Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Monday, Dec. 28, the 362nd day of 2015. There are three days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 28, 1945, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

On this date:

In 1612, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei observed the planet Neptune, but mistook it for a star. (Neptune wasn’t officially discovered until 1846 by Johann Gottfried Galle.)

In 1832, John C. Calhoun became the first vice president of the United States to resign, stepping down because of differences with President Andrew Jackson.

In 1846, Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union.

In 1856, the 28th president of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, was born in Staunton (STAN’-tun), Virginia.

In 1895, the Lumiere brothers, Auguste and Louis, held the first public showing of their movies in Paris.

In 1917, the New York Evening Mail published “A Neglected Anniversary,” a facetious essay by H.L. Mencken supposedly recounting the history of bathtubs in America.

In 1937, composer Maurice Ravel died in Paris at age 62.

In 1944, the musical “On the Town,” with music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, opened on Broadway.

In 1945, Fritz Lang’s film noir, “Scarlet Street,” starring Edward G. Robinson and Joan Bennett, was released by Universal Pictures. Author Theodore Dreiser, 74, died in Hollywood.

In 1961, the Tennessee Williams play “Night of the Iguana” opened on Broadway. Former first lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson, died in Washington at age 89.

In 1975, the “Hail Mary pass” entered the football lexicon as Dallas quarterback Roger Staubach tossed the ball to Drew Pearson for an improbable 50-yard touchdown with 24 seconds left to help the Cowboys come back to edge the Minnesota Vikings 17-14.

In 1989, Alexander Dubcek (DOOB’-chek), the former Czechoslovak Communist leader who was deposed in a Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968, was named president of the country’s parliament.

Ten years ago: Former top Enron Corp. accountant Richard Causey pleaded guilty to securities fraud and agreed to help pursue convictions against Enron founder Kenneth Lay and former CEO Jeffrey Skilling. (Causey was later sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison.) Barry Cowsill, a member of the popular 1960s singing family The Cowsills, was found dead on a New Orleans wharf nearly four months after he disappeared when Hurricane Katrina flooded the city.

Five years ago: Eight young people were killed in a fire that swept through an abandoned New Orleans warehouse (some of the victims were squatters who had been living inside the building). Agathe von Trapp, the real-life inspiration for eldest daughter Liesl in the musical “The Sound of Music,” died in Towson, Maryland, at age 97.

One year ago: AirAsia Flight 8501, an Airbus A-320, crashed during a flight from Indonesia to Singapore, killing all 162 people on board. A fire broke out aboard the ferry MS Norman Atlantic off the coast of Albania, leaving at least 11 people dead and 18 missing. The war in Afghanistan, fought for 13 bloody years and still raging, came to a formal end with a quiet flag-lowering ceremony in Kabul that marked the transition of the fighting from U.S.-led combat troops to the country’s own security forces.

Today’s Birthdays: Comic book creator Stan Lee is 93. Former United Auto Workers union president Owen Bieber is 86. Actress Nichelle Nichols is 83. Actress Dame Maggie Smith is 81. Rock singer-musician Charles Neville is 77. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., is 71. Former Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., is 69. Rock singer-musician Edgar Winter is 69. Funk musician Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste (The Meters) is 67. Actor Denzel Washington is 61. Country singer Joe Diffie is 57. Country musician Mike McGuire (Shenandoah) is 57. Actor Chad McQueen is 55. Country singer-musician Marty Roe (Diamond Rio) is 55. Actor Malcolm Gets is 51. Actor Mauricio Mendoza is 46. Actress Elaine Hendrix is 45. Comedian Seth Meyers is 42. Actor Brendan Hines is 39. Actor Joe Manganiello is 39. Actress Vanessa Ferlito is 38. Rhythm-and-blues singer John Legend is 37. Actor Andre Holland is 36. Actress Sienna Miller is 34. Pop singer Kasey Sheridan (Dream) is 29. Actor Thomas Dekker is 28. Actress Mackenzie Rosman is 26. Pop singer David Archuleta is 25. Actor Miles Brown (TV: “black-ish”) is 11.

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