This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, March 23, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1910, President William Taft proclaimed the Sitka National Monument.

• In 1933, Gov. George Parks signed into law a bill repealing the Alaska Bone Dry Law.

• In 1959, a bill outlawing B-girls passed the Alaska House and Senate. A Fish and Game agent reported finding a moose in a tree.

In the nation

• In 1775, Patrick Henry made his famous call for American independence from Britain, telling the Virginia Provincial Convention, "Give me liberty, or give me death!"

• In 1806, 200 years ago, explorers Lewis and Clark, having reached the Pacific Coast, began their journey back east.

• In 1942, during World War II, the U.S. government began evacuating Japanese-Americans from their West Coast homes to detention centers.

• In 1965, America's first two-person space flight began as Gemini 3 blasted off from Cape Kennedy with astronauts Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young aboard.

• In 1983, President Reagan first proposed developing technology to intercept enemy missiles - a proposal that came to be known as the Strategic Defense Initiative, as well as "Star Wars."

• In 2005, a federal appeals court refused to reinsert Terri Schiavo's feeding tube and the Florida Legislature decided not to intervene in the epic struggle over the brain-damaged woman; Schiavo's parents then filed a request with the Supreme Court. An explosion at a BP oil refinery in Texas City, Texas, killed 15 people. Truck driver Tyrone Williams was convicted in a federal court in Houston for his role in the 2003 deaths of 19 illegal immigrants he was smuggling across Texas.

In the world

• In 1792, Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 94 in G Major (the "Surprise" symphony) was performed publicly for the first time, in London.

• 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 legislative powers.

• In 1956, 50 years ago, Pakistan became an independent republic within the British Commonwealth.

• In 2003, a U.S. Army maintenance convoy was ambushed in Iraq; 11 soldiers were killed, seven were captured, including Pvt. 1st Class Jessica Lynch, who was rescued on April 1.

• In 1996, Taiwan held its first direct presidential elections; incumbent Lee Teng-hui was the victor.

• In 2001, 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.

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