Today in History
Today is Saturday, Dec. 17, the 351st day of 2022. There are 14 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, conducted the first successful manned powered-airplane flights near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, using their experimental craft, the Wright Flyer.
On this date:
In 1777, France recognized American independence.
In 1933, in the inaugural NFL championship game, the Chicago Bears defeated the New York Giants, 23-21, at Wrigley Field.
In 1944, the U.S. War Department announced it was ending its policy of excluding people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast.
In 1957, the United States successfully test-fired the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.
In 1969, the U.S. Air Force closed its Project “Blue Book” by concluding there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings.
In 1975, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme was sentenced in Sacramento, California, to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Gerald R. Ford. (She was paroled in Aug. 2009.)
In 1979, Arthur McDuffie, a Black insurance executive, was beaten by police after leading them on a chase with his motorcycle in Miami. McDuffie died in a hospital four days later. (Four white police officers accused of beating McDuffie were later acquitted, sparking riots.)
In 1992, President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (muhl-ROO’-nee) and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari (sah-LEE’-nuhs deh gohr-TAHR’-ee) signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in separate ceremonies. (After President Donald Trump demanded a new deal, the three countries signed a replacement agreement in 2018.)
In 2011, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died after more than a decade of iron rule; he was 69, according to official records, but some reports indicated he was 70.
In 2014, the United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations, sweeping away one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.
In 2018, a report from the Senate intelligence committee found that Russia’s political disinformation campaign on U.S. social media was more far-reaching than originally thought, with troll farms working to discourage Black voters and “blur the lines between reality and fiction” to help elect Donald Trump.
In 2020, a government advisory panel endorsed a second COVID-19 vaccine, paving the way for the shot from Moderna and the National Institutes of Health to be added to the U.S. vaccination campaign.
Ten years ago: Newtown, Connecticut, began laying its dead to rest, holding funerals for two 6-year-old boys, the first of the 20 children killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. A pair of NASA spacecraft, named Ebb and Flow, were deliberately crashed into a mountain near the moon’s north pole, ending a mission that peered into the lunar interior. Longtime Democratic U.S. senator and World War II hero Daniel Inouye (ih-NOH’-way) of Hawaii died in Bethesda, Maryland, at age 88.
Five years ago: Facing an investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct and using racist language, Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced that he would sell the NFL team after the season. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” took in $220 million in its debut weekend in North America, good for the second-best opening ever and behind only its predecessor, “The Force Awakens.” French sailor Francois Gabart broke the record for sailing around the world alone, circumnavigating the planet in just 42 days and 16 hours.
One year ago: A federal appeals court panel ruled that President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for larger private employers could take effect. (Weeks later, the Supreme Court rejected that mandate.) A Florida man, 54-year-old Robert Palmer, who had attacked police officers trying to hold back the angry mob at the Capitol on Jan. 6, was sentenced to more than five years behind bars. The National Labor Relations Board confirmed a vote to form a union at a Starbucks store in Buffalo; the coffee retailer, for the first time, would have to bargain with organized labor at a company-owned U.S. store. A fire that spread from a fourth-floor mental clinic in an eight-story building in downtown Osaka in western Japan left 25 dead. (A clinic patient suspected of starting the fire died two weeks later at a hospital where he was being treated for burns and smoke inhalation.)
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Armin Mueller-Stahl is 92. Pope Francis is 86. Singer-actor Tommy Steele is 86. Actor Bernard Hill is 78. Actor Ernie Hudson is 77. Comedian-actor Eugene Levy is 76. Actor Marilyn Hassett is 75. Actor Wes Studi is 75. Pop musician Jim Bonfanti (The Raspberries) is 74. Actor Joel Brooks is 73. Rock singer Paul Rodgers is 73. R&B singer Wanda Hutchinson Vaughn (The Emotions) is 71. Actor Bill Pullman is 69. Actor Barry Livingston is 69. Country singer Sharon White is 69. Producer-director-writer Peter Farrelly is 66. Rock musician Mike Mills (R.E.M.) is 64. Pop singer Sarah Dallin (Bananarama) is 61. Country singer Tracy Byrd is 56. Country musician Duane Propes is 56. Actor Laurie Holden is 53. DJ Homicide (Sugar Ray) is 52. Actor Sean Patrick Thomas is 52. Actor Claire Forlani is 51. Pop-rock musician Eddie Fisher (OneRepublic) is 49. Actor Sarah Paulson is 48. Actor Marissa Ribisi is 48. Actor Giovanni Ribisi is 48. Actor Milla Jovovich (YO’-vuh-vich) is 47. Singer Bree Sharp is 47. Singer-songwriter Ben Goldwasser (MGMT) is 40. Rock singer Mikky Ekko is 39. Actor Shannon Woodward is 38. Actor Emma Bell is 36. Actor Vanessa Zima is 36. Rock musician Taylor York (Paramore) is 33. Actor Graham Rogers is 32. Actor-singer Nat Wolff is 28.