Today is Tuesday, March 27, the 87th day of 2012. There are 279 days left in the year.
On March 27, 1912, first lady Helen Herron Taft and the wife of Japan’s ambassador to the United States, Viscountess Chinda, planted the first two of 3,000 cherry trees given as a gift by the mayor of Tokyo on the north bank of Washington, D.C.’s Tidal Basin.
On this date:
In 1513, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sighted present-day Florida.
In 1625, Charles I acceded to the English throne upon the death of James I.
In 1794, Congress approved “An Act to provide a Naval Armament” of six armed ships.
In 1836, the first Mormon temple was dedicated in Kirtland, Ohio.
In 1911, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was incorporated.
In 1942, American servicemen were granted free mailing privileges.
In 1958, Nikita Khrushchev became Soviet premier in addition to First Secretary of the Communist Party.
In 1964, Alaska was hit by a powerful earthquake and tsunamis that killed about 130 people.
In 1968, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth, died in a plane crash.
In 1977, 583 people were killed when a KLM Boeing 747, attempting to take off, crashed into a Pan Am 747 on the Canary Island of Tenerife.
In 1980, 123 workers died when a North Sea floating oil field platform, the Alexander Kielland, capsized during a storm.
In 1992, more than a month after winning the Olympic gold medal in men’s figure skating, Viktor Petrenko of the former Soviet Union won his first world title in Oakland, Calif.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush grudgingly signed landmark legislation designed to limit the role of big money in political campaigns, triggering a rush to the courthouse by critics challenging the law’s constitutionality. Thirty people were killed by a suicide bomber during a Passover Seder in Netanya, Israel. A gunman killed eight members of the Nanterre city council outside Paris; a suspect killed himself the next day while in police custody. Death claimed Oscar-winning filmmaker Billy Wilder at age 95; comedian Milton Berle at age 93; and actor-comedian Dudley Moore at age 66.
Five years ago: Truck bombs hit markets in Tal Afar, Iraq, killing at least 152 people and wounding more than 150. NFL owners voted 30-2 (with Cincinnati and Arizona dissenting) to make the video replay system a permanent officiating tool.
One year ago: International air raids targeted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte for the first time as rebels quickly closed in on the regime stronghold. Miami’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh accomplished something that hadn’t been done in more than 50 years: Each had 30-10 nights — James with 33 points and 10 rebounds, Bosh with 31 points and 12 rebounds, and Wade with 30 points and 11 boards — as the Heat beat the Houston Rockets 125-119.