Today is Friday, Dec. 25th, the 359th day of 2009. There are 6 days left in the year. This is Christmas Day.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 25, 1818, "Silent Night," written by Franz Gruber and Father Joseph Mohr, was performed for the first time, at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.
On this date:
In A.D. 336, the first recorded celebration of Christmas on Dec. 25 took place in Rome.
In 1066, William the Conqueror was crowned king of England.
In 1776, Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, N.J.
In 1926, Hirohito became emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito. (Hirohito was formally enthroned almost two years later.)
In 1941, during World War II, Japan announced the surrender of the British-Canadian garrison at Hong Kong.
In 1946, comedian W.C. Fields died in Pasadena, Calif., at age 66.
In 1977, comedian Charlie Chaplin died in Switzerland at age 88.
In 1989, ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were executed following a popular uprising. Former baseball manager Billy Martin died in a traffic accident in Fenton, N.Y.
In 1991, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on television to announce his resignation as the eighth and final leader of a communist superpower that had already gone out of existence.
In 2006, James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul," died of heart failure in Atlanta at age 73.
Ten years ago: Space shuttle Discovery's astronauts finished their repair job on the Hubble Space Telescope and released it back into orbit. A Cuban airplane crashed in northern Venezuela, killing all 22 aboard.
Five years ago: President George W. Bush urged Americans to help the neediest among them by volunteering to care for the sick, the elderly and the poor in a Christmas day call for compassion.
One year ago: Pope Benedict XVI urged a world confronting a financial crisis, conflict, and increasing poverty not to lose hope at Christmas, but to join in "authentic solidarity" to prevent global ruin. President-elect Barack Obama spent a private Christmas Day with family and close friends in Hawaii. Singer, dancer and actress Eartha Kitt died in Weston, Conn., at 81. Actress Ann Savage died in Los Angeles at 87.
Today's Birthdays: Singer Tony Martin is 96. Actor Dick Miller is 81. Author Anne Roiphe is 74. Actress Hanna Schygulla is 66. R&B singer John Edwards (The Spinners) is 65. Actor Gary Sandy is 64. Singer Jimmy Buffett is 63. Pro and College Football Hall-of-Famer Larry Csonka is 63. Country singer Barbara Mandrell is 61. Actress Sissy Spacek is 60. Former White House adviser Karl Rove is 59. Actress CCH Pounder is 57. Singer Annie Lennox is 55. Reggae singer-musician Robin Campbell (UB40) is 55. Country singer Steve Wariner is 55. Singer Shane MacGowan (The Pogues, The Popes) is 52. Baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson is 51. The Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer, is 51. Actress Klea Scott is 41. Rock musician Noel Hogan (The Cranberries) is 38. Singer Dido is 38. Rock singer Mac Powell (Third Day) is 37. R&B singer Ryan Shaw is 29. Country singer Alecia Elliott is 27. Pop singers Jess and Lisa Origliasso (The Veronicas) are 25.
Thought for Today: "It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you ... yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand." _ Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997).