Today in History: December 26, deadly tsunami in Asia

December 26, 2022 GMT

Today in History

Today is Monday, Dec. 26, the 360th day of 2022. There are five days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Dec. 26, 2004, more than 230,000 people, mostly in southern Asia, were killed by a 100-foot-high tsunami triggered by a 9.1-magnitude earthquake beneath the Indian Ocean.

On this date:

In 1799, former President George Washington was eulogized by Col. Henry Lee as “first in war, first in peace and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”

In 1865, James H. Nason of Franklin, Massachusetts, received a patent for “an improved coffee percolator.”

In 1908, Jack Johnson became the first African-American boxer to win the world heavyweight championship as he defeated Canadian Tommy Burns in Sydney, Australia.

In 1917, during World War I, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation authorizing the government to take over operation of the nation’s railroads.

In 1941, during World War II, Winston Churchill became the first British prime minister to address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress.

In 1966, Kwanzaa was first celebrated.

In 1980, Iranian television footage was broadcast in the United States showing a dozen of the American hostages sending messages to their families.

In 1990, Nancy Cruzan, the young woman in an irreversible vegetative state whose case led to a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the right to die, died at a Missouri hospital.

In 1994, French commandos stormed a hijacked Air France jetliner on the ground in Marseille, killing four Algerian hijackers and freeing 170 hostages.

In 1996, six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado. (To date, the slaying remains unsolved.)

In 2003, an earthquake struck the historic Iranian city of Bam, killing at least 26,000 people.

In 2006, former President Gerald R. Ford died in Rancho Mirage, California, at age 93.

Ten years ago: Toyota Motor Corp. said it had reached a settlement worth more than $1 billion in a case involving unintended acceleration problems in its vehicles. Soul singer Fontella Bass, 72, died in St. Louis.

Five years ago: The snowfall total from a storm that began on Christmas Day reached 53 inches in Erie, Pennsylvania - the biggest-ever two-day total in the state’s history. The cities of New York, San Francisco and Philadelphia sued the Defense Department, charging that the military failed to properly use the national background check system for guns; the lawsuit said the failure to report criminal records of service members had allowed a former member of the Air Force to kill more than two dozen people at a Texas church in November. Voters in Liberia went to the polls for a runoff election that saw former soccer star George Weah elected as the African country’s new president.

One year ago: South African Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu died at 90; the retired archbishop had been an uncompromising foe of apartheid and a modern-day activist for racial justice and LGBT rights. A major Christmas weekend storm caused whiteout conditions and closed key highways amid blowing snow in mountains of Northern California and Nevada.

Today’s Birthdays: R&B singer Abdul “Duke” Fakir (The Four Tops) is 87. “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh is 77. Country musician Bob Carpenter (The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 76. Funk musician George Porter Jr. (The Meters) is 75. Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk is 75. Retired MLB All-Star Chris Chambliss is 74. Baseball Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith is 68. Former Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh of Indiana is 67. Humorist David Sedaris is 66. Rock musician James Kottak (The Scorpions) is 60. Rock musician Lars Ulrich (Metallica) is 59. Actor Nadia Dajani is 57. Rock singer James Mercer (The Shins; Flake) is 52. Actor-singer Jared Leto is 51. Actor Kendra C. Johnson is 46. Rock singer Chris Daughtry is 43. Actor Beth Behrs is 37. Actor Kit Harington is 36. Actor Eden Sher is 31. Pop singer Jade Thirlwall (Little Mix Actor) is 30. Actor Zach Mills is 27.