Pages of history: From The News Journal archives, week of March 20

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

"Pages of history" features excerpts from The News Journal archives including the Wilmington Morning News and the Evening Journal.

March 20, 2003, The News Journal

War begins; missiles target Iraqi leaders

The United States Wednesday night launched the opening salvo of a war to topple Saddam Hussein, firing cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs into Baghdad.

U.S. officials said the Iraqi leader himself was among the targets.

“This will not be a campaign of half-measures and we will accept no outcome but victory,” President George W. Bush said in an Oval Office address shortly after explosions ricocheted through the pre-dawn light of the Iraqi capital….

Front page of The News Journal from March 20, 2003.
Front page of The News Journal from March 20, 2003.

Saddam appeared on state-run television a few hours after the attack. He said the United States had committed a “shameful crime” by attacking Iraq and urged his country to “draw your sword” against the enemy….

The missiles struck less than two hours after Bush’s deadline for Saddam to surrender power or face war….

It was clear from Bush’s words – he called it the opening stages of a “broad and concerted campaign” – that the war to topple the Iraqi dictator and eliminate his weapons of mass destruction had begun.

Earlier in the day, Bush told Congress the attack was part of a worldwide war against terrorism, and American forces launched a raid in Afghanistan at the same time they struck in Iraq. About 1,000 members of the 82nd Airborne Division moved into villages in southeastern Afghanistan, looking for members of the al-Qaida network.

In Iraq, an American-led invasion force of 300,000 troops awaited the order to strike more broadly….

Apart from the desire to capture weapons of mass destruction, Bush’s submission to Congress said a military attack could lead to the discovery of information that would allow the apprehension of terrorists living in the United States….

Despite deep divisions at the United Nations, Bush also claimed “the authority – indeed, given the dangers involved, the duty – to use force against Iraq to protect the security of the American people and to compel compliance with United Nations resolutions.”

The diplomatic wheels still turned at the United Nations, where foreign ministers met in the Security Council at the request of French and Germans, prominent critics of the American military operation.

“This is a sad day for the United Nations,” said UN secretary-general Kofi Annan. “I know that millions of people around the world share this sense of disappointment and are deeply alarmed.”

RALLIES FOR UKRAINE AFTER RUSSIAN ATTACK: Prayers, wine and rallies among ways Delawareans support Ukraine's fight against Russia

March 22, 1965, Wilmington Morning News

Dr. King leads voting rights trek; thousands march in Alabama

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led thousands out of Selma, Alabama yesterday in a massive highway pilgrimage heavily guarded by Army troops.

He told his tired followers at the end of the day they were part of “an unstoppable movement.”

Dr. King walked at the head of his civil rights legions on the first leg of a 50-mile, five-day march to the Alabama capital to protest denial of Negro voting rights.

Front page of the Wilmington Morning News from March 22, 1965.
Front page of the Wilmington Morning News from March 22, 1965.

When they reached their first overnight campground – a cow pasture dotted by four large tents – Dr. King said the march “would give people all over the country and sense of inspiration.”

Four Delawareans from the Wilmington area are known to have gone to Selma to participate. Leaving on the same Montgomery-bound airplane late Saturday night were the Rev. Dennis J. Loo and the Rev. Frederick H. Bronkema Jr., Presbyterian ministers; the Rev. Richard Reissmann, assistant pastor of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, and Edward Summerton, principal of Castle Hills Elementary School, New Castle…

March 24, 1998, The News Journal

Smooth sailing for ‘Titanic’ at Academy Awards

Front page of The News Journal from March 24, 1998.
Front page of The News Journal from March 24, 1998.

“Titanic” won a record-tying 11 Oscars on Monday, taking best director and best picture, while Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt won best acting honors for “As Good As It Gets.”

The $200 million disaster epic and all-time box office champion dominated the 70th Academy Awards. But it lost a chance to win a record 12 Oscars when it fell short in three categories: Hunt beat Kate Winslet; Kim Basinger took supporting actress for “L.A. Confidential” over Gloria Stuart and “Men in Black” claimed the makeup prize….

CATCH UP ON HISTORY: News Journal archives, week of Dec. 26

March 25, 1989, The News Journal

Alaskan oil spill U.S. worst

A tanker ran aground on a reef off the Alaskan coast and ripped holes in its hull Friday, gushing millions of gallons of thick crude oil into pristine Prince William Sound in the largest spill in U.S. history.

The Exxon Valdez, a 987-foot tanker owned by Exxon Shipping Co. Inc., struck Bligh Reef about 25 miles from Valdez, the northernmost ice-free port in the United States, spilling an estimated 270,000 barrels or 11.3 million gallons of oil into the Pacific Ocean, the Coast Guard said.

Front page of The News Journal from March 25, 1989.
Front page of The News Journal from March 25, 1989.

Early Friday the tanker was losing 20,000 gallons of oil per hour, but the outflow slowed to a trickle later….

“A spill of this size in such a complex environment promises to be a cleanup nightmare,” said Richard Golob, publisher of the Golob Oil Pollution Bulletin….

U.S. Interior Department spokesman Steve Goldstein said efforts had begun to evacuate waterfowl, sea otters and other wildlife from the danger area.

“Obviously some of the waterfowl have already died,” he said….

Reach reporter Ben Mace at

This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: News Journal archives Civil Rights March Exxon Valdez spill Iraq war