Today in History

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, March 23, the 82nd day of 2021. 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 (the “Surprise” symphony) 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 1919, Benito Mussolini founded his Fascist political movement in Milan, Italy.

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 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 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 1993, scientists announced they’d found the renegade gene that causes Huntington’s disease.

In 2001, Russia’s orbiting Mir space station ended its 15-year odyssey with a planned fiery plunge into the South Pacific.

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.

In 2004, a federal commission concluded that Clinton and Bush administration officials had engaged in lengthy, ultimately fruitless diplomatic efforts instead of military action to try to get Osama bin Laden before the 9/11 attacks; top Bush officials countered that the terror attacks would have occurred even if the United States had killed the al-Qaida leader.

In 2010, claiming a historic triumph, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, a $938 billion health care overhaul.

Ten years ago: Academy Award-winning actor Elizabeth Taylor died in Los Angeles at age 79. NATO ships began patrolling off Libya’s coast as airstrikes, missiles and energized rebels forced Moammar Gadhafi’s tanks to roll back from two key western cities. A blast blamed on Palestinian militants ripped through a bus stop in Jerusalem, killing Mary Jean Gardner, a 59-year-old British tourist, and wounding two dozen other people, including five Americans. Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock pleaded guilty at his court-martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state to the murders of three unarmed Afghan civilians (he was sentenced to 24 years in prison).

Five years 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.

One year ago: President Donald Trump said he wanted to reopen the country for business in weeks, not months; he asserted that continued closures could result in more deaths than the coronavirus itself. Britain became the latest European country to go into effective lockdown, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the closure of most retail stores and banned public gatherings. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced plans to convert a New York City convention center into a hospital with 1,000 beds. The Federal Reserve unleashed its boldest effort yet to protect the U.S. economy from the coronavirus; the Fed would buy both government-backed and corporate debt. An Arizona health system said a Phoenix-area man had died, and his wife was in critical condition, after the couple took chloroquine phosphate, an additive used to clean fish tanks; President Donald Trump had falsely stated days earlier that the Food and Drug Administration had approved the use of the anti-malaria medication chloroquine to treat coronavirus.

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director Mark Rydell is 92. International Motorsports Hall of Famer Craig Breedlove is 84. Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is 69. Singer Chaka Khan is 68. Actor Amanda Plummer is 64. Actor Catherine Keener is 62. Actor Hope Davis is 57. Actor Richard Grieco is 56. Actor Marin Hinkle is 55. Rock singer-musician Damon Albarn (Blur) is 53. Actor Kelly Perine is 52. Actor-singer Melissa Errico is 51. Rock musician John Humphrey (The Nixons) is 51. Bandleader Reggie Watts (TV: “The Late Late Show With James Corden”) is 49. Actor Randall Park is 47. Actor Michelle Monaghan is 45. Actor Keri Russell is 45. Actor Anastasia Griffith is 43. Gossip columnist-blogger Perez Hilton is 43. Actor Nicholle Tom is 43. Actor Brandon Dirden is 43. Country singer Brett Young is 40. Actor Nicolas Wright is 39. Actor Ben Rappaport is 35. NBA point guard Kyrie Irving is 29.

Copyright © 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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