Some people are so “lucky” that their special day gets missed because this is not a leap year, with the month ending on the 28th. But there are events, birthdays, and deaths that happened on the 29th, so I thought I would include those after I mention the Feb 28th happenings. And if you are one of those “lucky” ones who were born on Feb 29th, happy birthday for whenever you choose to celebrate it in this non-leap year!
In 202 BC Liu Bang was enthroned as Emperor of China, ushering in 4 centuries of the Han dynasty,while in 2013 Pope Benedict XVI resigns, becoming the first pope to resign since Pope Gregory XII did in 1415. Also the last episode of MASH aired in 1983 with a record-setting audience of almost 106 million viewers. While in Seattle the Nisqually quake – 6.8 – shook the city in 2001.
The world welcomed the words of Michel de Montaigne a French philosopher and author in 1533 who popularized the essay as a literary form. We celebrate the birth of American chemist and activist Linus Pauling in 1901 – he was a rare Nobel Prize winner – for chemistry in 1954 and for Peace in 1962. And 1953 brought us American economist and academic Paul Krugman.
American historian and critic Arthur Schlesinger put down his pen in 2007. Paul Harvey finished the rest of his story in 2009. And German-American pianist, composer, and conductor Andre Previn laid down his baton in 2019.
Moving on to the forgotten Feb 29th – in 1504 Christopher Columbus used his knowledge of a lunar eclipse to convince Jamaican natives to provide him with supplies. In 1916 South Carolina raised the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers from 12 to 14. And in 1940 Hattie McDaniel became the first African American to win an Academy Award – but could not receive it from the main stage due to segregation.
In the same year – 1940 – Ernest Lawrence wins the Nobel Prize in Physics – for the invention of the cyclotron. In 1988 Desmond Tutu was arrested with 100 other clergymen during an anti-apartheid demonstration in Cape Town, , while in Canada Svend Robinson became the first member of the House of Commons to come out as gay.
Feb 29th birthdays include Ann Lee (1736 founder of the Shakers), Italian Gioachino Rossini (1792 opera), American bandleader Jimmy Dorsey (1904), and James Donovan – leader of the OSS, which would later become the CIA (1916).
Passing on this date in 1908 was Pat Garett – known for gunning down the outlaw Billy the Kid.
And for you singles out there Feb 29th is Bachelor’s Day in Ireland and the UK – where according to tradition the ladies get to propose to the gentlemen.
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