Today is Friday, Dec. 13, the 347th day of 2019. There are 18 days left in the year.
TODAY’S HIGHLIGHT IN HISTORY: On Dec. 13, 1981, authorities in Poland imposed martial law in a crackdown on the Solidarity labor movement. (Martial law formally ended in 1983.)
ON THIS DATE:
In 1862, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside launched futile attacks against entrenched Confederate soldiers during the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg; the soundly defeated Northern troops withdrew two days later.
In 1918, President Woodrow Wilson arrived in France, becoming the first chief executive to visit Europe while in office.
In 1937, the Chinese city of Nanjing fell to Japanese forces during the Sino-Japanese War; what followed was a massacre of war prisoners, soldiers and citizens. (China maintains that up to 300,000 people were killed; Japanese nationalists say the death toll was far lower, and some maintain the massacre never happened.)
In 1944, during World War II, the light cruiser USS Nashville was badly damaged in a Japanese kamikaze attack off Negros Island in the Philippines that claimed 133
In 1977, an Air Indiana Flight 216, a DC-3 carrying the University of Evansville basketball team on a flight to Nashville, crashed shortly after takeoff, killing all 29 people on board.
In 1989, the film “Driving Miss Daisy,” starring Morgan Freeman and Jessica Tandy, was put into limited release by Warner Bros.
In 1993, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, five-to-four, that people were entitled to a hearing before real property linked to illegal drug sales could be seized.
In 2000, Republican George W. Bush claimed the presidency a day after the U.S. Supreme Court shut down further recounts of disputed ballots in Florida; Democrat Al Gore conceded, delivering a call for national unity.
In 2001, The Pentagon publicly released a captured videotape of Osama bin Laden in which the al-Qaida leader said the deaths and destruction achieved by the September 11 attacks exceeded his “most optimistic” expectations.
In 2003, Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. forces while hiding in a hole under a farmhouse in Adwar, Iraq, near his hometown of Tikrit.
TEN YEARS AGO: The Senate passed, 57-35, a $1.1 trillion spending bill with increased budgets for vast areas of the federal government, including health, education, law enforcement and veterans’ programs. An attacker hurled a statuette at Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, striking him in the face and leaving the stunned 73-year-old leader with a broken nose and two broken teeth. (The attacker, Massimo Tartaglia, was later found unfit to stand trial.) Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Samuelson died in Belmont, Massachusetts, at age 94.