Today In History...

In 1787 Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the constitution.

In 1836 Martin Van Buren is elected the 8th U.S. president.

In 1941 At 7:55am on a Sunday morning, Pearl Harbor is attacked by carrier

based Japanese planes killing 2300. The following day in his war

speech to Congress, President Franklin Roosevelt called it "a day

which will live in infamy."

In 1946 A fire at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, kills 119 people.

In 1953 Israel's Prime Minister Ben-Gureon retires.

In 1965 Pope Paul VI and Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras I simultaneously

lift the mutual excommunications that had led to the split of the

two churches in 1054.

In 1972 America's last manned moon mission to date, Apollo XVII, is


In 1972 Imelda Marcos, wife of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, is

stabbed and seriously wounded.

In 1973 The banana eating record is set at 17 in two minutes.

In 1979 Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, Harvard's first woman professor dies.

In 1983 An Aviaco DC-9 collides on a runway with an Iberia Air Lines Boeing

727 accelerating for takeoff in Madrid, Spain, killing all 42 people

aboard the DC-9 and 51 aboard the Iberia jet.

In 1985 Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart dies at age 70.

In 1982 Texas abandons the electric chair for lethal injection when Charlie

Brooks Jr. is executed in Huntsville.

In 1984 South African Bishop Desmond Tutu meets at the White House with

President Reagan.

In 1986 Student protests in Paris sparked by proposed educational reforms

continue to esculate as dozens of people clash with police in the

Latin Quarter.

In 1987 Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev visits America for the first time.

In 1987 43 people are killed in the crash of a Pacific Southwest Airlines

jetliners in California when a gunman opens fire on a fellow

passenger and the two pilots.

In 1988 A major earthquake in the Soviet Union, measuring 6.9 on the Richter

scale, devastates northern Armenia. Official estimates put the death

toll at over 25,000.

In 1989 East Germany's Communist Party agrees to cooperate with the

opposition in paving the way for free elections and a revised


In 1990 President Bush arrives in Venezuela on the last stop of his South

American tour.

In 1991 50 years after Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, a visibly moved

President Bush leads the nation in services commemorating the day

that brought the U.S. into World War II.

In 1992 The U.S. Supreme Court rejects the challenge to a Mississippi

abortion law which required women to get counseling and then wait 24

hours before terminating their pregnancies.

In 1993 A gunman opens fire on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train,

killing six people and wounding 17.

In 1993 Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary reveals that the government had

conducted more than 200 nuclear weapons tests in secret.

In 1993 Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders suggests that the government study

the impact of drug legalization.

In 1994 PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, meeting with U.S. Secretary of State

Warren Christopher in Gaza City, pledges to protect Israelis from

militant extremists.

In 1995 A Russian-built Tupolev 154 carrying 97 people disappears from radar

screens along forested mountains of Russia's Far East.

In 1995 A 746-pound probe from the "Galileo" spacecraft hurtled into

Jupiter's atmosphere, sending back data to the mothership before it

was presumably destroyed.

In 1996 The space shuttle Columbia lands at the Kennedy Space Center, ending

a nearly 18-day mission marred by a jammed hatch that prevented two

planned spacewalks.

In 1997 Republicans threaten Attorney General Janet Reno with contempt of

Congress over her decision to forgo an independent counsel's

investigation of White House campaign fund raising.

In 1998 The UN evacuates 14 peacekeepers trapped by fighting between army

and rebel forces in central Angola.

In 1998 Attorney General Janet Reno declines to seek an independent counsel

investigation of President Clinton over 1996 campaign financing.

In 1999 NASA scientists all but gave up hope of contacting the Mars Polar

Lander, last heard from four days earlier.

In 2002 President Saddam Hussein grudgingly apologizes to Kuwait for his 

1990 invasion. 

In 2002 Miss Turkey Azra Akin win Miss World in London, bringing to a close 

an international pageant that had incited deadly rioting in 

Nigeria, the original site of the event. 

In 2003 Allies of President Vladimir Putin win a sweeping victory in 

Russia's parliamentary elections.

In 2004 Amway co-founder Jay Van Andel dies at age 80. 

In 2011 Harry Morgan, who appeared in more than 100 films but was best known for 

TV roles including "Dragnet" and "M*A*S*H," dies at age 96.


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