Today In History...
In 1904 A fire destroys more than 1500 buildings in Baltimore, Maryland.
In 1931 Aviator Amelia Earhart marries publisher George P. Putnam.
In 1936 President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorizes a flag for the office of the vice president.
In 1940 Walt Disney's animated film "Pinocchio" is released.
In 1943 During World War II, the U.S. government announces that shoe rationing would go into effect, limiting consumers to buying three pairs per person for the remainder of the year.
In 1944 During World War II, the Germans launch a counteroffensive against Allied troops at Anzio, Italy.
In 1948 General Dwight D. Eisenhower resigns as Army chief of staff and is succeeded by General Omar Bradley.
In 1965 The U.S. begins regular bombing of North Vietnam.
In 1971 Women in Switzerland win the right to vote.
In 1973 The U.S. Senate establishes its Watergate investigating committee.
In 1974 Grenada gains independence from Britain (National Day).
In 1976 The World's largest telescope (600 cm) begins operation in the USSR.
In 1977 Soyuz 24 is launched.
In 1978 A 3-day storm hits parts of New England with 4 feet of snow.
In 1983 Elizabeth H. Dole is sworn in as the first female secretary of transportation by the first woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
In 1983 President Reagan fires Environmental Protection Agency official Rita Lavelle after she refused a request to resign.
In 1984 Space shuttle astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart make the first unlettered space walk.
In 1985 A court in Torun, Poland, finds four security officers guilty of the murder of pro-Solidarity priest Jerzy Popieluszko.
In 1986 Haiti's President-for-Life, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, fled the country ending 28 years of his family's rule.
In 1986 The Philippines hold a presidential election marred by charges of fraud against the incumbent, Ferdinand E. Marcos.
In 1989 Los Angeles outlaws semi-automatic weapons.
In 1989 Bowing to public outrage, both houses of Congress vote to kill their scheduled 51 percent pay increase.
In 1990 The Soviet Union's Communist Party agrees to let alternative political parties compete for control of the country.
In 1990 An 811-foot tanker, the American Trader, spills hundreds of thousands of gallons of Alaskan crude oil off the coast of Huntington Beach, California.
In 1991 The Rev. Jean-Bertrand Aristide is sworn in as Haiti's first democratically elected president.
In 1992 Russian President Boris Yeltsin and French President Francois Mitterrand sign a cooperation treaty in Paris.
In 1992 Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson testifies at his rape trial in Indianapolis that his accuser, a Miss Black America contestant, had consented to sex with him.
In 1995 Ramzi Yousef, the alleged mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing, is arrested in Pakistan after two years as a fugitive.
In 1996 Pope John Paul II is welcomed to Nicaragua for first visit since 1983.
In 1998 The Winter Olympic Games open in Nagano, Japan.
In 1999 Jordan's King Hussein dies of cancer at age 63; he was succeeded by his eldest son, Abdullah.
In 1999 NASA launches the Stardust spacecraft on a mission to chase a comet in hopes of collecting a sample of comet dust.
In 2000 Tiger Woods gained his sixth straight PGA Tour victory (at Pebble Beach), becoming the first player since Ben Hogan in 1948 to win six in a row.
In 2000 Yugoslav Defense Minister Pavle Bulatovic is gunned down in a Belgrade restaurant and died later in a hospital.
In 2000 Magician Doug Henning dies in Los Angeles at age 52.
In 2003 Tom Christerson, the longest-living recipient of a fully self-contained artificial heart, died at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, KY, after 512 days; he was 71.