2002—Americans learn a new euphemism from the Washington Post: “extraordinary rendition” means kidnapping and torture.
1996—From a pool of 1,500 candidates, the press selects JonBenet Ramsey as the most important child murdered in the U.S. this year.
1991—The Supreme Soviet meets one last time and dissolves the USSR.
1971—Disgruntled Vietnam veterans occupy the Statue of Liberty.
1969—Having fought a shifting cargo of bombs, missiles, and mines for nine days in heavy seas, the crew of the freighter S.S. Badger State abandons ship in mid-Pacific after a bomb explodes and blows a hole in the hull. Out of 40 crewmen, 11 survive.
1966—Time Magazine names “The Younger Generation” the “Man of the Year,” further exacerbating a pandemic of unwarranted self-esteem.
1919—Harry Frazee sells Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees.
1913—Writer and perennially-disgruntled Civil War veteran Ambrose Bierce allegedly pens one final letter before vanishing in Mexico.
1908—Jack Johnson becomes the first Black heavyweight boxing champ.
1862—Under orders from President Lincoln, the U.S. Army hangs 39 Santee Lakota Sioux on one huge gallows.
1787—In Carlisle, Pa., an anti-Federalist mob wielding barrel staves bludgeons and nearly kills Constitution-framer James Wilson.