Today in History: March 20

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UNDATED (AP) Monday, March 20, is the 79th day of 2017. There are 286 days left in the year. Spring arrived at 6:28 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

  • Highlight in History:
    • On March 20, 1942, U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur, having evacuated the Philippines at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, told reporters at a train station in Terowie, Australia: “I came out of Bataan, and I shall return.”
  • On this date:
    • In 1727, physicist, mathematician, and astronomer Sir Isaac Newton died in London.
    • In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte returned to Paris after escaping his exile on Elba, beginning his “Hundred Days” rule.
    • In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s influential novel about slavery, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was first published in book form after being serialized.
    • In 1922, the decommissioned USS Jupiter, converted into the first U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, was re-commissioned as the USS Langley.
    • In 1933, the state of Florida electrocuted Giuseppe Zangara for shooting to death Chicago Mayor Anton J. Cermak at a Miami event attended by President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt, the presumed target, the previous February.
    • In 1952, the U.S. Senate ratified, 66-10, a Security Treaty with Japan.
    • Also in 1952, at the Academy Awards, An American in Paris won best picture; Humphrey Bogart received best actor for The African Queen while Vivien Leigh was named best actress, Kim Hunter best supporting actress, and Karl Malden best supporting actor for A Streetcar Named Desire which featured all three of them.
    • In 1969, John Lennon married Yoko Ono in Gibraltar.
    • In 1977, voters in Paris chose former French Prime Minister Jacques Chirac to be the French capital’s first mayor in more than a century.
    • In 1987, the Food and Drug Administration approved the sale of AZT, a drug shown to prolong the lives of some AIDS patients.
    • In 1995, in Tokyo, 12 people were killed, more than 5,500 others sickened when packages containing the deadly chemical sarin were leaked on five separate subway trains by Aum Shinrikyo cult members.
    • In 1996, a jury in Los Angeles convicted Erik and Lyle Menendez of first-degree murder in the shotgun slayings of their wealthy parents. They were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
    • In 1997, President Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin opened talks in Helsinki, Finland, on the issue of NATO expansion.
  • Ten years ago:
    • Saddam Hussein’s former deputy, Taha Yassin Ramadan, was hanged in Baghdad, the fourth man to be executed in the killings of 148 Shiites.
    • Rescuers found Michael Auberry, a 12-year-old Boy Scout, who was dehydrated and disoriented after four days in the wooded mountains of North Carolina.
  • Five years ago:
    • Front-runner Mitt Romney won the Illinois Republican primary with ease, routing Rick Santorum for his third big-state win in a row.
    • A 7.4-magnitude earthquake in Mexico damaged hundreds of homes and killed at least two people near the border between Guerrero and Oaxaca states.
    • Army linebacker Andrew Rodriguez received the James E. Sullivan Award, given by the Amateur Athletic Union to the top amateur athlete in the United States.
  • One year ago:
    • President Barack Obama opened a historic visit to Cuba, eager to push decades of acrimony deeper into the past.
    • A bus carrying university exchange students back from Spain’s largest fireworks festival crashed on a highway south of Barcelona, killing 13 passengers.
    • The United States won 13 golds out of a possible 26 events and 23 medals in all, making it the biggest haul in the history of the world indoor track and field championships which were held in Portland, Oregon.
  • Birthdays:
    • Singer Dame Vera Lynn is 100.
    • Producer-director-comedian Carl Reiner is 95.
    • Actor Hal Linden is 86.
    • Former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney is 78.
    • Country singer Don Edwards is 78.
    • TV producer Paul Junger Witt is 76.
    • Country singer-musician Ranger Doug (Riders in the Sky) is 71.
    • Hockey Hall-of-Famer Bobby Orr is 69.
    • Blues singer-musician Marcia Ball is 68.
    • Actor William Hurt is 67.
    • Rock musician Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) is 67.
    • Rock musician Jimmie Vaughan is 66.
    • Country musician Jimmy Seales (Shenandoah) is 63.
    • Actress Amy Aquino is 60.
    • Movie director Spike Lee is 60.
    • Actress Theresa Russell is 60.
    • Actress Vanessa Bell Calloway is 60.
    • Actress Holly Hunter is 59.
    • Rock musician Slim Jim Phantom (The Stray Cats) is 56.
    • Actress-model-designer Kathy Ireland is 54.
    • Actor David Thewlis is 54.
    • Rock musician Adrian Oxaal (James) is 52.
    • Actress Jessica Lundy is 51.
    • Actress Liza Snyder is 49.
    • Actor Michael Rapaport is 47.
    • Actor Alexander Chaplin is 46.
    • Actor Cedric Yarbrough (Speechless) is 44.
    • Actress Paula Garces is 43.
    • Rock singer Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) is 41.
    • Actor Michael Genadry is 39.
    • Actress Bianca Lawson is 38.
    • Comedian/actor Mikey Day (Saturday Night Live) is 37.
    • Rock musician Nick Wheeler (The All-American Rejects) is 35.
    • Actor Michael Cassidy is 34.
    • Actress-singer Christy Carlson Romano is 33.
    • Actress Ruby Rose is 31.
  • Thought for the day:
    • “Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are.” — Jose Ortega y Gasset, Spanish philosopher (1883-1955).
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