updated 3/2/2005 12:09:29 AM ET 2005-03-02T05:09:29

Today is Wednesday, March 2, the 61st day of 2005. There are 304 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:
Forty years ago, on March 2, 1965, the movie version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical “The Sound of Music,” starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, had its world premiere at New York’s Rivoli Theater.

On this date:
In 1793, the first president of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston, was born near Lexington, Va.

In 1836, Texas declared its independence from Mexico.

In 1877, Republican Rutherford B. Hayes was declared the winner of the 1876 presidential election over Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, even though Tilden had won the popular vote.

In 1899, Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state was established.

In 1917, Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship.

In 1923, Time magazine made its debut.

In 1939, Roman Catholic Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli was elected Pope; he took the name Pius XII.

In 1943, the World War II Battle of the Bismarck Sea began.

In 1955, the William Inge play “Bus Stop” opened at the Music Box Theatre in New York.

In 1977, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a strict code of ethics.

Ten years ago: The Senate rejected the balanced-budget amendment, 65-35, two votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed for passage. The space shuttle Endeavour blasted off on a mission to study the far reaches of the universe. The last U.N. peacekeepers in Somalia were evacuated.

Five years ago: Former Chilean dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet left Britain for his homeland, hours after he was ruled mentally unfit to stand trial on charges of human rights abuses. A federal jury in Washington convicted Maria Hsia, a friend and political supporter of Vice President Al Gore, for arranging more than $100,000 in illegal donations during the 1996 presidential campaign. (Hsia was later sentenced to three months of home confinement.)

One year ago: A series of coordinated blasts in Iraq killed 181 people at shrines in Karbala and Baghdad as thousands of Shiite Muslim pilgrims gathered for a religious festival. John Kerry laid claim to the Democratic presidential nomination after his victories in Super Tuesday contests. Former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers was charged with falsifying the books at the long-distance company; his chief financial officer, Scott Sullivan, pleaded guilty and agreed to testify against him. Marge Schott, the controversial former owner of the Cincinnati Reds, died at age 75. Academy Award-winning actress Mercedes McCambridge died in San Diego at age 85.

Today’s birthdays: Actress Jennifer Jones is 86. Bluegrass singer-musician Doc Watson is 82. Actor John Cullum is 75. Former Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev is 74. Author Tom Wolfe is 74. Actress Barbara Luna is 66. Actor Jon Finch is 64. Author John Irving is 63. Singer Lou Reed is 63. Actress Cassie Yates is 54. Actress Laraine Newman is 53. Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., is 52. Singer Jay Osmond is 50. Pop musician John Cowsill (The Cowsills) is 49. Tennis player Kevin Curren is 47. Country singer Larry Stewart (Restless Heart) is 46. Rock singer Jon Bon Jovi is 43. Rapper-actor Method Man is 34. Rock musician Casey (Jimmie’s Chicken Shack) is 29. Rock singer Chris Martin (Coldplay) is 28. Actress Heather McComb is 28. Actor Robert Iler (“The Sopranos”) is 20.

Thought for today: “Just as we are often moved to merriment for no other reason than that the occasion calls for seriousness, so we are correspondingly serious when invited too freely to be amused.” — Agnes Repplier, American essayist (1858-1950).

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