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Dec. 8 in History

The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, Dec. 8, the 342nd day of 2013. There are 23 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 8, 1941, the United States entered World War II as Congress declared war against Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

On this date:

In 1776, during the Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington’s retreating army crossed the Delaware River from New Jersey into Pennsylvania.

In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which holds that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was free of original sin from the moment of her own conception.

In 1886, the American Federation of Labor was founded in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1914, “Watch Your Step,” the first musical revue to feature a score composed entirely by Irving Berlin, opened in New York.

In 1949, the Chinese Nationalist government moved from the Chinese mainland to Formosa as the Communists pressed their attacks.

In 1961, a fire at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut resulted in 16 deaths. The Beach Boys’ first single, “Surfin’,” was released.

In 1962, the first session of the Second Vatican Council was formally adjourned. Typographers went on a 114-day strike against four New York City newspapers.

In 1972, a United Airlines Boeing 737 crashed while attempting to land at Chicago-Midway Airport, killing 43 of the 61 people on board, as well as two people on the ground; among the passengers who died were Dorothy Hunt, wife of Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt, U.S. Rep. George W. Collins, D-Ill., and CBS News correspondent Michele Clark.

In 1980, rock star John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building by an apparently deranged fan.

In 1982, a man demanding an end to nuclear weapons held the Washington Monument hostage, threatening to blow it up with explosives he claimed were inside a van. (After a 10-hour standoff, Norman D. Mayer was shot dead by police; it turned out there were no explosives.)

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a treaty at the White House calling for destruction of intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

In 1992, Americans got to see live television coverage of U.S. troops landing on the beaches of Somalia as Operation Restore Hope began (because of the time difference, it was early Dec. 9 in Somalia).

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush signed a $400 billion Medicare overhaul bill that included a prescription drug plan for seniors. Congress approved legislation to stem the flood of unwanted junk e-mail known as “spam.” A Greek anti-terrorism court convicted 15 members of the November 17 cell for their roles in a nearly 30-year killing campaign.

Five years ago: In a startling about-face, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal he would confess to masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks; four other men also abandoned their defenses. (Mohammed is still awaiting trial.) A malfunctioning F/A-18D Hornet military jet trying to reach Marine Corps Air Station Miramar slammed into a densely populated San Diego neighborhood, killing four members of a family and incinerating two homes; the pilot ejected safely. Mystery writer Hillary Waugh died in Torrington, Conn. at age 88. Character actor Robert Prosky died in Washington, D.C. five days short of his 78th birthday.

One year ago: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that his cancer had returned and that he would undergo another surgery in Cuba. Pakistan’s president visited a British hospital where a 15-year-old schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai, was being treated after being shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in October. Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-director Maximilian Schell is 83. Flutist James Galway is 74. Singer Jerry Butler is 74. Pop musician Bobby Elliott (The Hollies) is 72. Actress Mary Woronov is 70. Actor John Rubinstein is 67. Rock singer-musician Gregg Allman is 66. Reggae singer Toots Hibbert (Toots and the Maytals) is 65. Actress Kim Basinger (BAY’-sing-ur) is 60. Rock musician Warren Cuccurullo is 57. Rock musician Phil Collen (Def Leppard) is 56. Country singer Marty Raybon is 54. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim is 54. Political commentator Ann Coulter is 52. Rock musician Marty Friedman is 51. Actor Wendell Pierce is 50. Actress Teri Hatcher is 49. Actor David Harewood (TV: “Homeland”) is 48. Rapper Bushwick Bill (The Geto Boys) is 47. Singer Sinead (shih-NAYD’) O’Connor is 47. Actor Matthew Laborteaux is 47. Rock musician Ryan Newell (Sister Hazel) is 41. Actor Dominic Monaghan is 37. Actor Ian Somerhalder is 35. Rock singer Ingrid Michaelson is 34. R&B singer Chrisette Michele is 31. Actress Hannah Ware is 31. Rock singer-actress Kate Voegele (VOH’-gehl) is 27. Actress AnnaSophia Robb is 20.

Thought for Today: “So long as governments set the example of killing their enemies, private individuals will occasionally kill theirs.” — Elbert Hubbard, American author (1856-1915).

Above Advance for Use Sunday, Dec. 8)

Copyright 2013, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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