Today in History

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Today in History

Today is Saturday, Dec. 19, the 354th day of 2020. There are 12 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 19, 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached by the Republican-controlled House for perjury and obstruction of justice (he was subsequently acquitted by the Senate).

On this date:

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

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

In 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.

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

In 1960, fire broke out on the hangar deck of the nearly completed aircraft carrier USS Constellation at the New York Naval Shipyard; 50 civilian workers were killed.

In 1972, Apollo 17 splashed down in the Pacific, winding up the Apollo program of manned lunar landings.

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 2001, the fires that had burned beneath the ruins of the World Trade Center in New York City for the previous three months were declared extinguished except for a few scattered hot spots.

In 2002, Secretary of State Colin Powell declared Iraq in “material breach” of a U.N. disarmament resolution.

In 2003, design plans were unveiled for the signature skyscraper — a 1,776-foot glass tower — at the site of the World Trade Center in New York City.

In 2008, citing imminent danger to the national economy, President George W. Bush ordered an emergency bailout of the U.S. auto industry.

Ten 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.

Five years ago: Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton debated in Manchester, New Hampshire, where they engaged in a pointed but polite discussion of national security, Americans’ heightened terrorism fears and the economy. Conductor Kurt Masur, 88, died in Greenwich, Connecticut. Spain’s Mireia Lalaguna Royo was named the winner of the Miss World 2015 competition in a Chinese island resort, an event dogged by controversy over China’s refusal to allow Canada’s entrant to attend.

One year ago: Congress headed home for the holidays without a plan or timeline in place for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate; Republicans resisted Democratic demands for new witness testimony. The evangelical Christian magazine Christianity Today said in an editorial that President Donald Trump should be removed from office; the editorial urged believers not to “continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency.” The House gave Trump an overwhelming bipartisan victory on trade, approving a bill putting in place the terms of the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Karl Fontenot, who spent 35 years in prison in a murder case featured in the book and TV series “The Innocent Man,” was released from an Oklahoma prison; a federal judge had written that newly discovered evidence provided “solid proof” of his “probable innocence.”

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Elaine Joyce is 77. Actor Tim Reid is 76. Paleontologist Richard E. Leakey is 76. Musician John McEuen is 75. Singer Janie Fricke is 73. Jazz musician Lenny White is 71. Actor Mike Lookinland is 60. Actor Scott Cohen is 59. Actor Jennifer Beals is 57. Actor Robert MacNaughton is 54. Magician Criss Angel is 53. Rock musician Klaus Eichstadt (Ugly Kid Joe) is 53. Actor Ken Marino is 52. Actor Elvis Nolasco is 52. Actor Derek Webster is 52. Actor Kristy Swanson is 51. Model Tyson Beckford is 50. Actor Amy Locane is 49. Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp is 48. Actor Rosa Blasi is 48. Actor Alyssa Milano is 48. Actor Tara Summers is 41. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal (JIH’-lihn-hahl) is 40. Actor Marla Sokoloff is 40. Rapper Lady Sovereign is 35. Journalist Ronan Farrow is 33. Actor Nik Dodani is 27.

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