Today in history: March 16

/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, March 16, the 75th day of 2006. There are 290 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 16th, 1945, during World War II, Iwo Jima was declared secured by the Allies.

On this date:
In 1751, James Madison, fourth president of the United States, was born in Port Conway, Virginia.

In 1792, Sweden’s King Gustav III was shot and mortally wounded during a masquerade party by a former member of his regiment (he died 13 days later).

In 1802, Congress authorized the establishment of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York.

In 1850, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel “The Scarlet Letter” was first published.

In 1915, the Federal Trade Commission was organized.

In 1935, Adolf Hitler scrapped the Treaty of Versailles.

In 1968, during the Vietnam War, the My Lai Massacre was carried out by U.S. troops under the command of Lieutenant William L. Calley Junior.

In 1978, Italian politician Aldo Moro was kidnapped by left-wing urban guerrillas, who later murdered him.

In 1984, William Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, was kidnapped by gunmen; he died in captivity.

In 1985, Terry Anderson, chief Middle East correspondent for The Associated Press, was abducted in Beirut; he was released in December 1991.

Ten years ago: In his weekly radio address, President Clinton accused the Republican-controlled House of bowing to “the back-alley whispers of the gun lobby” by gutting anti-terrorism legislation he’d submitted in response to the Oklahoma City bombing. For the first time, ordinary citizens were allowed inside the central archives of the former East German secret police, the hated Stasi security agency.

Five years ago: Rap impresario Sean “Puffy” Combs was acquitted in New York of taking an illegal handgun into a crowded Manhattan hip-hop club where three people were later wounded; he was also cleared of trying to bribe his way out of trouble. Combs’ bodyguard, Anthony “Wolf” Jones, was acquitted of the same charges. Saudi commandos ended the hijacking of a Russian plane by armed Chechens that resulted in the deaths of a flight attendant, a hijacker and a passenger.

One year ago: A jury in Los Angeles acquitted actor Robert Blake of murder in the shooting death of his wife, Bonny Lee Bakley, four years earlier. (A civil court jury later ordered Blake to pay 30 (m) million dollars to Bakley’s four children; Blake has since filed for bankruptcy.) A judge in Redwood City, California, sent Scott Peterson to death row for the slaying of his pregnant wife, Laci. Norway’s Robert Sorlie won his second Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in one of the closest races in years.

Today’s Birthdays: Comedian-director Jerry Lewis is 80. Movie director Bernardo Bertolucci is 65. Game show host Chuck Woolery is 65. Singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker is 64. Country singer Robin Williams is 59. Actor Erik Estrada is 57. Actor Victor Garber is 57. Actress Kate Nelligan is 55. Country singer Ray Benson (Asleep at the Wheel) is 55. Rock singer-musician Nancy Wilson (Heart) is 52. Golfer Hollis Stacy is 52. Actress Isabelle Huppert is 51. Rapper Flavor Flav (Public Enemy) is 47. Rock musician Jimmy DeGrasso is 43. Folk singer Patty Griffin is 42. Actress Lauren Graham is 39. Actress Brooke Burns is 28.

Thought for Today: “Nearly all our disasters come from a few fools having the ‘courage of their convictions.”’ — Coventry Patmore, English poet (1823-1896).