On This Date In 1597 Through January 4, 1598 the Siege of Ulsan was an unsuccessful Korean and Chinese attempt to capture Ulsan Castle from the Japanese late in the Imjin War. The Japanese suffered heavy losses during the siege.
On This Date In 1620 One week after the Mayflower arrived at Plymouth harbor in present-day Massachusetts, construction of the first permanent European settlement in New England began.
On This Date In 1783 George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army in the senate chamber of the Maryland State House in Annapolis, where the Continental Congress was then meeting.
On This Date In 1805 Joseph Smith, Jr. (December 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844) was born in Sharon, Vermont to Joseph and Lucy Mack Smith, a working class couple. Smith would live to become the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, a group of churches whose adherents regard him as a prophet.
On This Date In 1829 Embarking on the second of three wide-ranging exploratory journeys in the West, Prince Paul Wilhelm of Wurttemberg, Germany left St. Louis and headed up the Missouri River.
On This Date In 1880 Thomas Edison incorporated the Edison Electric Light Company of Europe.
On This Date In 1888 Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, suffering from severe depression, cut off the lower part of his left ear with a razor while staying in Arles, France. He later documented the event in a painting titled Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear.
On This Date In 1904 The Rolls-Royce 10 hp was the first car to be produced as a result of an agreement between Charles Rolls and Henry Royce, and badged as a Rolls-Royce. The 10hp was produced by Royce's company, Royce Ltd., at its factory in Trafford Park, Manchester, and was sold exclusively by Rolls' motor dealership, C.S.Rolls & Co., at a price of GBP395.
On This Date In 1912 The poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” by Clement C. Moore (“Twas the night before Christmas...”) was published, first anonymously, in the Troy, New York, Sentinel.
On This Date In 1913 President Woodrow Wilson signed the Owen-Glass Act, creating the Federal Reserve System, an independent agency of the U.S. Government. Under the terms of the first major banking reform to follow the Civil War, the Federal Reserve System, or “Fed,” was designed to keep the economy healthy through the formulation of U.S. monetary policy. As the nation’s money manager and central banking authority, the Fed has regulatory and supervisory responsibilities and ensures that sufficient amounts of currency and coin circulate to meet the public’s demand. It also establishes interest rates and monitors the availability of money and credit. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/dec23.html
On This Date In 1933 The Lagny-Pomponne Railroad Disaster was a train disaster that happened between Pomponne and Lagny-sur-Marne, twenty kilometers east of Paris, when the 4-8-2 locomotive of the express for Strasbourg crashed at 110 km the end of the extra train for Nancy which was stopped on the railway, destroying the five last wood cars. 204 people died and 120 were injured. It is the worst railroad disaster in French history after the Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne railroad disaster in 1917.
On This Date In 1944 General Dwight Eisenhower endorsed the finding of a court-martial in the case of Eddie Slovik, who was tried for desertion, and authorized his execution, the first such sentence against a U.S. Army soldier since the Civil War, and the only man so punished during World War II.
On This Date In 1946 President Harry S. Truman appointed an amnesty board to review cases of conscientious objectors (CO's) who were imprisoned after refusing to serve during World War II.
On This Date In 1948 In Tokyo, Japan, Hideki Tojo, former Japanese premier and chief of the Kwantung Army, was executed along with six other top Japanese leaders for their war crimes during World War II. Seven of the defendants were also found guilty of committing crimes against humanity, especially in regard to their systematic genocide of the Chinese people.
On This Date In 1952 “Moulin Rouge,” a film set in Paris in the late 19th century, was released by United Artists. It was directed by John Huston, and produced by Sir John Woolf and James Woolf of Romulus Films. The screenplay is also by Huston, based on the novel by Pierre La Mure.
On This Date In 1954 “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, an adventure film starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, Paul Lukas, and Peter Lorre, was released. It was the first science fiction film produced by Walt Disney Productions, as well as the only science-fiction film produced by Walt Disney himself. It was also the first feature length Disney film to be distributed by Buena Vista Distribution.
On This Date In 1968 During the Vietnam War, the crew and captain of the U.S. intelligence gathering ship Pueblo were released after 11 months' imprisonment by the government of North Korea. The ship, and its 83-man crew, was seized by North Korean warships on January 23 and charged with intruding into North Korean waters.
On This Date In 1972 A 6.2-magnitude earthquake in Managua, Nicaragua, killed more than 10,000 people and left 250,000 homeless. For weeks following the earthquake, nearly half the city's population remained homeless. Eventually, a significant portion of the city was just bulldozed without ever recovering bodies that may have been under the rubble. The entire nation was left reeling for years afterward, as half of the economy was based in Managua and virtually every business in the city was gravely affected.
