Today is Sunday, March 8, the 67th day of 2009. 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 heavily damaged the USS Congress, both frigates, off Newport News, Va.

On this date:

In 1702, England's Queen Anne acceded to the throne upon the death of King William III.

In 1782, the Gnadenhutten (jih-NAY'-duhn-huh-tuhn) massacre took place as more than 90 Indians were slain by militiamen in Ohio in retaliation for raids carried out by other Indians.

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 1859, British writer Kenneth Grahame, author of "The Wind in the Willows," was born in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In 1874, the 13th president of the United States, Millard Fillmore, died in Buffalo, N.Y., at age 74.

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. 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, five weeks after he retired as Chief Justice of the United States.

In 1948, the Supreme Court, in McCollum v. Board of Education, struck down voluntary religious education classes in Champaign, Ill., public schools, saying the program violated separation of church and state.

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

In 1988, 17 soldiers were killed when two Army helicopters from Fort Campbell, Ky., collided in mid-flight.

Ten years ago: New York Yankees baseball star Joe DiMaggio died in Hollywood, Fla., at age 84. President Bill Clinton began a tour of Central America with a visit to hurricane-battered Nicaragua. The Energy Department fired scientist Wen Ho Lee from his job at the Los Alamos National Laboratory because of alleged security violations. (Lee was never charged with espionage. He eventually pleaded guilty to mishandling computer files; a judge apologized for Lee's treatment.)

Five years ago: Iraq's Governing Council signed a landmark interim constitution. Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks slugged Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore during a game, leaving Moore with a broken neck, concussion and facial cuts. (Bertuzzi, who was suspended indefinitely from the NHL, later pleaded guilty to criminal assault; he received a conditional discharge and was sentenced to probation and community service.) Abul Abbas, the Palestinian guerrilla leader who'd planned the hijacking of the Achille Lauro (ah-KEE'-leh LOW'-roh) passenger ship, died while in U.S. custody in Baghdad, Iraq; he was 56. Actor Robert Pastorelli was found dead in his Hollywood Hills, Calif., home; he was 49.

One year ago: President George W. Bush vetoed a bill that would have banned the CIA from using simulated drowning and other coercive interrogation methods to gain information from suspected terrorists. Barack Obama captured the Wyoming Democratic caucuses.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Sue Ane Langdon is 73. Baseball player-turned-author Jim Bouton is 70. Actress Lynn Redgrave is 66. Actor-director Micky Dolenz is 64. Singer-musician Randy Meisner is 63. Pop singer Peggy March is 61. Baseball Hall-of-Fame electee Jim Rice is 56. Singer Gary Numan is 51. NBC News anchor Lester Holt is 50. Actor Aidan Quinn is 50. NBC News anchor Lester Holt is 50. Country musician Jimmy Dormire (Confederate Railroad) is 49. Actress Camryn Manheim is 48. Actor Leon is 46. Rock singer Shawn Mullins (The Thorns) is 41. Actress Andrea Parker is 39. Actor Boris Kodjoe is 36. Actor Freddie Prinze Jr. is 33. Actor James Van Der Beek is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer Kameelah Williams (702) is 31. Rock singer Tom Chaplin (Keane) is 30. Rock musician Andy Ross (OK Go) is 30.

Thought for Today: "Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression." _ Dodie Smith, English playwright (1896-1990).

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