Today is Thursday, Dec. 22, the 357th day of 2016. There are nine days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 22, 1941, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington for a wartime conference with President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
On this date:
In 1775, Esek Hopkins was appointed the commander in chief of the Continental Navy.
In 1894, French army officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason in a court-martial that triggered worldwide charges of anti-Semitism. (Dreyfus was eventually vindicated.)
In 1910, a fire lasting more than 26 hours broke out at the Chicago Union Stock Yards; 21 firefighters were killed in the collapse of a burning building.
In 1937, the first, center tube of the Lincoln Tunnel connecting New York City and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River was opened to traffic. (The second tube opened in 1945, the third in 1957.)
In 1940, author Nathanael West, 37 and his wife, Eileen McKenney, were killed in a car crash in El Centro, California, while in route to the funeral of F. Scott Fitzgerald, who had died the day before.
In 1944, during the World War II Battle of the Bulge, U.S. Brig. Gen. Anthony C. McAuliffe rejected a German demand for surrender, writing “Nuts!” in his official reply.
In 1968, Julie Nixon married David Eisenhower in a private ceremony in New York.
In 1977, three dozen people were killed when a 250-foot-high grain elevator at the Continental Grain Company plant in Westwego, Louisiana, exploded.
In 1989, Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu, the last of Eastern Europe’s hard-line Communist rulers, was toppled from power in a popular uprising. Playwright Samuel Beckett died in Paris at age 83.
In 1991, the body of Marine Lt. Col. William R. Higgins, an American hostage slain by his terrorist captors, was recovered after it had been dumped along a highway in Lebanon.
In 2001, Richard C. Reid, a passenger on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami, tried to ignite explosives in his shoes, but was subdued by flight attendants and fellow passengers. (Reid is serving a life sentence in federal prison.)
In 2010, President Barack Obama signed a law allowing gays for the first time in history to serve openly in America’s military, repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Ten years ago: Rape charges were dropped against three Duke University lacrosse players, but kidnapping and sexual offense charges remained. (Those charges were later dropped as well.) Space shuttle Discovery returned to Earth after a smooth, 13-day flight to rewire the international space station.
Five years ago: A wave of 16 bombings ripped across Baghdad, killing at least 69 people in the worst violence in Iraq in months. It happened days after the last American forces left the country, heightening fears of a new round of sectarian bloodshed. Melanie Amaro, a 19-year-old vocalist from Sunrise, Florida, won the first U.S. season of “The X Factor” talent competition on Fox.
One year ago: Migration experts said more than a million people who had been driven out of their countries by war, poverty and persecution entered Europe in 2015. Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey was named The Associated Press college football player of the year.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Hector Elizondo is 80. Country singer Red Steagall is 78. Former World Bank Group President Paul Wolfowitz is 73. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Steve Carlton is 72. Former ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer is 71. Rock singer-musician Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick) is 68. Rock singer-musician Michael Bacon is 68. Baseball All-Star Steve Garvey is 68. Golfer Jan Stephenson is 65. Actress BernNadette Stanis is 63. Rapper Luther “Luke” Campbell is 56. Country singer-musician Chuck Mead is 56. Actor Ralph Fiennes is 54. Actress Lauralee Bell is 48. Country singer Lori McKenna is 48. Actress Dina Meyer is 48. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is 46. Actress Heather Donahue is 43. Actor Chris Carmack is 36. Actor Harry Ford (TV: “Code Black”) is 34. Actor Greg Finley is 32. Actor Logan Huffman is 27. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jordin Sparks is 27. Pop singer Meghan Trainor is 23.
Thought for Today: “The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid.” — Lady Bird Johnson (born this date in 1912, died 2007).