A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  Feb. 25, 2003 at 3:15 AM
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Today is March 3.

It was on this date in 1991 that a man, trying out a camcorder, captured on home video the beating of black motorist Rodney King by white Los Angeles police officers. Four of the officers would be tried in Simi Valley, Calif., on criminal charges in the spring of 1992 -- and acquitted, triggering several days of rioting in L.A. that spread to several other U.S. cities. Two of the officers would later be convicted on federal charges.

Women didn't have the vote yet in 1879, but they could become attorneys. It was on this date in that year that Belva Ann Lockwood became the first woman lawyer to argue a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Senate adopted a bill designating "The Star Spangled Banner" as the national anthem of the United States on this date in 1931. It was sent to President Herbert Hoover, who signed it the same day. The words to "The Star Spangled Banner" were written by Francis Scott Key in 1814, but the tune is that of an old drinking song.

And on this date in 1955, Elvis Presley made his first-ever television appearance -- on a regional country show known as the "Louisiana Hayride."

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is March 4.

On this date In 2002, as the deadly cycle of raids and retaliations continued to wrack the Middle East, Israeli Minister Ariel Sharon said he aimed to kill as many Palestinians as possible to force them to negotiate. His remarks came after several days of incidents had left more than 40 people dead. At least that many would die in the coming days. U.S. Secretary of State Collin Powell criticized Sharon's approach and the Bush administration backed away from total support of the Israeli policy.

It was on this date in 1789 that Congress met for the first time under the new U.S. Constitution. The meeting was in New York City. Washington, D.C., did not exist at the time. Eleven years later, in 1801, Thomas Jefferson became the first president to be inaugurated in Washington.

On another red-letter political date: in 1917, Jeanette Rankin, a Montana Republican, was sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives and became the first woman to serve in Congress.

During a nationwide address on this day in 1987, President Reagan admitted that his administration had sold arms to Iran in exchange for the release of U.S. hostages being held by Iranian-backed militants in Lebanon. In an understatement, Reagan admitted it "was a mistake." We later found out that the money raised from the weapons sales had been funneled to the Contra rebels fighting the leftist government in Nicaragua at a time when such support was forbidden by Congress.

And a controversy erupted on this date in 1966 when John Lennon was quoted in the London Evening Standard as saying the Beatles "are more popular than Jesus Christ." The comment touched off international protests and many incidents of Beatles record smashing and burning.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is March 5.

Authorities revealed that 15-year-old Charles Andrew Williams had "joked" about shooting up his high school in the San Diego suburb or Santee, Calif., a few days before he proved it was no joke. On this date in 2001, Williams opened fire at school, killing two students and wounding 13 others.

The "Boston Massacre" took place on this date in 1770. British troops fired into a crowd of American colonists, killed five and wounding six. The skirmish was widely publicized and contributed to the unpopularity of the British regime in the days leading up to the Revolutionary War.

In elections held in Germany on this date in 1933, Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party won nearly half the seats in the Reichstag, the German parliament.

Just days after the end of the Gulf War, rebellions against Saddam Hussein were reported in southeastern Iraq. U.S. military officials predicted the unrest probably would lead to his overthrow. It didn't.

And it was on this date in 1963 that country singer Patsy Cline was killed in a plane crash near Camden, Tenn. She was 30.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is March 6.

Forner President Clinton's legal troubles over the Monica Lewinski incident appeared to finally end on this date in 2002. Special Prosecutor Robert Ray said there was sufficient evidence for a conviction on perjury and obstruction of justice charges but Clinton had agreed to admit he gave false testimony under oath and, with that, avoided prosecution.

It was on this date in 1836 that Mexican forces, under the command of Gen. Santa Ana, overran the Alamo at San Antonio in the most significant battle of Texas' bid for independence, killing the last of the 187 defenders who had held out in the fortified mission for 13 days. Famed frontiersman Davy Crockett was among those who died for the Texas cause that day. It was not a lost cause, though, as Texas forces, rallying behind the war cry "Remember the Alamo," with Gen. Sam Houston at the helm, defeated the Mexicans and captured Santa Ana on April 21 at the battle of San Jacinto. The Mexican leader signed a peace treaty recognizing Texas' independence. A portion of the Alamo still stands as a shrine.

