Today in History

Published 12:01 am Friday, March 30, 2018

Today is Good Friday, March 30, the 89th day of 2018. There are 276 days left in the year. The Jewish holiday Passover begins at sunset.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot and seriously injured outside a Washington, D.C. hotel by John W. Hinckley, Jr.; also wounded were White House press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and a District of Columbia police officer, Thomas Delahanty.

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On this date:

In 1822, Florida became a United States territory.

In 1842, Dr. Crawford W. Long of Jefferson, Georgia, first used ether as an anesthetic during an operation to remove a patient’s neck tumor.

In 1867, U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward reached agreement with Russia to purchase the territory of Alaska for $7.2 million, a deal ridiculed by critics as “Seward’s Folly.”

In 1870, the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited denying citizens the right to vote and hold office on the basis of race, was declared in effect by Secretary of State Hamilton Fish. Texas was readmitted to the Union.

In 1923, the Cunard liner RMS Laconia became the first passenger ship to circle the globe as it arrived in New York.

In 1945, during World War II, the Soviet Union invaded Austria with the goal of taking Vienna, which it accomplished two weeks later.

In 1959, a narrowly divided U.S. Supreme Court, in Bartkus v. Illinois, ruled that a conviction in state court following an acquittal in federal court for the same crime did not constitute double jeopardy.

In 1964, John Glenn withdrew from the Ohio race for the U.S. Senate because of injuries suffered in a fall. The original version of the TV game show “Jeopardy!,” hosted by Art Fleming, premiered on NBC.

In 1975, as the Vietnam War neared its end, Communist forces occupied the city of Da Nang.

In 1991, Patricia Bowman of Jupiter, Florida, told authorities she’d been raped hours earlier by William Kennedy Smith, the nephew of Sen. Edward Kennedy, at the family’s Palm Beach estate. (Smith was acquitted at trial.)

In 2002, Britain’s Queen Mother Elizabeth died at Royal Lodge, Windsor, outside London; she was 101 years old.

In 2006, American reporter Jill Carroll, a freelancer for The Christian Science Monitor, was released after 82 days as a hostage in Iraq.

Ten years ago: The U.S. Army said the remains of Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin (MAW’-pin), captured in Iraq in 2004, had been found and identified. Chinese spectators cheered as Greece handed off the Olympic flame for its journey to Beijing and relay through 20 countries, but protesters brandishing Tibetan flags stole the limelight. President George W. Bush threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Washington’s new stadium, Nationals Park; the Washington Nationals defeated the Atlanta Braves, 3-2, in the first regular-season game played at the park. Cambodian-born journalist Dith Pran, whose story became the subject of the award-winning film “The Killing Fields,” died in New Brunswick, New Jersey, at age 65.

Five years ago: Kaufman County, Texas, District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, were found killed in their house two months after one of his assistants, Mark Hasse, was gunned down near their office. (Ex-Justice of the Peace Eric Williams was later sentenced to death for the murder of Cynthia McLelland while his wife, Kim, received 40 years for her role in the killings.) The Associated Press became the first international news agency to open a bureau in Myanmar. Phil Ramone, 79, the masterful award-winning engineer, arranger and producer, died in New York.

One year ago: A massive fire caused an interstate bridge to collapse during rush hour in Atlanta; no one was hurt. (A homeless man has been charged with arson and criminal damage to property.) North Carolina rolled back its “bathroom bill” in a bid to end a yearlong backlash over transgender rights that had cost the state dearly in business projects, conventions and basketball tournaments. At Cape Canaveral, SpaceX successfully launched and then retrieved its first recycled rocket. Twitter said it was easing its 140-character limit in replies.

Today’s Birthdays: Game show host Peter Marshall is 92. Actor John Astin is 88. Actor-director Warren Beatty is 81. Rock musician Graeme Edge (The Moody Blues) is 77. Rock musician Eric Clapton is 73. Actor Justin Deas is 70. Actor Paul Reiser is 62. Rap artist MC Hammer is 55. Singer Tracy Chapman is 54. Actor Ian Ziering (EYE’-an ZEER’-ing) is 54. TV personality Piers Morgan is 53. Rock musician Joey Castillo is 52. Actress Donna D’Errico is 50. Singer Celine Dion is 50. Actor Mark Consuelos is 47. Actress Bahar Soomekh is 43. Actress Jessica Cauffiel is 42. Singer Norah Jones is 39. Actress Fiona Gubelmann is 38. Actress Katy Mixon is 37. Actor Jason Dohring is 36. Country singer Justin Moore is 34. Actress Tessa Ferrer is 32. Country singer Thomas Rhett is 28. Rapper NF is 27.