Today in History

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Today is Tuesday, Dec. 26, the 360th day of 2017. There are five days left in the year. The seven-day African-American holiday Kwanzaa begins today. This is Boxing Day.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 26, 1947, heavy snow blanketed the Northeast, burying New York City under 26.4 inches of snow in 16 hours; the severe weather was blamed for some 80 deaths.

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On this date:

In 1776, British forces suffered a major defeat in the Battle of Trenton during the Revolutionary War.

In 1799, former President George Washington was eulogized by Col. Henry Lee as “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

In 1865, James H. Nason of Franklin, Massachusetts, received a patent for “an improved coffee percolator.”

In 1908, Jack Johnson became the first African-American boxer to win the world heavyweight championship as he defeated Canadian Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia.

In 1917, during World War I, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation authorizing the government to take over operation of the nation’s railroads.

In 1944, during the World War II Battle of the Bulge, the embattled U.S. 101st Airborne Division in Bastogne, Belgium, was relieved by units of the 4th Armored Division. Tennessee Williams’ play “The Glass Menagerie” was first performed at the Civic Theatre in Chicago.

In 1967, “Magical Mystery Tour,” the Beatles’ poorly received TV special, was broadcast (in black and white) on BBC1.

In 1972, the 33rd president of the United States, Harry S. Truman, died in Kansas City, Missouri, at age 88.

In 1980, Iranian television footage was broadcast in the United States, showing a dozen of the American hostages sending messages to their families.

In 1996, 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado. (To date, the slaying remains unsolved.)

In 2004, more than 230,000 people, mostly in southern Asia, were killed by a 100-foot-high tsunami triggered by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake beneath the Indian Ocean.

In 2006, former President Gerald R. Ford died in Rancho Mirage, California, at age 93.

Ten years ago: Six people were found dead at a rural property east of Seattle; the property owners’ daughter and her boyfriend were arrested. (Michele Anderson and Joseph McEnroe were convicted of killing Anderson’s parents, her brother, her sister-in-law and her niece and nephew on Christmas Eve; both received life prison terms.) Francesca Lewis, the sole survivor of a plane crash in Panama two days earlier that claimed three lives, was reunited with her family after rescue workers brought the 12-year-old American out of a remote mountain area. Joe Dolan, one of Ireland’s first pop music stars, died in suburban Dublin at age 68.

Five years ago: Toyota Motor Corp. said it had reached a settlement worth more than $1 billion in a case involving unintended acceleration problems in its vehicles. Old-guard veteran Shinzo Abe took office as Japan’s prime minister. Gerry Anderson, 83, British puppetry pioneer and creator of the sci-fi TV show “Thunderbirds,” died near Oxfordshire, England. Soul singer Fontella Bass, 72, died in St. Louis.

One year ago: President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama traded competing claims about who would have won had the presidential election been a contest between the two of them; Obama suggested in a podcast he still held enough sway over the coalition of voters that elected him twice to get them to vote for him once again while Trump tweeted: “He should say that but I say NO WAY!” Star gymnast Simone Biles was voted AP Female Athlete of the Year after her golden run at Rio Olympics.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Donald Moffat is 87. Actor Caroll Spinney (Big Bird on TV’s “Sesame Street”) is 84. Rhythm-and-blues singer Abdul “Duke” Fakir (The Four Tops) is 82. Record producer (and convicted murderer) Phil Spector is 78. “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh is 72. Country musician Bob Carpenter (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 71. Funk musician George Porter Jr. (The Meters) is 70. Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk is 70. Retired MLB All-Star Chris Chambliss is 69. Baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith is 63. Former Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., is 62. Humorist David Sedaris is 61. Rock musician James Kottak (The Scorpions) is 55. Country musician Brian Westrum (Sons of the Desert) is 55. Rock musician Lars Ulrich (Metallica) is 54. Actress Nadia Dajani is 52. Rock musician J is 50. Country singer Audrey Wiggins is 50. Rock musician Peter Klett (Candlebox) is 48. Rock singer James Mercer (The Shins; Flake) is 47. Actor-singer Jared Leto is 46. Actress Kendra C. Johnson is 41. Rock singer Chris Daughtry is 38. Actress Beth Behrs is 32. Actor Kit Harington is 31. Actress Eden Sher is 26. Pop singer Jade Thirlwall (Little Mix Actor) is 25. Actor Zach Mills is 22.