Today is Tuesday, Dec. 24, the 358th day of 2013. There are seven days left in the year. This is Christmas Eve.
On this date in:
1524: Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama — who had discovered a sea route around Africa to India — dies in Cochin, India.
1814: The War of 1812 officially ends as the United States and Britain sign the Treaty of Ghent.
1851: Fire devastates the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroying about 35,000 volumes.
1863: English novelist William Makepeace Thackeray, author of “Vanity Fair,” dies in London at age 52.
1865: Several veterans of the Confederate Army form a private social club in Pulaski, Tenn., called the Ku Klux Klan.
1871: Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Aida” has its world premiere in Cairo, Egypt.
1906: Canadian physicist Reginald A. Fessenden becomes the first person to transmit the human voice (his own) as well as music over radio, from Brant Rock, Mass.
1913: Seventy-three people, most of them children, die in a crush of panic after someone falsely calls out “Fire!” during a Christmas party for striking miners and their families at the Italian Hall in Calumet, Mich.
1943: President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe as part of Operation Overlord.
1951: Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” the first opera written specifically for television, is first broadcast by NBC-TV.
1968: The Apollo 8 astronauts, orbiting the moon, read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis during a Christmas Eve telecast.
1980: Americans remember the U.S. hostages in Iran by burning candles or shining lights for 417 seconds — one second for each day of captivity.
1993: The Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, who blended Christian and psychiatric principles into a message of “positive thinking,” dies in Paw-ling, N.Y., at age 95.
2003: A roadside bomb explodes north of Baghdad, killing three U.S. soldiers in the deadliest attack on Americans to that time following the capture of Saddam Hussein.
Air France cancels several flights to the United States after U.S. officials pass on what are termed “credible” security threats.
2008: A man dressed in a Santa Claus suit shoots his way into the Covina, Calif., home of his former in-laws and sets it on fire, killing nine people (the attacker, identified as Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, commits suicide the next day).
The Federal Reserve grants a request by the financing arm of General Motors to tap the government’s $700 billion rescue fund, bolstering GM’s ability to survive.
Army Capt. Moussa Camara, the leader of a coup in Guinea, enters the country’s capital, hours after saying his group would hold power until elections in two years.
1988: George Alexander, a longtime adviser to U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., says that two of his daughters were on Traficant’s congressional payroll for a period of three years but their pay was compensation for work he did for Traficant and they reported to him, not Traficant or anyone else on Traficant’s staff.
A Girard woman faces charges of extortion and criminal conspiracy in Westmoreland, Pa., for allegedly demanding $1,000 from a Pennsylvania couple, saying she would block their adoption of her 16-month-old son unless paid.
Atty. Patrick J. Donlin is installed as president of the Youngstown Division 6 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, succeeding James Cahill.
1973: By a vote of 202-82, members of United Auto Workers Local 69 ratify a new contract with the Johnson Bronze Co. in New Castle, ending a strike that idled the plant Oct. 1.
What would it cost in 1973 to buy your true love a partridge in a pear tree and everything else in the “Twelve Days of Christmas?” About $12,402.
Coach Andy Tisone’s Boardman Little Spartans are undefeated in the 1973 season and win the Little Mid-American Conference football championship.
1963: Mayor-elect Anthony B. Flask appoints John Terlesky, who has been chief of detectives, chief of police, and state Rep. Thomas J. Barrett as city finance director.
A private ambulance is damaged extensively and three people are injured when the ambulance was hit by a car at Market Street and Dewey Avenue.
Monumental efforts by state, township and city road crews keep Youngstown district roads in passable condition for the Christmas holidays.
1938: In a special meeting, the Youngstown Park and Recreation Commission authorizes work to begin on the North Side swimming pool at Belmont Avenue and Tod Lane.
Six members of the family of Thomas Meehan, head of the Meehan Boiler Co., are driven from their home in W. Wood Street, Lowellville, by an early morning fire.