Today in history: December 23


Today is Monday, Dec. 23, the 357th day of 2019. There are eight days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 23, 1968, 82 crew members of the U.S. intelligence ship Pueblo were released by North Korea, 11 months after they had been captured.

On this date:

In 1783, George Washington resigned as commander in chief of the Continental Army and retired to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia.

In 1805, Joseph Smith Jr., principal founder of the Mormon religious movement, was born in Sharon, Vermont.

In 1913, the Federal Reserve System was created as President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act.

In 1941, during World War II, American forces on Wake Island surrendered to the Japanese.

In 1948, former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese war leaders were executed in Tokyo.

In 1954, the first successful human kidney transplant took place at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston as a surgical team removed a kidney from 23-year-old Ronald Herrick and implanted it in Herrick’s twin brother, Richard.

In 1972, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Nicaragua; the disaster claimed some 5,000 lives.

In 1975, Richard S. Welch, the Central Intelligence Agency station chief in Athens, was shot and killed outside his home by the militant group November 17.

In 1986, the experimental airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan (ruh-TAN’) and Jeana (JEE’-nuh) Yeager, completed the first non-stop, non-refueled round-the-world flight as it returned safely to Edwards Air Force Base in California.

In 1995, a fire in Dabwali, India, killed 446 people, more than half of them children, during a year-end party being held near the children’s school.

In 1997, a federal jury in Denver convicted Terry Nichols of involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing, declining to find him guilty of murder. (Nichols was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.)

In 2001, Time magazine named New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani its Person of the Year for his steadfast response to the 9/11 terrorist attack.

Ten years ago: Richard and Mayumi Heene (HEE’-nee), the parents who’d pulled the “balloon boy” hoax in hopes of landing a reality TV show, were sentenced by a judge in Fort Collins, Colorado, to jail (90 days for him, 20 days for her). Gary Patterson, who’d guided TCU to its best season in 70 years, became the first Associated Press Coach of the Year from outside the six conferences with automatic BCS bids. Yitzhak Ahronovitch, captain of the Exodus during a 1947 attempt to take Holocaust survivors to Palestine, died in northern Israel at age 86.

Five years ago: The movie “The Interview” was put back into theaters when Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a limited release of the comedy that had provoked an international incident with North Korea and outrage over its canceled showing. The NFL’s troubles with domestic violence were selected the sports story of the year in an annual vote conducted by The Associated Press.

One year ago: Amid criticism and fallout from the resignation of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, President Donald Trump pushed the Pentagon chief out the door two months earlier than planned; in a series of tweets, Trump appeared to question why he had put Mattis in his Cabinet in the first place.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Ronnie Schell is 88. Former Emperor Akihito of Japan is 86. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Paul Hornung is 84. Actor Frederic Forrest is 83. Rock musician Jorma Kaukonen (YOR’-mah KOW’-kah-nen) is 79. Rock musician Ron Bushy is 78. Actor-comedian Harry Shearer is 76. U.S. Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark (ret.) is 75. Actress Susan Lucci is 73. Singer-musician Adrian Belew is 70. Rock musician Dave Murray (Iron Maiden) is 63. Actress Joan Severance is 61. Singer Terry Weeks is 56. Rock singer Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) is 55. The former first lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is 52. Rock musician Jamie Murphy is 44. Jazz musician Irvin Mayfield is 42. Actress Estella Warren is 41. Actress Elvy Yost is 32. Actress Anna Maria Perez de Tagle (TAG’-lee) is 29. Actor Spencer Daniels is 27. Actor Caleb Foote is 26.

Thought for Today: “Oh, for the good old days when people would stop Christmas shopping when they ran out of money.” — Author unknown.

The Associated Press.