Today is Thursday, Dec. 23, the 357th day of 2021. There are eight days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 23, 1783, George Washington resigned as commander in chief of the Continental Army and retired to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
On this date:
In 1788, Maryland passed an act to cede an area “not exceeding ten miles square” for the seat of the national government; about two-thirds of the area became the District of Columbia.
In 1928, the National Broadcasting Company set up a permanent, coast-to-coast network.
In 1941, during World War II, American forces on Wake Island surrendered to the Japanese.
In 1948, former Japanese premier Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese war leaders were executed in Tokyo.
In 1954, the first successful human kidney transplant took place at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston as a surgical team removed a kidney from 23-year-old Ronald Herrick and implanted it in Herrick’s twin brother, Richard.
In 1962, Cuba began releasing prisoners from the failed Bay of Pigs invasion under an agreement in which Cuba received more than $50 million worth of food and medical supplies.
In 1968, 82 crew members of the U.S. intelligence ship Pueblo were released by North Korea, 11 months after they had been captured.
In 1972, a 6.2-magnitude earthquake struck Nicaragua; the disaster claimed some 5,000 lives.
In 1986, the experimental airplane Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, completed the first non-stop, non-refueled round-the-world flight as it returned safely to Edwards Air Force Base in California.
In 1997, a federal jury in Denver convicted Terry Nichols of involuntary manslaughter and conspiracy for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing, declining to find him guilty of murder. (Nichols was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.)
In 2001, Time magazine named New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani its Person of the Year for his steadfast response to the 9/11 terrorist attack.
In 2003, a jury in Chesapeake, Virginia, sentenced teen sniper Lee Boyd Malvo to life in prison, sparing him the death penalty.
Ten years ago: After days of stalemate and rancor, Congress approved a two-month renewal of payroll tax cuts for 160 million workers and unemployment benefits for millions; President Barack Obama immediately signed the bill into law. Two car bombers blew themselves up in Damascus outside the heavily guarded compounds of Syria’s intelligence agencies, killing at least 44 people and wounding dozens more in a brazen attack on the powerful security directorates.
Five years ago: The United States allowed the U.N. Security Council to condemn Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation” of international law; the decision to abstain from the council’s 14-0 vote was one of the biggest American rebukes of its longstanding ally in recent memory. Actor and writer Carrie Fisher was transported to a Los Angeles hospital after suffering a severe medical emergency on an international flight; she died four days later at age 60.
One year ago: Pfizer said it would supply the U.S. government with an additional 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine under a new agreement between the pharmaceutical giant and the Trump administration. Two new studies provided encouraging evidence that having had COVID-19 may offer some protection against future infections. After months of fighting the coronavirus, the Fire Department of New York began vaccinating its own members, starting with the front-line EMTs who had responded to more than 1 million emergency medical calls throughout New York City in 2020.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Ronnie Schell is 90. Former Emperor Akihito of Japan is 88. Actor Frederic Forrest is 85. Rock musician Jorma Kaukonen is 81. Actor-comedian Harry Shearer is 78. U.S. Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark (ret.) is 77. Actor Susan Lucci is 75. Singer-musician Adrian Belew is 72. Rock musician Dave Murray (Iron Maiden) is 65. Actor Joan Severance is 63. Singer Terry Weeks is 58. Rock singer Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam) is 57. The former first lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, is 54. Rock musician Jamie Murphy is 46. Jazz musician Irvin Mayfield is 44. Actor Estella Warren is 43. Actor Elvy Yost is 34. Actor Anna Maria Perez de Tagle is 31. Actor Spencer Daniels is 29. Actor Caleb Foote is 28.