Today in History

Published 12:01 am Friday, December 8, 2017

Today is Friday, Dec. 8, the 342nd day of 2017. There are 23 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 8, 1941, the United States entered World War II as Congress declared war against Imperial Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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On this date:

In 1765, Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, was born in Westborough, Massachusetts.

In 1813, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92, was first performed in Vienna, with Beethoven himself conducting.

In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which holds that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was free of original sin from the moment of her own conception.

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued his Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction for the South.

In 1914, “Watch Your Step,” the first musical revue to feature a score composed entirely by Irving Berlin, opened in New York.

In 1940, the Chicago Bears defeated the Washington Redskins, 73-0, in the NFL Championship Game, which was carried on network radio for the first time by the Mutual Broadcasting System (the announcer was Red Barber).

In 1962, the first session of the Second Vatican Council was formally adjourned. Typographers went on a 114-day strike against four New York City newspapers.

In 1972, a United Airlines Boeing 737 crashed while attempting to land at Chicago-Midway Airport, killing 43 of the 61 people on board, as well as two people on the ground; among the dead were Dorothy Hunt, wife of Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt, U.S. Rep. George W. Collins, D-Ill., and CBS News correspondent Michele Clark.

In 1980, rock star John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building by an apparently deranged fan.

In 1982, a man demanding an end to nuclear weapons held the Washington Monument hostage, threatening to blow it up with explosives he claimed were inside a van. (After a 10-hour standoff, Norman D. Mayer was shot dead by police; it turned out there were no explosives.)

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a treaty at the White House calling for destruction of intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

In 1992, Americans got to see live television coverage of U.S. troops landing on the beaches of Somalia as Operation Restore Hope began (because of the time difference, it was early Dec. 9 in Somalia).

Ten years ago: The Justice Department and CIA announced a joint inquiry into the spy agency’s destruction of videotapes of interrogations of two suspected terrorists. Talk show host Oprah Winfrey, in her first-ever presidential endorsement, backed Barack Obama’s White House bid during appearances in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Skiers, fire-eaters and an ice sculptor joined in worldwide demonstrations to draw attention to global warming. Florida quarterback Tim Tebow became the first sophomore to win the Heisman Trophy.

Five years ago: Police charged Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent with intoxication manslaughter after he flipped his car in a pre-dawn accident that killed teammate Jerry Brown. (Brent was convicted in Jan. 2014 and sentenced to 180 days in jail; he was reinstated by the NFL in Sept. 2014.) Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

One year ago: John Glenn, whose 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate, died in Columbus, Ohio, at age 95.

Today’s Birthdays: Flutist James Galway is 78. Singer Jerry Butler is 78. Pop musician Bobby Elliott (The Hollies) is 76. Actress Mary Woronov is 74. Actor John Rubinstein is 71. Reggae singer Toots Hibbert (Toots and the Maytals) is 69. Actress Kim Basinger (BAY’-sing-ur) is 64. Rock musician Warren Cuccurullo is 61. Rock musician Phil Collen (Def Leppard) is 60. Country singer Marty Raybon is 58. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim is 58. Political commentator Ann Coulter is 56. Rock musician Marty Friedman is 55. Actor Wendell Pierce is 54. Actress Teri Hatcher is 53. Actor David Harewood is 52. Rapper Bushwick Bill (The Geto Boys) is 51. Singer Sinead (shih-NAYD’) O’Connor is 51. Actor Matthew Laborteaux is 51. Rock musician Ryan Newell (Sister Hazel) is 45. Actor Dominic Monaghan is 41. Actor Ian Somerhalder is 39. Rock singer Ingrid Michaelson is 38. R&B singer Chrisette Michele is 35. Actress Hannah Ware is 35. Country singer Sam Hunt is 33. Rock singer-actress Kate Voegele (VOH’-gehl) is 31. Christian rock musician Jen Ledger (Skillet) is 28. Actress Wallis Currie-Wood is 26. Actress AnnaSophia Robb is 24.