Today is Wednesday, March 23, the 82nd day of 2011. There are 283 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On March 23, 1775, Patrick Henry delivered an address to the Virginia Provincial Convention in which he is said to have declared, "Give me liberty, or give me death!"
On this date:
In 1743, George Frideric Handel's oratorio "Messiah" had its London premiere.
In 1792, Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 94 in G Major (the "Surprise" symphony) was performed publicly for the first time, in London.
In 1806, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, having reached the Pacific coast, began their journey back east.
In 1919, Benito Mussolini founded his Fascist political movement in Milan, Italy.
In 1933, the German Reichstag adopted the Enabling Act, which effectively granted Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers.
In 1956, Pakistan became an Islamic republic.
In 1965, America's first two-person space flight began as Gemini 3 blasted off with astronauts Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young aboard for a nearly 5-hour flight.
In 1981, the U.S. Supreme Court, in H.L. v. Matheson, ruled that states could require, with some exceptions, parental notification when teenage girls seek abortions.
In 1994, Wayne Gretzky broke Gordie Howe's National Hockey League career record with his 802nd goal.
In 1996, Taiwan held its first direct presidential elections; incumbent Lee Teng-hui (lee dung-hway) was the victor.
Ten years ago: Russia's orbiting Mir space station ended its 15-year odyssey with a fiery plunge into the South Pacific. Russia said it was expelling 50 U.S. diplomats in retaliation for the expulsion of 50 Russians by the U.S. Newspaper columnist Rowland Evans died in Washington, D.C., at age 79. Greenpeace International co-founder David McTaggart died in Umbria, Italy, at age 68.
Five years ago: U.S. and British forces freed three Christian peace activists _ one Briton and two Canadians _ near Baghdad, ending a four-month hostage ordeal that saw an American in the group killed. Police took DNA samples from 46 members of the Duke University lacrosse team after a woman hired to dance for a party charged she'd been raped. (Three players were indicted on charges of attacking the woman, but the rape counts were later dropped and the players exonerated.) Stephane Lambiel of Switzerland won his second straight World Figure Skating Championships title, in Calgary, Alberta. Conductor and opera company director Sarah Caldwell died in Portland, Maine, at age 82. Desmond T. Doss Sr., a conscientious objector whose achievements as a noncombatant earned him a Medal of Honor in World War II, died in Piedmont, Ala., at age 87.
One year ago: Claiming a historic triumph, President Barack Obama signed a $938 billion health care overhaul, declaring "a new season in America." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met twice with President Obama in an attempt to defuse a spat over Israeli construction in east Jerusalem. The National Football League changed its overtime rules for playoff games.
Today's Birthdays: Comedian Marty Allen is 89. Sir Roger Bannister, who broke the 4-minute mile in 1954, is 82. Movie director Mark Rydell is 77. Motorsports Hall of Famer Craig Breedlove is 74. Singer-producer Ric Ocasek is 62. Singer Chaka Khan is 58. Actress Amanda Plummer is 54. Actress Catherine Keener is 52. Actress Hope Davis is 47. Comedian John Pinette is 47. Actor Richard Grieco is 46. Country musician Kevin Griffin (Yankee Grey) is 46. Actress Marin Hinkle is 45. Rock singer-musician Damon Albarn (Blur) is 43. Actress-singer Melissa Errico is 41. Rock musician John Humphrey (The Nixons) is 41. Actress Michelle Monaghan is 35. Actress Keri Russell is 35. Gossip columnist-blogger Perez Hilton is 33. Actress Nicholle Tom is 33. Country singer Paul Martin (Marshall Dyllon) is 33.
Thought for Today: "What some call health, if purchased by perpetual anxiety about diet, isn't much better than tedious disease." _ Alexander Pope, English poet (1688-1744).
(Above Advance for Use Wednesday, March 23)
Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.