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Today in History: December 8, U.S. enters World War II

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Dec. 8, the 342nd day of 2022. There are 23 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

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.

On this date:

In 1765, Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, was born in Westborough, Massachusetts.

In 1886, the American Federation of Labor was founded in Columbus, Ohio.

In 1949, the Chinese Nationalist government moved from the Chinese mainland to Formosa as the Communists pressed their attacks.

In 1980, rock star and former Beatle John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building by Mark David Chapman.

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 1991, AIDS patient Kimberly Bergalis, who had contracted the disease from her dentist, died in Fort Pierce, Florida, at age 23.

In 2001, the U.S. Capitol was reopened to tourists after a two-month security shutdown.

In 2008, in a startling about-face, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed told the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal he would confess to masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks; four other men also abandoned their defenses.

In 2011, the 161-day NBA lockout ended when owners and players ratified the new collective bargaining agreement.

In 2014, the U.S. and NATO ceremonially ended their combat mission in Afghanistan, 13 years after the Sept. 11 terror attacks sparked their invasion of the country to topple the Taliban-led government.

In 2016, John Glenn, whose 1962 flight as the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the Earth made him an all-American hero and propelled him to a long career in the U.S. Senate, died in Columbus, Ohio, at age 95.

In 2020, the Supreme Court rejected Republicans’ last-gasp bid to reverse Pennsylvania’s certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the electoral battleground; the court refused to call into question the certification process in the state.

Ten years ago: Police charged Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent with intoxication manslaughter after he flipped his car in a pre-dawn accident that killed teammate Jerry Brown. (Brent was convicted in Jan. 2014 and sentenced to 180 days in jail; he was reinstated by the NFL in Sept. 2014.) Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy.

Five years ago: Japanese pitching and hitting star Shohei Ohtani announced that he would sign with the Los Angeles Angels.

One year ago: With more than two dozen states poised to ban abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court were to give them the OK, California clinics and their allies in the state Legislature revealed a plan to make the state a “sanctuary” for those seeking reproductive care. President Joe Biden signed an executive order to make the federal government carbon-neutral by 2050, aiming for a 65% reduction in planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and an all-electric fleet of car and trucks five years later. The number of Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 reached 200 million. Nearly 17 years after being sentenced to die, Scott Peterson was resentenced in California to life without parole for the Christmas Eve killing of his pregnant wife, Laci, in 2002. (The state Supreme Court found that Peterson’s jury was improperly screened for bias against the death penalty.) Center-left leader Olaf Scholz became Germany’s ninth post-World War II chancellor.

Today’s Birthdays: Flutist James Galway is 83. Singer Jerry Butler is 83. Pop musician Bobby Elliott (The Hollies) is 81. Actor Mary Woronov is 79. Actor John Rubinstein is 76. Actor Kim Basinger (BAY’-sing-ur) is 69. Rock musician Warren Cuccurullo is 66. Rock musician Phil Collen (Def Leppard) is 65. Country singer Marty Raybon is 63. Political commentator Ann Coulter is 61. Rock musician Marty Friedman is 60. Actor Wendell Pierce is 59. Actor Teri Hatcher is 58. Actor David Harewood is 57. Singer Sinead (shih-NAYD’) O’Connor (AKA Shuhada’ Davitt) is 56. Actor Matthew Laborteaux is 56. Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Mussina is 54. Rock musician Ryan Newell (Sister Hazel) is 50. Actor Dominic Monaghan is 46. Actor Ian Somerhalder is 44. Rock singer Ingrid Michaelson is 43. R&B singer Chrisette Michele is 40. Actor Hannah Ware is 40. Country singer Sam Hunt is 38. MLB All-Star infielder Josh Donaldson is 37. Rock singer-actor Kate Voegele (VOH’-gehl) is 36. Christian rock musician Jen Ledger (Skillet) is 33. NHL defenseman Drew Doughty is 33. Actor Wallis Currie-Wood is 31. Actor AnnaSophia Robb is 29.