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March 29, 2013

Today in History for Friday, March 29, 2013

-- — Highlight in History

On March 29, 1973, the last United States combat troops left South Vietnam, ending America’s direct military involvement in the Vietnam War. In an address to the nation, President Richard Nixon declared, “For the first time in 12 years, no American military forces are in Vietnam.”

On this date

In 1912, British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, his doomed expedition stranded in an Antarctic blizzard after failing to be the first to reach the South Pole, wrote the last words of his journal: “For Gods sake look after our people.”

In 1951, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage. (They were executed in June 1953.) The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The King and I” opened on Broadway.

In 1971, Army Lt. William L. Calley Jr. was convicted of murdering 22 Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai (mee ly) massacre. (Calley ended up serving three years under house arrest.) A jury in Los Angeles recommended the death penalty for Charles Manson and three female followers for the 1969 Tate-La Bianca murders. (The sentences were later commuted.)

In 1993, “Unforgiven” won the Academy Award for best picture as well as best director for Clint Eastwood; Emma Thompson won best actress for “Howards End” and Al Pacino won best actor for “Scent of a Woman.”

Ten years ago

In Iraq, a bomber posing as a taxi driver blew up his vehicle, killing himself and four American soldiers. A Turkish man who’d hijacked a Turkish Airlines flight the day before was persuaded by Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to release his 204 hostages after the plane landed in Athens, Greece. Michelle Kwan became only the third American to win five World Figure Skating Championships, after Dick Button and Carol Heiss, at the competition in Washington D.C.

Five years ago

Anti-American Shiite militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr ordered his followers to defy orders from the Iraqi government to surrender their weapons. Zimbabweans voted in an election seen as the biggest test of Robert Mugabe’s 28-year rule.

One year ago

A divided House approved a $3.6 trillion Republican budget recasting Medicare and imposing sweeping cuts in domestic programs. Stanford routed Minnesota 75-51 to win the NIT title.

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