This Day in History

Posted: Friday, December 17, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1984, the Alaska Search Light was established in Juneau.

• In 1918, John Green Brady, the fifth governor of Alaska, died in Sitka.

• In 1955, the "huge, 70-room" Traveller's Inn opened in Anchorage.

• In 1959, the Annex Creek Power Facility failed, putting Juneau on emergency power for over a week.

• In 1969, a U.S. House committee cleared the last obstacle, allowing a permit to be issued to build the 800-mile trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

• In 1979, Venetie and Arctic Village were granted titles to 1.8 million acres of federal land in the then "largest Native land conveyance in Alaska's history."

In the nation

• In 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, went on the first successful manned powered-airplane flights, near Kitty Hawk, N.C., using their experimental craft, the Wright Flyer.

• In 1944, the U.S. Army announced it was ending its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast.

• In 1957, the United States successfully test-fired the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time.

• In 1975, Lynette Fromme was sentenced in federal court in Sacramento, Calif., to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Ford.

• In 1979, in a case that aggravated racial tensions, Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance executive, was fatally beaten after a police chase in Miami. Four white police officers were later acquitted of charges stemming from McDuffie's death.

• In 1994, six shots were fired at the White House by an unidentified gunman.

• In 1999, President Clinton signed a law letting millions of disabled Americans retain their government-funded health coverage when they take a job.

• In 2003, former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was indicted on corruption charges. An attempt to re-create the Wright brothers' first flight on the 100th anniversary failed to take off.

In the world

• In 1777, France recognized American independence.

• In 1830, South American patriot Simon Bolivar died in Colombia.

• In 1939, the German pocket battleship "Graf Spee" was scuttled by its crew, ending the World War II Battle of the River Plate off Uruguay.

• In 1981, members of the Red Brigades kidnapped Brigadier General James L. Dozier, the highest-ranking U.S. Army official in southern Europe, from his home in Verona, Italy. Dozier was rescued 42 days later.

• In 1986, Eugene Hasenfus, the American convicted by Nicaragua for his part in running guns to the Contras, was pardoned, then released.

• In 1992, President Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in separate ceremonies.

• In 1994, North Korea shot down a U.S. Army helicopter which had strayed north of the demilitarized zone - the co-pilot, Chief Warrant Officer David Hilemon, was killed; the pilot, Chief Warrant Officer Bobby Hall, was captured and held for nearly two weeks.

• In 1999, the U.N. Security Council ended a yearlong deadlock and voted to send weapons inspectors back to Iraq and consider suspending sanctions if Baghdad cooperated.

• In 2003, the British government announced the first reported case of a person dying from the human form of mad cow disease after a blood transfusion from an infected donor.

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