Hoosier History: On This Day, December 21

In-flight image of Frank Borman (center) during the Apollo 8 mission. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)

Today is Friday, Dec. 21, the 355th day of 2018 with 10 to follow. Winter officially arrives today, with the Winter Solstice occurring at 5:23 p.m. Indianapolis time.

Today’s Hoosier Highlights in History:

On Dec. 21, 1968, Apollo 8 is launched on a mission to orbit the moon. Indiana native Frank Borman was the mission commander for Apollo 8, which was the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit and the first mission to fly around the moon. Today, the Frank Borman Expressway in northwest Indiana pays tribute to him. (Watch NASA video of the launch below)

On Dec. 21, 1956, the bronze bust of Sherman Minton is unveiled on the main floor at the Indiana Statehouse. Minton spoke at the ceremony which was hosted by Governor George Craig. One of only two native Hoosiers to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, Minton grew up in Floyd County. His bust was the creation of prominent American artist and sculptor Merrell Gage. (Source: Hoosier History Highlights from the Indiana Department of Administration; Photo credit: State of Indiana)

On Dec. 21, 1946, Morton Gould’s “Minstrel Show” premieres in Indianapolis. Despite receiving no formal education in orchestration or conducting, Gould became one of the most prominent American composers and conductors of the twentieth century. During a career that spanned roughly 70 years, he had over 100 recordings and a dozen Grammy nominations to his credit. (Photo credit: Library of Congress)

On Dec. 21, 1931, hall of fame symphonic jazz composer David Baker is born in Indianapolis. He was originally a trombonist but an injury to his jaw left him unable to play. This caused him to focus on compositions, of which he wrote over 2,000. Baker served as the Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman of the Jazz Department at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music prior to his death in 2016. (Photo: National Museum of American History)

On Dec. 21, 1887, Major League Baseball player Fred “Cy” Williams is born in Wadena, Indiana. He was an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs (1912–17) and Philadelphia Phillies (1918–30). As MLB emerged from the dead ball era, Williams became one of the most prominent home run hitters in the National League; he was a 4-time NL home run leader. (Photo credit: Chicago Daily News/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)

On this date elsewhere:

In 1620, Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower went ashore for the first time at present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts.

In 1864, during the Civil War, Union forces led by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman concluded their “March to the Sea” as they captured Savannah, Georgia.

In 1891, the first basketball game, devised by James Naismith, is believed to have been played at the International YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts. (The final score of this experimental game: 1-0.)

In 1913, the first newspaper crossword puzzle, billed as a “Word-Cross Puzzle,” was published in the New York World.

In 1937, Walt Disney’s first animated feature, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” had its world premiere at the Carthay Circle Theater in Los Angeles. The first Dr. Seuss book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” was published by Vanguard Press.

In 1945, U.S. Army Gen. George S. Patton, 60, died in Heidelberg, Germany, 12 days after being seriously injured in a car accident.

In 1967, Louis Washkansky, the first human heart transplant recipient, died at a hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, 18 days after receiving the donor organ. The satirical comedy-drama “The Graduate,” starring Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman, was released by Embassy Pictures.

In 1969, Vince Lombardi coached his last football game as his team, the Washington Redskins, lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 20-10.

In 1976, the Liberian-registered tanker Argo Merchant broke apart near Nantucket Island off Massachusetts almost a week after running aground, spilling 7.5 million gallons of oil into the North Atlantic.

In 1988, 270 people were killed when a terrorist bomb exploded aboard a Pam Am Boeing 747 over Lockerbie, Scotland, sending wreckage crashing to the ground.

In 1991, eleven of the 12 former Soviet republics proclaimed the birth of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the death of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

In 2002, President George W. Bush received a smallpox vaccination, fulfilling a promise he’d made when he ordered inoculations for about a-half million U.S. troops.

Ten years ago: A multi-faith ceremony was held to mark the reopening of Mumbai, India’s Oberoi hotel three weeks after it was targeted in a militant rampage. Detroit became the first 0-15 team when it was routed 42-7 by the New Orleans Saints. Playwright Dale Wasserman, who’d written the book for the Tony-winning musical “Man of La Mancha,” died in Paradise Valley, Ariz. at age 94.

Five years ago: Director of National Intelligence James Clapper declassified more documents outlining how the National Security Agency was first authorized to start collecting bulk phone and Internet records in the hunt for al-Qaida terrorists and how a court eventually gained oversight of the program. Gunfire hit three U.S. military aircraft trying to evacuate American citizens in a remote region of South Sudan that had become a battleground between the country’s military and renegade troops. Edgar M. Bronfman Sr., 84, the billionaire businessman and longtime president of the World Jewish Congress, died in New York.

One year ago: The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to denounce President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, largely ignoring Trump’s threat to cut off aid to any country that went against him. Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Afghanistan for a secret meeting with Afghan leaders and a visit with U.S. troops. Papa John’s announced that founder John Schnatter would step down as CEO; the company had apologized for his comments criticizing the NFL leadership over protests by players who knelt during the national anthem.

Today’s Birthdays: Talk show host Phil Donahue is 83. Actress Jane Fonda is 81. Actor Larry Bryggman is 80. Singer Carla Thomas is 76. Musician Albert Lee is 75. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas is 74. Actor Josh Mostel is 72. Actor Samuel L. Jackson is 70. Rock singer Nick Gilder is 68. Movie producer Jeffrey Katzenberg is 68. Actor Dennis Boutsikaris is 66. Singer Betty Wright is 65. International Tennis Hall of Famer Chris Evert is 64. Actress Jane Kaczmarek is 63. Country singer Lee Roy Parnell is 62. Entertainer Jim Rose is 62. Former child actress Lisa Gerritsen is 61. Actor-comedian Ray Romano is 61. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is 56. Country singer Christy Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 56. Rock musician Murph (The Lemonheads; Dinosaur Jr.) is 54. Actor-comedian Andy Dick is 53. Rock musician Gabrielle Glaser is 53. Actress Michelle Hurd is 52. Actor Kiefer Sutherland is 52. Actress Karri Turner is 52. Actress Khrystyne Haje is 50. Country singer Brad Warren (The Warren Brothers) is 50. Actress Julie Delpy is 49. Country singer-musician Rhean (rehn) Boyer (Carolina Rain) is 48. Contemporary Christian singer Natalie Grant is 47. Actor Glenn Fitzgerald is 47. Singer-musician Brett Scallions is 47. World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie Webb is 44. Rock singer Lukas Rossi (Rock Star Supernova) is 42. Actress Rutina Wesley is 40. Rock musician Anna Bulbrook (Airborne Toxic Event) is 36. Country singer Luke Stricklin is 36. Actor Steven Yeun is 35. Actress Kaitlyn Dever is 22.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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