Today is Friday, Dec. 4, the 338th day of 2009. There are 27 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 4, 1619, settlers from Bristol, England, arrived at Berkeley Hundred in present-day Charles City County, Va., where they held a service thanking God for their safe arrival. (Some suggest that this was America's true first Thanksgiving.)
On this date:
In 1783, Gen. George Washington bade farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York.
In 1816, James Monroe of Virginia was elected the fifth president of the United States.
In 1875, William Marcy Tweed, the "Boss" of New York City's Tammany Hall political organization, escaped from jail and fled the country.
In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson left Washington on a trip to France to attend the Versailles Peace Conference.
In 1942, U.S. bombers struck the Italian mainland for the first time in World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the dismantling of the Works Progress Administration, which had been created to provide jobs during the Depression.
In 1965, the United States launched Gemini 7 with Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Borman and Navy Cmdr. James A. Lovell aboard.
In 1978, San Francisco got its first female mayor as City Supervisor Dianne Feinstein was named to replace the assassinated George Moscone.
In 1984, a five-day hijack drama began as four armed men seized a Kuwaiti airliner en route to Pakistan and forced it to land in Tehran, where the hijackers killed American passenger Charles Hegna.
In 1991, the original Pan American World Airways ceased operations.
In 1996, the Mars Pathfinder lifted off from Cape Canaveral and began speeding toward Mars on an odyssey of 310 million miles. (It arrived on Mars in July 1997.)
Ten years ago: NASA scientists continued to wait in vain for a signal from the Mars Polar Lander, raising questions about the whereabouts of NASA's $165 million probe. (It's believed the spacecraft was destroyed after it plunged toward the Red Planet.)
Five years ago: President George W. Bush received the president of Pakistan, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, in the Oval Office; afterward, Bush pronounced himself "very pleased" with Pakistan's efforts to flush out terrorists.
One year ago: U.S. automakers drew fresh skepticism from lawmakers during a Senate Banking Committee hearing over their pleas for an expanded $34 billion rescue package they said was needed for them to survive. For the first time, an NFL game was broadcast live in 3-D to theaters in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. (Although the telecast was marred by technical glitches, fans were mostly forgiving as they watched the San Diego Chargers beat the Oakland Raiders 34-7.)
Today's Birthdays: Actress-singer Deanna Durbin is 88. Game show host Wink Martindale is 76. Pop singer Freddy Cannon is 73. Actor-producer Max Baer Jr. is 72. Actress Gemma Jones is 67. Rock musician Bob Mosley (Moby Grape) is 67. Singer-musician Chris Hillman is 65. Musician Terry Woods (The Pogues) is 62. Rock singer Southside Johnny Lyon is 61. Actor Jeff Bridges is 60. Rock musician Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd; the Rossington Collins Band) is 58. Actress Patricia Wettig is 58. Actor Tony Todd is 55. Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson is 54. Country musician Brian Prout (Diamond Rio) is 54. Rock musician Bob Griffin (The BoDeans) is 50. Rock singer Vinnie Dombroski (Sponge) is 47. Actress Marisa Tomei is 45. Actress Chelsea Noble is 45. Actor-comedian Fred Armisen is 43. Rapper Jay-Z is 40. Actor Kevin Sussman is 39. Actress-model Tyra Banks is 36. Country singer Lila McCann is 28. Actress Lindsay Felton is 25. Actor Orlando Brown is 22.
Thought for Today: "Beauty is the promise of happiness." _ Stendahl (Henri Beyle), French author and critic (1783-1842).