Today in History 12/8


Today is Saturday, Dec. 8, the 343rd day of 2012. There are 23 days left in the year. The Jewish Festival of Lights, Hanukkah, begins at sunset.

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 1961, The Beach Boys’ first single, “Surfin’,” was released.

• 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.)

Today’s Birthdays:

Actor-director Maximilian Schell is 82. Rock singer-musician Gregg Allman is 65. Reggae singer Toots Hibbert (Toots and the Maytals) is 64. Actress Kim Basinger is 59. Rock musician Warren Cuccurullo is 56. Rock musician Phil Collen (Def Leppard) is 55. Country singer Marty Raybon is 53. Rock musician Marty Friedman is 50. Actor Wendell Pierce is 49. Actress Teri Hatcher is 48. Actor David Harewood (TV: “Homeland”) is 47. Singer Sinead O’Connor is 46. Actor Matthew Laborteaux is 46. Actor Dominic Monaghan is 36. Actor Ian Somerhalder is 34. Rock singer Ingrid Michaelson is 33. R&B singer Chrisette Michele is 30. Rock singer-actress Kate Voegele is 26. Actress AnnaSophia Robb is 19.