Today in History

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, March 24, the 84th day of 2020. There are 282 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 24, 1989, the supertanker Exxon Valdez (vahl-DEEZ') ran aground on a reef in Alaska's Prince William Sound and began leaking an estimated 11 million gallons of crude oil.

On this date:

In 1765, Britain enacted the Quartering Act, requiring American colonists to provide temporary housing to British soldiers.

In 1882, German scientist Robert Koch (kohk) announced in Berlin that he had discovered the bacillus responsible for tuberculosis.

In 1955, the Tennessee Williams play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" opened on Broadway.

In 1958, Elvis Presley was inducted into the U.S. Army at the draft board in Memphis, Tennessee, before boarding a bus for Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. (Presley underwent basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, before being shipped off to Germany.)

In 1975, Muhammad Ali defeated Chuck Wepner with a technical knockout in the 15th round of a fight in Richfield, Ohio. (Wepner, a journeyman known as the "Bayonne Bleeder," inspired Sylvester Stallone to make his "Rocky" films.)

In 1976, the president of Argentina, Isabel Peron, was deposed by her country's military. British war hero Field Marshal Viscount Montgomery, 88, died in Alton, Hampshire, England.

In 1980, one of El Salvador's most respected Roman Catholic Church leaders, Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero, was shot to death by a sniper as he celebrated Mass in San Salvador.

In 1988, former national security aides Oliver L. North and John M. Poindexter and businessmen Richard V. Secord and Albert Hakim pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the Iran-Contra affair. (North and Poindexter were convicted, but had their verdicts thrown out; Secord and Hakim received probation after each pleaded guilty to a single count under a plea bargain.)

In 1995, after 20 years, British soldiers stopped routine patrols in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

In 1998, two students, ages 13 and 11, opened fire outside Jonesboro Westside Middle School in Arkansas, killing four classmates and a teacher. (The gunmen were imprisoned by Arkansas until age 18, then by federal authorities until age 21.)

In 1999, NATO launched airstrikes against Yugoslavia, marking the first time in its 50-year existence that it had ever attacked a sovereign country. Thirty-nine people were killed when fire erupted in the Mont Blanc tunnel in France and burned for two days.

In 2001, U.S. skater Michelle Kwan won her fourth World Figure Skating title in Vancouver, British Columbia; Irina Slutskaya of Russia got the silver, and American Sarah Hughes earned the bronze.

Ten years ago: Keeping a promise he'd made to anti-abortion Democratic lawmakers to assure passage of his historic health care legislation, President Barack Obama signed an executive order against using federal funds to pay for elective abortions covered by private insurance. Actor Robert Culp died in Los Angeles at age 79. Singer Johnny Maestro died in Florida at age 70.

Five years ago: Germanwings Flight 9525, an Airbus A320, crashed into the French Alps, killing all 150 people on board; investigators said the jetliner was deliberately downed by the 27-year-old co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz. President Barack Obama received Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at the White House, where Obama agreed to slow the U.S military pullout from Afghanistan at the request of its new government but insisted the delay would not jeopardize his commitment to end America's longest war before leaving office.

One year ago: Attorney General William Barr reported that special counsel Robert Mueller did not find evidence that President Donald Trump’s campaign “conspired or coordinated” with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, but reached no conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice; Democrats pointed out that Mueller had found evidence for and against obstruction, and they demanded to see his full report. (The report would be released in April.) New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced that he was retiring from the NFL after nine seasons, which had included three Super Bowl victories.

Today's Birthdays: Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti is 101. Actor William Smith is 87. Fashion and costume designer Bob Mackie is 81. Former Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire is 73. Rock musician Lee Oskar is 72. Singer Nick Lowe is 71. Rock musician Dougie Thomson (Supertramp) is 69. Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger is 69. Comedian Louie Anderson is 67. Actress Donna Pescow is 66. Actor Robert Carradine is 66. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, is 66. Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is 64. Actress Kelly LeBrock is 60. Rhythm-and-blues DJ Rodney "Kool Kollie" Terry (Ghostown DJs) is 59. TV personality Star Jones is 58. Country-rock musician Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers) is 56. Actor Peter Jacobson is 55. Rock singer-musician Sharon Corr (The Corrs) is 50. Actress Lauren Bowles is 50. Actress Lara Flynn Boyle is 50. Rapper Maceo (AKA P.A. Pasemaster Mase) is 50. Actress Megyn Price is 49. Actor Jim Parsons is 47. Christian rock musician Chad Butler (Switchfoot) is 46. Actress Alyson Hannigan is 46. Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning is 44. Actress Amanda Brugel (TV: "The Handmaid's Tale") is 43. Actress Olivia Burnette is 43. Actress Jessica Chastain is 43. Actor Amir Arison is 42. Actress Lake Bell is 41. Rock musician Benj Gershman (O.A.R.) is 40. Neo-soul musician Jesse Phillips (St. Paul & the Broken Bones) is 40. Actor Philip Winchester (TV: "Strike Back") is 39. Dancer Val Chmerkovskiy is 34. Actress Keisha Castle-Hughes is 30.

Thought for Today: "Either you think, or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you." — F. Scott Fitzgerald, American author (1896-1940).