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Today in History

Today in History 

Today is Tuesday, Dec. 21, the 355th day of 2021. There are 10 days left in the year. Winter arrives at 10:59 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. 

  • Today's Highlight in History: 

On Dec. 21, 1988, 270 people were killed when a terrorist bomb exploded aboard a Pam Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland, sending wreckage crashing to the ground. 

  • On this date: 

In 1620, Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower went ashore for the first time at present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts.In 1864, during the Civil War, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman concluded their "March to the Sea" as they captured Savannah, Georgia. 
In 1891, the first basketball game, devised by James Naismith, is believed to have been played at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. (The final score of this experimental game: 1-0.) 
In 1914, the U.S. government began requiring passport applicants to provide photographs of themselves. 
In 1945, U.S. Army Gen. George S. Patton, 60, died in Heidelberg, Germany, 12 days after being seriously injured in a car accident. 
In 1968, Apollo 8 was launched on a mission to orbit the moon. 
In 1969, Vince Lombardi coached his last football game as his team, the Washington Redskins, lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 20-10. 
In 1976, the Liberian-registered tanker Argo Merchant broke apart near Nantucket Island off Massachusetts almost a week after running aground, spilling 7.5 million gallons of oil into the North Atlantic.
In 1991, eleven of the 12 former Soviet republics proclaimed the birth of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the death of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. 
In 1995, the city of Bethlehem passed from Israeli to Palestinian control. 
In 2012, the National Rifle Association said guns and police officers were needed in all American schools to stop the next killer "waiting in the wings," taking a no-retreat stance in the face of growing calls for gun control after the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings that claimed the lives of 26 children and school staff. 
In 2015, the nation's three-decade-old ban on blood donations from gay and bisexual men was formally lifted, but major restrictions continued to limit who could give blood in the U.S.

  • Ten years ago: The U.S. Army announced charges against eight soldiers related to the death of a fellow GI, Pvt. Daniel Chen, who apparently shot himself in Afghanistan after being hazed. (Of the eight, five received prison sentences and two received demotions; four of the eight faced dismissal from the service.) Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was selected the 2011 AP Male Athlete of the Year. Baylor's Robert Griffin III was selected The Associated Press college football player of the year.
  • Five years ago: President-elect Donald Trump declared that the deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Germany that killed 12 people two days earlier was "an attack on humanity and it's got to be stopped"; he also suggested he might go forward with his campaign pledge to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants from coming to the United States. 
  • One year ago: President-elect Joe Biden received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on live television as part of a growing effort to convince the American public the inoculations were safe. The Vatican declared it "morally acceptable" for Roman Catholics to receive COVID-19 vaccines based on research that used fetal tissue from abortions. Undercutting President Donald Trump on multiple fronts, Attorney General William Barr said he saw no reason to appoint a special counsel to look into Trump's claims about the 2020 election or to name one for the tax investigation of Joe Biden's son. A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that represented Virginia in the U.S. Capitol was removed. Jupiter and Saturn merged in the night sky, appearing closer than they had in centuries. Country singer K.T. Oslin died in suburban Nashville at 78.
  • Today's Birthdays: Talk show host Phil Donahue is 86. Actor Jane Fonda is 84. Actor Larry Bryggman is 83. Singer Carla Thomas is 79. Musician Albert Lee is 78. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas is 77. Actor Josh Mostel is 75. Actor Samuel L. Jackson is 73. Rock singer Nick Gilder is 71. Movie producer Jeffrey Katzenberg is 71. Actor Dennis Boutsikaris is 69. International Tennis Hall of Famer Chris Evert is 67. Actor Jane Kaczmarek is 66. Country singer Lee Roy Parnell is 65. Former child actor Lisa Gerritsen is 64. Actor-comedian Ray Romano is 64. Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is 59. Country singer Christy Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 59. Rock musician Murph (The Lemonheads; Dinosaur Jr.) is 57. Actor-comedian Andy Dick is 56. Rock musician Gabrielle Glaser is 56. Actor Michelle Hurd is 55. Actor Kiefer Sutherland is 55. Actor Karri Turner is 55. Actor Khrystyne Haje is 53. Country singer Brad Warren (The Warren Brothers) is 53. Actor Julie Delpy is 52. Contemporary Christian singer Natalie Grant is 50. Actor Glenn Fitzgerald is 50. Singer-musician Brett Scallions is 50. World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie Webb is 47. Rock singer Lukas Rossi (Rock Star Supernova) is 45. Actor Rutina Wesley is 43. Rock musician Anna Bulbrook (Airborne Toxic Event) is 39. Country singer Luke Stricklin is 39. Actor Steven Yeun is 38. Actor Kaitlyn Dever is 25.