Zangara was tried, found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. He was electrocuted on March 5, 1933.
Miss Merman was born in Queens, New York.
Her signature song, "There's no business like show business" is from the musical Annie Get Your Gun.
"You may have done all right elsewhere, but you haven't really done it until you face a New York first night crowd."
Irving Berlin said of Ethel Merman:
"You give her a bad song and she'll make it sound good. Give her a good song and she'll make it sound great."
Miss Merman was described as a lifelong Republican. She was a frequent guest of the Eisenhower's at the White House and performed at the 1956 Republican National Convention.