This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, December 25, 2007

In Alaska

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• In 1923, the Point Retreat Light Station near Juneau was placed in operation.

• In 1925, the Sitka Progress published its first issue.

• In 1959, Kodiak's water supply was exhausted as 64 million gallons of water leaked from the community's reservoir through a 5-foot crack in the dam's footings.

• In 1979, a 740-foot Japanese freighter capsized off northern British Columbia. All 30 men on board perished.

In the nation

• In 1776, Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, N.J.

• In 1997, Richard Bliss, a field technician for Qualcomm Inc. accused of spying in Russia, arrived in San Diego after Russian authorities were persuaded to let him return home. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld announced plans to fold his highly successful NBC sitcom "Seinfeld" at the end of that season.

• In 2002, a major storm made for a white Christmas in parts of the United States; the severe weather ultimately was blamed for some two dozen deaths. Katie Hnida became the first woman to play in a Division I-A football game when she attempted an extra point following a New Mexico touchdown in the Las Vegas Bowl. (Hnida, a walk-on junior, had her kick blocked in the 27-13 loss to UCLA.)

In the world

• In A.D. 336, the first recorded celebration of Christmas on Dec. 25 took place in Rome.

• In 1818, "Silent Night," written by Franz Gruber and Father Joseph Mohr, was performed for the first time, at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.

• In 1926, Hirohito became emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito. (Hirohito was formally enthroned almost two years later.)

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