Today is Thursday, Dec. 21, the 355th day of 2017. There are 10 days left in the year. Winter arrives at 11:28 a.m. Eastern time.
Today's Highlights in History:
On Dec. 21, 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.
On this date:
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 1940, author F. Scott Fitzgerald died in Hollywood, California, at age 44.
In 1942, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Williams v. North Carolina, ruled 6-2 that all states had to recognize divorces granted in Nevada.
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 1958, Charles de Gaulle was elected to a seven-year term as the first president of the Fifth Republic of France.
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 1968, Apollo 8 was launched on a mission to orbit the moon.
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.
Ten years ago: A suicide attacker detonated a bomb at a mosque outside the home of Pakistan's former interior minister, killing at least 50 people (the ex-official escaped injury).
Five years ago: The National Rifle Association said guns and police officers were needed in all American schools to stop the next killer "waiting in the wings," taking a no-retreat stance in the face of growing calls for gun control after the Newtown, Connecticut, shootings that claimed the lives of 26 children and school staff. President Barack Obama nominated Sen. John Kerry as his next secretary of state. Gymnast Gabby Douglas, the first African-American to win an all-around Olympic title, won the AP's Female Athlete of the Year.
One year ago: President-elect Donald Trump declared that the deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Germany that killed 12 people two days earlier was "an attack on humanity and it's got to be stopped"; he also suggested he might go forward with his campaign pledge to temporarily ban Muslim immigrants from coming to the United States. Jurors in Santa Ana, California, recommended a death sentence for a sex offender who abducted and killed four women over six months while wearing an electronic monitoring device (the judge imposed the death sentence the following February).
Today's Birthdays: Country singer Freddie Hart is 91. Talk show host Phil Donahue is 82. Actress Jane Fonda is 80. Actor Larry Bryggman is 79. Singer Carla Thomas is 75. Musician Albert Lee is 74. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas is 73. Actor Josh Mostel is 71. Actor Samuel L. Jackson is 69. Rock singer Nick Gilder is 67. Movie producer Jeffrey Katzenberg is 67. Actor Dennis Boutsikaris is 65. Singer Betty Wright is 64. International Tennis Hall of Famer Chris Evert is 63. Actress Jane Kaczmarek is 62. Country singer Lee Roy Parnell is 61. Entertainer Jim Rose is 61. Former child actress Lisa Gerritsen is 60. Actor-comedian Ray Romano is 60. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is 55. Country singer Christy Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 55. Rock musician Murph (The Lemonheads; Dinosaur Jr.) is 53. Actor-comedian Andy Dick is 52. Rock musician Gabrielle Glaser is 52. Actress Michelle Hurd is 51. Actor Kiefer Sutherland is 51. Actress Karri Turner is 51. Actress Khrystyne Haje is 49. Country singer Brad Warren (The Warren Brothers) is 49. Actress Julie Delpy is 48. Country singer-musician Rhean (rehn) Boyer (Carolina Rain) is 47. Contemporary Christian singer Natalie Grant is 46. Actor Glenn Fitzgerald is 46. Singer-musician Brett Scallions is 46. World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie Webb is 43. Rock singer Lukas Rossi (Rock Star Supernova) is 41. Actress Rutina Wesley is 39. Rock musician Anna Bulbrook (Airborne Toxic Event) is 35. Country singer Luke Stricklin is 35. Actor Steven Yeun is 34. Actress Kaitlyn Dever is 21.
Thought for Today: "The time will come when Winter will ask us: 'What were you doing all the Summer?'" — Bohemian proverb.