This Day in History: March 23

This Day in History: March 23


On this day, March 23 …

1998: “Titanic” ties an Academy Awards record by winning 11 Oscars, including best picture, director (James Cameron) and song (”My Heart Will Go On”).

Also on this day:

  • 1775: Patrick Henry delivers an address to the Virginia Provincial Convention in which observers say he declares, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”
  • 1806: Explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, having reached the Pacific coast, begin their journey back east.
  • 1933: The German Reichstag adopts the Enabling Act, which effectively grants Adolf Hitler dictatorial powers.
  • 1942: The first Japanese-Americans evacuated by the U.S. Army during World War II arrive at the internment camp in Manzanar, Calif.
  • 1956: Pakistan becomes an Islamic republic.
  • 1965: America’s first two-person space mission takes place as Gemini 3 blasts off with astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom and John W. Young aboard for a nearly 5-hour flight.
  • 1983: President Ronald Reagan first proposes developing technology to intercept incoming enemy missiles – an idea that came to be known as the Strategic Defense Initiative.
  • 1983: Dr. Barney Clark, recipient of a Jarvik permanent artificial heart, dies at the University of Utah Medical Center after 112 days with the device.

  • 1990: The romantic comedy “Pretty Woman,” starring Richard Gere and Julia Roberts, is released by Buena Vista Pictures.
  • 2003: During the Iraq War, a U.S. Army maintenance convoy is ambushed in Nasiriyah; 11 soldiers are killed, including Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa; six are captured, including Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who would be rescued on April 1, 2003.
  • 2005: Truck driver Tyrone Williams is convicted in federal court in Houston for his role in the 2003 deaths of 19 immigrants he was smuggling across Texas. 
  • 2009: The Obama administration unveils a plan to take over up to $1 trillion in sour mortgage securities with the help of private investors.
  • 2014: Adolfo Suarez, Spain’s first democratically elected prime minister after decades of right-wing rule under Gen. Francisco Franco, dies in Madrid at age 81.
  • 2018: President Trump issues an order banning most transgender troops from serving in the military except under “limited circumstances.” 
  • 2018: Craigslist removes its personals section after the U.S. Senate passes an anti-sex-trafficking bill that could hold the website and others responsible for illegal activity.  



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