Today in History

Today is Monday, March 16, the 75th day of 2015. There are 290 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 16, 1915, the Federal Trade Commission, created in 1914, began operations.

On this date:

In 1521, Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan reached the Philippines, where he was killed by natives the following month.

In 1751, James Madison, fourth president of the United States, was born in Port Conway, Virginia.

In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson signed a measure authorizing the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

In 1926, rocket science pioneer Robert H. Goddard successfully tested the first liquid-fueled rocket in Auburn, Massachusetts.

In 1935, Adolf Hitler decided to break the military terms set by the Treaty of Versailles by ordering the rearming of Germany.

In 1945, during World War II, American forces declared they had secured Iwo Jima, although pockets of Japanese resistance remained.

In 1965, peace activist Alice Herz, 82, set herself ablaze on a Detroit street corner to protest the Vietnam War; she died 10 days later.

In 1968, during the Vietnam War, the My Lai Massacre of Vietnamese civilians was carried out by U.S. Army troops; estimates of the death toll vary between 347 and 504.

In 1974, the Grand Ole Opry House opened in Nashville with a concert attended by President Richard Nixon and his wife, Pat.

In 1984, William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, was kidnapped by Hezbollah militants (he was tortured by his captors and killed in 1985).

In 1985, Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, was abducted in Beirut; he was released in December 1991.

In 1990, two movies that sought to capitalize on the lambada dance craze, “Lambada” and “The Forbidden Dance,” were released the same day.

Ten years ago: A jury in Los Angeles acquitted actor Robert Blake of murder in the shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, four years earlier. (A civil court jury later ordered Blake to pay Bakley’s four children $30 million, an award that an appeals court subsequently cut in half; Blake has declared bankruptcy.) A judge in Redwood City, California, sent Scott Peterson to death row for the slaying of his pregnant wife, Laci. Norway’s Robert Sorlie won his second Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in one of the closest races in years.

Five years ago: Attorney General Eric Holder told a House Appropriations subcommittee that Osama bin Laden would never face trial in the United States because he would not be captured alive. (The al-Qaida leader was shot dead by Navy SEALs in Pakistan in May 2011.) Lance Mackey won the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race to become the first musher in the event’s 38-year history to win four consecutive races.

One year ago: Crimeans voted to leave Ukraine and join Russia, overwhelmingly approving a referendum that sought to unite the strategically important Black Sea region with the country it was part of for some 250 years. Mitch Leigh, 86, a successful advertising jingle writer whose attempt at writing for a Broadway show became the instant, celebrated hit “Man of La Mancha,” died in New York.

Today’s Birthdays: Comedian-director Jerry Lewis is 89. Country singer Ray Walker (The Jordanaires) is 81. Movie director Bernardo Bertolucci is 74. Game show host Chuck Woolery is 74. Singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker is 73. Country singer Robin Williams is 68. Actor Erik Estrada is 66. Actor Victor Garber is 66. Actress Kate Nelligan is 64. Country singer Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel) is 64. Rock singer-musician Nancy Wilson (Heart) is 61. World Golf Hall of Famer Hollis Stacy is 61. Actress Isabelle Huppert is 60. Actor Clifton Powell is 59. Rapper-actor Flavor Flav (Public Enemy) is 56. Rock musician Jimmy DeGrasso is 52. Actor Jerome Flynn is 52. Folk singer Patty Griffin is 51. Movie director Gore Verbinski (“Pirates of the Caribbean” films) is 51. Country singer Tracy Bonham is 48. Actress Lauren Graham is 48. Actor Judah Friedlander is 46. Actor Alan Tudyk is 44. Actor Tim Kang is 42. Rhythm-and-blues singer Blu Cantrell is 39. Actress Brooke Burns is 37. Actress Alexandra Daddario is 29. Rhythm and blues singer Jhene Aiko is 27. Rock musician Wolfgang Van Halen is 24.

Thought for Today: “The only joy in the world is to begin.” – Cesare Pavese, Italian novelist (1908-1950).

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