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This Day in History: December 24


1814 – The Treaty of Ghent is signed ending the War of 1812.

1826 – The Eggnog Riot at the United States Military Academy begins that night, wrapping up the following morning.

1851 – Library of Congress burns.

1911 – Lackawanna Cut-Off railway line opens in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

1914 – World War I: The "Christmas truce" begins.

1943 – World War II: U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower is named Supreme Allied Commander for the Invasion of Normandy.

1955 – NORAD Tracks Santa for the first time in what will become an annual Christmas Eve tradition.

1964 – Vietnam War: Viet Cong operatives bomb the Brinks Hotel in Saigon, South Vietnam to demonstrate they can strike an American installation in the heavily guarded capital.

1968 – Apollo program: The crew of Apollo 8 enters into orbit around the Moon, becoming the first humans to do so. They performed ten lunar orbits and broadcast live TV pictures.

1969 – Charles Manson is allowed to defend himself at the Tate–LaBianca murder trial.

1973 – District of Columbia Home Rule Act is passed, allowing residents of Washington, D.C. to elect their own local government.


1809 – Kit Carson, American general (d. 1868)

1905 – Howard Hughes, American businessman, engineer, and pilot (d. 1976)

1923 – George Patton IV, American general (d. 2004)

1930 – Robert Joffrey, American dancer and choreographer (d. 1988)

1971 – Ricky Martin, Puerto Rican-American singer-songwriter and actor

1974 – Ryan Seacrest, American radio and television host


1931 – Flying Hawk, American warrior, educator and historian (b. 1854)

1967 – Burt Baskin, American businessman, co-founded Baskin-Robbins (b. 1913)

1986 – Gardner Fox, American author (b. 1911)

1993 – Norman Vincent Peale, American minister and author (b. 1898)

1999 – Bill Bowerman, American runner, coach, and businessman, co-founded Nike, Inc. (b. 1911)

2012 – Jack Klugman, American actor, director, and screenwriter (b. 1922)