Today in History: Dec. 14

Thousands filled the grounds at Mount Vernon on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017 to celebrate George Washington's birthday. His actual birthday is Feb. 22. (WTOP/Rich Johnson)
In 1799, the first president of the United States, George Washington, died at his Mount Vernon, Virginia, home at age 67. Thousands filled the grounds at Mount Vernon on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017 to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. His actual birthday is Feb. 22. (WTOP/Rich Johnson) (WTOP/Rich Johnson)
This is an undated photo of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who discovered the South Pole in 1911.  (AP Photo)
In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (ROH’-ahl AH’-mun-suhn) and his team became the first men to reach the South Pole, beating out a British expedition led by Robert F. Scott. This is an undated photo of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who discovered the South Pole in 1911. (AP Photo) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)
This is a Mariner 2 spacecraft that was hurled aloft this morning from Cape Canaveral, Fla., Aug. 27, 1962, on a 109-day flight toward the planet Venus.  An hour after the launch, a tracking station at Woomera, Australia, picked up signals that indicated the spacecraft had unfolded properly and that the solar panels were supplying power to the craft's batteries.  (AP Photo/NASA)
In 1962, the U.S. space probe Mariner 2 passed Venus at a distance of just over 21,000 miles, transmitting information about the planet, such as its hot surface temperatures and predominantly carbon dioxide atmosphere. This is the Mariner 2 spacecraft that was hurled aloft from Cape Canaveral, Fla., Aug. 27, 1962, on a 109-day flight toward the planet Venus. An hour after the launch, a tracking station at Woomera, Australia, picked up signals that indicated the spacecraft had unfolded properly and that the solar panels were supplying power to the craft’s batteries. (AP Photo/NASA)
In this December 1972 photo provided by NASA, Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan makes a short checkout of the Lunar Roving Vehicle on the moon. NASA announced that former astronaut Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, died Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, surrounded by his family. He was 82. (Harrison H. "Jack" Schmitt/NASA via AP)
In 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan concluded their third and final moonwalk and blasted off for their rendezvous with the command module. In this December 1972 photo provided by NASA, Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan makes a short checkout of the Lunar Roving Vehicle on the moon. NASA announced that former astronaut Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, died Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, surrounded by his family. He was 82. (Harrison H. “Jack” Schmitt/NASA via AP) (Harrison H. "Jack" Schmitt/NASA via AP)
This is a December 5, 1986 photo of the twin-engine, pusher-puller experimental aircraft named Voyager during a training flight before her historic first non-stop, un-refueled flight around the world.  The plane took off from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Dec. 14, 1986 with 1,200 gallons of fuel onboard and returned to the desert base nine days later on Dec. 23 with 18 gallons to spare. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
In 1986, the experimental aircraft Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California on the first non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world. FILE – This is a December 5, 1986 photo of the twin-engine, pusher-puller experimental aircraft named Voyager during a training flight before her historic first non-stop, un-refueled flight around the world. The plane took off from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Dec. 14, 1986 with 1,200 gallons of fuel onboard and returned to the desert base nine days later on Dec. 23 with 18 gallons to spare. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2013 file photo, white roses with the faces of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting are attached to a telephone pole near the school on the one-month anniversary of the shooting that left 26 dead in Newtown, Conn. The second anniversary of the shooting is Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014 and the town is not holding any public commemoration ceremonies. First Selectman Pat Llodra and school Superintendent Joseph Erardi said the day will be marked through personal reflection and remembrance. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)
In 2012, a gunman with a semi-automatic rifle killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, then committed suicide as police arrived; 20-year-old Adam Lanza had fatally shot his mother at their home before carrying out the attack on the school. In this Jan. 14, 2013 file photo, white roses with the faces of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting are attached to a telephone pole near the school on the one-month anniversary of the shooting that left 26 dead in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File) (AP/Jessica Hill)
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In 1819, Alabama joined the Union as the 22nd state. (iStock/Thinkstock) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/mj0007)
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Thousands filled the grounds at Mount Vernon on Monday, Feb. 20, 2017 to celebrate George Washington's birthday. His actual birthday is Feb. 22. (WTOP/Rich Johnson)
This is an undated photo of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who discovered the South Pole in 1911.  (AP Photo)
This is a Mariner 2 spacecraft that was hurled aloft this morning from Cape Canaveral, Fla., Aug. 27, 1962, on a 109-day flight toward the planet Venus.  An hour after the launch, a tracking station at Woomera, Australia, picked up signals that indicated the spacecraft had unfolded properly and that the solar panels were supplying power to the craft's batteries.  (AP Photo/NASA)
In this December 1972 photo provided by NASA, Apollo 17 commander Eugene Cernan makes a short checkout of the Lunar Roving Vehicle on the moon. NASA announced that former astronaut Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon, died Monday, Jan. 16, 2017, surrounded by his family. He was 82. (Harrison H. "Jack" Schmitt/NASA via AP)
This is a December 5, 1986 photo of the twin-engine, pusher-puller experimental aircraft named Voyager during a training flight before her historic first non-stop, un-refueled flight around the world.  The plane took off from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., Dec. 14, 1986 with 1,200 gallons of fuel onboard and returned to the desert base nine days later on Dec. 23 with 18 gallons to spare. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
FILE - In this Jan. 14, 2013 file photo, white roses with the faces of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting are attached to a telephone pole near the school on the one-month anniversary of the shooting that left 26 dead in Newtown, Conn. The second anniversary of the shooting is Sunday, Dec. 14, 2014 and the town is not holding any public commemoration ceremonies. First Selectman Pat Llodra and school Superintendent Joseph Erardi said the day will be marked through personal reflection and remembrance. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)
iStock/Thinkstock

