Today in History

Published 12:17 am Thursday, December 13, 2018

Today is Thursday, Dec. 13, the 347th day of 2018. There are 18 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 13, 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole under a farmhouse in Adwar, Iraq, near his hometown of Tikrit.

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On this date:

In 1862, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside launched futile attacks against entrenched Confederate soldiers during the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg; the soundly defeated Northern troops withdrew two days later.

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit Europe while in office.

In 1928, George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” had its premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York.

In 1937, the Chinese city of Nanjing fell to Japanese forces during the Sino-Japanese War; what followed was a massacre of war prisoners, soldiers and citizens. (China maintains that up to 300,000 people were killed; Japanese nationalists say the death toll was far lower, and some maintain the massacre never happened.)

In 1944, during World War II, the light cruiser USS Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze attack off Negros Island in the Philippines that claimed 133 lives.

In 1977, an Air Indiana Flight 216, a DC-3 carrying the University of Evansville basketball team on a flight to Nashville, crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 29 people on board.

In 1978, the Philadelphia Mint began stamping the Susan B. Anthony dollar, which went into circulation the following July.

In 1981, authorities in Poland imposed martial law in a crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement. (Martial law formally ended in 1983.)

In 1996, the U.N. Security Council chose Kofi Annan (KOH’-fee AN’-nan) of Ghana to become the world body’s seventh secretary-general.

In 1997, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in Los Angeles for the 1 billion-dollar Getty Center, one of the largest arts centers in the United States.

In 2000, Republican George W. Bush claimed the presidency a day after the U.S. Supreme Court shut down further recounts of disputed ballots in Florida; Democrat Al Gore conceded, delivering a call for national unity.

In 2002, Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as Boston archbishop because of the priest sex abuse scandal.

Ten years ago: The White House weighed its options for preventing a collapse of the troubled U.S. auto industry. Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy after guiding the highest-scoring team in major college football history to the national championship game.

Five years ago: North Korea’s state-run media announced the execution the day before of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle, portraying Jang Song Thaek as a morally corrupt traitor. Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian filed for divorce from Lamar Odom after four years of marriage.

One year ago: Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill the Senate seat of fellow Democrat Al Franken until a special election in November, 2018. Congressional Republicans reached agreement on a major overhaul of the nation’s tax laws that would provide generous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans; middle- and low-income families would get smaller tax cuts. The New York Times published claims by three women that they had been raped by music mogul Russell Simmons in the 1980s and 1990s; Simmons denied the allegations.

Today’s Birthdays: Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz is 98. Actor-comedian Dick Van Dyke is 93. Actor Christopher Plummer is 89. Country singer Buck White is 88. Music/film producer Lou Adler is 85. Singer John Davidson is 77. Actress Kathy Garver (TV: “Family Affair”) is 73. Singer Ted Nugent is 70. Rock musician Jeff “Skunk” Baxter is 70. Country musician Ron Getman is 70. Actor Robert Lindsay is 69. Country singer-musician Randy Owen is 69. Actress Wendie Malick is 68. Former Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is 68. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is 65. Country singer John Anderson is 64. Singer-songwriter Steve Forbert is 64. Singer-actor Morris Day is 62. Actor Steve Buscemi (boo-SEH’-mee) is 61. Actor Johnny Whitaker (TV: “Family Affair”) is 59. Rock musician John Munson (Semisonic; Twilight Hours) is 56. Actress-reality TV star NeNe Leakes is 52. Actor-comedian Jamie Foxx is 51. Actor Bart Johnson is 48. Actor Jeffrey Pierce is 47. TV personality Debbie Matenopoulos is 44. Rock singer-musician Thomas Delonge is 43. Actor James Kyson Lee is 43. Actress Kimee Balmilero (TV: “Hawaii Five-0”) is 39. Actress Chelsea Hertford is 37. Rock singer Amy Lee (Evanescence) is 37. Actor Michael Socha is 31. Neo-soul musician Wesley Watkins (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats) is 31. Actor Marcel Spears (TV: “The Mayor”) is 30. Singer Taylor Swift is 29. Actress Maisy Stella is 15.