Dec 14, 1799. The first president of the US died at his home at Mount Vernon, VA, shortly before midnight. He had battled a sudden acute respiratory infection and been bled four times. I die hard, but I am not afraid to go were his famous near-dying words. After he confirmed his own burial plans, Washingtons actual last words were, Tis well. He wasmourned throughout the US and in Europe.
The Halcyon Days are traditionally the seven days before and the seven days after the Winter Solstice – a time of calm and tranquility.
Dec 14, 1911. The elusive object of many expeditions dating from the 17th century, the South Pole was located and visited by Roald Amundsen with four companions and 52 sled dogs. All five men and 12 of the dogs returned to base camp safely. Next to visit the South Pole, Jan 17, 1912, was a party of five led by Captain Robert F. Scott, all of whom perishedduring the return trip. A search party found their frozen bodies 11 monthslater.
Dec 15, 1791. The first 10 amendments to the US Constitution,known as the Bill of Rights, became effective following ratification by Virginia. The anniversary of ratification and of effect is observed as Bill of Rights Day.
If you can say that your job or even your life is like tryingto herd cats, then this day is for you with our sympathy.
Dec 15, 1939. One of the 20th centurys biggest film blockbusters premiered on this date in Atlanta, GA. Based on Margaret Mitchells bestselling and Pulitzer Prize winning novel of Civil War passions, the film starred Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable and was produced by the dynamic David O. Selznick. It won an unprecedented eight Academy Awards, including best picture. Hattie McDaniel won a best supporting actress Oscar the first time an African-American actor had won or been nominated. No film would touch its Oscar achievement or monetary grosses for decades. At the chilly Atlanta premiere, more than 300,000 people lined the streets to catch sight of the films stars arriving at the Loews Grand Theater.
Dec 16, 1864. On the second day of battle at Nashville, Uniontroops defeated Confederate forces under General John B. Hood, essentially knocking the Confederate Army of Tennessee out of the war.
Dec 16, 1944. A German offensive was launched in the Belgian Ardennes Forest, where Hitler had managed to concentrate 250,000 men. The Nazi commanders, hoping to minimize any aerial counterattack by the Allies, chose a time when foggy, rainy weather prevailed and the initial attackby eight armored divisions along a 75-mile front took the Allies by surprise, the Fifth Panzer Army penetrating to within 20 miles of crossings on the Meuse River. US troops were able to hold fast at bottlenecks in the Ardennes, but by the end of December the German push had penetrated 65 miles into the Allied lines (though their line had narrowed from the initial 75 miles to 20 miles). By that time the Allies began to respond, and the Germans were stopped by Montgomery on the Meuse and by Patton at Bastogne. The weather then cleared and Allied aircraft began to bomb the German forces and supply lines by Dec 26. The Allies reestablished their original line by Jan21, 1945.
Dec 16, 1770. Regarded by many as the greatest orchestral composer of all time, Ludwig van Beethoven was born at Bonn, Germany. Impairment of his hearing began before he was 30, but even total deafness did nothalt his composing and conducting. His last appearance on the concert stage was to conduct the premiere of his Ninth Symphony, at Vienna, May 7, 1824. He was unable to hear either the orchestra or the applause. Often in love, he never married. Of a stormy temperament, he is said to have died during a violent thunderstorm Mar 26, 1827, at Vienna.
Dec 16, 1773. Anniversary of Boston patriots boarding of British vessel at anchor at Boston Harbor. Contents of nearly 350 chests of teawere dumped into the harbor.
Dec 17, 1843. This holiday classic by Charles Dickens was published in a print run of 6,000 copies that sold out in one week. By Jan 6,1844, another 2,000 were sold. The reformation of Ebenezer Scrooge ( Bah humbug!) has remained immensely popular.
