Today In History

Today’s Highlight

On Dec. 2, 1816, the first savings bank in the United States, the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society, opened for business.

On this date

In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French.

In 1859, militant abolitionist John Brown was hanged for his raid on Harpers Ferry the previous October. Artist Georges-Pierre Seurat was born in Paris.

In 1927, Ford Motor Co. unveiled its Model A automobile that replaced its Model T.

In 1939, New York Municipal Airport-LaGuardia Field (later LaGuardia Airport) went into operation as an airliner from Chicago landed at one minute past midnight.

In 1942, an artificially created, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated for the first time at the University of Chicago.

In 1954, the U.S. Senate passed, 67-22, a resolution condemning Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., saying he had “acted contrary to senatorial ethics and tended to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.”

In 1961, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declared himself a Marxist-Leninist who would eventually lead Cuba to Communism.

In 1970, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency opened its doors under its first director, William D. Ruckelshaus.

In 1980, four American churchwomen were raped and killed outside San Salvador. (Five El Salvador national guardsmen were later convicted of murdering nuns Ita Ford, Maura Clarke and Dorothy Kazel and lay worker Jean Donovan.)

In 1982, in the first operation of its kind, doctors at the University of Utah Medical Center implanted a permanent artificial heart in the chest of retired dentist Dr. Barney Clark, who lived 112 days with the device.

In 1991, American hostage Joseph Cicippio, held captive in Lebanon for more than five years, was released.

Ten years ago: Fidel Castro failed to attend a military parade marking the 50th anniversary of the formation of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces, raising questions about his ability to return to power. A triple car bombing in a predominantly Shiite district of Baghdad killed dozens of people. A sport utility vehicle driven by actor Lane Garrison hit a tree in Beverly Hills, killing a 17-year-old passenger; Garrison was later sentenced to three years and four months in prison for drunken driving (he was paroled in April 2009).

Five years ago: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi (ahng sahn soo chee) vowed to work together to promote democratic reforms in Suu Kyi’s long-isolated and authoritarian homeland.

One year ago: A couple who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State opened fire at a holiday banquet for public employees in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people and wounding 21 others before dying in a shootout with police.

Thought for Today

“Great minds have purposes; little minds have wishes. Little minds are subdued by misfortunes; great minds rise above them.” — Washington Irving, American author (1783-1859)