Today is Thursday, Dec. 25, the 360th day of 2008. There are six days left in the year. This is Christmas Day. On this date in 1818, “Silent Night,” written by Franz Gruber and Father Joseph Mohr, is performed for the first time, at the Church of St. Nikolaus in Oberndorf, Austria.
In A.D. 336, the first recorded celebration of Christmas on Dec. 25 takes place in Rome. In 1066, William the Conqueror is crowned king of England. In 1776, Gen. George Washington and his troops cross the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, N.J. In 1926, Hirohito becomes emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito. (Hirohito is formally enthroned almost two years later.) In 1941, during World War II, Japan announces the surrender of the British-Canadian garrison at Hong Kong. In 1946, comedian W.C. Fields dies in Pasadena, Calif., at age 66. In 1977, comedian Sir Charles Chaplin dies in Switzerland at age 88. In 1989, ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, are executed following a popular uprising. In 1991, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev goes on television to announce his resignation as the eighth and final leader of a communist superpower that had already gone out of existence. In 2006, James Brown, the “Godfather of Soul,” dies of heart failure in Atlanta at age 73.
December 25, 1983: Record cold temperatures continue, causing car radiators to freeze and water pipes to burst. The record low at the Youngstown Municipal Airport was -10.
Abe Harshman, a former Youngstown finance director and president of the Youngstown Board of Education, dies in Heritage Manor. He was 60 and had been in ill health for three years.
Youngstown native Arnold Pinkney is national director of the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign, responsible for building an effective organization and securing $6 million in contributions so that Jackson can qualify for federal matching money.
December 25, 1968: The elevation of Edwin H. Gott and Edgar B. Speer to top jobs in the giant U.S. Steel Corp. may mean a new lease on life for U.S. Steel’s Ohio Works in Youngstown and the McDonald rolling mills.
Mr. and Mrs. Leroy Butcher of 228 Brainard Drive win the Ridgewood Garden Club’s first prize of a $25 bond for their holiday door decoration.
Robert Little of Youngstown, a sophomore fullback at Panhandle State, is selected to the All-Oklahoma Collegiate Conference Honorable Mention Team.
December 25, 1958: A mention by Vindicator Columnist Esther Hamilton that Jimmy Tilton, a 3-year-old boy being treated for cancer, wanted a puppy for Christmas, brought 50 offers. A family friend screened the dogs and selected “Tubby,” a dachshund owned by Mr. Hazel Oleksiuk of Crandall Avenue. Jimmy and his family also received gifts of toys, food and money.
As a Christmas gift, Municipal Judge Forrest J. Cavalier suspended the $8 court costs for all traffic violators appearing before him on Christmas Eve.
Ohio State Football Coach Woody Hayes has been booked for the Dec. 30 luncheon meeting of the Curbstone Coaches at the Youngstown Elks Club.
December 25, 1933: B.E. Fulton, manager of the Akron Airport, says he already has 1,400 CWA men at work on improvements and says Youngstown will miss an opportunity to develop its own modern airport if it doesn’t follow Akron’s lead.
Two bandits shoot and wound F.H. Sigle, proprietor of the Oak Glen Hardware Co. at 2018 Oak Hill, after he refuses their order that he “stick ‘em up.” Sigle was wounded in the hip, but refused to stay in the hospital after treatment. The robbers fled empty-handed.