On Dec. 7, 1941, during a series of raids in the Pacific, Imperial Japan's navy launched a pre-emptive attack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, killing 2,400 people, about half of them on the battleship USS Arizona. (The United States declared war against Japan the next day.)
In 43 B.C., Roman statesman and scholar Marcus Tullius Cicero was slain at the order of the Second Triumvirate.
Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
the New York Philharmonic performed its first concert.
chemist Leo H. Baekeland received a U.S. patent for Bakelite (BAY'-kuh-lyt), the first synthetic plastic.
during World War I, the United States declared war on Austria-Hungary.
fire broke out at the Winecoff (WYN'-kahf) Hotel in Atlanta; the blaze killed 119 people, including hotel founder W. Frank Winecoff.
the Beatles opened the Apple Boutique in London; the venture proved disastrous, and the shop closed the following July.
America's last moon mission to date was launched as Apollo 17 blasted off from Cape Canaveral. Imelda Marcos, wife of Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos, was stabbed and seriously wounded by an assailant who was shot dead by her bodyguards.
43 people were killed after a gunman aboard a Pacific Southwest Airlines jetliner in California apparently opened fire on a fellow passenger, the pilots and himself, causing the plane to crash. Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev set foot on American soil for the first time, arriving for a Washington summit with President Ronald Reagan.
a gunman opened fire on a Long Island Rail Road commuter train, killing six people and wounding 19. (The shooter was later sentenced to a minimum of 200 years in prison.)
a 746-pound probe from the Galileo spacecraft hurtled into Jupiter's atmosphere, sending back data to the mothership before it was presumably destroyed.
Hamid Karzai (HAH'-mihd KAHR'-zeye) was sworn in as Afghanistan's first popularly elected president.
Congressional Democrats demanded a full Justice Department investigation into whether the CIA had obstructed justice by destroying videotapes documenting the harsh 2002 interrogations of two alleged terrorists. Two window washers fell 47 stories from a Manhattan skyscraper when their scaffolding failed; Edgar Moreno was killed, but his brother, Alcides (ahl-SEE'-days), miraculously survived (and is still alive).
President Barack Obama asked Congress for $60.4 billion in federal aid for New York, New Jersey and other states hit by Superstorm Sandy (lawmakers ended up passing a $50.5 billion emergency relief measure in addition to a $9.7 billion bill to replenish the National Flood Insurance Program).
President-elect Donald Trump selected retired Marine Gen. John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, the former chief executive of World Wrestling Entertainment, Linda McMahon, to run the Small Business Administration and Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to be the new U.S. ambassador to China. Time magazine named Donald Trump its Person of the Year. A Pakistan International Airlines commuter plane crashed in the north of the country, killing all 47 people on board. A magnitude 6.5 earthquake struck Indonesia's Aceh (ah-cheh) Province, killing more than 100 people. NBC broadcast a live, three-hour production of the musical "Hairspray."
Linguist and political philosopher Noam Chomsky is 89. Bluegrass singer Bobby Osborne is 86. Actress Ellen Burstyn is 85. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., is 80. Broadcast journalist Carole Simpson is 77. Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench is 70. Actor-director-producer James Keach is 70. Country singer Gary Morris is 69. Singer-songwriter Tom Waits is 68. Sen. Susan M. Collins, R-Maine, is 65. Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Bird is 61. Actress Priscilla Barnes is 60. Former "Tonight Show" announcer Edd (cq) Hall is 59. Rock musician Tim Butler (The Psychedelic Furs) is 59. Actor Patrick Fabian is 53. Actor Jeffrey Wright is 52. Actor C. Thomas Howell is 51. Actress Kimberly Hebert Gregory (TV: "Kevin (Probably) Saves the World") is 45. Producer-director Jason Winer is 45. Former NFL player Terrell Owens is 44. Rapper-producer Kon Artis is 43. Pop singer Nicole Appleton (All Saints) is 42. Latin singer Frankie J is 41. Country singer Sunny Sweeney is 41. Actor Chris Chalk is 40. Actress Shiri Appleby is 39. Pop-rock singer/celebrity judge Sara Bareilles (bah-REHL'-es) is 38. Actress Jennifer Carpenter is 38. Actor Jack Huston is 35. Singer Aaron Carter is 30.
"The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude." — Thornton Wilder, American playwright and author (born 1897, died this date in 1975).
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