Today is Friday, Nov. 23, the 328th day of 2012. There are 38 days left in the year.
On Nov. 23, 1942, during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure establishing the U.S. Women’s Coast Guard Reserve, or SPARS (an abbreviation of the U.S. Coast Guard motto “Semper Paratus” – “Always Ready”).
On this date:
In 1765, Frederick County, Md. became the first colonial entity to repudiate the British Stamp Act.
In 1804, the 14th president of the United States, Franklin Pierce, was born in Hillsboro, N.H.
In 1887, actor Boris Karloff was born William Henry Pratt in London.
In 1903, Enrico Caruso made his American debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, appearing in “Rigoletto.”
In 1910, American-born physician Hawley Harvey Crippen was hanged at Pentonville Prison in London for murdering his wife, Cora. (Crippen’s mistress, Ethel Le Neve, was acquitted in a separate trial of being an accessory.)
In 1936, Life, the photojournalism magazine created by Henry R. Luce (loos), was first published.
In 1943, during World War II, U.S. forces seized control of Tarawa and Makin atolls from the Japanese.
In 1959, the musical “Fiorello!,” starring Tom Bosley as legendary New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, opened on Broadway.
In 1971, the People’s Republic of China was seated in the U.N. Security Council.
In 1980, some 2,600 people were killed by a series of earthquakes that devastated southern Italy.
In 1992, in Germany, three Turks were killed when rightist militants firebombed their homes in Moelln; in Berlin, hundreds of demonstrators protested in solidarity with foreigners. Country music star Roy Acuff died in Nashville at age 89.
In 1996, a commandeered Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 767 crashed into the water off the Comoros Islands, killing 125 of the 175 people on board, including all three hijackers.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush visited Vilnius, Lithuania, and Bucharest, Romania, where he vowed to defend hard-won freedoms behind the former Iron Curtain. Miss World organizers moved the beauty pageant from Abuja, Nigeria, to London after some 100 people died in violence triggered by a Nigerian newspaper’s suggestion that the Islamic prophet Muhammad would have liked the event.
Five years ago: Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations grudgingly agreed to attend an upcoming U.S.-sponsored Mideast peace conference, despite failing to get any guarantee of Israeli concessions. Lebanon’s President Emile Lahoud left office without a successor after announcing he was handing over security powers to the army. A Canadian cruise ship, the MS Explorer, struck submerged ice off Antarctica and began taking on water, but all 154 passengers and crew took to lifeboats and were plucked to safety by a passing cruise ship.
One year ago: Yemen’s authoritarian President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to step down amid a fierce uprising to oust him after 33 years in power.
Today’s birthdays: Former Labor Secretary William E. Brock is 82. Actress Elmarie Wendel is 80. Actor Franco Nero is 71. Actress Susan Anspach is 70. Screenwriter Joe Eszterhas is 68. Actor-comedy writer Bruce Vilanch is 65. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is 62. Singer Bruce Hornsby is 58. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is 57. Actor Maxwell Caulfield is 53. Actor John Henton is 52. TV personality Robin Roberts (“Good Morning America”) is 52. Rock singer-musician Ken Block (Sister Hazel) is 46. Rock musician Charlie Grover is 46. Actress Salli Richardson-Whitfield is 45. Actor Oded Fehr is 42. Rapper-actor Kurupt (Tha Dogg Pound) is 40. Actor Page Kennedy is 36. Actress Kelly Brook is 33. Actor Lucas Grabeel is 28. Actress-singer Miley Cyrus is 20. Actor Austin Majors is 17.
Thought for today: “I’m a realist and so I think regretting is a useless occupation. You help no one with it. But you can’t live without illusions even if you must fight for them, such as ‘love conquers all.’ It isn’t true, but I would like it to be.” — Marlene Dietrich, German-born actress (1901-1992).