Ten years ago
On the 12th anniversary of the Gulf War, a defiant Saddam Hussein called on his people to rise up and defend the nation against a new U.S.-led attack. Tom Ridge sailed through Senate confirmation hearings on his way to becoming the nation’s first Homeland Security Department chief. Actor Richard Crenna died in Los Angeles at age 76. Gertrude Janeway, the last known widow of a Union veteran from the Civil War, died in Blaine, Tenn., at age 93 (she had married John Janeway in 1927 when he was 81 and she was barely 18).
Five years ago: Bobby Fischer, the chess grandmaster who became a Cold War icon when he dethroned the Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky as world champion in 1972, died in Reykjavik, Iceland, at age 64. Character actor Allan Melvin died in Los Angeles at age 84.
One year ago: Italian officials released a recording of a furious Coast Guard officer, Capt. Gregorio De Falco, demanding that Capt. Francesco Schettino (frahn-CHEHS’-koh skeh-TEE’-noh), commander of the grounded Costa Concordia, re-board the ship to direct its evacuation after the vessel rammed into a reef on Jan. 13. (Schettino resists the order, making excuses that it’s dark and that the ship is listing.) Johnny Otis, the “godfather of rhythm and blues” who wrote and recorded the R&B classic “Willie and the Hand Jive,” died in Los Angeles at age 90.