Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Dec. 19, the 353rd day of 2015. There are 12 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Dec. 19, 1915, legendary French chanteuse Edith Piaf was born in Paris. German psychiatrist Alois Alzheimer, who discovered the pathological condition of dementia, died in Breslau (now Wroclaw), Poland, at age 51.

On this date:

In 1777, Gen. George Washington led his army of about 11,000 men to Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to camp for the winter.

In 1813, British forces captured Fort Niagara during the War of 1812.

In 1843, “A Christmas Carol,” by Charles Dickens, was first published in England.

In 1907, 239 workers died in a coal mine explosion in Jacobs Creek, Pennsylvania.

In 1932, the British Broadcasting Corp. began transmitting overseas with its Empire Service to Australia.

In 1946, war broke out in Indochina as troops under Ho Chi Minh launched widespread attacks against the French.

In 1957, Meredith Willson’s musical play “The Music Man” opened on Broadway.

In 1961, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., 73, suffered a debilitating stroke while in Palm Beach, Florida.

In 1974, Nelson A. Rockefeller was sworn in as the 41st vice president of the United States in the U.S. Senate chamber by Chief Justice Warren Burger with President Gerald R. Ford looking on.

In 1975, John Paul Stevens was sworn in as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1985, in Minneapolis, Mary Lund became the first woman to receive a Jarvik VII artificial heart. (Lund received a human heart transplant 45 days later; she died in October 1986.)

In 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican-controlled House for perjury and obstruction of justice (he was subsequently acquitted by the Senate).

Ten years ago: A Chalk’s Ocean Airways seaplane crashed off Miami Beach, Florida, killing all 18 passengers and both pilots. President George W. Bush forcefully defended a domestic spying program as an effective tool in disrupting terrorists and insisted it was not an abuse of Americans’ civil liberties. A video posted online by an extremist group, the Islamic Army of Iraq, purportedly showed the killing of American contractor Ronald Allen Schulz. Afghanistan’s first democratically elected parliament in more than three decades convened. Southern California running back Reggie Bush was named Associated Press Player of the Year. Mob boss Vincent “The Chin” Gigante died in federal prison in Springfield, Missouri, at age 77.

Five years ago: The body of an American tourist, Kristine Luken, 44, was found near a road outside Jerusalem. (A Palestinian man was later sentenced by an Israeli court to life in prison for stabbing Luken.) Belarus’ President Alexander Lukashenko won re-election. In a game that came to be known as the “Miracle at the New Meadowlands,” Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown as time expired in the Eagles’ 38-31 comeback win over the New York Giants.

One year ago: President Barack Obama said Sony Pictures Entertainment “made a mistake” in shelving “The Interview,” a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader; Sony defended its decision, saying it had no choice but to cancel the film’s Christmas Day theatrical release because the country’s top theater chains had pulled out in the face of threats.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Cicely Tyson is 91. Former game show contestant Herb Stempel is 89. Rhythm-and-blues singer-musician Maurice White (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 74. Former South Korean President Lee Myung-bak is 74. Actress Elaine Joyce is 72. Actor Tim Reid is 71. Paleontologist Richard E. Leakey is 71. Musician John McEuen is 70. Singer Janie Fricke is 68. Jazz musician Lenny White is 66. Actor Mike Lookinland is 55. Actress Jennifer Beals is 52. Actor Scott Cohen is 51. Actor Robert MacNaughton is 49. Magician Criss Angel is 48. Rock musician Klaus Eichstadt (Ugly Kid Joe) is 48. Actor Ken Marino is 47. Actor Elvis Nolasco is 47. Rock musician Kevin Shepard is 47. Actor Derek Webster is 47. Actress Kristy Swanson is 46. Model Tyson Beckford is 45. Actress Amy Locane is 44. Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp is 43. Actress Rosa Blasi is 43. Actress Alyssa Milano is 43. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal (JIH’-lihn-hahl) is 35. Actress Marla Sokoloff is 35. Rapper Lady Sovereign is 30. Actor Iain de Caestecker is 28.

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