On This Date In 1972 During the AFC divisional playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Oakland Raiders at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Frenchy Fuqua, a Pittsburgh half back, collided with Raiders Safety Jack Tatum as he tried to make a catch. Pittsburgh running back Franco Harris caught the deflected football just before it hit the ground, and ran in for a touchdown that won the game for the Steelers, 13-7. This play would go on to be nicknamed “The Immaculate Reception.”
On This Date In 1982 The Missouri Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) informed residents of Times Beach, Missouri that their town was contaminated when the chemical dioxin was sprayed on its unpaved roads, and that the town would have to be evacuated and demolished. By February, 1983, the federal and state governments had spent $36 million to buy every house in town except one (its- owners, lifelong residents of Times Beach, refused to sell). In 1985, the city was officially disincorporated.
On This Date In 1986 After nine days and four minutes in the sky, the experimental aircraft Voyager landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California, completing the first nonstop flight around the globe on one load of fuel. Piloted by Americans Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, Voyager was made mostly of plastic and stiffened paper and carried more than three times its weight in fuel when it took off from Edwards Air Force Base on December 14. By the time it returned, after flying 25,012 miles around the planet, it had just five gallons of fuel left in its remaining operational fuel tank.
On This Date In 1987 “Good Morning, Vietnam,” a comedy-drama film set in Saigon during the Vietnam War, was released. The film was written by Mitch Markowitz and directed by Barry Levinson, and stars Robin Williams, who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
On This Date In 1993 “Philadelphia,” a 1993 American drama film that was one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDS, homosexuality and homophobia, was released. Written by Ron Nyswaner and directed by Jonathan Demme, the film stars Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington. The song “Streets of Philadelphia” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Ron Nyswaner was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, but lost to Jane Campion for The Piano.
On This Date In 1994 “Nobody's Fool,” a comedy-drama film adapted and directed by Robert Benton, and based on the 1993 novel of the same name by Richard Russo, was released. It stars Paul Newman, Jessica Tandy, Bruce Willis, Melanie Griffith, Dylan Walsh, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gene Saks, Josef Sommer, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Philip Bosco. It was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Paul Newman) and Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium.
On This Date In 1997 “Gran Turismo,” a racing game designed by Kazunori Yamauchi, was released. It was developed by Polyphony Digital and first published by Sony Computer Entertainment in 1997 for the PlayStation video game console.
On This Date In 2002 A MQ-1 Predator is shot down by an Iraqi MiG-25, making it the first time in history that an aircraft and an unmanned drone had engaged in combat.
Hat tip to any included contributing sources, along with:
Happy Birthday Helmut Schmidt (1918), Paul Hornung (1935), Wesley Clark (1944), Susan Lucci (1946), Carol Ann Duffy (1955), Joan Severance (1958), Eddie Vedder (1964), Karyn Bryant (1966), Ron Cox (1968), Holly Madison (1979), and Lara Stone (1983).
RIP James Buchanan Duke (1856 – 1925), Eric Blore (1887 – 1959), Ann Pennington (1893 – 1971), Fredi Washington (1903 – 1994), James Gregory (1911 – 2002), James Stockdale (1923 – 2005), Leonard Stern (1923 – 2011), Chet Baker (1929 – 1988), Barbara Ruick (1930 – 1974), and Corey Haim (1971 – 2010).
A Christmas Carol is such a fool-proof story you can't louse it up. Leonard Maltin
A good conscience is a continual Christmas. Benjamin Franklin
A lovely thing about Christmas is that it's compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together. Garrison Keillor
Christmas in Bethlehem. The ancient dream: a cold, clear night made brilliant by a glorious star, the smell of incense, shepherds and wise men falling to their knees in adoration of the sweet baby, the incarnation of perfect love. Lucinda Franks
Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart. Washington Irving
Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want - and their kids pay for it. Richard Lamm
Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. Calvin Coolidge
Courtesy YouTube et al
Following the signing of the Treaty of Paris, General George Washington resigned as commander in chief of the Continental Army on December 23, 1783, and retired to his home at Mount Vernon, Virginia. Addressing the assembled Continental Congress, Washington stated:
“Happy in the confirmation of our independence and sovereignty, and pleased with the opportunity afforded the United States of becoming a respectable nation, I resign with satisfaction the appointment I accepted with diffidence; a diffidence in my abilities to accomplish so arduous a task; which however was superseded by a confidence in the rectitude of our cause, the support of the supreme power of the Union, and the patronage of Heaven.”
General Washington's respite proved extremely brief. He was unanimously elected to the first of two terms as president of the United States in 1788.
May our respite from the works and challenges of life and living be accommodating to our spirit's renewal and our strength for continuing the journey. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!