Today is Friday, March 23, the 83rd day of 2012. There are 283 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On March 23, 2011, Academy Award-winning actress Elizabeth Taylor, the violet-eyed film goddess whose sultry screen persona, stormy personal life and enduring fame and glamour made her one of the last of the classic movie stars, died in Los Angeles of congestive heart failure at age 79.
On this date:
In 1775, Patrick Henry delivered an address to the Virginia Provincial Convention in which he is said to have declared, "Give me liberty, or give me death!"
In 1792, Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 94 in G Major (the "Surprise" symphony) had its first public performance in London.
In 1806, explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, having reached the Pacific coast, began their journey back east.
In 1912, Wernher von Braun, the scientist who helped develop the V-2 combat rocket for the Nazis and the Saturn V booster rocket for NASA, was born in Wirsitz, Germany.
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 powers.
In 1942, the first Japanese-Americans evacuated by the U.S. Army during World War II arrived at the internment camp in Manzanar, Calif.
In 1956, Pakistan became an Islamic republic.
In 1965, America's first two-person space flight began as Gemini 3 blasted off with astronauts Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young aboard for a nearly five-hour flight.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan first proposed developing technology to intercept incoming enemy missiles -- an idea that came to be known as the Strategic Defense Initiative. Dr. Barney Clark, recipient of a Jarvik permanent artificial heart, died at the University of Utah Medical Center after 112 days with the device.
In 1994, Luis Donaldo Colosio, Mexico's leading presidential candidate, was assassinated in Tijuana. Wayne Gretzky broke Gordie Howe's National Hockey League career record with his 802nd goal.
In 2010, President Barack Obama signed a $938 billion health care overhaul, declaring "a new season in America."
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, during a visit to South America, pledged cooperation with Peru in the fight against terrorism. Girls in Afghanistan celebrated their return to school for the first time in years. Irina Slutskaya captured her first world title, defeating four-time champion Michelle Kwan at the World Figure Skating Championships in Nagano, Japan. Opera and pop singer Eileen Farrell died in Park Ridge, N.J. at age 82.
Five years ago: The House voted for the first time to clamp a cutoff deadline on the Iraq war, agreeing by a thin margin to pull combat troops out by late 2008. Iranian forces captured 15 British sailors and marines who were searching a merchant ship in the disputed Shatt Al-Arab waterway Persian Gulf; they were held for 13 days. Miss Tennessee Rachel Smith was crowned Miss USA at the pageant in Los Angeles.
One year ago: NATO ships began patrolling off Libya's coast as airstrikes, missiles and energized rebels forced Moammar Gadhafi's tanks to roll back from two key western cities. A blast blamed on Palestinian militants ripped through a bus stop in Jerusalem, killing Mary Jean Gardner, a 59-year-old British tourist and wounding two dozen other people, including five Americans. Army Spc. Jeremy Morlock pleaded guilty at his court-martial at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state to the murders of three unarmed Afghan civilians (he was sentenced to 24 years in prison).
Today's Birthdays: Comedian Marty Allen is 90. Sir Roger Bannister, the runner who broke the 4-minute mile in 1954, is 83. Movie director Mark Rydell is 78. Motorsports Hall of Famer Craig Breedlove is 75. Singer-producer Ric Ocasek is 63. Singer Chaka Khan is 59. Actress Amanda Plummer is 55. Actress Catherine Keener is 53. Actress Hope Davis is 48. Comedian John Pinette is 48. Actor Richard Grieco is 47. Country musician Kevin Griffin (Yankee Grey) is 47. Actress Marin Hinkle is 46. Rock singer-musician Damon Albarn (Blur) is 44. Actress-singer Melissa Errico is 42. Rock musician John Humphrey (The Nixons) is 42. Actress Michelle Monaghan is 36. Actress Keri Russell is 36. Gossip columnist-blogger Perez Hilton is 34. Actress Nicholle Tom is 34. Country singer Paul Martin (Marshall Dyllon) is 34.
Thought for Today: "When people say, 'She's got everything,' I've got one answer -- I haven't had tomorrow." -- Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011).