Gunman kills 26 at Sandy Hook

Today is Thursday, Dec. 14, the 348th day of 2017. There are 17 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight

in History:

On Dec. 14, 2012, a gunman with a semi-automatic rifle killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, then committed suicide as police arrived; the 20-year-old had also fatally shot his mother at their home before carrying out the attack on the school.

On this date:

In 1799, the first president of the United States, George Washington, died at his Mount Vernon, Virginia, home at age 67.

In 1819, Alabama joined the Union as the 22nd state.

In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his team became the first men to reach the South Pole, beating out a British expedition led by Robert F. Scott.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson vetoed an immigration measure aimed at preventing “undesirables” and anyone born in the “Asiatic Barred Zone” from entering the U.S. (Congress overrode Wilson’s veto in Feb. 1917.)

In 1918, “Il Trittico,” a trio of one-act operas by Giacomo Puccini, premiered at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House. The third opera, “Gianni Schicchi,” featured the aria “O Mio Babbino Caro,” which was an instant hit.

In 1936, the comedy “You Can’t Take It With You” by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart opened on Broadway.

In 1946, the United Nations General Assembly voted to establish the U.N.’s headquarters in New York.

In 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, ruled that Congress was within its authority to enforce the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against racial discrimination by private businesses (in this case, a motel that refused to cater to blacks).

In 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Harrison Schmitt and Eugene Cernan concluded their third and final moonwalk and blasted off for their rendezvous with the command module.

In 1981, Israel annexed the Golan Heights, which it had seized from Syria in 1967.

In 1986, the experimental aircraft Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, took off from Edwards Air Force Base in California on the first non-stop, non-refueled flight around the world.

In 1996, a freighter lost power on the Mississippi River and barreled into the Riverwalk complex in New Orleans; miraculously, no one was killed.

Ten years ago: A man accused of being the Phoenix Baseline Killer was sentenced to 438 years in prison for the sexual assaults of two sisters. Mark Goudeau was tried in 2011 for the slayings of eight women and a man in 2005-2006; he was convicted and sentenced to death.

Five years ago: A triumphant North Korea staged a mass rally of soldiers and civilians to glorify the country’s young ruler, Kim Jong Un, two days after the successful launch of a satellite into orbit.