Pres. John F. Kennedy (left) greeting Peace Corps volunteers at the White House, Aug. 28, 1961.
Courtesy of the Peace Corps.

MARCH 1, 1961

Peace Corps is established

President John F. Kennedy issues an executive order establishing the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps program was created during the Cold War in response to the Soviet Union’s commitment of hundreds of men and women to the service of world communism. In opposition, Kennedy wanted to involve Americans in the cause of global democracy, peace, development and freedom. Kennedy’s brother-in-law, R. Sargent Shriver, was directed to lead the Peace Corps. It was subsequently established on March 1, 1961, by executive order. The first countries to participate were Tanganyika (present-day Tanzania) and Ghana.

F-105Ds refueling en route to North Vietnam in 1965. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.

MARCH 2, 1965

Operation Rolling Thunder begins during the Vietnam War

Operation Rolling Thunder, a gradual and sustained aerial bombardment campaign, begins during the Vietnam War. On March 2, 1965, the U.S. 2nd Air Division and Republic of Vietnam Air Force began an intense air/ground battle against North Vietnam. The goal of this massive bombardment was to put military pressure on North Vietnam’s communist leaders and reduce their capacity to wage war against South Vietnam. Operation Rolling Thunder was the first sustained American assault on North Vietnam and is considered a major expansion of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

Ward Memorial Hall, Northwestern Branch, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

MARCH 3, 1865

Congress approves the establishment of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers

Congress approves legislation establishing the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. The injured who returned home from the Civil War needed long term care, often more than their families could provide. These men were not eligible for care in the homes serving career military officers. Legislation for the creation of the National Asylum of Disabled Volunteer Soldiers was introduced in Congress on February 28, 1865. Both Houses of Congress quickly passed the legislation, with President Lincoln signing the bill on March 3, 1865. In 1873, the name was changed to the National Home of Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. It was one of three predecessors to the Veterans Administration.

This 19th-century lithograph by Henry Pelham is a variation of Revere’s famous engraving, produced just before the American Civil War. It emphasizes Crispus Attucks, the black man in the center who became an important symbol for abolitionists. Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

MARCH 5, 1770

Colonists and British soldiers clash at the Boston Massacre

A protest by colonists against taxation without representation by the British parliament leads to the Boston Massacre. On March 5, 1770, Private Hugh White was guarding the King’s money stored inside the Custom House on King Street. Colonial protesters who called themselves Patriots began taunting British soldiers. White fought back and struck a colonist with his bayonet. In retaliation, colonists began to throw snowballs, ice and stones. Violence escalated, and shots were fired. Crispus Attucks, a symbol of Black American patriotism and sacrifice, was the first person killed in the fight for American Independence.

Battle of the Alamo, colour print by Percy Morgan, c. 1912. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

MARCH 6, 1836

The Battle of the Alamo comes to an end

The Battle of the Alamo ends. The Battle of the Alamo, a pivotal moment during Texas’ war for independence lasted 13 days, from February 23 to March 6, 1836. The Texians leader, Lt. Colonel William B. Travis, had repeatedly written to his superiors for reinforcements and additional supplies. He was denied each time because filling his request would have been an act of war by the United States, which had a peace treaty with Mexico. In an act of bravery and heroic defiance, Travis wrote a letter titled, “Victory or Death,” wherein he asked one final time for any brave soul willing to aid his cause and help defend the mission. Unfortunately, this letter produced no additional aid, and he was killed on the final day of battle. His sacrifice along with those who fought with him gave rise to a rally cry demanding that America support the Texas independence movement which culminated in Texas becoming our 28th state in 1845.

Presidential portrait of U.S. President Harry Truman. Photo courtesy of the Harry S. Truman Library.

MARCH 12, 1947

“Truman Doctrine” is presented to Congress

President Harry S. Truman addresses Congress with the “Truman Doctrine.” President Truman appeared before a joint session of Congress to discuss the growing tensions of American Allies. Congress ultimately approved $400 million in military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey. Historians claim that this is the official start of the Cold War and Truman’s speech, also known as the Truman Doctrine, became the foundation of American foreign policy and eventually led to the creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

YOKOSUKA, Japan (Nov. 24, 2021) — Master-At-Arms 3rd Class Valerie Goodblanket, military working dog (MWD) handler onboard Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, poses with her MWD, Army, during a training scenario. The exceptional skillset of MWDs are a key component to the security of base operations and the protection of its community members. (U.S. Navy photo by Taylor Curry)

MARCH 13

K9 Veterans Day

K9 Veterans Day honors military and working dogs. Even before a training program was established to train dogs for work in battle, they were serving as soldiers’ companions and protectors. During the Civil War, two dogs named Jack and Sallie, served alongside their fellow soldiers and helped raise their regiment’s morale. While many dogs served during World War I, it was not until March 13, 1942, that the Dogs for Defense program was established to train dogs to serve. With the U.S. entering World War II, Dogs for Defense called upon citizens to donate their beloved pets to be trained for battle. During the war, a mixed breed dog named Chips earned both the Purple Heart and Silver Star for saving countless U.S. soldiers’ lives on the battlefield.

Photo courtesy of the American Legion.

MARCH 15, 1919

The American Legion celebrates its 103rd Birthday

The American Legion celebrates 103 years. Formed on March 15, 1919, in Paris, France, by a thousand officers and men of the American Expeditionary Forces, the American Legion was chartered on September 16, 1919, by the United States Congress. Today, it’s the nation’s largest wartime Veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security and continued devotion to our fellow service members and Veterans.

Champaign County Historical Archives| Public Domain 
99th Pursuit Squadron, Tuskegee Airmen. Recruits of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, new-all-colored Air Corps Unit. L-R: Charles Settles, A. Crawford, James Mason, W. Herman, W. Warner, L. Young, J. Nelson, C. Chisholm, James Jackson, Norris Connally, Charles Cromchaw, Hiram Little, and John Moore.

