Today in History

AP News
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Posted: Dec 28, 2016 12:01 AM

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 28, the 363rd day of 2016. There are three days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Dec. 28, 1846, Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union.

On this date:

In 1612, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei observed the planet Neptune, but mistook it for a star. (Neptune wasn't officially discovered until 1846 by Johann Gottfried Galle.)

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

In 1856, the 28th president of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, was born in Staunton (STAN'-tun), Virginia.

In 1895, the Lumiere brothers, Auguste and Louis, held the first public showing of their movies in Paris.

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

In 1937, composer Maurice Ravel died in Paris at age 62.

In 1945, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

In 1961, the Tennessee Williams play "Night of the Iguana" opened on Broadway. Former first lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson, died in Washington at age 89.

In 1973, the book "Gulag Archipelago," Alexander Solzhenitsyn's expose (eks-poh-SAY') of the Soviet prison system, was first published in Paris.

In 1981, Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American "test-tube" baby, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

In 1989, Alexander Dubcek (DOOB'-chek), 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.

In 1991, nine people died in a crush of people trying to get into a rap celebrity basketball game at City College in New York.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, at his Texas ranch, worked on designing a new U.S. policy in Iraq. Saddam Hussein's lawyer made a last-ditch effort to impede his client's execution. In Somalia, troops of the U.N.-backed interim government rolled into Mogadishu unopposed, putting an end to six months of domination of the capital by a radical Islamic movement.

Five years ago: North Korea's new leader, Kim Jong Un, escorted his father's hearse in an elaborate state funeral, bowing somberly and saluting in front of tens of thousands of citizens who wailed and stamped their feet in grief for Kim Jong Il. Turkish warplanes mistakenly killed 35 smugglers and other villagers in an operation targeting Kurdish rebels in Iraq. Kaye Stevens, a singer and actress who performed with the Rat Pack and was a frequent guest on Johnny Carson's "The Tonight Show," died in The Villages, Florida, at age 79.

One year ago: A grand jury in Cleveland declined to indict a white rookie police officer in the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, a black youngster who was shot while playing with what turned out to be a pellet gun. A teen fugitive known for using an "affluenza" defense for a drunken driving wreck and his mother were detained in Puerto Vallarta (PWEHR'-toh vah-YAR'-tah), Mexico. Iraqi forces backed by U.S.-led airstrikes drove Islamic State militants out of the center of Ramadi and seized the main government complex there. Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister, 70, the singer and bassist who founded Motorhead in 1975, died in Los Angeles. Specials drummer John (Brad) Bradbury, 62, died in England.

Today's Birthdays: Comic book creator Stan Lee is 94. Former United Auto Workers union president Owen Bieber is 87. Actress Nichelle Nichols is 84. Actress Dame Maggie Smith is 82. Rock singer-musician Charles Neville is 78. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., is 72. Former Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., is 70. Rock singer-musician Edgar Winter is 70. Funk musician Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste (The Meters) is 68. Actor Denzel Washington is 62. Country singer Joe Diffie is 58. Country musician Mike McGuire (Shenandoah) is 58. Actor Chad McQueen is 56. Country singer-musician Marty Roe (Diamond Rio) is 56. Actor Malcolm Gets is 52. Actor Mauricio Mendoza is 47. Actress Elaine Hendrix is 46. Comedian Seth Meyers is 43. Actor Brendan Hines is 40. Actor Joe Manganiello is 40. Actress Vanessa Ferlito is 39. Rhythm-and-blues singer John Legend is 38. Actor Andre Holland is 37. Actress Sienna Miller is 35. Pop singer Kasey Sheridan (Dream) is 30. Actor Thomas Dekker is 29. Actress Mackenzie Rosman is 27. Pop singer David Archuleta is 26. Actor Miles Brown is 12.

Thought for Today: "If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree." — Michael Crichton (KRY'-tuhn), American author (1942-2008).