updated 12/21/2005 12:01:11 AM ET 2005-12-21T05:01:11

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 21, the 355th day of 2005. There are 10 days left in the year. Winter arrives at 1:35 p.m. Eastern time.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 21, 1620, Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower went ashore for the first time at present-day Plymouth, Mass.

On this date:
In 1804, British statesman Benjamin Disraeli was born in London.

In 1898, scientists Pierre and Marie Curie discovered the radioactive element radium.

In 1914, the first feature-length silent film comedy, “Tillie’s Punctured Romance,” was released.

In 1942, the Supreme Court ruled all states had to recognize divorces granted in Nevada.

In 1945, Gen. George S. Patton died in Heidelberg, Germany, of injuries from a car accident.

In 1948, the state of Eire (formerly the Irish Free State) declared its independence.

In 1968, Apollo 8 was launched on a mission to orbit the moon.

In 1971, the U.N. Security Council chose Kurt Waldheim to succeed U Thant as Secretary-General.

In 1978, police in Des Plaines, Ill., arrested John W. Gacy Jr. and began unearthing the remains of 33 men and boys that Gacy was later convicted of murdering.

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.

Ten years ago: The House approved sweeping welfare reform that President Clinton said he would veto. (He later signed a revamped version.) A train collision outside Cairo, Egypt, claimed 75 lives. The city of Bethlehem passed from Israeli to Palestinian control.

Five years ago: President-elect Bush resigned as governor of Texas; Lt. Gov. Rick Perry was sworn in to replace him.

One year ago: A suicide bombing at a mess hall tent near Mosul, Iraq, killed 22 people, including 14 U.S. service members and three American contractors. Two French reporters held hostage for four months in Iraq were released. The Associated Press told the Bowl Championship Series to stop using its college football poll to determine which teams would play for the national title and in the most prestigious bowl games. The NFL fined Jacksonville safety Donovin Darius $75,000 for a hit across the neck of Green Bay’s Robert Ferguson that left the wide receiver temporarily paralyzed.

Today’s Birthdays: Former Austrian president and former U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim is 87. Country singer Freddie Hart is 79. Actor Ed Nelson is 77. Talk show host Phil Donahue is 70. Movie director John Avildsen is 70. Actress Jane Fonda is 68. Actor Larry Bryggman is 67. Singer Carla Thomas is 63. Musician Albert Lee is 62. Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas is 61. Actor Samuel L. Jackson is 57. Movie producer Jeffrey Katzenberg is 55. Singer Betty Wright is 52. Tennis star Chris Evert is 51. Actress Jane Kaczmarek is 50. Country singer Lee Roy Parnell is 49. Entertainer Jim Rose is 49. Actor-comedian Ray Romano is 48. Country singer Christy Forester (The Forester Sisters) is 43. Actor-comedian Andy Dick is 40. Rock musician Gabrielle Glaser is 40. Actor Kiefer Sutherland is 39. Actress Karri Turner (“JAG”) is 39. Actress Khrystyne Haje is 37. Country singer Brad Warren (The Warren Brothers) is 37. Actress Julie Delpy is 36. Singer-musician Brett Scallions (Fuel) is 34. Country singer Luke Stricklin is 23.

Thought for Today: “The time will come when Winter will ask us: ’What were you doing all the Summer?”’ — Bohemian proverb.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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