This Day in History

Posted: Wednesday, December 15, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1881, the U.S. Navy left the military post of Rockwell (so named for the post commander). The location became the city of Juneau later that year, after having been both Harrisburgh and Rockwell.

• In 1894, Frank G. Johnson, legislator and grand president of the Alaska Native Brotherhood, was born near Kake.

• In 1939, radio-telephone service on a commercial basis was inaugurated between Ketchikan and the Lower 48.

• In 1969, U.S. Plywood Champion Papers announced it had selected Echo Cove in Berners Bay, near Juneau, as the site of its $100 million wood products complex. It was never built.

In the nation

• In 1791, the Bill of Rights went into effect following ratification by Virginia.

• In 1890, Sioux Indian Chief Sitting Bull and 11 other tribe members were killed in Grand River, S.D., during a fracas with Indian police.

• In 1938, groundbreaking ceremonies for the Jefferson Memorial took place in Washington, D.C.

• In 1944, the Senate approved the promotions of Henry H. Arnold, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Douglas Mac-Arthur and George C. Marshall to the five-star rank of general of the army and the nominations of William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King and Chester W. Nimitz as admirals of the fleet.

• In 1965, two U.S. manned spacecraft, Gemini 6 and Gemini 7, maneuvered to within 10 feet of each other while in orbit.

• In 1994, President Clinton, in a 12-minute primetime address, presented a package of tax cuts for middle-income families raising children and outlined deep reductions in government programs to help pay for them.

• In 2003, former nurse Charles Cullen was charged with murder after telling prosecutors he had killed 30 to 40 severely ill patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey since 1987 by injecting them with drugs. The late Sen. Strom Thurmond's family acknowledged Essie Mae Washington-Williams' claim that she was his illegitimate mixed-race daughter.

In the world

• In 1916, the French defeated the Germans in the World War I Battle of Verdun.

• In 1944, a single-engine plane carrying bandleader Glenn Miller disappeared over the English Channel while en route to Paris. American forces invaded Mindoro Island in the Philippines.

• In 1961, former Nazi official Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to death by an Israeli court.

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