Today in 1783,George Washington resigned as commander-in-chief of the Army and retired to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
Today in 1823, the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” by Clement Clarke Moore,was first published in a New York paper. The poem is more commonly known as “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
Today in 1942, Bob Hope agreed to entertain U.S. airmen in Alaska. It was the first of his famed USO Christmas shows.
Today in 1947,the transistor – which had been invented by Bell Laboratories –was successfully demonstrated for the first time. The development rendered the old, vacuum-style tubes obsolete.
Today in 1985,a jury in Santa Barbara, California ruled that the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was not responsible for the cancer death of a cigarette smoker.
Today in 1987,Manson family member, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme (serving a life sentence for the attempted assassination of President Ford in 1975),escaped from the Alderson Federal Prison for Women in West Virginia. She was recaptured three days later.
Today in 1997,the U.S. Agriculture Department estimated the costs of raising a child to the age of 18 to be $149,820. That cost has since risen to $233,610.
Today in 1999,President Bill Clinton pardoned Freddie Meeks, a Black sailor court-martialed for mutiny during World War II when he and 50 other Black sailors refused to load live ammunition following a deadly explosion at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine near San Francisco. What happened? Officials say two ships loaded with 10-thousand tons of ammunition, which exploded on July 17, 1944. In all, 320 servicemen were killed and nearly 400 others were injured – it was the worst stateside disaster of World War II. Meeks and the others refused to return to work for fear of their safety as they had no training on handling live munitions.Families of the others have petitioned other presidents– including President Obama – for years to clear the names of their loved ones, to no avail.
Today in 2003,America reported its first case of mad cow disease as a slaughtered cow from a Washington farm tested positive for the illness. Several countries subsequently banned the importation of U-S beef.