Today in History

Today is Thursday, March 12, the 71st day of 2015. There are 294 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 12, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the first of his 30 radio addresses that came to be known as “fireside chats,” telling Americans what was being done to deal with the nation’s economic crisis.

On this date:

In 1664, England’s King Charles II granted an area of land on the East Coast of present-day North America known as New Netherland to his brother James, the Duke of York.

In 1857, the original version of “Simon Boccanegra,” an opera by Giuseppe Verdi, was poorly received at its premiere in Venice, Italy. (Verdi offered a revised version in 1881.)

In 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA had its beginnings as Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Georgia, founded the first American troop of the Girl Guides.

In 1925, Chinese revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen died.

In 1938, the Anschluss merging Austria with Nazi Germany took place as German forces crossed the border between the two countries.

In 1940, Finland and the Soviet Union concluded an armistice during World War II. (Fighting between the two countries flared again the following year.)

In 1955, legendary jazz musician Charlie “Bird” Parker died in New York at age 34.

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson won the New Hampshire Democratic primary, but Sen. Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota placed a strong second.

In 1971, Hafez Assad was confirmed as president of Syria in a referendum.

In 1985, conductor Eugene Ormandy, director of the Philadelphia Orchestra for more than four decades, died at age 85.

In 1994, the Church of England ordained its first women priests.

In 2003, Elizabeth Smart, the 15-year-old girl who’d vanished from her bedroom nine months earlier, was found alive in a Salt Lake City suburb with two drifters, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, who are serving prison terms for kidnapping her.

Ten years ago: Brian Nichols, who had slain a judge and three other people, surrendered to authorities in suburban Atlanta after holding Ashley Smith hostage in her apartment. (Nichols was later sentenced to life in prison.) A gunman opened fire at a church meeting being held at a suburban Milwaukee hotel, killing seven people before taking his own life. Bode Miller became the first American in 22 years to win skiing’s overall World Cup title, in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.

Five years ago: Two suicide bombers killed 55 people in near simultaneous blasts in Lahore, Pakistan, the fourth attack in a week. Lindsey Vonn capped a historic season with her third straight overall World Cup title in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.

One year ago: With Ukraine’s interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, at his side, President Barack Obama said the United States would “completely reject” a referendum in Crimea opening the door for the Ukrainian peninsula to join Russia. In New York City, a gas explosion destroyed two five-story East Harlem apartment buildings, killing eight people and injuring more than 60.

Today’s Birthdays: Playwright Edward Albee is 87. Politician, diplomat and civil rights activist Andrew Young is 83. Actress Barbara Feldon is 82. Broadcast journalist Lloyd Dobyns is 79. Singer Al Jarreau is 75. Actress-singer Liza Minnelli is 69. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is 68. Singer-songwriter James Taylor is 67. Former Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is 67. Rock singer-musician Bill Payne (Little Feat) is 66. Actor Jon Provost (TV: “Lassie”) is 65. Author Carl Hiaasen is 62. Rock musician Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) is 59. Actor Jerry Levine is 58. Singer Marlon Jackson (The Jackson Five) is 58. Actor Jason Beghe is 55. Actor Courtney B. Vance is 55. Actor Titus Welliver is 54. Former MLB All-Star Darryl Strawberry is 53. Actress Julia Campbell is 52. Actor Aaron Eckhart is 47. CNN reporter Jake Tapper is 46. Rock musician Graham Coxon is 46. Country musician Tommy Bales (Flynnville Train) is 42. Actor Rhys Coiro is 36. Country singer Holly Williams is 34. Actor Samm (cq) Levine is 33. Actor Jaimie Alexander is 31. Actor Tyler Patrick Jones is 21. Actress Kendall Applegate is 16.

Thought for Today: “If power corrupts, being out of power corrupts absolutely.” – Douglass (cq) Cater, American author and educator (1923-1995).

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