This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, December 23, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1905, Lester D. Bronson, who served in the Alaska Legislature from Nome, was born in California.

• In 1946, the Auke Bay Post Office, north of Juneau, officially opened for business.

• In 1964, nine employees of the Alaska Communication System were awarded the "Declaration of Exceptional Service" by the Secretary of the Air Force.

In the nation

• In 1783, George Washington resigned as commander-in-chief of the Army and retired to his home at Mount Vernon, Va.

• In 1823, the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement C. Moore was published in the Troy (N.Y.) Sentinel.

• In 1928, the National Broadcasting Company set up a permanent, coast-to-coast network.

• In 1986, the experimental airplane "Voyager," piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, completed the first non-stop, non-refueled, round-the-world flight as it landed safely at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

• In 1987, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, serving a life sentence for the attempted assassination of President Ford in 1975, escaped from the Alderson Federal Prison for Women in West Virginia. She was recaptured two days later.

• In 1994, baseball owners imposed a salary cap that was fiercely opposed by players.

• In 1997, a jury in Denver convicted Terry Nichols of involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing, declining to find him guilty of murder.

• In 1999, President Clinton pardoned Freddie Meeks, a black sailor court-martialed for mutiny during World War II when he and other sailors refused to load live ammunition following a deadly explosion at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine near San Francisco that had claimed more than 300 lives. The Nasdaq composite index briefly crossed 4,000 and closed at a record high for the 58th time in 1999.

• In 2003, the government announced the first suspected (later confirmed) case of mad cow disease in United States. A jury in Chesapeake, Va., sentenced teen sniper Lee Boyd Malvo to life in prison, sparing him the death penalty. New York Gov. George Pataki posthumously pardoned comedian Lenny Bruce for his 1964 obscenity conviction.

In the world

• In 1893, the Engelbert Humperdinck opera "Haensel und Gretel" was first performed, in Weimar, Germany.

• In 1941, during World War II, American forces on Wake Island surrendered to the Japanese.

• In 1948, former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese war leaders were executed in Tokyo.

• In 1968, 82 crew members of the U.S. intelligence ship "Pueblo" were released by North Korea, 11 months after they had been captured.

• In 1980, a state funeral was held in Moscow for former Premier Alexei N. Kosygin, who had died Dec. 18 at age 76.

• In 1994, Bosnian Serbs and the Muslim-led government agreed to a weeklong truce beginning the next day as they worked on details of a four-month cease-fire.

• In 2003, a gas well accident in southwestern China killed 233 people.

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