Today In History...
In 1775 In a speech to the Virginia Provincial Convention, Patrick Henry makes his famous plea for American independence from Britain when he says, "Give me liberty or give me death!"
In 1806 Having reached the Pacific Coast, explorers Lewis and Clark begin their journey back east.
In 1840 The first photo of the moon is taken.
In 1914 A tornado kills 94 in Omaha, Nebraska.
In 1918 During World War I, Germany initiates the use of a terrifying new weapon, a 25-foot cannon nicknamed "Big Bertha."
In 1919 Benito Mussolini establishes his Fascist movement in Milan, Italy.
In 1929 The first telephone is installed in the White House.
In 1933 The German Reichstag adopts the Enabling Act, which effectively granted Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers.
In 1942 The U.S. begins moving Japanese-Americans from their West Coast homes to detention centers.
In 1944 Nicholas Alkemade falls 5,500 feet without a parachute and lives.
In 1956 Pakistan becomes an independent republic within the British Commonwealth.
In 1965 Gemini III, the first of the Gemini manned missions, is launched with astronauts Virgil I. Grissom and John W. Young.
In 1976 35 nations ratify the International Bill of Rights.
In 1980 An oil spill is capped after 3 billion barrels leaked into the Gulf Of Mexico from offshore well Ixtoc 1.
In 1981 The U.S. Supreme Court rules that states could require, with some exceptions, parental notification when teenage girls sought abortions.
In 1983 Dr. Barney Clark, recipient of a permanent artificial heart, dies at the University of Utah Medical Center after 112 days with the device.
In 1983 President Reagan first proposes technology to intercept enemy missles, a proposal that came to be known as the Strategic Defense Initiative, as well as "Star Wars."
In 1987 Jerry Collins, a millionaire greyhound racetrack owner, donates $1.3 million to help evangelist Oral Roberts reach his goal of raising $8 million for medical scholarships.
In 1988 President Reagan announces he will visit the Soviet Union for the first time the following May for his fourth summit with Gorbachev.
In 1989 Astronomers say an asteroid as big as a mountain passed within 500,000 miles of Earth. It was classified as a near miss.
In 1989 Former secretary to onetime National Security Council aide Oliver North, Fawn Hall completes two days of testimony at North's Iran-Contra trial.
In 1990 Former "Exxon Valdez" captain Joseph Hazelwood is sentenced by a judge in Anchorage, Alaska, to help clean up Prince William Sound and pay $50,000 in restitution for his role in the 1989 oil spill.
In 1992 The U.N. Security Council announces that Libya had offered to surrender two men suspected in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 to the Arab League. (Libya changes its mind 2 days later.)
In 1993 Scientists announce they had found the renegade gene that causes Huntington's disease.
In 1994 At least 20 soldiers are killed and 85 injured when F-16D fighter and C-130 Hercules transport collide over Pope Air Force Base in North Carolina.
In 1994 Wayne Gretzky breaks Gordie Howe's National Hockey League career record with his 802nd goal.
In 1994 Luis Donaldo Colosio, Mexico's leading presidential candidate, is assassinated in Tijuana.
In 1995 U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher meets with Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev in Geneva.
In 1996 Taiwan holds its first direct presidential elections; incumbent Lee Teng-hui was the landslide victor.
In 1997 The American Cancer Society recommends annual mammograms after age forty.
In 1998 President Clinton begins a historic 6-nation tour of Africa.
In 1998 Germany's biggest bank pledges $3.1 million to Jewish foundations as restitution for Nazi looting.
In 1998 The U.S. Supreme Court allows term limits for state lawmakers.
In 1998 "Titanic" ties a record by winning 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Song.
In 1999 NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana authorizes airstrikes against Serbian targets following the failure of Kosovo peace talks.
In 2002 Irina Slutskaya captures her first world title, defeating four-time champion Michelle Kwan at the World Figure Skating Championships.
In 2003 At the 75th Annual Academy Awards, "Chicago" wins Best Picture, while Adrien Brody wins Best Actor for "The Pianist" and Nicole Kidman takes home the Best Actress Oscar for "The Hours."
In 2003 A U.S. Army maintenance convoy is ambushed in Iraq; 11 soldiers were killed, seven were captured, including Pfc. Jessica Lynch.
In 2011 Actress Elizabeth Taylor dies at age 79.