There are eight days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
- On Dec. 23, 1968, 82 crew members of the U.S. intelligence ship Pueblo were released by North Korea, 11 months after they had been captured.
On this date:
- In 1783, George Washington resigned as commander in chief of the Continental Army and retired to his home at Mount Vernon, Va.
- In 1788, Maryland passed an act to cede an area "not exceeding ten miles square" for the seat of the national government; about two-thirds of the area became the District of Columbia.
- In 1823, the poem "Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas" was published anonymously in the Troy (N.Y.) Sentinel; the verse, more popularly known as "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," was later attributed to Clement C. Moore.
- In 1893, the Engelbert Humperdinck opera "Haensel und Gretel" was first performed, in Weimar, Germany.
- In 1908, portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh was born in Mardin in present-day Turkey.
- In 1928, the National Broadcasting Company set up a permanent, coast-to-coast network.
- In 1941, during World War II, American forces on Wake Island surrendered to the Japanese.
- In 1948, former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese war leaders were executed in Tokyo.
- In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson held an unprecedented meeting with Pope Paul VI at the Vatican.
- In 1986, the experimental airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, completed the first non-stop, non-refueled, round-the-world flight as it landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
Ten years ago:
- Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat freed Hamas spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin from house arrest, a move denounced by Israel.
- Lebanese guerrillas attacked Israel's northern border with rockets, in retaliation for an Israeli air raid a day earlier.
Five years ago:
- The government announced the first suspected (later confirmed) case of mad cow disease in United States.
- A jury in Chesapeake, Va., sentenced teen sniper Lee Boyd Malvo to life in prison, sparing him the death penalty.
- A gas well accident in southwestern China killed 233 people.
- New York Gov. George Pataki posthumously pardoned comedian Lenny Bruce for his 1964 obscenity conviction.
One year ago:
- A Cessna 172 crashed in Panama, killing California businessman Michael Klein and his daughter, Talia, as well as the pilot; the sole survivor was 12-year-old Francesca Lewis, a friend of Talia's.
- The New England Patriots set an NFL record with their 15th win, the best start in league history, as they beat the Miami Dolphins 28-7.
- Jazz pianist Oscar Peterson died in Mississauga, Canada, at age 82.
- Choreographer Michael Kidd died in Los Angeles. (His age was reported as 88 or 92.)
- Britain's Queen Elizabeth II launched her own special Royal Channel on YouTube.
- Actor Gerald S. O'Loughlin is 87.
- Actor Ronnie Schell is 77.
- Emperor Akihito of Japan is 75.
- Actor Frederic Forrest is 72.
- Actor James Stacy is 72.
- Rock musician Jorma Kaukonen is 68.
- Rock musician Ron Bushy is 67.
- Actor-comedian Harry Shearer is 65.
- Actress Susan Lucci is 62.
- Singer-musician Adrian Belew is 59.
- Rock musician Dave Murray (Iron Maiden) is 52.
- Actress Joan Severance is 50.
- Singer Terry Weeks is 45.
- Rock singer Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) is 44.
- The first lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is 41.
- Actor Corey Haim is 37.
- Rock musician Jamie Murphy is 33.
- Jazz musician Irvin Mayfield is 31.
- Actress Estella Warren is 30.
- Actress Anna Maria Perez de Tagle is 18.
Thought for Today:
"It ain't no use putting up your umbrella till it rains."
Alice Caldwell Rice, American author (1870-1942).
"Let's all be careful out there!"