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Today in history: December 28

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, Dec. 28, the 362nd day of 2005. There are three days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 28, 1945, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

On this date:
In 1694, Queen Mary II of England died after 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 over differences with President Jackson.

In 1846, Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union.

In 1856, the 28th president of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, was born in Staunton, Va.

In 1897, the play “Cyrano de Bergerac,” by Edmond Rostand, premiered in Paris.

In 1917, the New York Evening Mail published a facetious — as well as fictitious — essay by H.L. Mencken on the history of bathtubs in America.

In 1937, composer Maurice Ravel died in Paris.

In 1944, the musical “On the Town” opened on Broadway.

In 1945, author Theodore Dreiser died in Hollywood.

In 1973, Alexander Solzhenitsyn published “Gulag Archipelago,” an expose of the Soviet prison system.

Ten years ago: CompuServe obeyed a German order to suspend member access to 200 Internet newsgroups deemed pornographic. President Clinton vetoed a $265 billion defense bill, saying it would waste money on an unneeded missile defense system. (Congress failed to override the veto.)

Five years ago: The Census Bureau released its first numbers from the 2000 national count; they showed that America’s population had risen to 281,421,906, up 13.2 percent from 1990.

One year ago: The U.S. Agency for International Development said it was adding $20 million to an initial $15 million contribution for Asian tsunami relief as Secretary of State Colin Powell bristled at a United Nations official’s suggestion the United States was being “stingy.” Activist, author and intellectual Susan Sontag died in New York at age 71. Actor Jerry Orbach died in New York at age 69.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Lou Jacobi is 92. Bandleader Johnny Otis is 84. Comic book creator Stan Lee is 83. Former United Auto Workers union president Owen Bieber is 76. Actress Dame Maggie Smith is 71. Rock singer-musician Charles Neville is 67. Rock singer-musician Edgar Winter is 59. Rock singer-musician Alex Chilton (The Box Tops; Big Star) is 55. Actor Denzel Washington is 51. Country singer Joe Diffie is 47. Country musician Mike McGuire (Shenandoah) is 47. Actor Chad McQueen is 45. Country singer-musician Marty Roe (Diamond Rio) is 45. Actor Malcolm Gets is 41. Actor Mauricio Mendoza is 36. Comedian Seth Meyers is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer John Legend is 27. Actress Sienna Miller is 24. Actress Mackenzie Rosman is 16.

Thought for Today: “Our chief defect is that we are more given to talking about things than to doing them.” — Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian statesman (1889-1964).