Today in history
Today is the 70th day of 2017. There are 295 days left in the year. The Jewish holiday Purim begins at sunset. Daylight saving time returns Sunday at 2 a.m. local time; clocks go forward one hour.
On March 11, 1942, as Japanese forces continued to advance in the Pacific during World War II, U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur left the Philippines for Australia, where he vowed on March 20, “I shall return” — a promise he kept more than 2¢ years later.
On this date:
In 1861, the Constitution of the Confederate States of America was adopted by the Confederate Congress in Montgomery, Ala.
In 1867, the Giuseppe Verdi opera “Don Carlo” had its world premiere in Paris as a five-act French version titled “Don Carlos.”
In 1888, the Blizzard of ’88, also known as the “Great White Hurricane,” began inundating the northeastern United States, resulting in some 400 deaths.
In 1927, New York City’s legendary Roxy Theatre held its grand opening; the evening featured the premiere of the silent film drama “The Love of Sunya,” starring Gloria Swanson, who was among those in attendance.
In 1957, Charles Van Doren’s 14-week run on the rigged NBC game show “Twenty-One” ended as he was “defeated” by attorney Vivienne Nearing; Van Doren’s take was $129,000. American explorer Richard E. Byrd died in Boston at age 68.
In 1965, the Rev. James J. Reeb, a white minister from Boston, died two days after being beaten by whites during civil rights disturbances in Selma, Ala.
In 1977, more than 130 hostages held in Washington, D.C. by Hanafi Muslims were freed after ambassadors from three Islamic nations joined the negotiations.
In 1986, the state of Georgia pardoned Leo Frank, a Jewish businessman lynched in 1915 for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan.
In 1997, rock star Paul McCartney was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
In 2004, ten bombs exploded in quick succession across the commuter rail network in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 people in an attack linked to al-Qaida-inspired militants.
In 2011, a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami struck Japan’s northeastern coast, killing nearly 20,000 people and severely damaging the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station.
Ten years ago: Newborn Mychael Darthard-Dawodu was found safe in Clovis, N.M., a day after she was abducted from a hospital in Lubbock, Texas. (The abductor, Rayshaun Parson, was sentenced to 20 years in prison.) Actress-singer Betty Hutton died in Palm Springs, Calif., at age 86.
Five years ago: Sixteen Afghan villagers — mostly women and children — were shot dead as they slept by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
One year ago: Nancy Reagan’s life was celebrated by 1,000 invited guests gathered at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., to pay final tribute to the former first lady who had died five days earlier at the age of 94. Keith Emerson, 71, founder and keyboardist of the progressive-rock band Emerson, Lake and Palmer, took his own life in Santa Monica, Calif.; he was 71.
Today’s Birthdays: Media mogul Rupert Murdoch is 86. Former ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson is 83. Musician Flaco Jimenez is 78. Actress Tricia O’Neil is 72. Actor Mark Metcalf is 71. Rock singer-musician Mark Stein (Vanilla Fudge) is 70. Singer Bobby McFerrin is 67. Movie director Jerry Zucker is 67. Actress Susan Richardson is 65. Recording executive Jimmy Iovine is 64. Singer Nina Hagen is 62. Country singer Jimmy Fortune (The Statler Brothers) is 62. Singer Cheryl Lynn is 60. Actor Elias Koteas is 56. Actor-director Peter Berg is 55. Actor Jeffrey Nordling is 55. Actress Alex Kingston is 54. Country musician David Talbot is 54. Actor Wallace Langham is 52. Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., is 52. Actor John Barrowman is 50. Singer Lisa Loeb is 49. Neo-soul musician Al Gamble (St. Paul & the Broken Bones) is 48. Singer Pete Droge is 48. Actor Terrence Howard is 48. Rock musician Rami Jaffee is 48. Actor Johnny Knoxville is 46. Rock singer-musicians Benji and Joel Madden (Good Charlotte; The Madden Brothers) are 38. Actor David Anders is 36. Singer LeToya is 36. Actress Thora Birch is 35. Actor Rob Brown is 33.
Thought for Today: “Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice.” — E.M. Forster, English author (1879-1970).