MARCH 19, 1941

The 99th Pursuit Squadron is activated

The 99th Pursuit Squadron (which would become the Tuskegee Airmen) is activated. The U.S. War Department established the 99th Pursuit Squadron along with a few other squadrons who would become the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first Black military pilots. The 99th Pursuit Squadron was the first to deploy overseas to North Africa, Sicily and parts of Italy.

On Wednesday evening, March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush meets with his national security and communications advisors after authorizing military operations. Present, from left, are Steve Hadley, Deputy National Security Advisor; Karen Hughes, special advisor to the President; Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard B. Myers; Dan Bartlett, Communications Director; Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld; National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice; and Secretary of State Colin Powell. WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY ERIC DRAPER

MARCH 19, 2003

President George W. Bush initiates war against Iraq

U.S. President George W. Bush, along with coalition forces initiated war against Iraq. President Bush announced in a televised address, “At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” The government believed that Saddam Hussein possessed or was in the process of building weapons of mass destruction.

“We Can Do It” by J. Howard Miller, was made as an inspirational image to boost worker morale. Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

MARCH 21

Rosie the Riveter Day

Rosie the Riveter Day celebrates World War II icons. Rosie the Riveter was a cultural icon of World War II, representing the women who worked in factories and shipyards, many of whom produced munitions and war supplies. These women sometimes took entirely new jobs replacing male workers who joined the military. “Rosies” represented American feminism and showcased the impact women had in the workforce. We honor all of the brave, powerful and inspiring women who faced challenges and pushed forward!

“Give me liberty, or give me death!” Patrick Henry delivering his great speech on the rights of the colonies, before the Virginia Assembly, convened at Richmond, March 23rd 1775, concluding with the above sentiment, which became the war cry of the revolution. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

MARCH 23, 1775

“Give me liberty, or give me death!” speech is given by Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry delivers, “Give me liberty, or give me death!” speech to the Second Virginia Convention (including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington) at St. John’s Church in Richmond. Henry is credited with convincing the convention to pass a resolution delivering Virginia troops for the Revolutionary War. A gifted orator and major figure during the American Revolution, his rousing speeches fired up America’s fight for independence. Henry became governor of Virginia in 1776 and also influenced creation of the Bill of Rights.

Private Jacob Parrott. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army.

MARCH 25

National Medal of Honor Day

National Medal of Honor Day honors our nation’s 3,530 Medal of Honor recipients. The Medal of Honor was created during the Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces who has distinguished themselves through acts of valor. Since 1941, more than half of the medals have been awarded posthumously. The first Army Medal of Honor was awarded to Private Jacob Parrott during the Civil War for his role in the Great Locomotive Chase. The only woman to receive the Medal of Honor, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, served as a surgeon during the Civil War.

Amphibious assault on Iwo Jima, a DR-8 wire communications reel is at left-center. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Marine Corps.

MARCH 26, 1945

World War II Battle of Iwo Jima is won by American forces

The World War II Battle of Iwo Jima is won after heavy fighting and casualties. Iwo Jima was considered strategically important as an air base for Japanese fighter planes to intercept U.S. long-range B-29 Superfortress bombers. The U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Navy landed on and eventually captured the island of Iwo Jima from the Imperial Japanese Army. The invasion, designated Operation Detachment, had the goal of capturing the entire island, including the three Japanese-controlled airfields (including the South Field and the Central Field), to provide a staging area for attacks on the Japanese main islands. This five-week battle comprised some of the fiercest and bloodiest fighting of the Pacific and cost U.S. forces 6,871 killed and 19,217 wounded. Medals of Honor were awarded to 22 Marines and five Sailors, 14 of them posthumously. In the words of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue.”

An Act to provide a naval armament Printed copy of the act adopted by the Third Congress of the United States, in response to the depredations committed by the Algerine corsairs on the commerce of the United States and approved on 27 March 1794. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

MARCH 27, 1794

Congress passes the Naval Act of 1794

U.S. Congress passes the Naval Act of 1794 establishing a national navy. After suffering significant loss of goods and personnel to the Barbary pirates, Congress passed legislation allowing the construction of six heavy frigates, the first ships of the U.S. Navy.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

MARCH 28, 2017

National Vietnam War Veterans Day is established

National Vietnam War Veterans Day is established with the Recognition Act of 2017. March 29 was selected as National Vietnam War Veterans Day because on March 29, 1973, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, was disbanded, and the last U.S. combat troops departed the Republic of Vietnam. Please join us for a Welcome Home Ceremony on March 29 as we commemorate the five-year anniversary honoring more than six million Veterans of the Vietnam War.

NARA| Public Domain 
Tuskegee Airman – Capt. Andrew D. Turner, who in a few minutes will be escorting heavy bombers en route to enemy targets, signals to the chief of this ground crew before taking off from a base in Italy. He is a member of the 15th US Army Air Force, which has been smashing enemy objectives in Germany and the Balkans with both fighter and bomber aircraft. The pilot’s plane, a Mustang, is named for a type of wild horse that once roamed America. September 1944.

MARCH 29

Ohio celebrates Tuskegee Airmen Day

Tuskegee Airmen Day is celebrated. In Ohio, March 29 marks a special day to honor our nation’s first African American military aviators. Their story is one of a “Double Victory” against fascism overseas and racism at home. During World War II, the Tuskegee Airmen proved their skill and courage by earning one of lowest loss records of all escort fighter groups and paved the way to integrating the U.S. Armed Forces.

WED-SUN 10 A.M. - 5 P.M.
Tickets