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Today in History - Dec. 4

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

Today is Monday, Dec. 4, the 338th day of 2006. There are 27 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 4, 1783, Gen. George Washington bade farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York.

On this date:
In 1816, James Monroe of Virginia was elected the fifth president of the United States.

In 1875, William Marcy Tweed, the “Boss” of New York City’s Tammany Hall political organization, escaped from jail and fled the country.

In 1918, President Wilson set sail for France to attend the Versailles Peace Conference.

In 1942, U.S. bombers struck the Italian mainland for the first time in World War II.

In 1965, the United States launched Gemini 7 with Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Borman and Navy Cmdr. James A. Lovell aboard.

In 1978, San Francisco got its first female mayor as City Supervisor Dianne Feinstein was named to replace the assassinated George Moscone.

In 1986, both houses of Congress moved to establish special committees to conduct their own investigations of the Iran-Contra affair.

In 1991, Associated Press correspondent Terry Anderson, the longest held of the Western hostages in Lebanon, was released after nearly seven years in captivity.

In 1991, Patricia Bowman testified at William Kennedy Smith’s trial in West Palm Beach, Fla., that Smith had raped her the previous Easter weekend. (Smith was acquitted.)

In 1991, the original Pan American World Airways ceased operations.

Ten years ago: The Mars Pathfinder lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and began speeding toward Mars on a 310 million-mile odyssey. (It arrived on Mars in July 1997.)

Five years ago: Stepping up reprisals for suicide bombings by Palestinian militants, Israel unleashed air strikes; three missiles hit near Yasser Arafat’s office as the Palestinian leader worked inside. The United States froze the financial assets of organizations allegedly linked to Hamas, the group that claimed responsibility for recent deadly suicide attacks in Israel. The Olympic flame began a 46-state, two-month journey from Atlanta, host city of the 1996 Summer Games, to the opening ceremony of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

One year ago: Members of the former Sept. 11 commission said the U.S. was at great risk for more terrorist attacks because Congress and the White House had failed to enact several strong security measures. Show business legends Robert Redford, Tina Turner, Tony Bennett, Julie Harris and ballerina Suzanne Farrell headlined the annual Kennedy Center Honors in Washington, D.C. Croatia won its first Davis Cup title.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress-singer Deanna Durbin is 85. Game show host Wink Martindale is 72. Actor-producer Max Baer Jr. is 69. Actress Gemma Jones is 64. Rock musician Bob Mosley (Moby Grape) is 64. Singer-musician Chris Hillman is 62. Rock singer Southside Johnny Lyon is 58. Actor Jeff Bridges is 57. Rock musician Gary Rossington (Lynyrd Skynyrd; the Rossington Collins Band) is 55. Actress Patricia Wettig is 55. Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson is 51. Country musician Brian Prout (Diamond Rio) is 51. Rock musician Bob Griffin (The BoDeans) is 47. Rock singer Vinnie Dombroski (Sponge) is 44. Actress Marisa Tomei is 42. Actress Chelsea Noble is 42. Actor-comedian Fred Armisen is 40. Rapper Jay-Z is 37. Actress-model Tyra Banks is 33. Country singer Lila McCann is 25. Actress Lindsay Felton is 22. Actor Orlando Brown is 19.

Thought for Today: “There’s much to be said for challenging fate instead of ducking behind it.” — Diana Trilling, American author and literary critic (1905-1996).