Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 13, 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.
On this date:
In 1835, Phillips Brooks, the American Episcopal bishop who wrote the words to “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” was born in Boston.
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 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 1993, the space shuttle Endeavour returned from its mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
In 2001, the Pentagon publicly released a captured videotape of Osama bin Laden in which the al-Qaida leader said the deaths and destruction achieved by the September 11 attacks exceeded his “most optimistic” expectations.
In 2002, President George W. Bush announced he would take the smallpox vaccine along with U.S. military forces, but was not recommending the potentially risky inoculation for most Americans.
In 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.
In 2007, Major League Baseball’s Mitchell Report was released, identifying 85 names to differing degrees in connection with the alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.
In 2014, thousands of protesters marched in New York, Washington and other U.S. cities to call attention to the killing of unarmed Black men by white police officers who faced no criminal charges.
In 2019, the House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment accusing President Donald Trump of abuse of power in his dealings with Ukraine and obstruction of Congress in the investigation that followed.
Ten years ago: Early sound recordings by Alexander Graham Bell that were packed away at the Smithsonian Institution for more than a century were played publicly for the first time using new technology that read the sound with light and a 3D camera. (In one recording, a man recites part of Hamlet’s Soliloquy; on another, a voice recites the numbers 1 through 6.)
Five years ago: President-elect Donald Trump announced his choice of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state. Actor Alan Thicke, best remembered as the beloved dad on the ABC series “Growing Pains,” died in Los Angeles at age 69.
One year ago: The first vials of the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 began making their way to distribution sites across the United States. President Donald Trump said he was reversing an administration directive to vaccinate top government officials against COVID-19 while public distribution of the shot was limited to health care workers and people in nursing homes and long-term care facilities; hours earlier, the administration had confirmed that senior U.S. officials would be offered vaccines in the days ahead.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-comedian Dick Van Dyke is 96. Country singer Buck White is 91. Music/film producer Lou Adler is 88. Singer John Davidson is 80. Actor Kathy Garver (TV: “Family Affair”) is 76. Singer Ted Nugent is 73. Rock musician Jeff “Skunk” Baxter is 73. Actor Robert Lindsay is 72. Country singer-musician Randy Owen is 72. Actor Wendie Malick is 71. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is 71. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is 68. Country singer John Anderson is 67. Singer-songwriter Steve Forbert is 67. Singer-actor Morris Day is 65. Actor Steve Buscemi (boo-SEH’-mee) is 64. Actor Johnny Whitaker (TV: “Family Affair”) is 62. Rock musician John Munson (Semisonic; Twilight Hours) is 59. Actor-reality TV star NeNe Leakes is 55. Actor-comedian Jamie Foxx is 54. Actor Lusia Strus is 54. Actor Bart Johnson is 51. Actor Jeffrey Pierce is 50. TV personality Debbie Matenopoulos is 47. Rock singer-musician Thomas Delonge is 46. Actor James Kyson Lee is 46. Actor Kimee Balmilero (TV: “Hawaii Five-0”) is 42. Actor Chelsea Hertford is 40.
Rock singer Amy Lee (Evanescence) is 40. Actor Michael Socha is 34. Actor Marcel Spears (TV: “The Mayor”) is 33. Singer Taylor Swift is 32. Actor Maisy Stella is 18.