TODAY IN HISTORY


Today is Thursday, Dec. 17, the 352nd day of 2020. There are 14 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio, conducted the first successful manned powered-airplane flights near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, using their experimental craft, the Wright Flyer.

On this date:

In 1777, France recognized American independence.

In 1933, in the inaugural NFL championship football game, the Chicago Bears defeated the New York Giants, 23-21, at Wrigley Field.

In 1938, German chemists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann discovered nuclear fission by splitting the nuclei of uranium into lighter elements.

In 1944, the U.S. War Department announced it was ending its policy of excluding people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast.

In 1975, Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme was sentenced in Sacramento, Calif. to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Gerald R. Ford. (She was paroled in Aug. 2009.)

In 1989, the animated TV series “The Simpsons” premiered on Fox with a Christmas-themed episode.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in separate ceremonies. (After President Donald Trump demanded a new deal, the three countries signed a replacement agreement in 2018.)

In 2001, Marines raised the Stars and Stripes over the long-abandoned American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In 2011, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il died after more than a decade of iron rule.

In 2014, the United States and Cuba restored diplomatic relations, sweeping away one of the last vestiges of the Cold War.

Today’s Birthdays: Pope Francis is 84. Political commentator Chris Matthews is 75. Comedian-actor Eugene Levy is 74. Rock singer Paul Rodgers is 71. Actor Bill Pullman is 67. Actor Barry Livingston is 67. Country singer Sharon White is 67. Producer-director-writer Peter Farrelly is 64. Rock musician Mike Mills (R.E.M.) is 62. Country singer Tracy Byrd is 54. Actor Sean Patrick Thomas is 50. Actor Milla Jovovich is 45.