Today is Sunday, Dec. 8, the 342nd day of 2013. There are 23 days left in the year.
On this date:
In 1854, Pope Pius IX proclaimed the Catholic dogma of the Immaculate Conception, which holds that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was free of original sin from the moment of her own conception.
In 1886, the American Federation of Labor was founded in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1914, "Watch Your Step," the first musical revue to feature a score composed entirely by Irving Berlin, opened in New York.
In 1949, the Chinese Nationalist government moved from the Chinese mainland to Formosa as the Communists pressed their attacks.
In 1961, a fire at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut resulted in 16 deaths. The Beach Boys' first single, "Surfin'," was released.
In 1962, the first session of the Second Vatican Council was formally adjourned.
In 1982, a man demanding an end to nuclear weapons held the Washington Monument hostage, threatening to blow it up with explosives he claimed were inside a van. (After a 10-hour standoff, Norman D. Mayer was shot dead by police; it turned out there were no explosives.)
In 1987, President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed a treaty at the White House calling for destruction of intermediate-range nuclear missiles.
In 1992, Americans got to see live television coverage of U.S. troops landing on the beaches of Somalia as Operation Restore Hope began (because of the time difference, it was early Dec. 9 in Somalia).
in entertainment history -
On December eighth, 1956, eleven-year-old Brenda Lee released her first single, "I'm Gonna Lasso Santa Claus."
In 1961, the Beach Boys' first single, "Surfin'," was released.
In 1969, a supreme court in Toronto found guitarist Jimi Hendrix not guilty of possession of heroin and hashish. Hendrix had testified he had previously used drugs but had given them up.
In 1976, The Eagles released their "Hotel California" album.
In 1980, John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building by an apparently deranged fan. He and wife Yoko Ono were returning home from a recording session. He was 40.
In 1982, country singer Marty Robbins died of heart disease in Nashville at the age of 57.
In 1983, character actor Slim Pickins died in Modesto, California, at age 64.
In 1984, Motley Crue singer Vince Neil crashed a sports car on a California highway, killing his passenger, Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle Dingley.
In 1991, actor Gregory Peck and country legend Roy Acuff were honored at the Kennedy Center Honors. Acuff was the first country artist to receive the award.
In 1995, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead announced they were breaking up, after Jerry Garcia's death the previous August.
In 2003, Ozzy Osbourne was seriously injured while riding a quad bike around his English estate. He hit an object and the bike landed on top of him.