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Today in History

Today is March 29, the 89th day of 2020. There are 277 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On March 29, 1971, Army Lt. William L. Calley Jr. was convicted of murdering 22 Vietnamese civilians in the 1968 My Lai massacre. (Calley ended up serving three years under house arrest.) A jury in Los Angeles recommended the death penalty for Charles Manson and three female followers for the 1969 Tate-La Bianca murders. (The sentences were later commuted.)

On this date:

In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln ordered plans for a relief expedition to sail to South Carolina’s Fort Sumter, which was still in the hands of Union forces despite repeated demands by the Confederacy that it be turned over.

In 1912, British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, with his doomed expedition stranded in an Antarctic blizzard after failing to be the first to reach the South Pole, wrote the last words of his journal: “For Gods sake look after our people.”

In 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted in New York of conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union. (They were executed in June 1953.)

In 1951, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The King and I” opened on Broadway.

In 1962, Jack Paar hosted NBC’s “Tonight” show for the final time. (Johnny Carson debuted as host the following October.)

In 1973, the last United States combat troops left South Vietnam, ending America’s direct military involvement in the Vietnam War.

In 1974, eight Ohio National Guardsmen were indicted on federal charges stemming from the shooting deaths of four students at Kent State University. (The charges were later dismissed.)

In 2003, in Iraq, a bomber posing as a taxi driver blew up his vehicle, killing himself and four American soldiers. A Turkish man who’d hijacked a Turkish Airlines flight the day before was persuaded by Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to release his 204 hostages after the plane landed in Athens, Greece.

In 2009, a gunman killed seven residents of the Pinelake Health and Rehabilitation Center in Carthage, N.C., along with a nurse. (Robert Kenneth Stewart was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges and sentenced to more than 140 years in prison.)

In 2017, two former aides to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were sentenced to prison for creating a colossal traffic jam at the George Washington Bridge for political revenge, a scandal that sank Christie’s White House hopes.

Ten years ago: Two female suicide bombers blew themselves up in twin attacks on Moscow subway stations jam-packed with rush-hour passengers, killing at least 40 people and wounding more than 100.

Five years ago: A two-day Arab summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, ended with a vow to defeat Iranian-backed Shiite rebels in Yemen and the formal unveiling of plans to form a joint Arab intervention force.

One year ago: As they were honored along with five all-male British bands with induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Stevie Nicks and Janet Jackson offered support and encouragement for other female artists.

Today’s Birthdays: Author Judith Guest is 84. Former British Prime Minister Sir John Major is 77. Comedian Eric Idle is 77. Composer Vangelis is 77. Basketball Hall of Famer Walt Frazier is 75. Singer Bobby Kimball (Toto) is 73. Actress Marina Sirtis is 65. Rock singer Perry Farrell (Porno for Pyros; Jane’s Addiction) is 61. Comedian-actress Amy Sedaris is 59. Model Elle Macpherson is 57. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., is 56. Rock singer-musician John Popper (Blues Traveler) is 53. Actress Lucy Lawless is 52. Country singer Regina Leigh (Regina Regina) is 52. Country singer Brady Seals is 51. Actor Sam Hazeldine is 48. International Tennis Hall of Famer Jennifer Capriati is 44. Rhythm and blues singer P.J. Morton is 39. Actress Megan Hilty is 39.

Thought for Today: “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” — William G.T. Shedd, American theologian (1820-1894).

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