Today’s Highlights in History:
On March 16, 1945, during World War II, American forces declared they had secured Iwo Jima, although pockets of Japanese resistance remained.
On this date:
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 at his Aunt Effie’s farm in Auburn, Massachusetts.
In 1935, Adolf Hitler decided to break the military terms set by the Treaty of Versailles (vehr-SY’) by ordering the rearming of Germany.
In 1968, the My Lai (mee ly) massacre took place during the Vietnam War as U.S. Army soldiers hunting for Viet Cong fighters and sympathizers killed unarmed villagers in two hamlets of Son My (suhn mee) village; estimates of the death toll vary from 347 to 504. Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In 1972, in a nationally broadcast address, President Richard Nixon called for a moratorium on court-ordered school busing to achieve racial desegregation.
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 1987, Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In 1991, a plane carrying seven members of country singer Reba McEntire’s band and her tour manager crashed into Otay Mountain in southern California, killing all on board. U.S. skaters Kristi Yamaguchi, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan swept the World Figure Skating Championships in Munich, Germany.
In 1994, figure skater Tonya Harding pleaded guilty in Portland, Oregon, to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for covering up an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan, avoiding jail but drawing a $100,000 fine.
In 2003, American activist Rachel Corrie, 23, was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer while trying to block demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.
In 2004, China declared victory in its fight against bird flu, saying it had “stamped out” all its known cases.
In 2006, Iraq’s new parliament met briefly for the first time; lawmakers took the oath but did no business and adjourned after just 40 minutes, unable to agree on a speaker, let alone a prime minister.
Ten years ago: Pakistan abruptly freed CIA contractor Raymond Allen Davis, who had shot and killed two men in a gunfight in Lahore, after a deal was reached to pay $2.34 million to the men’s families.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to take the seat of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who had died the previous month; Republicans pledged to leave the seat empty until after the presidential election and said they wouldn’t even hold confirmation hearings. Frank Sinatra Jr., 72, who carried on his famous father’s legacy with his own music career, died while on tour in Daytona Beach, Florida.
One year ago: Global stocks plunged again, with Wall Street seeing a 12% decline, its worst in more than 30 years; the S&P 500 was down 30% from its record set less than a month earlier. The White House released a set of guidelines for the next 15 days; Americans were urged not to gather in groups of more than 10 people and older Americans were told to stay home. President Donald Trump acknowledged that the pandemic could send the economy into a recession; he suggested that the nation could be dealing with the virus until “July or August.” Canada closed its borders to non-citizens; Americans were exempted. (The two countries agreed two days later to close their shared border to nonessential travel.) Ohio called off its presidential primary just hours before polls were to open, but Arizona, Florida and Illinois went ahead with their plans.
Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Ray Walker (The Jordanaires) is 87. Game show host Chuck Woolery is 80. Country singer Robin Williams is 74. Actor Erik Estrada is 72. Actor Victor Garber is 72. Country singer Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel) is 70. Bluegrass musician Tim O’Brien (Hot Rize; Earls of Leicester) is 67.
Rock singer-musician Nancy Wilson (Heart) is 67. World Golf Hall of Famer Hollis Stacy is 67. Actor Clifton Powell is 65. Rapper-actor Flavor Flav is 62. Rock musician Jimmy DeGrasso is 58. Actor Jerome Flynn is 58. Folk singer Patty Griffin is 57. Movie director Gore Verbinski is 57. Country singer Tracy Bonham is 54. Actor Lauren Graham is 54. Actor Judah Friedlander (FREED’-lan-duhr) is 52. Actor Alan Tudyk (TOO’-dihk) is 50. Actor Tim Kang is 48. R&B singer Blu Cantrell is 45. Actor Brooke Burns is 43. Actor Kimrie Lewis is 39. Actor Brett Davern is 38. Actor Alexandra Daddario is 35. R&B singer Jhene Aiko is 33. Rock musician Wolfgang Van Halen is 30.