Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 14, 2012, a gunman with a semi-automatic rifle killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, then committed suicide as police arrived; the 20-year-old had also fatally shot his mother at their home before carrying out the attack on the school.
On this date:
In 1799, the first president of the United States, George Washington, died at his Mount Vernon, Virginia, home at age 67.
In 1819, Alabama joined the Union as the 22nd state.
In 1861, Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, died at Windsor Castle at age 42.
In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (ROH’-ahl AH’-mun-suhn) and his team became the first men to reach the South Pole, beating out a British expedition led by Robert F. Scott.
In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson vetoed an immigration measure aimed at preventing “undesirables” and anyone born in the “Asiatic Barred Zone” from entering the U.S. (Congress overrode Wilson’s veto in February 1917.)
In 1961, a school bus was hit by a passenger train at a crossing near Greeley, Colorado, killing 20 students.
In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, ruled that Congress was within its authority to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against racial discrimination by private businesses (in this case, a motel that refused to cater to Blacks).
In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights, which it had seized from Syria in 1967.
In 1988, President Reagan authorized the U.S. to enter into a “substantive dialogue” with the Palestine Liberation Organization, after chairman Yasser Arafat said he was renouncing “all forms of terrorism.”
In 2005, President George W. Bush defended his decision to wage the Iraq war, even as he acknowledged that “much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong.”
In 2006, a British police inquiry concluded that the deaths of Princess Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, in a 1997 Paris car crash were a “tragic accident,” and that allegations of a murder conspiracy were unfounded. Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun died in New York at age 83.
In 2016, Yahoo said it believed hackers had stolen data from more than one billion user accounts in Aug. 2013 (in Oct. 2017, Yahoo raised that figure to 3 billion).
Ten years ago: The White House insisted the implementation of President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law would not be affected by a negative federal court ruling, and the Justice Department said it would appeal. Gunman Clay A. Duke fired at school board members in Panama City, Florida, but hit no one before fatally shooting himself. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi scraped through two parliamentary votes of no confidence.
Five years ago: Bill Cosby fired back at seven women who were suing him for defamation, accusing them in a federal countersuit of making false accusations of sexual misconduct for financial gain. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that Pete Rose, serving a lifetime ban for betting on baseball, would continue to be banned from working in the sport. Lillian Vernon, 88, creator of a multimillion dollar catalog business that sold specialized gifts and home goods, died in New York. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” had its world premiere at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theater.
One year ago: French New Wave film star Anna Karina, an icon of the cinema in the 1960s, died at the age of 79. The bat that Babe Ruth used to hit his 500th home run was sold at auction for more than $1 million. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner defeated Tony Buzbee in a runoff election to win a second term; Turner had highlighted Buzbee’s prior support of President Donald Trump. LSU quarterback Joe Burrow won the Heisman Trophy in a record landslide vote.
Today’s Birthdays: Singer-actor Abbe Lane is 89. Actor Hal Williams is 86. Actor-singer Jane Birkin is 74. Pop singer Joyce Vincent-Wilson (Tony Orlando and Dawn) is 74. Entertainment executive Michael Ovitz is 74. Actor Dee Wallace is 72. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ronnie McNeir (The Four Tops) is 71. Rock musician Cliff Williams is 71. Actor-comedian T.K. Carter is 64.
Rock singer-musician Mike Scott (The Waterboys) is 62. Singer-musician Peter “Spider” Stacy (The Pogues) is 62. Actor Cynthia Gibb is 57. Actor Nancy Valen is 55. Actor Archie Kao is 51. Actor Natascha McElhone is 51. Actor-comedian Michaela Watkins is 49. Actor-comedian Miranda Hart is 48. Rhythm-and-blues singer Brian Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 45. Actor KaDee Strickland is 45. Actor Tammy Blanchard is 44. Actor Sophie Monk is 41. Actor-singer-musician Jackson Rathbone is 36. Actor Vanessa Hudgens is 32. Rock/R&B singer Tori Kelly is 28.