Today In History

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Today is Tuesday, March 12, the 71st day of 2019. There are 294 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On March 12, 1864, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant assumed command as General-in-Chief of the Union armies in the Civil War.

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On this date:

In 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA had its beginnings as Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Ga. founded the first American troop of the Girl Guides.

In 1914, American inventor George Westinghouse died in New York at age 67.

In 1923, inventor Lee De Forest publicly demonstrated his sound-on-movie-film system, called “Phonofilm,” in New York.

In 1925, Chinese revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen died in Beijing.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the first of his 30 radio addresses that came to be known as “fireside chats,” telling Americans what was being done to deal with the nation’s economic crisis.

In 1938, the Anschluss merging Austria with Nazi Germany took place as German forces crossed the border between the two countries.

In 1947, President Harry S. Truman announced what became known as the “Truman Doctrine” to help Greece and Turkey resist Communism.

In 1955, legendary jazz musician Charlie “Bird” Parker died in New York at age 34.

In 1971, Hafez Assad was confirmed as president of Syria in a referendum.

In 1980, a Chicago jury found John Wayne Gacy Jr. guilty of the murders of 33 men and boys. (The next day, Gacy was sentenced to death; he was executed in May 1994.)

In 1993, Janet Reno was sworn in as the first female U.S. attorney general. A three-day blizzard that came to be known as “The Storm of the Century” began inundating the eastern third of the U.S. A series of bombings in Mumbai, India, killed 257 people (the explosions were allegedly masterminded by India’s most wanted man, Dawood Ibrahim).

In 2003, Elizabeth Smart, the 15-year-old girl who vanished from her bedroom nine months earlier, was found alive in a Salt Lake City suburb with two drifters, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee. (Mitchell is serving a life sentence; Barzee was released from prison in September 2018.)

Ten years ago: Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty in New York to pulling off perhaps the biggest swindle in Wall Street history. The Iraqi journalist who’d thrown his shoes at President George W. Bush received a three-year sentence. (Muntadhar al-Zeidi ended up serving nine months.) Lindsey Vonn became the first American woman to win the super-G season finale at the World Cup finals in Are, Sweden.

Five years ago: With Ukraine’s interim prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk at his side, President Barack Obama said the United States would “completely reject” a referendum in Crimea opening the door for the Ukrainian peninsula to join Russia. In New York City, a gas explosion destroyed two five-story East Harlem apartment buildings, killing eight people and injuring more than 60.

One year ago: Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee said they’d completed a draft report concluding that there was no collusion or coordination between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. British Prime Minister Theresa May said Russia was “highly likely” to blame for poisoning a former spy and his daughter in an English city with a military-grade nerve agent. Two package bomb blasts a few miles apart killed a teenager and wounded two women in Austin less than two weeks after a similar attack left a man dead in another part of the Texas capital. (The attacks were part of a series of bombings that killed two people and wounded four others; the suspect, Mark Conditt, died after detonating a bomb in his SUV as officers moved in.) After a 46-year career at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, conductor James Levine was fired; an investigation had found evidence of sexual abuse and harassment. A dog died on a United Airlines plane after a flight attendant told the dog’s owner to put the pet carrier in the overhead bin.

Today’s Birthdays: Politician, diplomat and civil rights activist Andrew Young is 87. Actress Barbara Feldon is 86. Broadcast journalist Lloyd Dobyns is 83. Actress-singer Liza Minnelli is 73. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is 72. Singer-songwriter James Taylor is 71. Former Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is 71. Rock singer-musician Bill Payne (Little Feat) is 70. Actor Jon Provost (TV: “Lassie”) is 69. Author Carl Hiaasen (HY’-ah-sihn) is 66. Rock musician Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) is 63. Actress Lesley Manville is 63. Actor Jerry Levine is 62. Singer Marlon Jackson (The Jackson Five) is 62. Actor Jason Beghe is 59. Actor Courtney B. Vance is 59. Actor Titus Welliver is 57. Former MLB All-Star Darryl Strawberry is 57. Actress Julia Campbell is 56. Actor Jake Weber is 56. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., is 51. Actor Aaron Eckhart is 51. CNN reporter Jake Tapper is 50. Rock musician Graham Coxon is 50. Country musician Tommy Bales (Flynnville Train) is 46. Actor Rhys Coiro is 40. Country singer Holly Williams is 38. Actor Samm (cq) Levine is 37. Actress Jaimie Alexander is 35. Actor Tyler Patrick Jones is 25. Actress Kendall Applegate is 20.