Dec 17, 1903. Orville and Wilbur Wright, brothers, bicycle-shop operators, inventors and aviation pioneers, after three years of experimentation with kites and gliders, achieved the first documented successful powered and controlled flights of an airplane. The flights, near Kitty Hawk, NC, piloted first by Orville and then by Wilbur Wright, were sustained for less than one minute but represented mans first powered airplane flight and the beginning of a new form of transportation. Orville Wright was born at Dayton, OH, Aug 19, 1871, and died there Jan 30, 1948. Wilbur Wright was born at Millville, IN, Apr 16, 1867, and died at Dayton, OH, May 30, 1912.
he was the first African American to graduate from West Point in the 20th century; he led the first all-black air unit, the 99th Pursuit Squadron (the Tuskegee Airmen), in WWII; he helped plan the integration of the US Air Force in 194849 and he was the Air Forces first black general (1954). He died at Washington, DC, on July 4, 2002.
Dec 18, 1886. One of the all-time-great baseball players. Bornat Narrows, GA, Cobb had a lifetime batting average of .367 compiled over 24 years, during which he played in more than 3,000 games mostly for the Detroit Tigers. His runs scored record was not broken until 2001, and his stolen bases record stood until 1979. Cobb was among the first five players inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936. A savvy businessman who quickly realized the value of using his celebrity for marketing, Cobb died at Atlanta, GA, on July 17, 1961.
On the Monday following the second Wednesday in December in presidential election years, the Electors formally cast their ballots for president and vice president of the US, meeting in their respective state capitals. The Electors ballots will be transmitted to the Seat of Governmentof the United States, directed to the President of the Senate, who in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, at 1 pm on Jan 6following the election, officially counts the electoral votes and announces the result, legally completing the election process if any candidate has received a majority of the electoral votes.
Dec 20, 1860. South Carolinas legislature voted to secede from the US, the first state to do so. Within six weeks, five more states seceded. On Feb 4, 1861, representatives from the six states met at Montgomery, AL, to establish a government and on Feb 9 Jefferson Davis was elected president of the Confederate States of America. By June 1861, 11 stateshad seceded.
Dec 20, 1606. Three small ships, the Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery, commanded by Captain Christopher Newport, departed London, England, bound for America, where the royally chartered Virginia Companys approximately 120 persons established the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States at Jamestown, VA, May 14, 1607.
Dec 21, 1913. The first crossword puzzle was compiled by Arthur Wynne and published in a supplement to the New York World.
Dec 21, 1988. Pan Am World Airways Flight 103 exploded in midair and crashed into the heart of Lockerbie, Scotland, the result of a terrorist bombing. The 259 passengers and crew members and 11 persons on the ground were killed in the disaster. The tragedy raised questions about security and the notification of passengers in the event of threatened flights. In the resultant investigation it was revealed that government agencies andthe airline had known that the flight was possibly the target of a terrorist attack.
On 21 December 1620, the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, present-day Massachusetts, aboard the Mayflower.
Dec 21 Mar 20, 2017. In the Northern Hemisphere winter beginstoday with the winter solstice, at 5:44 AM, EST. Note that in the Southern Hemisphere today is the beginning of summer. Between the equator and Arctic Circle the sunrise and sunset points on the horizon are farthest south for the year and daylight length is minimum (ranging from 12 hours, 8 minutes, at the equator to zero at the Arctic Circle).
Dec 22, 1952. Named by a three-year-old after watching a test broadcast of the opening sequence (a hand ringing a bell), Ding Dong School was one of the first childrens educational series. Miss Frances (Dr. Frances Horwich, head of Roosevelt Colleges education department at Chicago) was the host of this weekday show.
Dec 22, 1858. Italian composer of such operas as La Boheme, Tosca and Madama Butterfly. Born at Lucca, Tuscany, Italy, he died Nov 29, 1924, at Brussels, Belgium.
On 23 Dec 23, 1913. Established pursuant to authority contained in the United States Federal Reserve Act of Dec 23, 1913, the system serves as the nation’s central bank, with the responsibility for execution of monetary policy. It contributes to the strength and vitality of the US economy, in part by influencing the lending and investing activities of commercial banks and the cost and availability of money and credit.
The Christmas-time non holiday” of Festivus