Today in History


Today is Wednesday, Dec. 28, the 362nd day of 2022. There are three days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 28, 2014, the war in Afghanistan, fought for 13 bloody years and still raging, came to a formal end with a quiet flag-lowering ceremony in Kabul that marked the transition of the fighting from U.S.-led combat troops to the country’s own security forces.

On this date:

In 1612, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei observed the planet Neptune, but mistook it for a star. (Neptune wasn’t officially discovered until 1846 by Johann Gottfried Galle.)

In 1895, the Lumiere brothers, Auguste and Louis, held the first public showing of their movies in Paris.

In 1908, a major earthquake followed by a tsunami devastated the Italian city of Messina, killing at least 70,000 people.

In 1912, San Francisco’s Municipal Railway began operations with Mayor James Rolph Jr. at the controls of Streetcar No. 1 as 50,000 spectators looked on.

In 1945, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

In 1972, Kim Il Sung, the premier of North Korea, was named the country’s president under a new constitution.

In 1973, the Endangered Species Act was signed into law by President Richard Nixon.

In 1981, Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American “test-tube” baby, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

In 1991, nine people died in a crush of people trying to get into a rap celebrity basketball game at City College in New York.

In 2007, Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was laid to rest as the country’s army tried to quell a frenzy of rioting in the wake of her assassination.

In 2015, a grand jury in Cleveland declined to indict a white rookie police officer in the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, a Black youngster who was shot while playing with what turned out to be a pellet gun.

In 2016, film star Debbie Reynolds, who lit up the screen in “Singin’ in the Rain” and other Hollywood classics, died at age 84 a day after losing her daughter, Carrie Fisher, who was 60.

Ten years ago: Dockworkers along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico agreed to extend their contract for more than a month, averting a strike that could have crippled major ports from Boston to Houston and bottled up billions of dollars’ worth of cargo. (A new contract was ratified in April 2013.) Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning Americans from adopting Russian children.

Five years ago: Twelve people died in a Bronx apartment building fire; officials said it was caused by a 3-year-old boy playing with stove burners. (A 13th victim died of his injuries days later.) Officials in Alabama certified Democrat Doug Jones as the winner of a special U.S. Senate election over Republican Roy Moore, who charged that the election was “fraudulent.” Rose Marie, who began her career in show business as a child in the 1920s and co-starred on “The Dick Van Dyke Show” in the 1960s, died at her Los Angeles-area home at the age of 94. Apple apologized for secretly slowing down older iPhones, a move it said was necessary to avoid unexpected shutdowns due to battery fatigue.

One year ago: Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid died at his Nevada home of complications from pancreatic cancer; the Democrat was 82. Hall of Fame football coach and broadcaster John Madden died at 85; his exuberant calls had provided a weekly soundtrack to NFL games for three decades. Los Angeles Angels two-way superstar Shohei Ohtani was named the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Dame Maggie Smith is 88. Former Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota is 76. Rock singer-musician Edgar Winter is 76. Actor Denzel Washington is 68. TV personality Gayle King is 68. Actor Chad McQueen is 62. Country singer-musician Marty Roe (Diamond Rio) is 62. Actor Malcolm Gets is 59. Actor Mauricio Mendoza is 53. Actor Elaine Hendrix is 52. Political commentator Ana Navarro is 51. Talk show host Seth Meyers is 49. Actor Brendan Hines is 46. Actor Joe Manganiello is 46. Actor Vanessa Ferlito is 45. R&B singer John Legend is 44. Rapper-musician-producer Terrace Martin is 44. Actor Andre Holland is 43. Actor Sienna Miller is 41. Actor Beau Garrett (TV: “The Good Doctor”) is 40. Actor Thomas Dekker is 35. Actor Mackenzie Rosman is 33. Pop singer David Archuleta is 32. Actor Mary-Charles Jones (TV: “Kevin Can Wait”) is 21. Actor Miles Brown is 18.

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