Today in History
On March 8, 1979, technology firm Philips demonstrated a prototype compact disc player during a press conference in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
On this date:
In 1702, England’s Queen Anne acceded to the throne upon the death of King William III.
In 1854, U.S. Commodore Matthew C. Perry made his second landing in Japan; within a month, he concluded a treaty with the Japanese.
In 1862, during the Civil War, the ironclad CSS Virginia rammed and sank the USS Cumberland and heavily damaged the USS Congress, both frigates, off Newport News, Va.
In 1874, the 13th president of the United States, Millard Fillmore, died in Buffalo, N.Y., at age 74.
In 1917, Russia’s “February Revolution” (referring to the Old Style calendar) began in Petrograd; the result was the abdication of the Russian monarchy in favor of a provisional government. The U.S. Senate voted to limit filibusters by adopting the cloture rule.
In 1930, the 27th president of the United States, William Howard Taft, died in Washington at age 72.
In 1944, two days after an initial strike, U.S. heavy bombers resumed raiding Berlin during World War II.
In 1965, the United States landed its first combat troops in South Vietnam as 3,500 Marines were brought in to defend the U.S. air base at Da Nang.
In 1971, Joe Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali by decision in what was billed as “The Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden in New York. Silent film comedian Harold Lloyd died in Beverly Hills, Calif., at age 77.
In 1974, Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport in France began service.
In 1983, in a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals convention in Orlando, Fla., President Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire.”
In 1999, New York Yankees baseball star Joe DiMaggio died in Hollywood, Fla., at age 84. The Energy Department fired scientist Wen Ho Lee from his job at the Los Alamos National Laboratory because of alleged security violations. (Despite being under a cloud of suspicion, Lee was never charged with espionage. He eventually pleaded guilty to mishandling computer files; a judge apologized for Lee’s treatment.)
Ten years ago: Iraq’s Governing Council signed a landmark interim constitution. Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks slugged Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore during a game, leaving Moore with career-ending injuries, including a broken neck. (Bertuzzi was suspended for 13 regular season games, plus playoffs, and was reinstated 17 months later. Bertuzzi also pleaded guilty in a Canadian court to criminal assault; he received a conditional discharge and was sentenced to probation and community service.) Abul Abbas, the Palestinian guerrilla leader who’d planned the hijacking of the Achille Lauro passenger ship, died while in U.S. custody in Baghdad, Iraq; he was 56. Actor Robert Pastorelli was found dead in his Hollywood Hills, Calif., home; he was 49.
Five years ago: A pastor was gunned down during a Sunday sermon in a southwestern Illinois church; a judge later ruled the suspect in the shooting, Terry Sedlacek, was mentally unfit to stand trial in the killing of the Rev. Fred Winters at the First Baptist Church of Maryville. A suicide bomber struck a police academy in Baghdad, killing at least 30. Country singer Hank Locklin, 91, died in Brewton, Ala.
One year ago: Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Afghanistan for his first visit as Pentagon chief. President Hugo Chavez was lauded at his state funeral as a modern-day reincarnation of Latin American liberator Simon Bolivar and a disciple of Cuba’s Fidel Castro. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a senior al-Qaida leader and son-in-law of Osama bin Laden, pleaded not guilty in a heavily secured New York courtroom to plotting against Americans before and immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks in his role as the terror network’s top spokesman.
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