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Today in history

Today is Saturday, December 25, the 359th day of 2021. There are six days left in the year. It’s Christmas day.

Today’s highlight in history:

On December 25, 1991, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev announced on television his resignation as the eighth and last leader of an already defunct Communist superpower.

To this date :

In 336 AD, the first known commemoration of Christmas on December 25 took place in Rome.

In 1066, William the Conqueror was crowned King of England.

In 1776, General George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack on Hessian forces in Trenton, New Jersey, during the American War of Independence.

In 1818, “Silent Night (Stille Nacht)” was performed for the first time in public during Christmas midnight mass at St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorf, Austria.

In 1926, Hirohito became Emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito.

In 1962, the film version of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, adapted from the Harper Lee novel and starring Gregory Peck, was released in Los Angeles.

In 1989 ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu (chow-SHES’-koo) and his wife, Elena, were executed following a popular uprising. Former baseball manager Billy Martin, 61, died in a traffic accident near Binghamton, New York.

In 1995, singer Dean Martin died at his Beverly Hills home at the age of 78.

In 1999, Space Shuttle Discovery astronauts completed their repair work on the Hubble Space Telescope and returned it to orbit.

In 2003, 16 people were killed in mudslides that swept through campgrounds in California’s San Bernardino Valley. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf (pur-VEHZ ‘moo-SHAH’-ruhv) survived a second assassination attempt in 11 days, but 17 others were killed.

In 2006, James Brown, the “godfather of soul”, died in Atlanta at the age of 73.

In 2009, passengers on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 foiled an attempt to detonate the plane as it landed in Detroit by grabbing Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (OO’-mahr fah-ROOK ‘ahb-DOOL’-moo-TAH ‘-lahb), who attempted to set off explosives in his underwear. (Abdulmutallab then pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.)

Ten years ago: Five family members – three children and their grandparents – died in a fire on Christmas morning in Stamford, Connecticut, blamed on hot embers in a trash can. A suicide bombing attack on a Catholic church near the Nigerian capital has left at least 44 dead.

Five years ago: A Russian Tu-154 carrying 92 people to Syria crashed in the Black Sea shortly after taking off from Sochi, killing all 92 people on board. Describing the suffering in Syria, Pope Francis wished Christmas peace and hope to all those scarred by war and terrorism, which he said were sowing “fear and death in the heart of many countries and cities”. George Michael, who rose to fame with WHAM! and continued to enjoy a long and famous solo career, has died at his home in Goring, England at the age of 53.

A year ago: An RV parked on the deserted streets of downtown Nashville exploded on early Christmas morning, damaging dozens of buildings, causing widespread communication blackouts and blocking vacation trips to the airport from the city ; Investigators later determined that the suicide bomber, a 63-year-old man from the Nashville area, was killed in the blast. On Christmas Day, Pope Francis called on authorities to make COVID-19 vaccines accessible to all, insisting that the first in line should be the most vulnerable and the most in need. Amid coronavirus restrictions, George Washington’s annual Christmas morning reenactment of the Delaware River crossing could only be seen online, in a video that was made earlier this month. Bluegrass guitarist Tony Rice has died at his North Carolina home at age 69.

Today’s birthdays: the author Anne Roiphe is 86 years old. Actress Hanna Schygulla (SHEE’-goo-lah) is 78 years old. R&B singer John Edwards (The Spinners) is 77 years old. Actor Gary Sandy is 76 years old. Singer Jimmy Buffett is 75 years old. Professional and college football Hall of Fame member Larry Csonka is 75 years old. Country singer Barbara Mandrell is 73 years old. Actress Sissy Spacek is 72 years old. Blues singer / guitarist Joe Louis Walker is 72 years old. Former White House adviser Karl Rove is 71 years old. Actor CCH Pounder is 69 years old. Lennox is 67 years old. Reggae singer-musician Robin Campbell (UB40) is 67 years old. Country singer Steve Wariner is 67 years old. Singer Shane MacGowan (The Pogues, The Popes) is 64 years old. Baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson is 63 years old. Former Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Christina Romer is 63 years old. Actress Klea Scott is 53 years old. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is 50 years old. Rock musician Noel Hogan (The Cranberries) is 50 years old. The singer Dido is 50 years old. Rock singer Mac Powell (day three) is 49. R&B singer Ryan Shaw is 41 years old. Country singer Alecia Elliott is 39 years old. Pop singers Jess and Lisa Origlia sso (The Veronicas) is 37 years old. Actor Perdita Weeks is 36 years old. Rock singer-musician Lukas Nelson (Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) is 33 years old.

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