Valdosta Daily Times

December 8, 2013

Today in History for Dec. 8, 2013


The Associated Press

-- — Highlight in History

On Dec. 8, 1941, the United States entered World War II as Congress declared war against Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.



On this date

In 1776, during the Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington’s retreating army crossed the Delaware River from New Jersey into Pennsylvania.

In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which holds that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was free of original sin from the moment of her own conception.

In 1886, the American Federation of Labor was founded in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1914, “Watch Your Step,” the first musical revue to feature a score composed entirely by Irving Berlin, opened in New York.

In 1949, the Chinese Nationalist government moved from the Chinese mainland to Formosa as the Communists pressed their attacks.

In 1961, a fire at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut resulted in 16 deaths. The Beach Boys’ first single, “Surfin’,” was released.

In 1962, the first session of the Second Vatican Council was formally adjourned. Typographers went on a 114-day strike against four New York City newspapers.

In 1972, a United Airlines Boeing 737 crashed while attempting to land at Chicago-Midway Airport, killing 43 of the 61 people on board, as well as two people on the ground; among the passengers who died were Dorothy Hunt, wife of Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt, U.S. Rep. George W. Collins, D-Ill., and CBS News correspondent Michele Clark.

In 1980, rock star John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building by an apparently deranged fan.

In 1982, a man demanding an end to nuclear weapons held the Washington Monument hostage, threatening to blow it up with explosives he claimed were inside a van. (After a 10-hour standoff, Norman D. Mayer was shot dead by police; it turned out there were no explosives.)

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a treaty at the White House calling for destruction of intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

In 1992, Americans got to see live television coverage of U.S. troops landing on the beaches of Somalia as Operation Restore Hope began (because of the time difference, it was early Dec. 9 in Somalia).



Ten years ago

President George W. Bush signed a $400 billion Medicare overhaul bill that included a prescription drug plan for seniors. Congress approved legislation to stem the flood of unwanted junk e-mail known as “spam.” A Greek anti-terrorism court convicted 15 members of the November 17 cell for their roles in a nearly 30-year killing campaign.



Five years ago

In a startling about-face, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal he would confess to masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks; four other men also abandoned their defenses. (Mohammed is still awaiting trial.) A malfunctioning F/A-18D Hornet military jet trying to reach Marine Corps Air Station Miramar slammed into a densely populated San Diego neighborhood, killing four members of a family and incinerating two homes; the pilot ejected safely. Mystery writer Hillary Waugh died in Torrington, Conn. at age 88. Character actor Robert Prosky died in Washington, D.C. five days short of his 78th birthday.



One year ago

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that his cancer had returned and that he would undergo another surgery in Cuba. Pakistan’s president visited a British hospital where a 15-year-old schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai (mah-LAH’-lah YOO’-suhf-zeye), was being treated after being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in October. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.