Today is Wednesday, Dec. 28, the 362nd day of 2011. There are three days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 28, 1846, Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union.
On this date:
In 1694, Queen Mary II of England died after more than five years of joint rule with her husband, King William III.
In 1832, John C. Calhoun became the first vice president of the United States to resign, stepping down because of differences with President Andrew Jackson.
In 1856, the 28th president of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, was born in Staunton, Va.
In 1908, a major earthquake followed by a tsunami devastated the Italian city of Messina, killing at least 70,000 people.
In 1917, the New York Evening Mail published "A Neglected Anniversary," a facetious, as well as fictitious, essay by H.L. Mencken recounting the history of bathtubs in America.
In 1945, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.
In 1961, the Tennessee Williams play "Night of the Iguana" opened on Broadway. Former first lady Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, the second wife of President Woodrow Wilson, died in Washington at age 89.
In 1971, film composer Max Steiner ("Gone with the Wind," among many others) died in Hollywood at age 83.
In 1981, Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American "test-tube" baby, was born in Norfolk, Va.
In 1991, nine people died in a crush to get into a rap celebrity basketball game at City College in New York.
Ten years ago: The National Guard was called out to help Buffalo, N.Y., dig out from a paralyzing, 5-day storm that had unloaded nearly 7 feet of snow. Lawrence Singleton, a rapist and killer whose most notorious crime was chopping off a teen-age hitchhiker's forearms in California in 1978, died at a prison in Starke, Fla., at age 74.
Five years ago: President George W. Bush, at his Texas ranch, worked on designing a new U.S. policy in Iraq. Saddam Hussein's lawyer made a last-ditch effort to impede his client's execution. In Somalia, troops of the U.N.-backed interim government rolled into Mogadishu unopposed, putting an end to six months of domination of the capital by a radical Islamic movement.
One year ago: Eight young people were killed in a fire that swept through an abandoned New Orleans warehouse (some of the victims were squatters who had been living inside the building). Agathe von Trapp, the real-life inspiration for eldest daughter Liesl in the musical "The Sound of Music," died in Towson, Md., at age 97.
Today's Birthdays: Comic book creator Stan Lee is 89. Former United Auto Workers union president Owen Bieber is 82. Actor Martin Milner is 80. Actress Nichelle Nichols is 79. Actress Dame Maggie Smith is 77. Rock singer-musician Charles Neville is 73. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., is 67. Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., is 65. Rock singer-musician Edgar Winter is 65. Actor Denzel Washington is 57. Country singer Joe Diffie is 53. Country musician Mike McGuire (Shenandoah) is 53. Actor Chad McQueen is 51. Country singer-musician Marty Roe (Diamond Rio) is 51. Actor Malcolm Gets is 47. Actor Mauricio Mendoza is 42. Comedian Seth Meyers is 38. Actor Brendan Hines is 35. Rhythm-and-blues singer John Legend is 33. Actress Sienna Miller is 30. Actor Thomas Dekker is 24. Actress Mackenzie Rosman is 22. Pop singer David Archuleta (TV: "American Idol") is 21.
Thought for Today: "There is no luck except where there is discipline." -- Irish proverb.