Today in History

AP News
Posted: Dec 28, 2009 12:00 AM

Today is Monday, Dec. 28, the 362nd day of 2009. There are 3 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 28, 1832, John C. Calhoun became the first vice president of the United States to resign, stepping down because of differences with President Andrew Jackson.

On this date:

In 1694, Queen Mary II of England died after more than five years of joint rule with her husband, King William III.

In 1846, Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union.

In 1856, the 28th president of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, was born in Staunton, Va.

In 1897, the play "Cyrano de Bergerac," by Edmond Rostand, premiered in Paris.

In 1908, a major earthquake followed by a tsunami devastated the Italian city of Messina, killing at least 70,000 people.

In 1917, the New York Evening Mail published "A Neglected Anniversary," a facetious, as well as fictitious, essay by H.L. Mencken recounting the history of bathtubs in America.

In 1944, the musical "On the Town," with music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, opened on Broadway.

In 1945, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

In 1973, Alexander Solzhenitsyn published "Gulag Archipelago," an expose of the Soviet prison system.

In 1989, Alexander Dubcek, the former Czechoslovak Communist leader who was deposed in a Soviet-led Warsaw Pact invasion in 1968, was named president of the country's parliament.

Ten years ago: Clayton Moore, television's "Lone Ranger," died in West Hills, Calif., at age 85.

Five years ago: The U.S. Agency for International Development said it was adding $20 million to an initial $15 million contribution for Asian tsunami relief as Secretary of State Colin Powell bristled at a U.N. official's suggestion the United States was being "stingy." Activist and author Susan Sontag died in New York at age 71. Actor Jerry Orbach died in New York at age 69.

One year ago: A bomb-loaded SUV exploded at a military checkpoint in Afghanistan, claiming the lives of 14 schoolchildren in a heartbreaking flash captured by a U.S. security camera. The Detroit Lions completed an 0-16 season _ the NFL's worst ever _ with a 31-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Today's Birthdays: Comic book creator Stan Lee is 87. Former United Auto Workers union president Owen Bieber is 80. Actor Martin Milner is 78. Actress Nichelle Nichols is 77. Actress Dame Maggie Smith is 75. Rock singer-musician Charles Neville is 71. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., is 65. Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., is 63. Rock singer-musician Edgar Winter is 63. Rock singer-musician Alex Chilton (The Box Tops; Big Star) is 59. Actor Denzel Washington is 55. Country singer Joe Diffie is 51. Country musician Mike McGuire (Shenandoah) is 51. Actor Chad McQueen is 49. Country singer-musician Marty Roe (Diamond Rio) is 49. Actor Malcolm Gets is 45. Actor Mauricio Mendoza is 40. Comedian Seth Meyers is 36. Actor Brendan Hines is 33. R&B singer John Legend is 31. Actress Sienna Miller is 28. Actor Thomas Dekker is 22. Actress Mackenzie Rosman is 20. Pop singer David Archuleta ("American Idol") is 19.

Thought for Today: "Our chief defect is that we are more given to talking about things than to doing them." _ Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian statesman (1889-1964).