Today in history: December 28


Today is Saturday, Dec. 28, the 362nd day of 2019. There are three days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 28, 1945, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

On this date:

In 1612, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei observed the planet Neptune, but mistook it for a star. (Neptune wasn’t officially discovered until 1846 by Johann Gottfried Galle.)

In 1832, John C. Calhoun became the first vice president of the United States to resign, stepping down because of differences with President Andrew Jackson.

In 1846, Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union.

In 1879, a section of the Tay Bridge in Dundee, Scotland, collapsed as a train was traveling over it, sending an estimated 75 people to their deaths in the river below.

In 1895, the Lumiere brothers, Auguste and Louis, held the first public showing of their movies in Paris.

In 1908, a major earthquake followed by a tsunami devastated the Italian city of Messina, killing at least 70,000 people.

In 1961, the Tennessee Williams play “Night of the Iguana” opened on Broadway. Former first lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson, died in Washington at age 89.

In 1972, Kim Il Sung, the premier of North Korea, was named the country’s president under a new constitution.

In 1981, Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American “test-tube” baby, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

In 1987, the bodies of 14 relatives of Ronald Gene Simmons were found at his home near Dover, Arkansas, after Simmons shot and killed two other people in Russellville. (Simmons, who never explained his motives, was executed in 1990.)

In 2001, the National Guard was called out to help Buffalo, New York, dig out from a paralyzing, 5-day storm that had unloaded nearly 7 feet of snow.

In 2007, Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was laid to rest as the country’s army tried to quell a frenzy of rioting in the wake of her assassination.

Ten years ago: Al-Qaida in Yemen claimed responsibility for a Christmas Day attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner. A bomb blast killed at least 44 people in a Shiite procession in the southern Pakistan city of Karachi. In Argentina, two men turned away from Buenos Aires were wed in Ushuaia (oo-SWY’-ah), the world’s southernmost city, in Latin America’s first same-sex marriage.

Five years ago: AirAsia Flight 8501, an Airbus A-320, crashed during a flight from Indonesia to Singapore, killing all 162 people on board. The war in Afghanistan, fought for 13 bloody years and still raging, came to a formal end with a quiet flag-lowering ceremony in Kabul that marked the transition of the fighting from U.S.-led combat troops to the country’s own security forces.

One year ago: President Donald Trump canceled New Year’s plans, deciding not to travel to Florida amid a partial government shutdown that was expected to continue into the new year. The Environmental Protection Agency became the latest government agency to furlough employees during the partial government shutdown, but said it would keep disaster-response teams and other essential workers on the job. After a two-day manhunt, authorities arrested a suspected drunken driver accused of killing a California police officer who had pulled him over; they said the man later identified as Paulo Virgen Mendoza was trying to flee back to Mexico, where he lived before illegally crossing into the U.S. (Virgen Mendoza has pleaded not guilty to murder in the shooting death of Cpl. Ronil Singh).

Today’s Birthdays: Former United Auto Workers union president Owen Bieber is 90. Actress Nichelle Nichols is 87. Actress Dame Maggie Smith is 85. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., is 75. Former Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., is 73. Rock singer-musician Edgar Winter is 73. Funk musician Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste (The Meters) is 71. Actor Denzel Washington is 65. TV personality Gayle King is 65. Country singer Joe Diffie is 61. Country musician Mike McGuire (Shenandoah) is 61. Actor Chad McQueen is 59. Country singer-musician Marty Roe (Diamond Rio) is 59. Actor Malcolm Gets is 56. Actor Mauricio Mendoza is 50. Actress Elaine Hendrix is 49. Political commentator Ana Navarro is 48. Talk show host Seth Meyers is 46. Actor Brendan Hines is 43. Actor Joe Manganiello is 43. Actress Vanessa Ferlito is 42. Rhythm-and-blues singer John Legend is 41. Rapper-musician-producer Terrace Martin is 41. Actor Andre Holland is 40. Actress Sienna Miller is 38. Actress Beau Garrett (TV: “The Good Doctor”) is 37. Pop singer Kasey Sheridan (Dream) is 33. Actor Thomas Dekker is 32. Actress Mackenzie Rosman is 30. Pop singer David Archuleta is 29. Actress Mary-Charles Jones (TV: “Kevin Can Wait”) is 18. Actor Miles Brown is 15.

Thought for Today: “There is no luck except where there is discipline.” — Irish proverb.

The Associated Press.