Today in History — March 16, 2018

Published Mar 16, 2018 at 4:00pm

Today is Friday, March 16, the 75th day of 2018. There are 290 days left in the year.

Today in History

On March 16, 1968, the My Lai (mee ly) massacre took place during the Vietnam War as U.S. Army soldiers hunting for Viet Cong fighters and sympathizers killed unarmed villagers in two hamlets of Son My (son mee) village; estimates of the death toll vary from 347 to 504. Senator Robert F. Kennedy of New York announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination.

On this date:

In A.D. 37, Roman emperor Tiberius died; he was succeeded by Caligula.

In 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan and his crew reached the Philippines, where Magellan was killed during a battle with natives the following month.

In 1751, James Madison, fourth president of the United States, was born in Port Conway, Virginia.

In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson signed a measure authorizing the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

In 1926, rocket science pioneer Robert H. Goddard successfully tested the first liquid-fueled rocket at his Aunt Effie’s farm in Auburn, Massachusetts.

In 1945, during World War II, American forces declared they had secured Iwo Jima, although pockets of Japanese resistance remained.

In 1966, NASA launched Gemini 8 on a mission to rendezvous and dock with Agena, a target vehicle in orbit; although the docking was successful, the joined vehicles began spinning, forcing Gemini to disconnect and abort the flight.

In 1978, Italian politician Aldo Moro was kidnapped by the left-wing Red Brigades, who later murdered him.

In 1988, a Protestant extremist launched a one-man gun-and-grenade attack on an Irish Republican Army funeral at Milltown Cemetery in Belfast, Northern Ireland, killing three of the mourners.

In 1991, a plane carrying seven members of country singer Reba McEntire’s band and her tour manager crashed into Otay Mountain in southern California, killing all on board. U.S. skaters Kristi Yamaguchi, Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan swept the World Figure Skating Championships in Munich, Germany.

In 1994, figure skater Tonya Harding pleaded guilty in Portland, Oregon, to conspiracy to hinder prosecution for covering up an attack on rival Nancy Kerrigan, avoiding jail but drawing a $100,000 fine.

Ten years ago

Protests spread from Tibet into three neighboring provinces as Tibetans defied a Chinese government crackdown; the Dalai Lama decried what he called the “cultural genocide” taking place in his homeland and called for an international investigation into China’s crackdown on demonstrators. Actor Ivan Dixon (TV: “Hogan’s Heroes”) died in Charlotte, North Carolina, at age 76.

Five years ago

British actor Frank Thornton, 92, best known as Captain Peacock in the long-running television comedy “Are You Being Served?,” died in London.

Today’s Birthdays

Country singer Ray Walker (The Jordanaires) is 84. Movie director Bernardo Bertolucci is 77. Game show host Chuck Woolery is 77. Singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker is 76. Country singer Robin Williams is 71. Actor Erik Estrada is 69. Actor Victor Garber is 69. Country singer Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel) is 67. Bluegrass musician Tim O’Brien (Hot Rize; Earls of Leicester) is 64. Actor Judah Friedlander (FREED’-lan-duhr) is 49. Actor Alan Tudyk (TOO’-dihk) is 47. Actor Tim Kang is 45. Rhythm-and-blues singer Blu Cantrell is 42. Actress Brooke Burns is 40. Actor Brett Davern is 35. Actress Alexandra Daddario is 32. Rhythm and blues singer Jhene Aiko is 30. Rock musician Wolfgang Van Halen is 27.

Thought for Today

“Nearly all our disasters come from a few fools having the ‘courage of their convictions.’” — Coventry Patmore, English poet (1823-1896).