Today is Monday, Dec. 25, the 359th day of 2017. There are six days left in the year. This is Christmas Day.
Today’s highlight: On Dec. 25, 1776, Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, New Jersey, during the American Revolutionary War.
On this date:
In A.D. 336, the first known commemoration of Christmas on Dec. 25 took place in Rome.
In 1066, William the Conqueror was crowned King of England.
In 1818, “Silent Night (Stille Nacht)” was publicly performed for the first time during the Christmas Midnight Mass at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.
In 1926, Hirohito became emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito.
In 1931, New York’s Metropolitan Opera broadcast an entire live opera over radio for the first time: “Hansel and Gretel” by Engelbert Humperdinck.
In 1940, the Rodgers & Hart musical “Pal Joey” opened on Broadway, beginning a run of 374 performances.
In 1946, comedian W.C. Fields died in Pasadena, California, at age 66.
In 1961, Pope John XXIII formally announced the upcoming convocation of the Second Vatican Council, which opened in Oct. 1962.
In 1977, comedian Sir Charles Chaplin died in Switzerland at age 88.
In 1989, ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were executed following a popular uprising. Former baseball manager Billy Martin, 61, died in a traffic accident near Binghamton, New York.
In 1991, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on television to announce his resignation as the eighth and final leader of a communist superpower that had already gone out of existence.
In 2006, James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul,” died in Atlanta at age 73.
Ten years ago: A tiger at the San Francisco Zoo escaped her enclosure and killed a park visitor; two brothers also were mauled, but survived. (The tiger was killed by police.) Russia’s military successfully test-fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads.
Five years ago: In his Christmas message to the world, Pope Benedict XVI called for an end to the slaughter in Syria and for more meaningful negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, while encouraging more religious freedom under China’s new leaders. Chicago mobster Frank Calabrese Sr., 75, died at a federal prison in North Carolina.
One year ago: A Russian Tu-154 carrying 92 people to Syria crashed into the Black Sea shortly after takeoff from Sochi, killing all 92 people on board. Decrying the suffering in Syria, Pope Francis wished Christmas peace and hope for all those scarred by war and terrorism, which he said was sowing “fear and death in the heart of many countries and cities.” George Michael, who rocketed to stardom with WHAM! and went on to enjoy a long and celebrated solo career, died at his home in Goring, England, at age 53.
Today’s birthdays: Actor Dick Miller is 89. Author Anne Roiphe is 82. Actress Hanna Schygulla is 74. Rhythm-and-blues singer John Edwards (The Spinners) is 73. Actor Gary Sandy is 72. Singer Jimmy Buffett is 71. Pro and College Football Hall-of-Famer Larry Csonka is 71. Country singer Barbara Mandrell is 69. Actress Sissy Spacek is 68. Former White House adviser Karl Rove is 67. Actress CCH Pounder is 65. Singer Annie Lennox is 63. Reggae singer-musician Robin Campbell (UB40) is 63. Country singer Steve Wariner is 63. Singer Shane MacGowan (The Pogues, The Popes) is 60. Baseball Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson is 59. The former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Christina Romer, is 59. Actress Klea Scott is 49. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is 46. Rock musician Noel Hogan (The Cranberries) is 46. Singer Dido is 46. Rock singer Mac Powell (Third Day) is 45. Rhythm-and-blues singer Ryan Shaw is 37. Country singer Alecia Elliott is 35. Pop singers Jess and Lisa Origliasso (The Veronicas) are 33. Rock singer-musician Lukas Nelson (Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) is 29.
Thought for today: “It is Christmas every time you let God love others through you … yes, it is Christmas every time you smile at your brother and offer him your hand.” — Saint Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997).
— Associated Press