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Today in History - March 8

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, March 8, the 67th day of 2007. There are 298 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On March 8, 1862, during the Civil War, the ironclad CSS Virginia (formerly USS Merrimack) rammed and sank the USS Cumberland and inflicted heavy damage on the USS Congress, both frigates, off Newport News, Va.

On this date:
In 1702, England’s Queen Anne ascended the throne upon the death of King William III.

In 1782, the Gnadenhutten massacre took place as some 90 Indians were slain by militiamen in Ohio in retaliation for raids carried out by other Indians.

In 1841, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., the “Great Dissenter,” was born in Boston.

In 1854, U.S. Commodore Matthew C. Perry made his second landing in Japan; within a month, he concluded a treaty with the Japanese.

In 1874, the 13th president of the United States, Millard Fillmore, died in Buffalo, N.Y.

In 1917, Russia’s “February Revolution” (so called because of the Old Style calendar being used by Russians at the time) began with rioting and strikes in Petrograd.

In 1917, the U.S. Senate voted to limit filibusters by adopting the cloture rule.

In 1930, the 27th president of the United States, William Howard Taft, died in Washington at age 72.

In 1965, the United States landed its first combat troops in South Vietnam, about 3,500 Marines sent to defend the U.S. air base at Da Nang.

In 1999, New York Yankees baseball star Joe DiMaggio died in Hollywood, Fla., at age 84.

Ten years ago: President Clinton, in keeping with his push for private businesses and churches to hire off welfare rolls, ordered federal agencies to do the same.

Five years ago: Kmart Corp. announced the closing of 284 stores and elimination of 22,000 jobs. The U.S. Senate passed a bill cutting taxes and extending unemployment benefits.

One year ago: Iran threatened the United States with “harm and pain” if the U.S. tried to use the U.N. Security Council to punish Tehran for its suspect nuclear program. Six months after Hurricane Katrina, President Bush got a close-up look at the remaining mountains of debris, abandoned homes and boarded-up businesses in New Orleans. The Hornets played their first game at The New Orleans Arena since Katrina; they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, 113-107. NFL owners agreed to the players’ union proposal, extending the collective bargaining agreement for six years.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Sue Ane Langdon is 71. Baseball player-turned-author Jim Bouton is 68. Actress Lynn Redgrave is 64. Actor-director Micky Dolenz is 62. Singer-musician Randy Meisner is 61. Pop singer Peggy March is 59. Baseball player Jim Rice is 54. Singer Gary Numan is 49. Actor Aidan Quinn is 48. Country musician Jimmy Dormire (Confederate Railroad) is 47. Actress Camryn Manheim is 46. Actor Leon is 44. Rock singer Shawn Mullins (The Thorns) is 39. Actress Andrea Parker is 38. Actor Boris Kodjoe is 34. Actor Freddie Prinze Jr. is 31. Actor James Van Der Beek is 30. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kameelah Williams (702) is 29. Rock singer Tom Chaplin (Keane) is 28.

Thought for Today: “If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841-1935).