Valdosta Daily Times

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December 24, 2013

Today in History for Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013

--- — Highlight in History

On Dec. 24, 1913, 73 people, most of them children, died in a crush of panic after someone falsely called out “Fire!” during a Christmas party for striking miners and their families at the Italian Hall in Calumet, Mich.

On this date

In 1524, Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama — who had discovered a sea route around Africa to India — died in Cochin, India.

In 1814, the War of 1812 officially ended as the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent.

In 1851, fire devastated the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroying about 35,000 volumes.

In 1863, English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray, author of “Vanity Fair,” died in London at age 52.

In 1865, several veterans of the Confederate Army formed a private social club in Pulaski, Tenn., called the Ku Klux Klan.

In 1871, Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Aida” had its world premiere in Cairo, Egypt.

In 1906, Canadian physicist Reginald A. Fessenden became the first person to transmit the human voice (his own) as well as music over radio, from Brant Rock, Mass.

In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe as part of Operation Overlord.

In 1951, Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” the first opera written specifically for television, was first broadcast by NBC-TV.

In 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts, orbiting the moon, read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis during a Christmas Eve telecast.

Ten years ago

A roadside bomb exploded north of Baghdad, killing three U.S. soldiers in the deadliest attack on Americans to that time following Saddam Hussein’s capture. Air France canceled several flights to the United States after U.S. officials passed on what were termed “credible” security threats.

Five years ago

A man dressed in a Santa Claus suit shot his way into the Covina, Calif., home of his former in-laws and set it on fire, killing nine people (the attacker, identified as Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, committed suicide the next day). The Federal Reserve granted a request by the financing arm of General Motors to tap the government’s $700 billion rescue fund, bolstering GM’s ability to survive. Army Capt. Moussa Camara, the leader of a coup in Guinea, entered the country’s capital, hours after saying his group would hold power until elections in two years. Nobel Prize-winning playwright Harold Pinter died in London at age 78.

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