Today is Wednesday, Dec. 21, the 355th day of 2022. There are 10 days left in the year. Winter begins at 4:48 p.m. EST.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 21, 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.
On this date:
In 1620, Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower went ashore for the first time at present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts.
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 1913, the first newspaper crossword puzzle, billed as a “Word-Cross Puzzle,” was published in the New York World.
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 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 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.
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 2009, the Obama administration imposed a 3-hour limit on how long airlines can keep passengers waiting inside planes delayed on the ground.
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.
In 2020, 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.
Ten years ago: 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. President Barack Obama nominated Sen. John Kerry as his next secretary of state.
Five years ago: The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to denounce President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, largely ignoring Trump’s threat to cut off aid to any country that went against him. Papa John’s announced that founder John Schnatter would step down as CEO; the company had apologized for his comments criticizing the NFL leadership over protests by players who knelt during the national anthem.
One year ago: In an effort to fight the omicron coronavirus variant surging through the country, President Joe Biden announced that the government would provide 500 million free rapid home-testing kits, increase support for hospitals under strain and redouble vaccination and boosting efforts. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the nation’s third-largest city would start requiring proof of coronavirus vaccination at restaurants, bars, gyms and other indoor venues. Figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that U.S. population growth dipped to its lowest rate since the nation’s founding during the first year of the pandemic.
Today’s Birthdays: Talk show host Phil Donahue is 87. Actor Jane Fonda is 85. Actor Larry Bryggman is 84. Singer Carla Thomas is 80. Musician Albert Lee is 79. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas is 78. Actor Josh Mostel is 76. Actor Samuel L. Jackson is 74. Rock singer Nick Gilder is 72. Movie producer Jeffrey Katzenberg is 72. Actor Dennis Boutsikaris is 70. International Tennis Hall of Famer Chris Evert is 68. Actor Jane Kaczmarek is 67. Country singer Lee Roy Parnell is 66. Former child actor Lisa Gerritsen is 65. Actor-comedian Ray Romano is 65. Former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is 60. Country singer Christy Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 60. Rock musician Murph (The Lemonheads; Dinosaur Jr.) is 58. Actor-comedian Andy Dick is 57. Rock musician Gabrielle Glaser is 57. Actor Michelle Hurd is 56. Actor Kiefer Sutherland is 56. Actor Karri Turner is 56. Actor Khrystyne Haje is 54. Country singer Brad Warren (The Warren Brothers) is 54. Actor Julie Delpy is 53. Contemporary Christian singer Natalie Grant is 51. Actor Glenn Fitzgerald is 51. Singer-musician Brett Scallions is 51. World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie Webb is 48. Rock singer Lukas Rossi (Rock Star Supernova) is 46. French President Emmanuel Macron is 45. Actor Rutina Wesley is 44. Rock musician Anna Bulbrook (Airborne Toxic Event) is 40. Country singer Luke Stricklin is 40. Actor Steven Yeun is 39. Actor Kaitlyn Dever is 26.