Today in History

Today is the 347th day of 2018. There are 18 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 13, 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole under a farmhouse in Adwar, Iraq.

On this date:

In 1862, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside launched futile attacks against entrenched Confederate soldiers during the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg; the soundly defeated Northern troops withdrew two days later.

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit Europe while in office.

In 1928, George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” had its premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York.

In 1937, the Chinese city of Nanjing fell to Japanese forces during the Sino-Japanese War; what followed was a massacre of war prisoners, soldiers and citizens. (China maintains that up to 300,000 people were killed; Japanese nationalists say the death toll was far lower.)

In 1944, during World War II, the light cruiser USS Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze attack off Negros Island in the Philippines.

In 1977, an Air Indiana Flight 216, a DC-3 carrying the University of Evansville basketball team on a flight to Nashville, crashed shortly after takeoff.

In 1978, the Philadelphia Mint began stamping the Susan B. Anthony dollar.

In 2000, Republican George W. Bush claimed the presidency a day after the U.S. Supreme Court shut down further recounts of disputed ballots in Florida; Democrat Al Gore conceded.

In 2002, Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as Boston archbishop because of the priest sex abuse scandal.

Ten years ago: The White House weighed its options for preventing a collapse of the troubled U.S. auto industry.

Five years ago: North Korea’s state-run media announced the execution the day before of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle, portraying Jang Song Thaek as a morally corrupt traitor.

One year ago: Congressional Republicans reached agreement on a major overhaul of the nation’s tax laws that would provide generous tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest Americans; middle- and low-income families would get smaller tax cuts.

Today’s Birthdays: Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz is 98. Actor-comedian Dick Van Dyke is 93. Actor Christopher Plummer is 89. Country singer Buck White is 88. Singer John Davidson is 77. Actress Kathy Garver (TV: “Family Affair”) is 73. Singer Ted Nugent is 70. Rock musician Jeff “Skunk” Baxter is 70. Country musician Ron Getman is 70. Actor Robert Lindsay is 69. Country singer-musician Randy Owen is 69. Actress Wendie Malick is 68. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is 65. Country singer John Anderson is 64. Singer-songwriter Steve Forbert is 64. Actor Johnny Whitaker (TV: “Family Affair”) is 59. Rock musician John Munson (Semisonic; Twilight Hours) is 56. Actor-comedian Jamie Foxx is 51. Actor Bart Johnson is 48. Actor Jeffrey Pierce is 47. Actor James Kyson Lee is 43. Actress Kimee Balmilero (TV: “Hawaii Five-0”) is 39. Singer Taylor Swift is 29.

Thought for Today: “To know how to say what others only know how to think is what makes men poets or sages; and to dare to say what others only dare to think makes men martyrs or reformers — or both.” — Elizabeth Charles, British writer (1828-1896).