Today In History

Today is Thursday, Dec. 14, the 348th day of 2017. There are 17 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 14, 2012, a gunman with a semi-automatic rifle killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, then committed suicide as police arrived; the 20-year-old had also fatally shot his mother at their home before carrying out the attack on the school.

On this date:

In 1799, the first president of the United States, George Washington, died at his Mount Vernon, Virginia, home at age 67.

In 1819, Alabama joined the Union as the 22nd state.

In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (ROH’-ahl AH’-mun-suhn) and his team became the first men to reach the South Pole, beating out a British expedition led by Robert F. Scott.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson vetoed an immigration measure aimed at preventing “undesirables” and anyone born in the “Asiatic Barred Zone” from entering the U.S. (Congress overrode Wilson’s veto in Feb. 1917.)

In 1918, “Il Trittico,” a trio of one-act operas by Giacomo Puccini, premiered at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. (The third opera, “Gianni Schicchi (SKEE’-kee),” featured the aria “O Mio Babbino Caro,” which was an instant hit.)

In 1936, the comedy “You Can’t Take It With You” by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart opened on Broadway.

In 1946, the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish the U.N.’s headquarters in New York.

In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, ruled that Congress was within its authority to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against racial discrimination by private businesses (in this case, a motel that refused to cater to blacks).

In 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan concluded their third and final moonwalk and blasted off for their rendezvous with the command module.

In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights, which it had seized from Syria in 1967.

In 1986, the experimental aircraft Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California on the first non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world.

In 1996, a freighter lost power on the Mississippi River and barreled into the Riverwalk complex in New Orleans; miraculously, no one was killed.

Ten years ago: A man accused of being the Phoenix Baseline Killer was sentenced to 438 years in prison for the sexual assaults of two sisters. (Mark Goudeau was tried in 2011 for the slayings of eight women and a man in 2005-2006; he was convicted and sentenced to death.)

Five years ago: A triumphant North Korea staged a mass rally of soldiers and civilians to glorify the country’s young ruler, Kim Jong Un, two days after the successful launch of a satellite into orbit.

One year ago: President-elect Donald Trump convened a summit at Trump Tower for nearly a dozen tech leaders whose industry largely supported Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton; the CEOs included Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Tesla’s Elon Musk. Donald Trump announced his selection of former campaign rival Rick Perry to be secretary of energy. Yahoo said it believed hackers had stolen data from more than one billion user accounts in Aug. 2013 (in Oct. 2017, Yahoo raised that figure to 3 billion). Bernard Fox, the mustachioed actor known to TV viewers as Dr. Bombay on “Bewitched” and Col. Crittendon on “Hogan’s Heroes,” died at a Los Angeles-area hospital at age 89.

Today’s Birthdays: Singer-actress Abbe Lane is 86. Actor Hal Williams is 83. Actress-singer Jane Birkin is 71. Pop singer Joyce Vincent-Wilson (Tony Orlando and Dawn) is 71. Entertainment executive Michael Ovitz is 71. Actress Dee Wallace is 69. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ronnie McNeir (The Four Tops) is 68. Rock musician Cliff Williams is 68. Actor-comedian T.K. Carter is 61. Rock singer-musician Mike Scott (The Waterboys) is 59. Singer-musician Peter “Spider” Stacy (The Pogues) is 59. Actress Cynthia Gibb is 54. Actress Nancy Valen is 52. Actor Archie Kao is 48. Actress Natascha McElhone is 48. Actress-comedian Michaela Watkins is 46. Actress-comedian Miranda Hart is 45. Rhythm-and-blues singer Brian Dalyrimple (Soul For Real) is 42. Actress KaDee Strickland is 42. Actress Tammy Blanchard is 41. Actress Sophie Monk is 38. Actor-singer-musician Jackson Rathbone is 33. Actress Vanessa Hudgens is 29. Rock/R&B singer Tori Kelly is 25.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.