Today is Friday, Dec. 14, the 348th day of 2018.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 14, 2012, a gunman with a semi-automatic rifle killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, then committed suicide as police arrived; the 20-year-old had also fatally shot his mother at their home before carrying out the attack on the school.

On this date:

In 1799, the first president of the United States, George Washington, died at his Mount Vernon, Virginia, home at age 67.

In 1819, Alabama joined the Union as the 22nd state.

In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (ROH’-ahl AH’-mun-suhn) and his team became the first men to reach the South Pole, beating out a British expedition led by Robert F. Scott.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson vetoed an immigration measure aimed at preventing “undesirables” and anyone born in the “Asiatic Barred Zone” from entering the U.S. (Congress overrode Wilson’s veto in Feb. 1917.)

In 1962, the U.S. space probe Mariner 2 passed Venus at a distance of just over 21,000 miles, transmitting information about the planet, such as its hot surface temperatures and predominantly carbon dioxide atmosphere.

In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, ruled that Congress was within its authority to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against racial discrimination by private businesses (in this case, a motel that refused to cater to blacks).

In 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan concluded their third and final moonwalk and blasted off for their rendezvous with the command module.

In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights, which it had seized from Syria in 1967.

In 1985, Wilma Mankiller became the first woman to lead a major American Indian tribe as she took office as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. Former New York Yankees outfielder Roger Maris, who’d hit 61 home runs during the 1961 season, died in Houston at age 51.

In 1986, the experimental aircraft Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California on the first non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world.

In 1988, President Reagan authorized the U-S to enter into a “substantive dialogue” with the Palestine Liberation Organization, after chairman Yasser Arafat said he was renouncing “all forms of terrorism.”

In 2005, President George W. Bush defended his decision to wage the Iraq war, even as he acknowledged that “much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong.”

Ten years ago: An Iraqi journalist hurled his shoes at President George W. Bush during a news conference in Baghdad; Bush ducked the flying footwear as they whizzed past his head and landed against the wall behind him. (The shoe-thrower, Muntadhar al-Zeidi (MOON’-tuh-dahr ahl-zay-EE’-dee), ended up spending nine months in prison.)

Five years ago: Bells tolled 26 times in Newtown, Connecticut, to honor the dead on the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook school massacre. China carried out the world’s first soft landing of a space probe on the moon in nearly four decades as the unmanned Chang’e 3 lander touched down on the lunar surface. Jameis (cq) Winston won the Heisman Trophy, making the Florida State quarterback the second straight freshman to win the award, after Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel. Actor Peter O’Toole, 81, who’d achieved instant stardom as Lawrence of Arabia and was nominated eight times for an Academy Award without winning, died in London.

One year ago: The Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the Obama-era “net neutrality” rules, a move that gave internet service providers a free hand to slow or block specific websites and apps as they see fit, or charge more for faster speeds. The most serious charge against James Alex Fields, accused of driving into a crowd protesting a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August, was upgraded to first-degree murder; a 32-year-old woman, Heather Heyer, died and dozens were injured.

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