Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, Dec. 15, the 349th day of 2015. There are 16 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 15, 1965, two U.S. manned spacecraft, Gemini 6A and Gemini 7, maneuvered to within 10 feet of each other while in orbit.

On this date:

In 1791, the Bill of Rights went into effect following ratification by Virginia.

In 1814, the “Hartford Convention” began as New England Federalists opposed to the War of 1812 secretly gathered in the Connecticut capital. (America’s victory in the Battle of New Orleans and the war’s end effectively discredited the Convention.)

In 1864, the two-day Battle of Nashville began during the Civil War as Union forces commanded by Maj. Gen. George H. Thomas attacked Confederate troops led by Gen. John Bell Hood; the result was a resounding Northern victory.

In 1890, Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull and 11 other tribe members were killed in Grand River, South Dakota, during a confrontation with Indian police.

In 1938, groundbreaking for the Jefferson Memorial took place in Washington, D.C., with President Franklin D. Roosevelt taking part in the ceremony.

In 1939, the Civil War motion picture epic “Gone with the Wind,” starring Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable, had its world premiere in Atlanta.

In 1944, a single-engine plane carrying bandleader Glenn Miller, a major in the U.S. Army Air Forces, disappeared over the English Channel while en route to Paris.

In 1964, Canada’s House of Commons approved dropping the country’s “Red Ensign” flag in favor of a new design, the “Maple Leaf” flag.

In 1974, the horror spoof “Young Frankenstein,” starring Gene Wilder and directed by Mel Brooks, was released by 20th Century Fox.

In 1989, a popular uprising began in Romania that resulted in the downfall of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHES’-koo).

In 1995, European Union leaders meeting in Madrid, Spain, chose “euro” as the name of the new single European currency.

In 2001, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy, was reopened to the public after a $27 million realignment that had dragged on for over a decade.

Ten years ago: Millions of Iraqis turned out to choose a parliament in a mostly peaceful election. Former Sen. William Proxmire, the Wisconsin Democrat who’d fought government waste with his “Golden Fleece” awards, died in Sykesville, Maryland, at age 90.

Five years ago: The U.N. Security Council gave a unanimous vote of confidence to the government of Iraq by lifting 19-year-old sanctions on weapons and civilian nuclear power. Time magazine named Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old co-founder and CEO of Facebook, its Person of the Year. Movie producer, director and writer Blake Edwards, 88, died in Santa Monica, California. Baseball Hall of Famer Bob Feller died in Cleveland at age 92. The New York Jets suspended assistant coach Sal Alosi indefinitely after they discovered he’d ordered five inactive players to form a wall along the sideline for a punt return, during which he tripped Miami Dolphins player Nolan Carroll.

One year ago: A 16-hour hostage siege began in Sydney, Australia, as an Iranian-born, self-styled Muslim cleric took 17 hostages at a cafe; police ended up storming the cafe, resulting in the deaths of the gunman and two of his captives.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-comedian Tim Conway is 82. Singer Cindy Birdsong (The Supremes) is 76. Rock musician Dave Clark (The Dave Clark Five) is 73. Rock musician Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge) is 69. Actor Don Johnson is 66. Actress Melanie Chartoff is 65. Movie director Julie Taymor is 63. Movie director Alex Cox is 61. Actor Justin Ross is 61. Rock musician Paul Simonon (The Clash) is 60. Movie director John Lee Hancock is 59. DNC Vice Chairwoman Donna Brazile is 56. Country singer Doug Phelps (Brother Phelps; Kentucky Headhunters) is 55. Movie producer-director Reginald Hudlin is 54. Actress Helen Slater is 52. Actress Molly Price is 50. Actor Garrett Wang (wahng) is 47. Actor Michael Shanks is 45. Actor Stuart Townsend is 43. Figure skater Surya Bonaly is 42. “Crowd-hyper” Kito Trawick (Ghostown DJs) is 38. Actor Adam Brody is 36. Actress Michelle Dockery is 34. Actor George O. Gore II is 33. Actress Camilla Luddington is 32. Rock musician Alana Haim (HYM) is 24. Actress Stefania Owen is 18.

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