Today in History Sunday, March 12, 2017


Today is Sunday, March 12, the 71st day of 2017. There are 294 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 12, 1947, President Harry S. Truman announced what became known as the “Truman Doctrine” to help Greece and Turkey resist Communism.

On this date:

In 1857, the original version of Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Simon Boccanegra” was poorly received at its premiere in Venice, Italy. (Verdi offered a revised version in 1881.)

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

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

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 1940, Finland and the Soviet Union concluded an armistice during World War II. (Fighting between the two countries flared again the following year.)

In 1951, “Dennis the Menace,” created by cartoonist Hank Ketcham, made its syndicated debut in 16 newspapers.

In 1967, Gen. Suharto became Acting President of Indonesia, replacing President Sukarno.

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, who are serving prison terms for kidnapping her.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush promoted free trade as a salve to Latin America’s woes as he spoke out against poverty during a visit to Guatemala; the president then traveled to Mexico. Masked Palestinians kidnapped BBC reporter Alan Johnston at gunpoint in Gaza City. (He was released several months later.) R.E.M. and Van Halen were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Five years ago: A day after the massacre of 16 Afghan civilians by a U.S. soldier, President Barack Obama called the episode “absolutely tragic and heartbreaking,” while Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called it “inexplicable.” Greece implemented the biggest debt write-down in history, swapping the bulk of its privately-held bonds with new ones worth less than half their original value.

One year ago: Ted Cruz won most of the delegates at stake in Republican county conventions in Wyoming; Marco Rubio won the GOP presidential caucuses in Washington, D.C. A 26-year-old man was taken into custody on suspicion of crashing his snowmobile into two Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race teams, killing one dog and injuring at least three others; Arnold Demoski later pleaded guilty to assault, reckless endangerment and driving under the influence.

Today’s Birthdays: Politician, diplomat and civil rights activist Andrew Young is 85. Actress Barbara Feldon is 84. Broadcast journalist Lloyd Dobyns is 81. Actress-singer Liza Minnelli is 71. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is 70. Singer-songwriter James Taylor is 69. Former Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is 69. Rock singer-musician Bill Payne (Little Feat) is 68. Actor Jon Provost (TV: “Lassie”) is 67. Author Carl Hiaasen (HY’-ah-sihn) is 64. Rock musician Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) is 61. Actor Jerry Levine is 60. Singer Marlon Jackson (The Jackson Five) is 60. Actor Jason Beghe is 57. Actor Courtney B. Vance is 57. Actor Titus Welliver is 56. Former MLB All-Star Darryl Strawberry is 55. Actress Julia Campbell is 54. Actor Jake Weber is 54. Actor Aaron Eckhart is 49. CNN reporter Jake Tapper is 48. Rock musician Graham Coxon is 48. Country musician Tommy Bales (Flynnville Train) is 44. Actor Rhys Coiro is 38. Country singer Holly Williams is 36. Actor Samm (cq) Levine is 35. Actress Jaimie Alexander is 33. Actor Tyler Patrick Jones is 23. Actress Kendall Applegate is 18.

Thought for Today: “‘Home’ is any four walls that enclose the right person.” — Helen Rowland, American writer, journalist and humorist (1876-1950).

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