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December 25, 2012

Today in History

Today is Tuesday, Dec. 25, the 360th day of 2012. There are six days left in the year. This is Christmas Day.

Today’s highlight in history:

On Dec. 25, A.D. 336, the first recorded celebration of Christmas on Dec. 25 took place in Rome.

On this date:

In 1066, William the Conqueror was crowned king of England.

In 1776, Gen. George Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware River for a surprise attack against Hessian forces at Trenton, N.J.

In 1868, President Andrew Johnson granted an unconditional pardon to all persons involved in the Southern rebellion that resulted in the Civil War.

In 1887, Conrad Hilton, founder of the hotel chain bearing his name, was born in San Antonio, Territory of New Mexico.

In 1926, Hirohito became emperor of Japan, succeeding his father, Emperor Yoshihito.

In 1931, New York’s Metropolitan Opera broadcast an entire live opera over radio for the first time: “Hansel and Gretel” by Engelbert Humperdinck.

In 1937, the NBC Symphony Orchestra, led for the first time by conductor Arturo Toscanini, performed a Christmas concert featuring works by Vivaldi, Mozart and Brahms.

In 1941, during World War II, Japan announced the surrender of the British-Canadian garrison at Hong Kong.

In 1962, the movie version of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” adapted from the Harper Lee novel and starring Gregory Peck, opened in Los Angeles.

In 1989, ousted Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, were executed following a popular uprising.

In 1991, Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev went on television to announce his resignation as the eighth and final leader of a communist superpower that had already gone out of existence.

In 2009, passengers aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 foiled an attempt to blow up the plane as it was landing in Detroit by seizing a man who tried to set off explosives in his underwear.

Ten years ago: Pope John Paul II delivered a Christmas message in which he said war had to be and could be avoided even in a world made fearful by terrorism. A major storm made for a white Christmas in parts of the U.S.; the severe weather ultimately was blamed for some two dozen deaths. Katie Hnida became the first woman to play in a Division I-A football game when she attempted an extra point following a New Mexico touchdown in the Las Vegas Bowl. (Hnida, a walk-on junior, had her kick blocked, but by then she had already made history in the 27-13 loss to UCLA.)

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