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Today in History for Dec. 4, 2013

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 4, the 338th day of 2013. There are 27 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight:

On Dec. 4, 1619, a group of settlers from Bristol, England, arrived at Berkeley Hundred in present-day Charles City County, Virginia, where they held a service thanking God for their safe arrival. (Some suggest this was the true first Thanksgiving in America, ahead of the Pilgrims’ arrival in Massachusetts.)

On this date:

In 1783, Gen. George Washington bade farewell to his Continental Army officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York.

In 1816, James Monroe of Virginia was elected the fifth president of the United States.

In 1912, Medal of Honor recipient Gregory “Pappy” Boyington, the Marine Corps pilot who led the “Black Sheep Squadron” during World War II, was born in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson left Washington on a trip to France to attend the Versailles Peace Conference.

In 1942, U.S. bombers struck the Italian mainland for the first time in World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the dismantling of the Works Progress Administration, which had been created to provide jobs during the Depression.

In 1945, the Senate approved U.S. participation in the United Nations by a vote of 65-7.

In 1965, the United States launched Gemini 7 with Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Borman and Navy Cmdr. James A. Lovell aboard.

In 1978, San Francisco got its first female mayor as City Supervisor Dianne Feinstein was named to replace the assassinated George Moscone.

In 1984, a five-day hijack drama began as four armed men seized a Kuwaiti airliner en route to Pakistan and forced it to land in Tehran, where the hijackers killed American passenger Charles Hegna.

In 1991, Associated Press correspondent Terry Anderson, the longest held of the Western hostages in Lebanon, was released after nearly seven years in captivity. Pan American World Airways ceased operations.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush ordered American troops to lead a mercy mission to Somalia, threatening military action against warlords and gangs who were blocking food for starving millions.

In 1996, the Mars Pathfinder lifted off from Cape Canaveral and began speeding toward Mars on a 310 million-mile odyssey. (It arrived on Mars in July 1997.)

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush scrapped import tariffs he’d imposed earlier to help the battered U.S. steel industry. Baltimore-based federal prosecutor Jonathan P. Luna was found dead behind the parking lot of a well-drilling company in Lancaster County, Pa. (The case remains unsolved.)

Five years ago: U.S. automakers drew fresh skepticism from lawmakers during a Senate Banking Committee hearing over their pleas for an expanded $34 billion rescue package they said was needed for them to survive. For the first time, an NFL game was broadcast live in 3-D to theaters in Boston, New York and Los Angeles. (Although the telecast was marred by technical glitches, fans were mostly forgiving as they watched the San Diego Chargers beat the Oakland Raiders 34-7.)

One year ago: A homeless man, Naeem Davis, was taken into custody in New York City in the death of a man who’d been pushed in front of a subway train; Davis would be charged with second-degree murder. Two Australian radio disc jockeys impersonating Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles made a prank call to a London hospital and succeeded in getting nurses to tell them the condition of the hospitalized Duchess of Cambridge; a nurse who took the call would be found dead three days later in an apparent suicide.

Today’s birthdays: Game show host Wink Martindale is 80. Pop singer Freddy Cannon is 77. Actor-producer Max Baer Jr. is 76. Actress Gemma Jones is 71. Rock musician Bob Mosley (Moby Grape) is 71. Singer-musician Chris Hillman is 69. Musician Terry Woods (The Pogues) is 66. Rock singer Southside Johnny Lyon is 65. Actor Jeff Bridges is 64. Rock musician Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd; the Rossington Collins Band) is 62. Actress Patricia Wettig is 62. Actor Tony Todd is 59. Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson is 58. Country musician Brian Prout (Diamond Rio) is 58. Rock musician Bob Griffin (The BoDeans) is 54. Rock singer Vinnie Dombroski (Sponge) is 51. Actress Marisa Tomei is 49. Actress Chelsea Noble is 49. Actor-comedian Fred Armisen is 47. Rapper Jay-Z is 44. Actor Kevin Sussman is 43. Actress-model Tyra Banks is 40. Country singer Lila McCann is 32. Actress Lindsay Felton is 29. Actor Orlando Brown is 26.

Thought for today: “There’s much to be said for challenging fate instead of ducking behind it.” — Diana Trilling, American author and literary critic (1905-1996).

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

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