Today in history: December 22


Today is Sunday, Dec. 22, the 356th day of 2019. There are nine days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 22, 2010, President Barack Obama signed a law allowing gays for the first time in history to serve openly in America’s military, repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

On this date:

In 1808, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67, Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68, and Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op. 58, had their world premieres in Vienna, Austria.

In 1894, French army officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason in a court-martial that triggered worldwide charges of anti-Semitism. (Dreyfus was eventually vindicated.)

In 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington for a wartime conference with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In 1944, during the World War II Battle of the Bulge, U.S. Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe rejected a German demand for surrender, writing “Nuts!” in his official reply.

In 1968, Julie Nixon married David Eisenhower in a private ceremony in New York.

In 1984, New York City resident Bernhard Goetz (bur-NAHRD’ gehts) shot and wounded four youths on a Manhattan subway, claiming they were about to rob him.

In 1989, Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHES’-koo), the last of Eastern Europe’s hard-line Communist rulers, was toppled from power in a popular uprising. Playwright Samuel Beckett died in Paris at age 83.

In 1991, the body of Marine Lt. Col. William R. Higgins, an American hostage slain by his terrorist captors, was recovered after it had been dumped along a highway in Lebanon.

In 1992, a Libyan Boeing 727 jetliner crashed after a midair collision with a MiG fighter, killing all 157 aboard the jetliner, and both crew members of the fighter jet.

In 2001, Richard C. Reid, a passenger on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami, tried to ignite explosives in his shoes, but was subdued by flight attendants and fellow passengers. (Reid is serving a life sentence in federal prison.) Hamid Karzai (HAH’-mihd KAHR’-zeye) was sworn in as prime minister of Afghanistan’s interim government.

In 2008, five Muslim immigrants accused of scheming to massacre U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix were convicted of conspiracy in Camden, N.J. (Four were later sentenced to life in prison; one received a 33-year sentence.)

In 2017, iPhone owners from several states sued Apple for not disclosing sooner that it issued software updates deliberately slowing older-model phones so aging batteries would last longer.

Ten years ago: Assailants gunned down the mother, aunt and siblings of a Mexican marine who was killed in a raid that took out one of Mexico’s most powerful cartel leaders. Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh (ehn-DAHM’-uh-kehn soo) became the first defensive player voted The Associated Press College Football Player of the Year.

Five years ago: North Korea experienced sweeping Internet outages for hours before coming back online; the White House and the State Department refused to say whether the U.S. government was responsible. Singer Joe Cocker, 70, died in Crawford, Colorado. Actress Christine Cavanaugh, the voice of “Babe” the pig, died in Cedar City, Utah, at age 51.

One year ago: Indonesia’s Anak Krakatau volcano island erupted and collapsed, triggering a tsunami that killed more than 420 people and displaced 40,000.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Hector Elizondo is 83. Country singer Red Steagall is 81. Former World Bank Group President Paul Wolfowitz is 76. Baseball Hall of Famer Steve Carlton is 75. Former ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer is 74. Rock singer-musician Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick) is 71. Rock singer-musician Michael Bacon is 71. Baseball All-Star Steve Garvey is 71. Golfer Jan Stephenson is 68. Actress BernNadette Stanis is 66. Rapper Luther “Luke” Campbell is 59. Country singer-musician Chuck Mead is 59. Actor Ralph Fiennes (rayf fynz) is 57. Actress Lauralee Bell is 51. Country singer Lori McKenna is 51. Actress Dina Meyer is 51. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is 49. Actress Heather Donahue is 46. Actor Chris Carmack is 39. Actor Harry Ford is 37. Actor Greg Finley is 35. Actor Logan Huffman is 30. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jordin Sparks is 30. Pop singer Meghan Trainor is 26.

Thought for Today: “Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.” — Sinclair Lewis, American author (1885-1951).

The Associated Press.