Today is Monday, Dec. 8, the 342nd day of 2014. There are 23 days left in the year.
On Dec. 8, 1941, the United States entered World War II as Congress declared war against Imperial Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
In 1776, during the Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington’s retreating army crossed the Delaware River from New Jersey into Pennsylvania.
In 1813, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major, Op. 92, was first performed in Vienna, with Beethoven himself conducting.
In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which holds that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was free of original sin from the moment of her own conception.
In 1886, the American Federation of Labor was founded in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1914, “Watch Your Step,” the first musical revue to feature a score composed entirely by Irving Berlin, opened in New York.
In 1949, the Chinese Nationalist government moved from the Chinese mainland to Formosa as the Communists pressed their attacks.
In 1960, NBC broadcast a new, color videotape version of the TV special “Peter Pan” starring Mary Martin. (Two previous telecasts, also starring Martin, had been performed live in 1955 and 1956.)
In 1972, a United Airlines Boeing 737 crashed while attempting to land at Chicago-Midway Airport, killing 43 of the 61 people on board, as well as two people on the ground; among the dead were Dorothy Hunt, wife of Watergate conspirator E. Howard Hunt, U.S. Rep. George W. Collins, D-Ill., and CBS News correspondent Michele Clark.
In 1980, rock star John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building by an apparently deranged fan.
In 1982, a man demanding an end to nuclear weapons held the Washington Monument hostage, threatening to blow it up with explosives he claimed were inside a van. (After a 10-hour standoff, Norman D. Mayer was shot dead by police; it turned out there were no explosives.)
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a treaty at the White House calling for destruction of intermediate-range nuclear missiles.
In 1992, Americans got to see live television coverage of U.S. troops landing on the beaches of Somalia as Operation Restore Hope began (because of the time difference, it was early Dec. 9 in Somalia).
Ten years ago: The Senate completed congressional approval of the biggest overhaul of U.S. intelligence in a half-century, voting 89-2 to send the measure to President George W. Bush, who signed it nine days later. Disgruntled U.S. soldiers complained to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld during a question-and-answer session in Kuwait about long deployments and a lack of armored vehicles and other equipment. Treasury Secretary John Snow accepted President Bush’s offer to remain in the Cabinet. “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, 38, an influential heavy metal guitarist, was fatally shot with three other people during a performance in Columbus, Ohio; the gunman was then shot dead by a police officer.
Five years ago: Ohio executed murderer Kenneth Biros by performing the nation’s first lethal injection using a single drug, a supposedly less painful method than previous executions that required three drugs. A wave of coordinated bomb attacks targeting high-profile symbols of Iraqi authority killed at least 127 people.
One year ago: Hundreds of thousands of protesters poured into the streets of the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, toppling the statue of former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin and blocking key government buildings in an escalating stand-off with the president on the future of the country. Zach Johnson rallied from four shots behind with eight holes to play and beat Tiger Woods, the No. 1 player in golf, at the World Challenge. Lydia Ko, a 16-year-old from New Zealand, rallied to win her first title as a professional, winning the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters with a three-stroke victory over South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu.
Today’s Birthdays: Flutist James Galway is 75. Singer Jerry Butler is 75. Pop musician Bobby Elliott (The Hollies) is 73. Actress Mary Woronov is 71. Actor John Rubinstein is 68. Rock singer-musician Gregg Allman is 67. Reggae singer Toots Hibbert (Toots and the Maytals) is 66. Actress Kim Basinger (BAY’-sing-ur) is 61. Rock musician Warren Cuccurullo is 58. Rock musician Phil Collen (Def Leppard) is 57. Country singer Marty Raybon is 55. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim is 55. Political commentator Ann Coulter is 53. Rock musician Marty Friedman is 52. Actor Wendell Pierce is 51. Actress Teri Hatcher is 50. Actor David Harewood is 49. Rapper Bushwick Bill (The Geto Boys) is 48. Singer Sinead (shih-NAYD’) O’Connor is 48. Actor Matthew Laborteaux is 48. Rock musician Ryan Newell (Sister Hazel) is 42. Actor Dominic Monaghan is 38. Actor Ian Somerhalder is 36. Rock singer Ingrid Michaelson is 35. R&B singer Chrisette Michele is 32. Actress Hannah Ware is 32. Country singer Sam Hunt is 30. Rock singer-actress Kate Voegele (VOH’-gehl) is 28. Christian rock musician Jen Ledger (Skillet) is 25. Actress AnnaSophia Robb is 21.
Thought for Today: “The unknown is what it is. And to be frightened of it is what sends everybody scurrying around chasing dreams, illusions, wars, peace, love, hate, all that. Unknown is what it is. Accept that it’s unknown and it’s plain sailing.” — John Lennon (1940-1980).