Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 13, the 347th day of 2023. There are 18 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 13, 2000, Republican George W. Bush claimed the presidency a day after the U.S. Supreme Court shut down further recounts of disputed ballots in Florida; Democrat Al Gore conceded, delivering a call for national unity.
On this date:
In 1862, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside launched futile attacks against entrenched Confederate soldiers during the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg; the soundly defeated Northern troops withdrew two days later.
In 1937, the Chinese city of Nanjing fell to Japanese forces during the Sino-Japanese War; what followed was a massacre of war prisoners, soldiers and citizens. (China maintains that up to 300,000 people were killed; Japanese nationalists say the death toll was far lower.)
In 1981, authorities in Poland imposed martial law in a crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement. (Martial law formally ended in 1983.)
In 1993, the space shuttle Endeavour returned from its mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope.
In 1996, the U.N. Security Council chose Kofi Annan of Ghana to become the world body’s seventh secretary-general.
In 2001, the Pentagon publicly released a captured videotape of Osama bin Laden in which the al-Qaida leader said the deaths and destruction achieved by the September 11 attacks exceeded his “most optimistic” expectations.
In 2002, President George W. Bush announced he would take the smallpox vaccine along with U.S. military forces, but was not recommending the potentially risky inoculation for most Americans.
In 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole under a farmhouse in Adwar, Iraq, near his hometown of Tikrit.
In 2007, Major League Baseball’s Mitchell Report was released, identifying 85 names to differing degrees in connection with the alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs.
In 2013, North Korea’s state-run media announced the execution the day before of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle Jang Song Thaek, portraying him as a morally corrupt traitor.
In 2014, thousands of protesters marched in New York, Washington and other U.S. cities to call attention to the killing of unarmed Black men by white police officers who faced no criminal charges.
In 2019, the House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment accusing President Donald Trump of abuse of power in his dealings with Ukraine and obstruction of Congress in the investigation that followed.
In 2020, the first vials of the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 began making their way to distribution sites across the United States.
In 2022, President Joe Biden signed gay marriage legislation, saying “the law and the love it defends strike a blow against hate in all its forms.”
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-comedian Dick Van Dyke is 98. Country singer Buck White is 93. Music/film producer Lou Adler is 90. Singer John Davidson is 82. Actor Kathy Garver (TV: “Family Affair”) is 78. Singer Ted Nugent is 75. Rock musician Jeff “Skunk” Baxter is 75. Actor Robert Lindsay is 74. Country singer-musician Randy Owen is 74. Actor Wendie Malick is 73. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is 73. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is 70. Country singer John Anderson is 69. Singer-songwriter Steve Forbert is 69. Singer-actor Morris Day is 67. Actor Steve Buscemi (boo-SEH’-mee) is 66. Actor Johnny Whitaker (TV: “Family Affair”) is 64. Rock musician John Munson (Semisonic; Twilight Hours) is 61. Actor-reality TV star NeNe Leakes is 57. Actor-comedian Jamie Foxx is 56. Actor Lusia Strus is 56. Actor Bart Johnson is 53. Actor Jeffrey Pierce is 52. TV personality Debbie Matenopoulos is 49. Rock singer-musician Thomas Delonge is 48. Actor James Kyson Lee is 48. Actor Kimee Balmilero (TV: “Hawaii Five-0”) is 44. Actor Chelsea Hertford is 42. Rock singer Amy Lee (Evanescence) is 42. Actor Michael Socha is 36. Actor Marcel Spears (TV: “The Mayor”) is 35. Singer Taylor Swift is 34. Actor Maisy Stella is 20.