Today is Tuesday, Dec. 8, the 342nd day of 2009. There are 23 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 8, 1941, the United States entered World War II as Congress declared war against Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
On this date:
In 1776, during the Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington's retreating army crossed the Delaware River from New Jersey into Pennsylvania.
In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which holds that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was free of original sin from the moment of her own conception.
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln announced his plan for the reconstruction of the South.
In 1886, the American Federation of Labor was founded in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1949, the Chinese Nationalist government moved from the Chinese mainland to Formosa as the Communists pressed their attacks.
In 1978, former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir died in Jerusalem at age 80.
In 1980, rock star John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building by Mark David Chapman, an apparently deranged fan.
In 1982, a man demanding an end to nuclear weapons held the Washington Monument hostage, threatening to blow it up with explosives he claimed were inside a van. (After a 10-hour standoff, Norman D. Mayer was shot dead by police; it turned out there were no explosives.)
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a treaty at the White House calling for destruction of intermediate-range nuclear missiles.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed into U.S. law the North American Free Trade Agreement, which went into effect at the start of 1994.
Ten years ago: A Memphis, Tenn., jury hearing a lawsuit filed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s family found that the civil rights leader had been the victim of a vast murder conspiracy, not a lone assassin. A Russian diplomat was ordered to leave the U.S. after he was allegedly caught gathering information from the State Department with an eavesdropping device.
Five years ago: The Senate completed congressional approval of the biggest overhaul of U.S. intelligence in a half-century, voting 89-2 to send the measure to President George W. Bush, who signed it nine days later. Disgruntled U.S. soldiers complained to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld during a question-and-answer session in Kuwait about long deployments and a lack of armored vehicles and other equipment. Treasury Secretary John Snow accepted President Bush's offer to remain in the Cabinet. "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, 38, an influential heavy metal guitarist, was fatally shot with three other people during a performance in Columbus, Ohio; the gunman was then shot dead by a police officer.
One year ago: In a startling about-face, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal he would confess to masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks; four other men also abandoned their defenses. (The Obama administration has since decided to try the defendants in federal civilian court.) A malfunctioning F/A-18D Hornet military jet trying to reach Marine Corps Air Station Miramar slammed into a densely populated San Diego neighborhood, killing four members of a family and incinerating two homes; the pilot ejected safely. Mystery writer Hillary Waugh died in Torrington, Conn., at age 88. Character actor Robert Prosky died in Washington, D.C., five days short of his 78th birthday.
Today's Birthdays: Actor-director Maximilian Schell is 79. Actor James MacArthur is 72. Flutist James Galway is 70. Singer Jerry Butler is 70. Pop musician Bobby Elliott (The Hollies) is 68. Actress Mary Woronov is 66. Actor John Rubinstein is 63. Rock singer-musician Gregg Allman is 62. Reggae singer Toots Hibbert (Toots and the Maytals) is 61. Actress Kim Basinger is 56. Rock musician Warren Cuccurullo is 53. Rock musician Phil Collen (Def Leppard) is 52. Country singer Marty Raybon is 50. Rock musician Marty Friedman is 47. Actor Wendell Pierce is 46. Actress Teri Hatcher is 45. Rapper Bushwick Bill (The Geto Boys) is 43. Singer Sinead O'Connor is 43. Actor Matthew Laborteaux is 43. Rock musician Ryan Newell (Sister Hazel) is 37. Actor Dominic Monaghan is 33. Actor Ian Somerhalder is 31. Rock singer Ingrid Michaelson is 30. R&B singer Chrisette Michele is 27. Rock singer-actress Kate Voegele is 23. Actress AnnaSophia Robb is 16.
Thought for Today: "Untilled ground, however rich, will bring forth thistles and thorns; so also the mind of man." _ St. Teresa of Avila, Spanish Carmelite nun (1515-1582).