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December 25, 2013

Today in History for Wednesday, December 25, 2013

-- — Today is Wednesday, Dec. 25, the 359th day of 2013. There are six days left in the year. This is Christmas Day.

Highlight in History

On Dec. 25, 1818, “Silent Night (Stille Nacht),” written by Franz Gruber and Father Joseph Mohr, was publicly performed for the first time during the Christmas Midnight Mass at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.

On this date

In A.D. 336, the first recorded celebration 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, N.J.

In 1868, President Andrew Johnson granted an unconditional pardon to all persons involved in the Southern rebellion that resulted in the Civil War.

In 1926, Hirohito became emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito.

In 1931, New York’s Metropolitan Opera broadcast an entire live opera over radio for the first time: “Hansel and Gretel” by Engelbert Humperdinck.

In 1937, the NBC Symphony Orchestra, led for the first time by conductor Arturo Toscanini, performed a Christmas concert featuring works by Vivaldi, Mozart and Brahms.

In 1941, during World War II, Japan announced the surrender of the British-Canadian garrison at Hong Kong.

In 1973, “The Sting,” starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford as a pair of 1930s grifters, was released.

In 1989, ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHES’-koo) and his wife, Elena, were executed following a popular uprising.

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 2009, passengers aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 foiled an attempt to blow up the plane as it was landing in Detroit by seizing a man who tried to set off explosives in his underwear.

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