Today is Thursday, March 12, the 72nd day of 2020. There are 294 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On March 12, 1980, a Chicago jury found John Wayne Gacy Jr. guilty of the murders of 33 men and boys. (The next day, Gacy was sentenced to death; he was executed in May 1994.)

On this date:

In 1864, Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant assumed command as General-in-Chief of the Union armies in the Civil War.

In 1912, the Girl Scouts of the USA had its beginnings as Juliette Gordon Low of Savannah, Georgia, founded the first American troop of the Girl Guides.

In 1913, Canberra was officially designated the future capital of Australia.

In 1925, Chinese revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen died in Beijing.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered the first of his 30 radio addresses that came to be known as “fireside chats,” telling Americans what was being done to deal with the nation’s economic crisis.

In 1947, President Harry S Truman announced what became known as the “Truman Doctrine” to help Greece and Turkey resist Communism.

In 1955, legendary jazz musician Charlie “Bird” Parker died in New York at age 34.

In 1987, the musical play “Les Miserables” opened on Broadway.

In 1993, Janet Reno was sworn in as the first female U.S. attorney general.

In 1994, the Church of England ordained its first women priests.

In 2003, Elizabeth Smart, the 15-year-old girl who vanished from her bedroom nine months earlier, was found alive in a Salt Lake City suburb with two drifters, Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee. (Mitchell is serving a life sentence; Barzee was released from prison in September 2018.)

In 2009, disgraced financier Bernard Madoff pleaded guilty in New York to pulling off perhaps the biggest swindle in Wall Street history.

Today’s Birthdays: Politician, diplomat and civil rights activist Andrew Young is 88. Actress Barbara Feldon is 87. Former broadcast journalist Lloyd Dobyns is 84. Actress-singer Liza Minnelli is 74. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, is 73. Singer-songwriter James Taylor is 72. Former Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., is 72. Rock singer-musician Bill Payne (Little Feat) is 71. Actor Jon Provost (TV: “Lassie”) is 70. Author Carl Hiaasen (HY’-ah-sihn) is 67. Rock musician Steve Harris (Iron Maiden) is 64. Actress Lesley Manville is 64. Actor Jerry Levine is 63. Singer Marlon Jackson (The Jackson Five) is 63. Actor Jason Beghe is 60. Actor Courtney B. Vance is 60. Actor Titus Welliver is 58. Former MLB All-Star Darryl Strawberry is 58. Actress Julia Campbell is 57.

Thought for Today: “A proverb is a short sentence based on long experience.” — Miguel de Cervantes, Spanish novelist, dramatist and poet (1547-1616).

By The Associated Press

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