Today is Sunday, Dec. 20, the 354th day of 2015. There are 11 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 20, 1945, the Office of Price Administration announced the end of tire rationing, effective Jan. 1, 1946.
On this date:
In 1790, the first successful cotton mill in the United States began operating at Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase was completed as ownership of the territory was formally transferred from France to the United States.
In 1812, German authors Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm published the first volume of the first edition of their collection of folk stories, “Children’s and Household Tales.”
In 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from the Union as all 169 delegates to a special convention in Charleston voted in favor of separation.
In 1864, Confederate forces evacuated Savannah, Georgia, as Union Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman nearly completed his “March to the Sea.”
In 1924, Adolf Hitler was released from prison after serving nine months for his role in the Beer Hall Putsch; during his time behind bars, he’d written his autobiographical screed, “Mein Kampf.”
In 1946, the Frank Capra film “It’s A Wonderful Life,” starring James Stewart and Donna Reed, had a preview showing for charity at New York’s Globe Theatre, a day before its official world premiere.
In 1963, the Berlin Wall was opened for the first time to West Berliners, who were allowed one-day visits to relatives in the Eastern sector for the holidays.
In 1973, singer-songwriter Bobby Darin died in Los Angeles following open-heart surgery; he was 37.
In 1987, more than 4,300 people were killed when the Dona Paz, a Philippine passenger ship, collided with the tanker Vector off Mindoro island.
In 1989, the United States launched Operation Just Cause, sending troops into Panama to topple the government of Gen. Manuel Noriega.
In 1995, an American Airlines Boeing 757 en route to Cali, Colombia, slammed into a mountain, killing all but four of the 163 people aboard. In Bosnia-Herzegovina, NATO began its peacekeeping mission, taking over from the United Nations.
Ten years ago: New York City transit workers began a strike that shut down subways and buses for three days. A federal judge ruled that “intelligent design” could not be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, delivering a stinging attack on the Dover Area School Board.
Five years ago: In the biggest anti-terrorist sweep in Britain in nearly two years, police arrested a dozen men accused of plotting a large-scale terror attack on targets inside the United Kingdom. Former Mexican presidential candidate Diego Fernandez de Cevallos was freed more than seven months after his kidnapping by suspected leftist rebels. “Barney Miller” actor Steve Landesberg, 74, died in Los Angeles.
One year ago: A gunman who’d announced online that he was planning to shoot two “pigs” in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner ambushed two New York City officers in a patrol car; Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu to death before running to a subway station and killing himself.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor John Hillerman is 83. Original Mouseketeer Tommy Cole (TV: “The Mickey Mouse Club”) is 74. Rock musician-music producer Bobby Colomby is 71. Rock musician Peter Criss is 70. Psychic/illusionist Uri Geller is 69. Producer Dick Wolf (“Law & Order”) is 69. Rock musician Alan Parsons is 67. Actress Jenny Agutter is 63. Actor Michael Badalucco is 61. Actress Blanche Baker is 59. Rock singer Billy Bragg is 58. Rock singer-musician Mike Watt (The Secondmen, Minutemen, fIREHOSE) is 58. Actor Joel Gretsch is 52. Country singer Kris Tyler is 51. Rock singer Chris Robinson is 49. Actress Nicole deBoer is 45. Movie director Todd Phillips is 45. Singer David Cook (“American Idol”) is 33. Actor Jonah Hill is 32. Actor Bob Morley (TV: “The 100”) is 31. Singer JoJo is 25.
Thought for Today: “All the mistakes I ever made were when I wanted to say ‘No’ and said ‘Yes.’” — Moss Hart, American playwright and director (born 1904, died this date in 1961).