Today is Saturday, March 31, the 91st day of 2012. There are 275 days left in the year.
On March 31, 1932, Ford Motor Co. publicly unveiled its powerful flathead V8 engine; while not the first eight-cylinder engine, it was the first to be affordable to the general public, and proved very popular.
On this date:
In 1889, French engineer Gustave Eiffel unfurled the French tricolor from atop the Eiffel Tower, officially marking its completion.
In 1931, Notre Dame college football coach Knute Rockne, 43, was killed in the crash of a TWA plane in Bazaar, Kan.
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Emergency Conservation Work Act, which created the Civilian Conservation Corps.
In 1943, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Oklahoma!” opened on Broadway.
In 1949, Newfoundland (now called Newfoundland and Labrador) entered confederation as Canada’s tenth province.
In 1953, Stanley Kubrick’s first feature film, a war drama titled “Fear and Desire,” premiered in New York.
In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson stunned the country by announcing at the conclusion of a broadcast address on Vietnam that he would not seek re-election.
In 1976, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Karen Ann Quinlan, who was in a persistent vegetative state, could be disconnected from her respirator. (Quinlan, who remained unconscious, died in 1985.)
In 1986, 167 people died when a Mexicana Airlines Boeing 727 crashed in a remote mountainous region of Mexico.
In 1993, actor Brandon Lee, 28, was shot to death during the filming of a movie in Wilmington, N.C., by a bullet fragment lodged inside a prop gun.
In 1995, Mexican-American singer Selena Quintanilla-Perez, 23, was shot to death in Corpus Christi, Texas, by the founder of her fan club, Yolanda Saldivar, who was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison.
In 2005, Terri Schiavo, 41, died at a hospice in Pinellas Park, Fla., 13 days after her feeding tube was removed in a wrenching right-to-die dispute.