Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, March 16, the 76th day of 2016. There are 290 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 16, 1926, rocket science pioneer Robert H. Goddard successfully tested the first liquid-fueled rocket at his Aunt Effie’s farm in Auburn, Massachusetts.

On this date:

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 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter” was first published.

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 1966, Gemini 8 was launched 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 1968, during the Vietnam War, the My Lai (mee ly) Massacre of Vietnamese civilians was carried out by U.S. Army troops; estimates of the death toll vary between 347 and 504.

In 1974, the Grand Ole Opry House opened in Nashville with a concert attended by President Richard Nixon and his wife, Pat.

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 1985, Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, was abducted in Beirut; he was released in December 1991.

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 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: 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. The Senate narrowly passed a $2.8 trillion election-year budget blueprint.

Five 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.

One year ago: Los Angeles prosecutors filed a first-degree murder charge against real estate heir Robert Durst in the killing of his friend, Susan Berman, who had acted as Durst’s spokeswoman after his wife, Kathleen, disappeared in 1982.

Today’s Birthdays: Comedian-director Jerry Lewis is 90. Country singer Ray Walker (The Jordanaires) is 82. Movie director Bernardo Bertolucci is 75. Game show host Chuck Woolery is 75. Singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker is 74. Country singer Robin Williams is 69. Actor Erik Estrada is 67. Actor Victor Garber is 67. Actress Kate Nelligan is 65. Country singer Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel) is 65. Rock singer-musician Nancy Wilson (Heart) is 62. World Golf Hall of Famer Hollis Stacy is 62. Actress Isabelle Huppert is 61. Actor Clifton Powell is 60. Rapper-actor Flavor Flav (Public Enemy) is 57. Rock musician Jimmy DeGrasso is 53. Actor Jerome Flynn is 53. Folk singer Patty Griffin is 52. Movie director Gore Verbinski is 52. Country singer Tracy Bonham is 49. Actress Lauren Graham is 49. Actor Judah Friedlander (FREED’-lan-duhr) is 47. Actor Alan Tudyk (TOO’-dihk) is 45. Actor Tim Kang is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer Blu Cantrell is 40. Actress Brooke Burns is 38. Actress Alexandra Daddario is 30. Rhythm and blues singer Jhene Aiko is 28. Rock musician Wolfgang Van Halen is 25.

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