Today in history

By The Associated Press

Today is Monday, Dec. 4, the 338th day of 2017. There are 27 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Dec. 4, 1942, during World War II, U.S. bombers struck the Italian mainland for the first time with a raid on Naples. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the dismantling of the Works Progress Administration, which had been created to provide jobs during the Depression.

On this date:

In 1619, a group of settlers from Bristol, England, arrived at Berkeley Hundred in present-day Charles City County, Virginia, where they held a service thanking God for their safe arrival.

In 1783, Gen. George Washington bade farewell to his Continental Army officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York.

In 1867, the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, also known as The Grange, was founded in Washington, D.C., to promote the interests of farmers.

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson left Washington on a trip to France to attend the Versailles (vehr-SY’) Peace Conference.

In 1945, the Senate approved U.S. participation in the United Nations by a vote of 65-7.

In 1956, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins gathered for the first and only time for a jam session at Sun Records in Memphis.

In 1965, the United States launched Gemini 7 with Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Borman and Navy Cmdr. James A. Lovell aboard on a two-week mission. (While Gemini 7 was in orbit, its sister ship, Gemini 6A, was launched on Dec. 15 on a one-day mission; the two spacecraft were able to rendezvous within a foot of each other.)

In 1967, actor-comedian Bert Lahr, who played the Cowardly Lion in “The Wizard of Oz,” died in New York at age 72.

In 1977, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, ruler of the Central African Empire, crowned himself emperor in a lavish ceremony. (Bokassa was deposed in 1979; he died in 1996 at age 75.)

In 1984, a five-day hijack drama began as four armed men seized a Kuwaiti airliner en route to Pakistan and forced it to land in Tehran, where the hijackers killed American passenger Charles Hegna. (A second American, William Stanford, also was killed during the siege.)

In 1991, Associated Press correspondent Terry Anderson, the longest held of the Western hostages in Lebanon, was released after nearly seven years in captivity. The original Pan American World Airways ceased operations.

In 1996, the Mars Pathfinder lifted off from Cape Canaveral and began speeding toward the red planet on a 310 million-mile odyssey. (It arrived on Mars in July 1997.)

Ten years ago: Defending his credibility, President George W. Bush said Iran was dangerous and needed to be squeezed by international pressure despite a U.S. intelligence finding that Tehran had halted its nuclear weapons program four years earlier, contradicting earlier U.S. assessments. Pimp C (Chad Butler), a rapper with the Texas hip-hop group Underground Kingz, was found dead in a hotel room in West Hollywood, California; he was 33.

Five years ago: Two Australian radio disc jockeys impersonating Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles made a prank call to a London hospital and succeeded in getting a nurse to tell them the condition of the Duchess of Cambridge, who was being treated for acute morning sickness; another nurse who had put the call through would be found dead three days later in an apparent suicide.

One year ago: A North Carolina man armed with a rifle fired several shots inside Comet Ping Pong, a Washington, D.C., pizzeria, as he attempted to investigate an online conspiracy theory that prominent Democrats were harboring child sex slaves at the restaurant; no one was hurt, and the man surrendered to police. (He was later sentenced to four years in prison.) Italian voters dealt Premier Matteo Renzi a stinging defeat on his reforms referendum, triggering his resignation. Actor Al Pacino, gospel singer Staples, pianist Martha Argerich, singer-songwriter James Taylor, and Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmidt and Joe Walsh, the surviving members of the Eagles, received Kennedy Center Honors.

Today’s Birthdays: Game show host Wink Martindale is 84. Pop singer Freddy Cannon is 81. Actor-producer Max Baer Jr. is 80. Actress Gemma Jones is 75. Rock musician Bob Mosley (Moby Grape) is 75. Singer-musician Chris Hillman is 73. Musician Terry Woods (The Pogues) is 70. Rock singer Southside Johnny Lyon is 69. Actor Jeff Bridges is 68. Rock musician Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd; the Rossington Collins Band) is 66. Actress Patricia Wettig is 66. Actor Tony Todd is 63. Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson is 62. Country musician Brian Prout (Diamond Rio) is 62. Rock musician Bob Griffin (The BoDeans) is 58. Rock singer Vinnie Dombroski (Sponge) is 55. Actress Marisa Tomei is 53. Actress Chelsea Noble is 53. Actor-comedian Fred Armisen is 51. Rapper Jay-Z is 48. Actor Kevin Sussman is 47. Actress-model Tyra Banks is 44. Country singer Lila McCann is 36. Actress Lindsay Felton is 33. Actor Orlando Brown is 30. Actress Scarlett Estevez (TV: “Lucifer”) is 10.

Thought for Today: “Beauty is the promise of happiness.” — Stendahl (Henri Beyle (ahn-REE’ behl)), French author and critic (1783-1842).

By The Associated Press