Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 25, 1990, the World Wide Web, the system providing quick access to websites over the Internet, was born in Geneva, Switzerland, as computer scientists Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau (KAH’-yoh) created the world’s first hyperlinked webpage.
On this date:
In A.D. 336, the first known commemoration of Christmas on Dec. 25 took place in Rome.
In 1066, William the Conqueror was crowned King of England.
In 1776, Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, New Jersey, during the American Revolutionary War.
In 1818, “Silent Night (Stille Nacht)” was publicly performed for the first time during the Christmas Midnight Mass at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.
In 1926, Hirohito became emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito.
In 1946, comedian W.C. Fields died in Pasadena, California, at age 66.
In 1977, comedian Sir Charles Chaplin died in Switzerland at age 88.
In 1989, ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHES’-koo) and his wife, Elena, were executed following a popular uprising. Former baseball manager Billy Martin, 61, died in a traffic accident near Binghamton, New York.
In 1991, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on television to announce his resignation as the eighth and final leader of a communist superpower that had already gone out of existence.
In 1999, space shuttle Discovery’s astronauts finished their repair job on the Hubble Space Telescope and released it back into orbit.
In 2003, sixteen people were killed by mudslides that swept over campgrounds in California’s San Bernardino Valley. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf (pur-VEHZ’ moo-SHAH’-ruhv) survived a second assassination bid in 11 days, but 17 other people were killed.
In 2009, passengers aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 foiled an attempt to blow up the plane as it was landing in Detroit by seizing Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (OO’-mahr fah-ROOK’ ahb-DOOL’-moo-TAH’-lahb), who tried to set off explosives in his underwear. (Abdulmutallab later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.)
Ten years ago: The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, crisscrossed the country, making a Christmas visit to coalition troops at some of the main battle fronts in a show of appreciation and support in the tenth year of the war against the Taliban. A female suicide bomber attacked an aid center in Pakistan, killing at least 45 people. The West Bank town of Bethlehem bustled with its biggest crowd of Christian pilgrims in years. Former Venezuelan President Carlos Andres Perez died in Miami. Olympics documentary filmmaker Bud Greenspan, 84, died in New York.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama paid tribute to six U.S. service members killed in a suicide attack in Afghanistan on Dec. 21 as he delivered a Christmas Day gesture of gratitude to U.S. troops at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe Bay. Pope Francis, in his Christmas Day greeting from the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica, encouraged U.N.-backed peace deals for Syria and Libya and praised those who welcomed migrants. Tennis star Serena Williams was named The Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year for the fourth time. Science-fiction writer George Clayton Johnson, 86, died in Los Angeles.
One year ago: The annual reenactment of George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River in 1776 was completed for the first time in three years, after being scrapped twice in a row because of bad weather.
Today’s Birthdays: Author Anne Roiphe is 85. Actor Hanna Schygulla (SHEE’-goo-lah) is 77. Rhythm-and-blues singer John Edwards (The Spinners) is 76. Actor Gary Sandy is 75. Singer Jimmy Buffett is 74. Pro and College Football Hall-of-Famer Larry Csonka is 74. Country singer Barbara Mandrell is 72. Actor Sissy Spacek is 71. Blues singer/guitarist Joe Louis Walker is 71. Former White House adviser Karl Rove is 70. Actor CCH Pounder is 68. Singer Annie Lennox is 66. Reggae singer-musician Robin Campbell (UB40) is 66. Country singer Steve Wariner is 66.
Singer Shane MacGowan (The Pogues, The Popes) is 63. Baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson is 62. The former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer, is 62. Actor Klea Scott is 52. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is 49. Rock musician Noel Hogan (The Cranberries) is 49. Singer Dido is 49. Rock singer Mac Powell (Third Day) is 48. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ryan Shaw is 40. Country singer Alecia Elliott is 38. Pop singers Jess and Lisa Origliasso (The Veronicas) are 36. Actor Perdita Weeks is 35.
Rock singer-musician Lukas Nelson (Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) is 32.