Today in History 3/17/20

Published 9:58 am Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Today is Tuesday, March 17, the 77th day of 2020. There are 289 days left in the year. This is St. Patrick’s Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On March 17, 1988, Avianca Flight 410, a Boeing 727, crashed after takeoff into a mountain in Colombia, killing all 143 people on board.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

On this date:

In 1762, New York held its first St. Patrick’s Day parade.

In 1776, the Revolutionary War Siege of Boston ended as British forces evacuated the city.

In 1912, the Camp Fire Girls organization was incorporated in Washington, D.C., two years to the day after it was founded in Thetford, Vt. (The group is now known as Camp Fire.)

In 1936, Pittsburgh’s Great St. Patrick’s Day Flood began as the Monongahela and Allegheny rivers and their tributaries, swollen by rain and melted snow, started exceeding flood stage; the high water was blamed for more than 60 deaths.

In 1958, the U.S. Navy launched the Vanguard 1 satellite.

In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled Tibet for India in the wake of a failed uprising by Tibetans against Chinese rule.

In 1969, Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel.

In 1970, the United States cast its first veto in the U.N. Security Council, killing a resolution that would have condemned Britain for failing to use force to overthrow the white-ruled government of Rhodesia.

In 1973, U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm, a freed prisoner of the Vietnam War, was joyously greeted by his family at Travis Air Force Base in California in a scene captured in a Pulitzer Prize-winning AP photograph.

In 1992, 29 people were killed in the truck bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In Illinois, Sen. Alan Dixon was defeated in his primary reelection bid by Carol Moseley-Braun, who went on to become the first black woman in the U.S. Senate.

In 2005, baseball players told Congress that steroids were a problem in the sport; stars Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa testified they hadn’t used them while Mark McGwire refused to say whether he had. (McGwire owned up to steroid use in January 2010.)

In 2009, U.S. journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were detained by North Korea while reporting on North Korean refugees living across the border in China. (Both were convicted of entering North Korea illegally and were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor; both were freed in August 2009 after former President Bill Clinton met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.) The Seattle Post-Intelligencer published its final print edition.

Ten years ago: Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter became the first state chief executive to sign a measure requiring his attorney general to sue Congress if it passed health reforms requiring residents to buy insurance (a mostly symbolic action on Idaho’s part, since federal laws supersede those of the states). Michael Jordan became the first ex-player to become a majority owner in the league as the NBA’s Board of Governors unanimously approved Jordan’s $275 million bid to buy the Charlotte Bobcats from Bob Johnson. Singer-guitarist Alex Chilton, 59, died in New Orleans.

Five years ago: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party won a resounding victory in parliamentary elections after an acrimonious campaign, giving him a mandate to form the next government. U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., abruptly resigned following a cascade of revelations about his business deals and lavish spending on everything from overseas travel to office decor in the style of “Downton Abbey.”

One year ago: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand formally joined the 2020 Democratic presidential race. (She would leave the race in August amid low polling and major fundraising struggles.) Thousands of people paid tribute at makeshift memorials to the victims of a gunman who killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Today’s Birthdays: The former national chairwoman of the NAACP, Myrlie Evers-Williams, is 87. Former astronaut Ken Mattingly is 84. Singer-songwriter Jim Weatherly is 77. Singer-songwriter John Sebastian (The Lovin’ Spoonful) is 76. Former NSA Director and former CIA Director Michael Hayden is 75. Rock musician Harold Brown (War; Lowrider Band) is 74. Actor Patrick Duffy is 71. Actor Kurt Russell is 69. Country singer Susie Allanson is 68. Actress Lesley-Anne Down is 66. Actor Mark Boone Jr. is 65. Country singer Paul Overstreet is 65. Actor Gary Sinise is 65. Actor Christian Clemenson is 62. Former basketball and baseball player Danny Ainge is 61. Actor Arye Gross is 60. Actress Vicki Lewis is 60. Actor Casey Siemaszko is 59. Writer-director Rob Sitch is 58. Actor Rob Lowe is 56. Rock singer Billy Corgan is 53. Rock musician Van Conner (Screaming Trees) is 53. Actor Mathew St. Patrick is 52. Actor Yanic Truesdale is 51. Rock musician Melissa Auf der Maur is 48. Olympic gold medal soccer player Mia Hamm is 48. Rock musician Caroline Corr (The Corrs) is 47. Actress Amelia Heinle is 47. Country singer Keifer Thompson (Thompson Square) is 47. Actress Marisa Coughlan is 46. Rapper Swifty (D12) is 45. Actress Natalie Zea (zee) is 45. Sports reporter Tracy Wolfson is 45. Actress Brittany Daniel is 44. Singer and TV personality Tamar Braxton is 43. Country musician Geoff Sprung (Old Dominion) is 42. Reggaeton singer Nicky Jam is 39. TV personality Rob Kardashian (TV: “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”) is 33. Pop/rock singer-songwriter Hozier is 30. Actress Eliza Hope Bennett is 28. Actor John Boyega is 28. Olympic gold medal swimmer Katie Ledecky is 23. Actor Flynn Morrison is 15.

Thought for Today: “May your neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and heaven accept you.” — Irish saying.