Today in History: March 17

  • Friday, March 17, 2017 1:30am
  • Life

Today is Friday, March 17, the 76th day of 2017. There are 289 days left in the year. This is St. Patrick’s Day.

Today’s highlight: On March 17, 1942, six days after departing the Philippines during World War II, Gen. Douglas MacArthur arrived in Australia to become supreme commander of Allied forces in the southwest Pacific theater.

On this date:

In 1776, the Revolutionary War Siege of Boston ended as British forces evacuated the city.

In 1861, Victor Emmanuel II was proclaimed the first king of a united Italy.

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt first likened crusading journalists to a man with “the muckrake in his hand” in a speech to the Gridiron Club in Washington.

In 1912, the Camp Fire Girls organization was incorporated in Washington, D.C., two years to the day after it was founded in Thetford, Vermont. (The group is now known as Camp Fire.)

In 1936, Pittsburgh’s Great St. Patrick’s Day Flood began as the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers and their tributaries, swollen by rain and melted snow, started exceeding flood stage; the high water was blamed for more than 60 deaths.

In 1941, the National Gallery of Art opened in Washington, D.C.

In 1956, comedian Fred Allen, 61, died in New York.

In 1966, a U.S. Navy midget submarine located a missing hydrogen bomb which had fallen from a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber into the Mediterranean off Spain. (It took several more weeks to actually recover the bomb.)

In 1969, Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel.

In 1970, the United States cast its first veto in the U.N. Security Council, killing a resolution that would have condemned Britain for failing to use force to overthrow the white-ruled government of Rhodesia.

In 1988, Avianca Flight 410, a Boeing 727, crashed after takeoff into a mountain in Colombia, killing all 143 people on board.

In 1992, 29 people were killed in the truck bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Whites in South Africa voted by a greater than 2-1 majority to forge ahead with talks to end white rule and give blacks voting rights for the first time in the country’s history. In Illinois, Sen. Alan Dixon was defeated in his Democratic primary re-election bid by Carol Moseley-Braun, who went on to become the first black woman in the U.S. Senate.

Ten years ago: Denouncing a conflict entering its fifth year, protesters across the country raised their voices against U.S. policy in Iraq and marched by the thousands to the Pentagon. John Backus, the developer of Fortran, a programming language that changed how people interacted with computers, died in Ashland, Oregon, at age 82.

Five years ago: Twin suicide car bombings killed at least 27 people near intelligence and security buildings in the Syrian capital of Damascus. John Demjanjuk (dem-YAHN’-yuk), 91, convicted of being a low-ranking guard at the Sobibor death camp, but who maintained his innocence, died in Bad Feilnbach (bahd FYLN’-bahk), Germany.

One year ago: The Obama administration formally concluded the Islamic State group was committing genocide against Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria. An Arizona man was convicted of a terror charge tied to an attack on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas, marking the second conviction in the U.S. related to the Islamic State group; Abdul Malik Abdul Kareem, an American-born Muslim convert, was later sentenced to 30 years in prison. Finally bowing to years of public pressure, SeaWorld Entertainment said it would no longer breed killer whales or make them perform crowd-pleasing tricks.

Today’s birthdays: The former national chairwoman of the NAACP, Myrlie Evers-Williams, is 84. Former NASA astronaut Ken Mattingly is 81. Singer-songwriter Jim Weatherly is 74. Singer-songwriter John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful) is 73. Former NSA Director and former CIA Director Michael Hayden is 72. Rock musician Harold Brown (War; Lowrider Band) is 71. Actor Patrick Duffy is 68. Actor Kurt Russell is 66. Country singer Susie Allanson is 65. Actress Lesley-Anne Down is 63. Actor Mark Boone Jr. is 62. Country singer Paul Overstreet is 62. Actor Gary Sinise is 62. Actor Christian Clemenson is 59. Former basketball and baseball player Danny Ainge is 58. Actor Arye Gross is 57. Actress Vicki Lewis is 57. Actor Casey Siemaszko is 56. Writer-director Rob Sitch is 55. Actor Rob Lowe is 53. Rock singer Billy Corgan is 50. Rock musician Van Conner (Screaming Trees) is 50. Actor Mathew St. Patrick is 49. Actor Yanic Truesdale is 48. Rock musician Melissa Auf der Maur is 45. Olympic gold medal soccer player Mia Hamm is 45. Rock musician Caroline Corr (The Corrs) is 44. Actress Amelia Heinle is 44. Country singer Keifer Thompson (Thompson Square) is 44. Actress Marisa Coughlan is 43. Rapper Swifty (D12) is 42. Actress Natalie Zea is 42. Actress Brittany Daniel is 41. Country musician Geoff Sprung (Old Dominion) is 39. Reggaeton singer Nicky Jam is 36. Pop/rock singer/songwriter Hozier is 27. Actress Eliza Hope Bennett is 25. Actor John Boyega is 25. Olympic gold medal swimmer Katie Ledecky is 20. Actor Flynn Morrison is 12.

Thought for today: “History is not life. But since only life makes history, the union of the two is obvious.” — Louis D. Brandeis, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1856-1941).

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