Today in History — March 19, 2018
Today is Monday, March 19, the 78th day of 2018. There are 287 days left in the year.
Today in History
On March 19, 1918, Congress passed the first law establishing daylight saving time in the United States, with clocks to be moved forward one hour from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. (This law was repealed in August 1919.)
On this date:
In 1687, French explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle — the first European to navigate the length of the Mississippi River — was murdered by mutineers in present-day Texas.
In 1863, the Confederate cruiser Georgiana, was scuttled off Charleston, South Carolina, on its maiden voyage to prevent it from falling into Union hands.
In 1920, the Senate rejected, for a second time, the Treaty of Versailles (vehr-SY’) by a vote of 49 in favor, 35 against, falling short of the two-thirds majority needed for approval.
In 1931, Nevada Gov. Fred B. Balzar signed a measure legalizing casino gambling.
In 1945, during World War II, 724 people were killed when a Japanese dive bomber attacked the carrier USS Franklin off Japan (the ship was saved). Adolf Hitler ordered the destruction of German facilities that could fall into Allied hands in his so-called “Nero Decree,” which was largely disregarded.
In 1953, the Academy Awards ceremony was televised for the first time; “The Greatest Show on Earth” was named best picture of 1952.
In 1958, “South Pacific,” starring Rossano Brazzi and Mitzi Gaynor in an adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, opened in New York.
In 1965, the wreck of the Confederate cruiser Georgiana was discovered by E. Lee Spence, 102 years to the day after it was scuttled.
In 1979, the U.S. House of Representatives began televising its floor proceedings; the live feed was carried by C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network), which was making its debut.
In 1987, televangelist Jim Bakker resigned as chairman of his PTL ministry organization amid a sex and money scandal involving Jessica Hahn, a former church secretary.
In 1993, Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White announced plans to retire. (White’s departure paved the way for Ruth Bader Ginsburg to become the court’s second female justice.)
In 2003, President George W. Bush ordered the start of war against Iraq. (Because of the time difference, it was early March 20 in Iraq.)
Ten years ago
Five years after launching the invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush strongly signaled he wouldn’t order troop withdrawals beyond those already planned because he refused to “jeopardize the hard-fought gains” of the past year. In an audio message, Osama bin Laden denounced the publication of drawings insulting to the Prophet Muhammad and warned Europeans of a strong reaction to come. Death claimed science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke at age 90 and actor Paul Scofield at age 86.
Five years ago
Pope Francis officially began his ministry as the 266th pope, receiving the ring symbolizing the papacy and a wool stole exemplifying his role as shepherd of his 1.2-billion strong flock during a Mass at the Vatican. Insurgents carried out a wave of bombings across Iraq that killed at least 65 people. Harry Reems, 65, co-star of the 1972 adult-film classic “Deep Throat,” died in Salt Lake City.
One year ago
Fire broke out in the foothills near downtown Boulder, Colorado, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents. Author-columnist Jimmy Breslin, the legendary street-smart chronicler of wise guys and underdogs, died at his Manhattan home at age 87.
Former White House national security adviser Brent Scowcroft is 93. Theologian Hans Kung is 90. Author Philip Roth is 85. Actress Renee Taylor is 85. Actress-singer Phyllis Newman is 85. Actress Ursula Andress is 82. Singer Clarence “Frogman” Henry is 81. Singer Ruth Pointer (The Pointer Sisters) is 72. Actress Glenn Close is 71. Disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is 66. Actor Bruce Willis is 63. Actress-comedian Mary Scheer is 55. Playwright Neil LaBute is 55. Actor Connor Trinneer is 49. Rock musician Gert Bettens (K’s Choice) is 48. Rapper Bun B is 45. Rock musician Zach Lind (Jimmy Eat World) is 42. Actress Virginia Williams is 40. Actress Abby Brammell is 39. MLB pitcher Clayton Kershaw is 30. Actor Craig Lamar Traylor is 29. Actor Philip Bolden is 23.
Thought for Today
“No one is such a liar as the indignant man.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844-1900).