Today in History

AP News
|
Posted: Mar 26, 2012 12:00 AM
Today in History

Today is Monday, March 26, the 86th day of 2012. There are 280 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On March 26, 1982, groundbreaking ceremonies took place in Washington, D.C., for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

On this date:

In 1804, the Louisiana Purchase was divided into the Territory of Orleans and the District of Louisiana.

In 1812, an earthquake devastated Caracas, Venezuela, causing an estimated 26,000 deaths, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In 1827, composer Ludwig van Beethoven died in Vienna.

In 1874, poet Robert Frost was born in San Francisco.

In 1892, poet Walt Whitman died in Camden, N.J.

In 1912, an explosion at the Jed Coal & Coke Co. Mine in West Virginia claimed the lives of 83 miners.

In 1937, a 6-foot-tall statue of the cartoon character Popeye was unveiled during the Second Annual Spinach Festival in Crystal City, Texas.

In 1958, the U.S. Army launched America's third successful satellite, Explorer 3.

In 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Baker v. Carr, gave federal courts the power to order reapportionment of states' legislative districts, a 6-2 decision that eventually led to the doctrine of "one man, one vote."

In 1979, a peace treaty was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin (men-AH'-kem BAY'-gihn) and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and witnessed by President Jimmy Carter at the White House.

In 1992, a judge in Indianapolis sentenced former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson to six years in prison for raping a Miss Black America contestant. (Tyson ended up serving three years.)

In 1997, the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven's Gate techno-religious cult who'd committed suicide were found inside a rented mansion in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

Ten years ago: Yasser Arafat decided not to attend a key Arab summit in Beirut, Lebanon; his Cabinet accused Israel of trying to "blackmail" the Palestinian leader with tough conditions for allowing him to go. Arthur Andersen chief executive Joseph Berardino resigned, bowing to mounting pressure as a result of the accounting firm's role in the Enron scandal. President George W. Bush nominated Dr. Richard Carmona to be surgeon general.

Five years ago: The military concluded that high-ranking Army officers had made critical errors in reporting the friendly fire death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman in Afghanistan, but that there was no criminal wrongdoing in the shooting of the former NFL star by fellow soldiers. (The findings were rejected by Tillman's family.) Australian detainee David Hicks pleaded guilty before a military tribunal at Guantanamo to helping terrorists fight the United States in Afghanistan. (Hicks was sentenced to seven years in prison; all but nine months' prison time was suspended. Hicks was returned to Australia to serve out his term, and was freed in December 2007.)

One year ago: More than 250,000 people took to London's streets to protest the toughest spending cuts since World War II; riot police clashed with small breakaway groups and arrested more than 200 people. Former Democratic vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, the first female major party nominee for the office, died in Boston at 75. Harry Wesley Coover Jr., 94, known as the inventor of the popular adhesive Super Glue, died in Kingsport, Tenn.

Today's Birthdays: Conductor-composer Pierre Boulez is 87. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is 82. Actor-director Leonard Nimoy is 81. Actor Alan Arkin is 78. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (puh-LOH'-see) is 72. Actor James Caan is 72. Author Erica Jong is 70. Journalist Bob Woodward is 69. Singer Diana Ross is 68. Actor Johnny Crawford is 66. Rock singer Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) is 64. Singer and TV personality Vicki Lawrence is 63. Actor Ernest Thomas is 63. Comedian Martin Short is 62. Country singer Ronnie McDowell is 62. Movie composer Alan Silvestri is 62. Rock musician Monte Yoho is 60. Radio talk show host Curtis Sliwa is 58. Country singer Dean Dillon is 57. Country singer Charly McClain is 56. TV personality Leeza Gibbons is 55. Actress Ellia English is 53. Actress Jennifer Grey is 52. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen is 52. Actor Eric Allan Kramer is 50. Basketball Hall of Famer John Stockton is 50. Actor Michael Imperioli is 46. Rock musician James Iha (EE'-hah) is 44. Country singer Kenny Chesney is 44. Actor T.R. Knight is 39. Rapper Juvenile is 37. Actress Amy Smart is 36. Actress Bianca Kajlich (KY'-lihk) is 35. Actress Keira Knightley is 27. Rapper J-Kwon is 26. Actress Carly Chaikin (TV: "Suburgatory") is 22.

Thought for Today: "Life's like a play; it's not the length but the excellence of the acting that matters." _ Seneca the Younger, Roman statesman and philosopher (3 B.C.-A.D. 65).

(Above Advance for Use Monday, March 26)

Copyright 2012, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.