This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, March 19, 2008

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

In Alaska

• In 1959, the installation of Nike Hercules missiles activated the 4th Missile Battalion in Anchorage.

• In 1963, the Revenue Cutter Bear, famous for its former Alaska service, sank in the Atlantic Ocean.

• In 1975, the State House passed an anti-smoking bill.

In the nation

• In 1917, the Supreme Court, in Wilson v. New, upheld the eight-hour work day for railroad workers.

• In 1918, Congress approved Daylight Saving Time.

• In 1931, Nevada Gov. Fred B. Balzar signed a measure legalizing casino gambling.

• In 1953, the Academy Awards ceremony was televised for the first time; "The Greatest Show on Earth" was named best picture of 1952.

• In 1958, the film "South Pacific," adapted from the Rodgers and Hammerstein stage musical, was released.

• In 1979, the U.S. House of Representatives began televising its day-to-day business.

• In 1987, televangelist Jim Bakker resigned as chairman of his PTL ministry organization amid a sex and money scandal involving Jessica Hahn, a former church secretary.

• In 1998, completing baseball's transformation from family ownership to corporate control, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation won approval to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers for a record $350 million. (News Corporation later sold the Dodgers to Boston real estate developer Frank McCourt.)

• In 2003, President Bush ordered the start of war against Iraq. (Because of the time difference, it was early March 20 in Iraq.)

• In 2003, tobacco farmer Dwight Ware Watson, who claimed to be carrying bombs in a tractor and trailer that he'd driven into a pond on Washington's National Mall, surrendered after disrupting traffic for two days; there were no explosives.

• In 2007, President Bush marked the fourth anniversary of the start of the Iraq war with a plea for patience to let his revised battle plan work; Congress' new Democratic leaders retorted that no patience remained.

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