Some 155 years later, on this date in 1991, President Bush declared the Gulf War over. The "Mother of All Battles" between U.S.-led allied troops and Iraqi forces never happened -- America and its allies liberated occupied Kuwait with relative ease -- but getting Iraq to honor the terms of the agreement that ended the war has proven much, much more difficult.

It was on this date in 1857 that the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its landmark ruling that black slave Dred Scott could not sue for his freedom in a federal court -- even though his white master had died in a "free" state.

The long-awaited, much-feared Michelangelo computer virus struck around the world on this date in 1992. But it wasn't the disaster some had predicted. Hmmm, kind of like Y2K, eh?

And it was on this day in 1970 that Awareness Records released an album by "Family" cult leader Charles Manson. However, he was unable to promote it in person, having drawn a life prison sentence for the August 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and four others.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is March 7.

A turning point in World War II occurred on this date in 1945. The U.S. 1st Army captured the only bridge across the Rhine River that had not been blown up by the Germans. It marked the beginning of the Allied advance into Germany. World War II ended in Europe two months later on May 8.

U.S. troops began heading home from the Persian Gulf region on this date in 1991 after driving Iraq out of neighboring Kuwait. Unlike Vietnam-era soldiers from some 20 years earlier, they were welcomed home with huge celebrations and ticker-tape parades.

Another dry run for the moon landing. On this day in 1969, two of the three Apollo-9 astronauts test flew their lunar module around the main spacecraft while in Earth orbit, then linked the two together again.

He wasn't "the Boss" back then. It was on this date in 1973 that a then-unknown Bruce Springsteen starred in a showcase at Max's Kansas City club in New York City. In the audience -- CBS Records talent scout John Hammond. The man who signed Billie Holiday and Bob Dylan would also sign Springsteen to a long-term recording contract.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is March 8.

The sex scandal that rattled the Roman Catholic clergy continued to grow as dozens of priests resigned or were suspended. On this date in 2002, the bishop of Palm Beach, Fla., stepped down after admitting he had abused a teenage seminary student in the 1970s. His predecessor had resigned in 1999 admitting he had molested five boys.

Hundreds of years of Russian imperial rule was coming to an end. On this date in 1917, strikes and riots in St. Petersburg marked the start of the Russian Bolshevik revolution. Later that summer, Czar Nicholas, his wife and children were taken and summarily executed.

A lot of great spy novels revolve around Soviet espionage but on this date in 1999 it was Chinese spying the United States was worried about. As the investigation continued into how China had managed to steal American nuclear secrets, the Dept. of Energy fired a Chinese-born computer scientist from the Los Alamos (N.M.) National Laboratory.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin died on this date in 1992. The stern underground leader hunted by the British as a terrorist before Israel won independence went on to win the Nobel Prize for making peace with Egypt.

The Beatles as a cover band: it was on this date in 1962 that the Beatles -- with Pete Best on drums -- make the band's TV debut on the BBC show "Teenager's Turn." They played Roy Orbison's "Dream Baby." Thirty-four years later, in 1996, BBC Radio One declined to air the second Beatles single "Real Love" from "The Beatles Anthology" -- calling it of insufficient merit.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is March 9.

Rodney King took the witness stand on this date in 1993 in the federal trial of four Los Angeles police officers videotaped beating and kicking him during a 1991 traffic stop. The federal trial had been ordered after a criminal jury acquitted the cops a year earlier - sparking rioting in L.A. and elsewhere.

The module containing the bodies of the seven astronauts killed in the January 28th explosion of the shuttle Challenger was located on the ocean floor off Florida on this date in 1986. It was later revealed that at least some of the crew had survived the destruction of the spacecraft, only to be killed when the cabin hit the water after falling some 400,000 feet.

On this date in 1992, a federal judge in New York announced a final $1.3 billion agreement to settle the civil suits growing out of the 1989 collapse of Drexel Burham Lambert Inc. The brokerage had once been the most powerful firm on Wall Street.

Napoleon married his Josephine on this date in 1796. Josephine de Beauharnais had been widowed during the French Revolution; indeed, she almost lost her head herself. Later, the Parisian socialite caught the eye of a young French general named Napoleon Bonaparte. Their marriage didn't last -- but it reportedly wasn't for a lack of love. Napoleon, by then the emperor of France, wanted an heir and Josephine was unable to have any more children.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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