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Today in History


Today is Tuesday, March 28, the 87th day of 2023. There are 278 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 28, 1979, America’s worst commercial nuclear accident occurred with a partial meltdown inside the Unit 2 reactor at the Three Mile Island plant near Middletown, Pennsylvania.

On this date:

In 1797, Nathaniel Briggs of New Hampshire received a patent for a washing machine.

In 1854, during the Crimean War, Britain and France declared war on Russia.

In 1898, the U.S. Supreme Court, in United States v. Wong Kim Ark, ruled 6-2 that Wong, who was born in the United States to Chinese immigrants, was an American citizen.

In 1935, the notorious Nazi propaganda film “Triumph des Willens” (Triumph of the Will), directed by Leni Riefenstahl, premiered in Berlin with Adolf Hitler present.

In 1939, the Spanish Civil War neared its end as Madrid fell to the forces of Francisco Franco.

In 1941, novelist and critic Virginia Woolf, 59, drowned herself near her home in Lewes, East Sussex, England.

In 1942, during World War II, British naval forces staged a successful raid on the Nazi-occupied French port of St. Nazaire in Operation Chariot, destroying the only dry dock on the Atlantic coast capable of repairing the German battleship Tirpitz.

In 1969, the 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, died in Washington, D.C., at age 78.

In 1977, “Rocky” won best picture at the 49th Academy Awards; Peter Finch was honored posthumously as best actor for “Network” while his co-star, Faye Dunaway, was recognized as best actress.

In 1987, Maria von Trapp, whose life story inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The Sound of Music,” died in Morrisville, Vermont, at age 82.

In 1999, NATO broadened its attacks on Yugoslavia to target Serb military forces in Kosovo in the fifth straight night of airstrikes; thousands of refugees flooded into Albania and Macedonia from Kosovo.

In 2000, in a unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court, in Florida v. J.L., sharply curtailed police power in relying on anonymous tips to stop and search people.

Ten years ago: President Barack Obama, flanked by grim-faced mothers who lost their children to guns, urged lawmakers not to “get squishy” in the face of powerful forces against gun control legislation. Pope Francis washed and kissed the feet of a dozen inmates, including two young women, at a juvenile detention center in a surprising departure from church rules that restricted the Holy Thursday ritual to men. British actor Richard Griffiths, 65, remembered by movie fans for being grumpy Uncle Vernon in the “Harry Potter” movies, died in Coventry, England.

Five years ago: President Donald Trump fired Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin and nominated White House doctor Ronny Jackson to replace him; the move came in the wake of an ethics scandal and a rebellion within the agency. (Jackson withdrew his nomination amid allegations of workplace misconduct.) A judge in New York ordered rapper DMX to prison for a year for tax evasion (DMX died in 2021). The government reported that the U.S. economy had grown at a solid 2.9 percent annual rate in the final three months of 2017, a sharp upward revision.

One year ago: President Joe Biden said he was making “no apologies” and wouldn’t be “walking anything back” after saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin “cannot remain in power.” The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences condemned the actions of Will Smith during the previous night’s Oscars and launched an inquiry into his slapping of Chris Rock. (Smith was later expelled from the movie academy received a 10-year ban from the Oscars.)

Today’s Birthdays: Author Mario Vargas Llosa is 87. Country musician Charlie McCoy is 82. Movie director Mike Newell is 81. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte is 78. Actor Dianne Wiest is 77. Country singer Reba McEntire is 68. Olympic gold medal gymnast Bart Conner is 65. Actor Alexandra Billings (TV: “Transparent”) is 61. Rapper Salt (Salt-N-Pepa) is 57. Actor Tracey Needham is 56. Actor Max Perlich is 55. Movie director Brett Ratner is 54. Country singer Rodney Atkins is 54. Actor Vince Vaughn is 53. Rapper Mr. Cheeks (Lost Boyz) is 52. Singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson is 50. Rock musician Dave Keuning (The Killers) is 47. Actor Annie Wersching is 46. Actor Julia Stiles is 42. Singer Lady Gaga is 37. Electronic musician Clayton Knight (Odesza) is 35.