Today in History

Published 12:01 am Friday, December 28, 2018

Today is Friday, Dec. 28, the 362nd day of 2018. There are three days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 28, 1981, Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American “test-tube” baby, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

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On this date:

In 1612, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei observed the planet Neptune, but mistook it for a star. (Neptune wasn’t officially discovered until 1846 by Johann Gottfried Galle.)

In 1694, Queen Mary II of England died after more than five years of joint rule with her husband, King William III.

In 1832, John C. Calhoun became the first vice president of the United States to resign, stepping down because of differences with President Andrew Jackson.

In 1846, Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union.

In 1895, the Lumiere brothers, Auguste and Louis, held the first public showing of their movies in Paris.

In 1908, a major earthquake followed by a tsunami devastated the Italian city of Messina, killing at least 70,000 people.

In 1945, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

In 1961, the Tennessee Williams play “Night of the Iguana” opened on Broadway. Former first lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson, died in Washington at age 89.

In 1972, Kim Il Sung, the premier of North Korea, was named the country’s president under a new constitution.

In 1973, the book “Gulag Archipelago,” Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s expose (eks-poh-SAY’) of the Soviet prison system, was first published in Paris.

In 1987, the bodies of 14 relatives of Ronald Gene Simmons were found at his home near Dover, Arkansas, after Simmons shot and killed two other people in Russellville. (Simmons, who never explained his motives, was executed in 1990.)

In 1999, Clayton Moore, television’s “Lone Ranger, died in West Hills, California, at age 85.

Ten years ago: A bomb-loaded SUV exploded at a military checkpoint in Afghanistan, claiming the lives of 14 school children in a heartbreaking flash captured by a U.S. security camera. The Detroit Lions completed an awful 0-16 season — the NFL’s worst ever — with a 31-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Five years ago: Iraqi troops detained a Sunni lawmaker, Ahmed al-Alwani, a prominent organizer of Sunni protests in Anbar, on terrorism charges for inciting violence against Shiites. Film, television and stage actor Joseph Ruskin, 89, died in Los Angeles.

One year ago: Twelve people died in a Bronx apartment building fire, the deadliest residential fire to hit New York City in at least a quarter century; officials said it was caused by a 3-year-old boy playing with stove burners. (A 13th victim died of his injuries days later.) Officials in Alabama certified Democrat Doug Jones as the winner of a special U.S. Senate election over Republican Roy Moore, who charged that the election was “fraudulent.” Rose Marie, who began her career in show business as a child in the 1920s and co-starred on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” in the 1960s, died at her Los Angeles-area home at the age of 94. Apple apologized for secretly slowing down older iPhones, a move it said was necessary to avoid unexpected shutdowns due to battery fatigue.

Today’s Birthdays: Former United Auto Workers union president Owen Bieber is 89. Actress Nichelle Nichols is 86. Actress Dame Maggie Smith is 84. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., is 74. Former Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., is 72. Rock singer-musician Edgar Winter is 72. Funk musician Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste (The Meters) is 70. Actor Denzel Washington is 64. TV personality Gayle King is 64. Country singer Joe Diffie is 60. Country musician Mike McGuire (Shenandoah) is 60. Actor Chad McQueen is 58. Country singer-musician Marty Roe (Diamond Rio) is 58. Actor Malcolm Gets is 55. Actor Mauricio Mendoza is 49. Actress Elaine Hendrix is 48. Talk show host Seth Meyers is 45. Actor Brendan Hines is 42. Actor Joe Manganiello is 42. Actress Vanessa Ferlito is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer John Legend is 40. Rapper-musician-producer Terrace Martin is 40. Actor Andre Holland is 39. Actress Sienna Miller is 37. Actress Beau Garrett (TV: “The Good Doctor”) is 36. Pop singer Kasey Sheridan (Dream) is 32. Actor Thomas Dekker is 31. Actress Mackenzie Rosman is 29. Pop singer David Archuleta is 28. Actress Mary-Charles Jones (TV: “Kevin Can Wait”) is 17. Actor Miles Brown is 14.