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December 21st

Charles De Gaulle

Charles De Gaulle

1958...De Gaulle is elected President of France.  He is the first president elected after a new constitution is approved.

1988...Pan American Flight 101, going from London to New York, explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland.  All 254 passengers and the 16 crew members are killed.  Eleven people on the ground are also perish. The explosion is traced to a bomb placed in the cargo hold.  Islamic terrorists from Libya are accused of planting the bomb.

1991...Eleven of the twelve Soviet republics announce that they are forming the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).  The Soviet Union is over.

December 22nd

Ludwig van Beethoven

Ludwig van Beethoven

1808...Beethoven's Fifth Symphony premiers in Vienna. Adverse performance conditions causes the presentation to be less than favorably received.

1849... Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky is convicted of anti-government activities.  He is put in front of a firing squad.  At the last minute hislife is spared, and he is sent to a labor camp.

1964...After  General Sherman's long march from Atlanta to the ocean, Sherman captures Savannah.  This was the last remaining Confederate port city. Sherman wires President Lincoln,  telling him that the conquest of Savannah is his Christmas present.

1956..Two gorillas are captured in Africa and placed in the Cleveland, Ohio  Zoo. The female gives birth to a baby gorilla named Colo.  Colo becomes the first gorilla born in captivity.

December 23rd

The Voyager

The Voyager

1783... General Washington resigns his post as the head of the Continental Army and heads home to Mt. Vernon.  Although Washington could have taken control of the Colonies, as some even wanted him to be king, he paves the way for the democracy by withdrawing himself from the scene.

1888...The Dutch painter Van Gogh, suffering from depression, cuts off the lower part of his ear while shaving.  While the work of Van Gogh is held in high esteem today, during his lifetime Van Gogh is poor and only sells one painting.

1986...The aircraft Voyager, completes the first nonstop flight around the earth without refueling.  The Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, only has 5 gallons of fuel lift in its tank when it completes the 25,012 mile trip around the earth.

December 24th

Dwight Eisenhower

Dwight Eisenhower

1814...The War of 1812 comes to an end with the treaty signed at Ghent, Belgium.  The border of the United States with Canada is to be settled at a later date.  

1943...General Eisenhower is appointed the Supreme Commander of the Allied forces during WWII.

1851...A fire at the Library of Congress destroys 2/3 of its collection.  The books include the personal library of  Thomas Jefferson.  The Library of Congress will go on to become one of the largest libraries in the world.

1979...The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan. They capture Kabul within a few days,  but the ensuing war lasts for nine years.  Finally, with with no hope of victory in sight, the Soviets begin withdrawing in 1988.

December 25th

Bing Crosby

Bing Crosby

1914...A truce is declared on Christmas Day during WWI The soldiers fighting in the trenches for England and Germany stop fighting. They wish each other Merry Christmas, sing carols, exchange presents. and join together to play a soccer game.

1941...Bing Crosby sings the song White Christmas, by Irving Berlin, on the radio. It becomes one of the best selling and most loved songs of all time.

1776...General George Washington and the troops of the Continental Army cross the Delaware River in the bitter cold. This strategic move enables them to surprise the Hessians and win the battle at Trenton, New Jersey.

December 26th

Indonesian Tsunami

Indonesian tsunami

1775...The Continental Army, led by General George Washington, surround and overwhelm the German Hessians at the Battle of Trenton. This is the first major victory for the Patriots.  Together with the Crossing of the Delaware the previous night, the Patriots are inspired to keep fighting.

1946...Bugsy Siegel opens the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. The grand opening is a flop. Bugsy is murdered a year later because of his handling of the money made from the hotel.

2004...A massive earthquake off the coast of Indonesia triggers an equally massive tsunami. The tsunami wrecks havoc from Southeast Asia to Somalia. It kills an estimated 230,000 people and leaves a million homeless.

December 27th

Astronauts Anders, Borman and Lovell

Anders, Borman and Lovell

1932...Radio City Music Hall opens in New York City, New York. The Art Deco structure is the largest indoor theater in the world.

1941...The United States has entered WWII. Rationing begins on automobile tires to support the war effort.  No driver in the United States is allowed to own more than five tires.

1968...Apollo 8 returns to the earth after carrying three American astronauts around the moon. Astronauts Anders, Borman and Lovell are the first to travel around the moon. One year later,  Americans astronauts will walk on the moon.

December 28th

The Louis and Auguste Lumiere

The Lumiere brothers

1895...Louis and Auguste Lumiere, two French brothers, make movie. It is screened at the Grand Cafe in Paris, France. This becomes the first commercial viewing of a movie.

1945... Congress recognizes the Pledge of Allegiance. It is to be recited while standing and facing the flag. The hand is to be placed over the heart.

1973... President Nixon signs the Endangered Species Act.  This legislation will protect both endangered species and the ecosystem that they rely on to survive.

December 29th

Thomas Beckett

Thomas Beckett

1170...Four knights of King Henry II enter Canterbury Cathedral and murder  Archbishop Thomas Becket.

1845...Texas becomes the 28th  state in the United States of America.

1890...A bloody battle in South Dakota leaves twenty-five US Calvary and 146 Sioux Indians dead.  This is the last major confrontation between the US Government and the Indians on the plains.

1940...This is one of the worst nights of bombing England has seen since the start of the Battle of Britain.  Germany has been bombing England for fifty-seven consecutive  nights, hoping to crush British morale.  They do not succeed.

December 30th

Ferdinand Marcos

Ferdinand Marcos

1922...The Union of Soviet Socialists Republics (USSR) is established.  This comes after the fall of the Russian Empire.  This is the first country to be based on Marxist socialism.  Countries Russia, the Ukraine and Georgia.

1853...A treaty is signed with Mexico that establishes the southern border of the United States. The United States pay for and acquires land in Arizona and New Mexico.

1965...Ferdinand Marcos becomes President of The Philippines.  His regime will become authoritarian and corrupt.

December 31

Rick Nelson

Rick Nelson

1775...The Patriots attempt, unsuccessfully, to capture Quebec under the leadership of  Coronel Richard Montgomery and  Colonel Benedict Arnold.  Montgomery dies in battle, while Arnold exhibits  heroic concern for his men. Unfortunately, Benedict Arnold will later become one of the most infamous traitors in early American history.

1985...Teenage idol  Rick Nelson, known for his role in the Ozzie and Harriet show and his pop music, dies in a plane crash over Texas.

1999...The United States turns over control of the strategic Panama Canal to the country of Panama.  The Panama Canal cost $375 million dollars to build. It took 5,600 lives. In the treaty with Panama, the United States retains the right to defend this strategic canal against any threats to its neutrality.

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