Today in History

Published 12:01 am Friday, March 16, 2018

Today is Friday, March 16, the 75th day of 2018. There are 290 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights 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 (son 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.

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On this date:

In A.D. 37, Roman emperor Tiberius died; he was succeeded by Caligula.

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 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 at his Aunt Effie’s farm in Auburn, Massachusetts.

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

In 1966, NASA launched Gemini 8 on a mission to rendezvous and dock with Agena, a target vehicle in orbit; although the docking was successful, the joined vehicles began spinning, forcing Gemini to disconnect and abort the flight.

In 1978, Italian politician Aldo Moro was kidnapped by the left-wing Red Brigades, who later murdered him.

In 1988, a Protestant extremist launched a one-man gun-and-grenade attack on an Irish Republican Army funeral at Milltown Cemetery in Belfast, Northern Ireland, killing three of the mourners.

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.

Ten years ago: Protests spread from Tibet into three neighboring provinces as Tibetans defied a Chinese government crackdown; the Dalai Lama decried what he called the “cultural genocide” taking place in his homeland and called for an international investigation into China’s crackdown on demonstrators. Actor Ivan Dixon (TV: “Hogan’s Heroes”) died in Charlotte, North Carolina, at age 76.

Five years ago: Thousands of activists gathered for the Conservative Political Action Conference outside Washington gave Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul a narrow victory over Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in their unscientific presidential preference poll (Paul had 25 percent of the vote and Rubio 23 percent; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was third with 8 percent). South Korea’s Yuna Kim, back at the World Figure Skating Championships after a two-year absence, won the women’s title in London, Ontario, Canada. British actor Frank Thornton, 92, best known as Captain Peacock in the long-running television comedy “Are You Being Served?,” died in London.

One year 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. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, visiting Japan, called on North Korea to abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, saying the isolated nation “need not fear” the United States. Steve Penny resigned as president of USA Gymnastics following intensified pressure on the organization for its handling of sex abuse cases. Grammy Award-winning blues harmonica master James Cotton, 81, died in Austin, Texas.

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Ray Walker (The Jordanaires) is 84. Movie director Bernardo Bertolucci is 77. Game show host Chuck Woolery is 77. Singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker is 76. Country singer Robin Williams is 71. Actor Erik Estrada is 69. Actor Victor Garber is 69. Country singer Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel) is 67. Bluegrass musician Tim O’Brien (Hot Rize; Earls of Leicester) is 64. Rock singer-musician Nancy Wilson (Heart) is 64. World Golf Hall of Famer Hollis Stacy is 64. Actor Clifton Powell is 62. Rapper-actor Flavor Flav (Public Enemy) is 59. Rock musician Jimmy DeGrasso is 55. Actor Jerome Flynn is 55. Folk singer Patty Griffin is 54. Movie director Gore Verbinski is 54. Country singer Tracy Bonham is 51. Actress Lauren Graham is 51. Actor Judah Friedlander (FREED’-lan-duhr) is 49. Actor Alan Tudyk (TOO’-dihk) is 47. Actor Tim Kang is 45. Rhythm-and-blues singer Blu Cantrell is 42. Actress Brooke Burns is 40. Actor Brett Davern is 35. Actress Alexandra Daddario is 32. Rhythm and blues singer Jhene Aiko is 30. Rock musician Wolfgang Van Halen is 27.