Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 15, 2013, Nelson Mandela was laid to rest in his childhood hometown, ending a 10-day mourning period for South Africa’s first Black president.
On this date:
In 1791, the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, went into effect following ratification by Virginia.
In 1890, Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull and 11 other tribe members were killed in Grand River, South Dakota, during a confrontation with Indian police.
In 1944, the U.S. Senate approved the promotions of Henry H. Arnold, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur and George C. Marshall to the five-star rank of General of the Army and the nominations of William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King and Chester W. Nimitz as Admirals of the Fleet.
In 1965, two U.S. manned spacecraft, Gemini 6A and Gemini 7, maneuvered toward each other while in orbit, at one point coming as close as one foot.
In 1967, the Silver Bridge between Gallipolis (gal-ih-puh-LEES’), Ohio, and Point Pleasant, West Virginia, collapsed into the Ohio River, killing 46 people.
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter announced he would grant diplomatic recognition to Communist China on New Year’s Day and sever official relations with Taiwan.
In 1989, a popular uprising began in Romania that resulted in the downfall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHEHS’-koo).
In 2000, the long-troubled Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine was closed for good.
In 2001, with a crash and a large dust cloud, a 50-foot tall section of steel — the last standing piece of the World Trade Center’s facade — was brought down in New York.
In 2009, evangelist Oral Roberts died in Newport Beach, California, at age 91.
In 2012, a day after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, President Barack Obama declared that “every parent in America has a heart heavy with hurt” and said it was time to “take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this.”
In 2016, a federal jury in Charleston, South Carolina, convicted Dylann Roof of slaughtering nine Black church members who had welcomed him to their Bible study.
Ten years ago: The U.N. Security Council gave a unanimous vote of confidence to the government of Iraq by lifting 19-year-old sanctions on weapons and civilian nuclear power. Time magazine named Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old co-founder and CEO of Facebook, its Person of the Year. Movie producer, director and writer Blake Edwards, 88, died in Santa Monica, California. Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Feller died in Cleveland at age 92.
Five years ago: Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio clashed over U.S. military intervention, government spying on Americans’ communications and immigration as front-runner Donald Trump defended his provocative call for banning Muslims from the United States during a Republican presidential debate held in Las Vegas. In a major policy change, Secretary of State John Kerry accepted Russia’s longstanding demand that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s future be determined by his own people.
One year ago: The Hallmark Channel said it would reinstate commercials for a wedding-planning website featuring same-sex couples; the network had pulled the ads following a complaint from a conservative group.
Today’s Birthdays: Singer Cindy Birdsong (The Supremes) is 81.
Rock musician Dave Clark (The Dave Clark Five) is 78. Rock musician Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge) is 74. Actor Don Johnson is 71. Actor Melanie Chartoff is 70. Movie director Julie Taymor is 68. Movie director Alex Cox is 66. Rock musician Paul Simonon (The Clash) is 65. Movie director John Lee Hancock is 64. Democratic Party activist Donna Brazile is 61. Country singer Doug Phelps (Brother Phelps; Kentucky Headhunters) is 60. Movie producer-director Reginald Hudlin is 59. Actor Helen Slater is 57. Actor Paul Kaye (TV: “Game of Thrones”) is 56. Actor Molly Price is 55. Actor Garrett Wang (wahng) is 52. Actor Michael Shanks is 50. Actor Stuart Townsend is 48. Figure skater Surya Bonaly is 47. Actor Geoff Stults is 44. Actor Adam Brody is 41. Actor Michelle Dockery is 39. Actor George O. Gore II is 38. Actor Camilla Luddington is 37. Rock musician Alana Haim (HYM) is 29. Actor Maude Apatow (AP’-ih-tow) is 23. Actor Stefania Owen is 23.