Today in History
Today is Friday, March 23, the 82nd day of 2018. There are 283 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry delivered an address to the Virginia Provincial Convention in which he is said to have declared, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”
On this date:
In 1792, Joseph Haydn’s Symphony No. 94 in G Major (known as the “Surprise” symphony because of an unexpected crashing chord in the second movement) had its first public performance in London.
In 1806, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, having reached the Pacific coast, began their journey back east.
In 1914, the first installment of “The Perils of Pauline,” the silent film serial starring Pearl White, premiered in the greater New York City area.
In 1933, the German Reichstag adopted the Enabling Act, which effectively granted Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers.
In 1942, the first Japanese-Americans evacuated by the U.S. Army during World War II arrived at the internment camp in Manzanar, California.
In 1956, Pakistan became an Islamic republic.
In 1965, America’s first two-person space mission took place as Gemini 3 blasted off with astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom and John W. Young aboard for a nearly 5-hour flight.
In 1968, UCLA defeated North Carolina, 78-55, to win college basketball’s NCAA championship.
In 1973, before sentencing a group of Watergate break-in defendants, Chief U.S. District Judge John J. Sirica read aloud a letter he’d received from James W. McCord Jr. which said there was “political pressure” to “plead guilty and remain silent.”
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan first proposed developing technology to intercept incoming enemy missiles — an idea that came to be known as the Strategic Defense Initiative. Dr. Barney Clark, recipient of a Jarvik permanent artificial heart, died at the University of Utah Medical Center after 112 days with the device.
In 1998, “Titanic” tied an Academy Awards record by winning 11 Oscars, including best picture, director (James Cameron) and song (“My Heart Will Go On”).
In 2003, during the Iraq War, a U.S. Army maintenance convoy was ambushed in Nasiriyah (nah-sih-REE’-uh); 11 soldiers were killed, including Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa (py-ES’-tuh-wah); six were captured, including Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who was rescued on April 1, 2003.
Ten years ago: A roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers in Baghdad, pushing the overall American death toll in the five-year war to at least 4,000. Vice President Dick Cheney visited the West Bank, where Palestinian leaders asked him to pressure Israel to halt settlement construction and voiced other complaints. The Seattle-based fishing trawler Alaska Ranger sank in the Bering Sea, killing five crew members; 42 others survived. Al Copeland, founder of the Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken chain, died near Munich, Germany, at age 64.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama concluded a four-day visit to the Middle East as he marveled at the beauty of one of the region’s most stunning sites, the fabled ancient city of Petra in Jordan. Pope Francis traveled from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo south of Rome to have lunch with his predecessor, Benedict XVI. Boris Berezovsky, 67, a self-exiled and outspoken Russian tycoon who’d had a bitter falling out with Russian President Vladimir Putin, was found dead at his home in Ascot, England.
One year ago: Abandoning negotiations, President Donald Trump demanded a make-or-break vote on health care legislation in the House, threatening to leave “Obamacare” in place and move on to other issues if the next day’s vote failed. (Trump and GOP leaders ended up pulling their bill when it became clear it would fail badly.) The Republican-led Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s pick to be U.S. ambassador to Israel, 52-46, ignoring objections from Democrats that David Friedman lacked the temperament for such an important diplomatic post.
Today’s Birthdays: Movie director Mark Rydell is 89. International Motorsports Hall of Famer Craig Breedlove is 81. Singer-producer Ric Ocasek is 69. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is 66. Singer Chaka Khan is 65. Actress Amanda Plummer is 61. Actress Catherine Keener is 59. Actress Hope Davis is 54. Actor Richard Grieco is 53. Country musician Kevin Griffin (Yankee Grey) is 53. Actress Marin Hinkle is 52. Rock singer-musician Damon Albarn (Blur) is 50. Actress-singer Melissa Errico is 48. Rock musician John Humphrey (The Nixons) is 48. Bandleader Reggie Watts (TV: “The Late Late Show With James Corden”) is 46. Actor Randall Park is 44. Actress Michelle Monaghan is 42. Actress Keri Russell is 42. Actress Anastasia Griffith is 40. Gossip columnist-blogger Perez Hilton is 40. Actress Nicholle Tom is 40. Country singer Paul Martin (Marshall Dyllon) is 40. Country singer Brett Young is 37. Actor Nicolas Wright is 36.
Thought for Today: “A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears.” — Michel de Montaigne (MEE’-shel duh mohn-TEHN’), French essayist (1533-1592).