Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 16, 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.
On this date:
In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew reached the Philippines, where Magellan was killed during a battle with natives the following month.
In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson signed a measure authorizing the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.
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 1945, during World War II, American forces declared they had secured Iwo Jima, although pockets of Japanese resistance remained.
In 1968, 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 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 2004, China declared victory in its fight against bird flu, saying it had “stamped out” all its known cases.
In 2012, 21 Jump Street a American buddy cop action comedy film directed by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (in their live action directional debuts), written by Jonah Hill and Michael Bacall, and starring Hill and Channing Tatum premiered in theaters.
In 2014, 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.
In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland to take the seat of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who had died the previous month. (Republicans who controlled the Senate would stick to their pledge to leave the seat empty until after the presidential election; they confirmed Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch in April 2017.)
In 2020, global stocks plunged again amid coronavirus concerns, 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. Ohio called off its presidential primary just hours before polls were to open, but Arizona, Florida and Illinois went ahead with their plans.
Ten years ago: A jury in New Brunswick, New Jersey, convicted former Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi (dah-ROON’ RAH’-vee) in the webcam spying episode that ended in the suicide of his gay roommate, Tyler Clementi. (Ravi served 20 days in jail for invasion of privacy, bias intimidation and other counts.)
Five years ago: President Donald Trump submitted his $1.15 trillion budget to Congress; it proposed generous increases for the military while slashing domestic programs and riling both fellow Republicans and Democrats by going after favored programs. Steve Penny resigned as president of USA Gymnastics following intensified pressure on the organization for its handling of sex abuse cases.
One year ago: A gunman killed eight people, mostly women of Asian descent, at three Atlanta-area massage parlors in an attack that sent terror through the Asian-American community, which had increasingly been targeted during the pandemic; the white gunman, Robert Long, told police that the attack was not racially motivated, and that he had a “sex addiction.” (Long was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty in four of the deaths.) A declassified intelligence assessment found that Russian President Vladimir Putin had authorized influence operations to help Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election; the assessment found broad efforts by both the Kremlin and Iran to shape the outcome of the race, but no evidence that any foreign actor had actually disrupted the voting process.
Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Ray Walker (The Jordanaires) is 88. Game show host Chuck Woolery is 81. Country singer Robin Williams is 75. Actor Erik Estrada is 73. Actor Victor Garber is 73.
Country singer Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel) is 71. Bluegrass musician Tim O’Brien (Hot Rize; Earls of Leicester) is 68. Rock singer-musician Nancy Wilson (Heart) is 68. World Golf Hall of Famer Hollis Stacy is 68. Actor Clifton Powell is 66. Rapper-actor Flavor Flav is 63. Rock musician Jimmy DeGrasso is 59. Actor Jerome Flynn is 59. Folk singer Patty Griffin is 58. Movie director Gore Verbinski is 58. Country singer Tracy Bonham is 55. Actor Lauren Graham is 55. Actor Judah Friedlander (FREED’-lan-duhr) is 53. Actor Alan Tudyk (TOO’-dihk) is 51. Actor Tim Kang is 49. R&B singer Blu Cantrell is 46. Actor Brooke Burns is 44. Actor Kimrie Lewis is 40. Actor Brett Davern is 39. Actor Alexandra Daddario is 36. R&B singer Jhené Aiko is 34. Rock musician Wolfgang Van Halen is 31. Toronto Blue Jays baseball star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is 23.