This Day in His­tory

Pawtucket Times - - AMUSEMENTS -

On Dec. 7, 1941, Ja­pan launched a sur­prise at­tack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Har­bor in Hawaii as part of its plan to con­quer South­east Asian ter­ri­to­ries; the raid, which claimed some 2,400 Amer­i­can lives, prompted the United States to de­clare war against Ja­pan the next day.

On this date:

In 43 B.C., Ro­man states­man and scholar Mar­cus Tul­lius Cicero was slain at the or­der of the Sec­ond Tri­umvi­rate.

In 1787, Delaware be­came the first state to rat­ify the U.S. Con­sti­tu­tion.

In 1842, the New York Phil­har­monic per­formed its first con­cert.

In 1911, China abol­ished the re­quire­ment that men wear their hair in a queue, or pony­tail.

In 1917, dur­ing World War I, the United States de­clared war on Aus­tria-Hun­gary.

In 1946, fire broke out at the Winecoff Ho­tel in At­lanta; the blaze killed 119 peo­ple, in­clud­ing ho­tel founder W. Frank Winecoff.

In 1972, Amer­ica’s last moon mis­sion to date was launched as Apollo 17 blasted off from Cape Canaveral. Imelda Mar­cos, wife of Philip­pine Pres­i­dent Fer­di­nand E. Mar­cos, was stabbed and se­ri­ously wounded by an as­sailant who was shot dead by her body­guards.

In 1987, 43 peo­ple were killed after a gun­man aboard a Pa­cific South­west Air­lines jet­liner in Cal­i­for­nia ap­par­ently opened fire on a fel­low pas­sen­ger, the pi­lots and him­self, caus­ing the plane to crash. Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gor­bachev set foot on Amer­i­can soil for the first time, ar­riv­ing for a Wash­ing­ton sum­mit with Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan.

In 1988, a ma­jor earth­quake in the Soviet Union dev­as­tated north­ern Ar­me­nia; of­fi­cial es­ti­mates put the death toll at 25,000..

In 1993, a gun­man opened fire on a Long Is­land Rail Road com­muter train, killing six peo­ple and wound­ing 19. (The shooter was later sen­tenced to a min­i­mum of 200 years in prison.)

In 2001, Tal­iban forces aban­doned their last bas­tion in Afghanistan, flee­ing the south­ern city of Kan­da­har.

In 2004, Hamid Karzai was sworn in as Afghanistan’s first pop­u­larly elected pres­i­dent.

Ten years ago: Pres­i­dent-elect Barack Obama in­tro­duced re­tired Gen. Eric Shin­seki as his choice to head the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Depart­ment.

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