Today in History
Today is Wednesday, Dec. 22, the 356th day of 2021. 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 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 1937, the first center tube of the Lincoln Tunnel connecting New York City and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River was opened to traffic. (The second tube opened in 1945, the third in 1957.)
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 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.
In 1990, Lech Walesa (lek vah-WEN’-sah) took the oath of office as Poland’s first popularly elected president.
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.)
In 2003, a federal judge ruled the Pentagon couldn’t enforce mandatory anthrax vaccinations for military personnel.
In 2008, five Muslim immigrants accused of scheming to massacre U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix were convicted of conspiracy in Camden, New Jersey. (Four were later sentenced to life in prison; one received a 33-year sentence.)
Ten years ago: A wave of 16 bombings ripped across Baghdad, killing at least 69 people in the worst violence in Iraq in months days after the last American forces left the country, heightening fears of a new round of sectarian bloodshed.
Five years ago: President-elect Donald Trump named close adviser Kellyanne Conway as his White House counselor and former Republican National Committee spokesman Sean Spicer as press secretary. The Syrian government took full control of the city of Aleppo for the first time in four years after the last opposition fighters and civilians were bused out of war-ravaged eastern districts, ending a brutal chapter in Syria’s civil war.
One year ago: President Donald Trump unexpectedly released two videos, one falsely declaring that he had won the election in a “landslide,” and the other urging lawmakers to increase direct payments for most individuals to $2,000 in a COVID relief package, a move opposed by most Republicans. The coronavirus pandemic reached every continent on Earth, as Chile announced that 58 people who were at military bases in Antarctica or on a navy ship that went to the continent had tested positive. President Donald Trump pardoned four former government contractors who were convicted in a 2007 massacre in Baghdad that left more than a dozen Iraqi civilians dead; others pardoned included former Republican Reps. Duncan Hunter of California and Chris Collins of New York. California Gov. Gavin Newsom appointed Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris; Padilla became California’s first Latino senator.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Hector Elizondo is 85. Country singer Red Steagall is 83. Former World Bank Group President Paul Wolfowitz is 78. Baseball Hall of Famer Steve Carlton is 77. Former ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer is 76. Rock singer-musician Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick) is 73. Rock singer-musician Michael Bacon is 73. Baseball All-Star Steve Garvey is 73. Golfer Jan Stephenson is 70. Actor BernNadette Stanis is 68. Rapper Luther “Luke” Campbell is 61. Actor Ralph Fiennes (rayf fynz) is 59. Actor Lauralee Bell is 53. Country singer Lori McKenna is 53. Actor Dina Meyer is 53. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is 51. Actor Heather Donahue is 48. Actor Chris Carmack is 41. Actor Harry Ford is 39. Actor Greg Finley is 37. Actor Logan Huffman is 32. R&B singer Jordin Sparks is 32. Pop singer Meghan Trainor is 28.