Today is Thursday, March 23, the 82nd day of 2017. There are 283 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 23, 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.
On this date:
- In 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!”
- 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 legendary 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. Grissom and John W. Young aboard for a nearly 5-hour flight.
- 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 1994, Aeroflot Flight 593, an Airbus A310, crashed in Siberia with the loss of all 75 people on board; it turned out that a pilot’s teenage son who was allowed to sit at the controls had accidentally disengaged the autopilot, causing the jetliner to go out of control.
- In 2001, Russia’s orbiting Mir space station ended its 15-year odyssey with a planned fiery plunge into the South Pacific.
- In 2011, Academy Award-winning actress Elizabeth Taylor died in Los Angeles at age 79.
Ten years ago: The House voted for the first time to clamp a cutoff deadline on the Iraq war, agreeing by a thin margin to pull combat troops out by late 2008, an action dismissed by President George W. Bush as “political theater.” Iranian forces captured 15 British sailors and marines who were searching a merchant ship in the disputed Shatt Al-Arab waterway Persian Gulf; they were held for 13 days. Miss Tennessee Rachel Smith was crowned Miss USA at the pageant in Los Angeles.
Five years ago: Urging Americans to “do some soul searching,” President Barack Obama injected himself into the emotional debate over the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida, saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” The U.S. Army formally charged Staff Sgt. Robert Bales with 17 counts of premeditated murder in the deaths of 17 villagers, more than half of them children, during a shooting rampage in southern Afghanistan. Pope Benedict XVI landed in Mexico to throngs of faithful who lined more than 20 miles of his route into the city of Leon.
One year ago: President Barack Obama, on a fence-mending state visit to Buenos Aires, held up Argentina as an emerging world leader worthy of U.S. support, as he and President Mauricio Macri broke with years of tensions between their countries. Death claimed former baseball player-turned-broadcaster Joe Garagiola at age 90 and actor Ken Howard at age 71.
Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Marty Allen is 95. Sir Roger Bannister (the runner who broke the 4-minute mile in 1954) is 88. Movie director Mark Rydell is 88. International Motorsports Hall of Famer Craig Breedlove is 80. Singer-producer Ric Ocasek is 68. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is 65. Singer Chaka Khan is 64. Actress Amanda Plummer is 60. Actress Catherine Keener is 58. Actress Hope Davis is 53. Actor Richard Grieco is 52. Country musician Kevin Griffin (Yankee Grey) is 52. Actress Marin Hinkle is 51. Rock singer-musician Damon Albarn (Blur) is 49. Actress-singer Melissa Errico is 47. Rock musician John Humphrey (The Nixons) is 47. Bandleader Reggie Watts (TV: “The Late Late Show With James Corden”) is 45. Actor Randall Park is 43. Actress Michelle Monaghan is 41. Actress Keri Russell is 41. Actress Anastasia Griffith is 39. Gossip columnist-blogger Perez Hilton is 39. Actress Nicholle Tom is 39. Country singer Paul Martin (Marshall Dyllon) is 39. Actor Nicolas Wright is 35.
Thought for Today: “In anger, you look ten years older.” — Hedda Hopper, American gossip columnist (1890-1966).