. 8, the 342nd day of 2011. There are 23 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On Dec. 8, 1941, the United States entered World War II as Congress declared war against Japan, a day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
On this date:
In 1776, during the Revolutionary War, Gen. George Washington's retreating army crossed the Delaware River from New Jersey into Pennsylvania.
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 1863, President Abraham Lincoln announced his plan for the Reconstruction of the South.
In 1886, the American Federation of Labor was founded in Columbus, Ohio.
In 1911, actor Lee J. Cobb was born in New York City.
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 1980, rock star John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York City apartment building by an apparently deranged fan.
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 1991, AIDS patient Kimberly Bergalis, who had contracted the disease from her dentist, died in Fort Pierce, Fla., at age 23.
Ten years ago: The U.S. Capitol was reopened to tourists after a two-month security shutdown. Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch was awarded the Heisman Trophy.
Five years ago: Gunman Joe Jackson went on a rampage inside a downtown Chicago law firm specializing in intellectual property and patents, killing three people before being shot dead by police. (Authorities said Jackson apparently felt cheated by the firm over an invention of his, a toilet for use in trucks.) Laura Gainey, the daughter of hockey great Bob Gainey, was lost at sea when she was washed overboard during a North Atlantic storm while working on a sailing ship bound for the Caribbean. The House ethics committee concluded that Republican lawmakers and aides had failed for a decade to protect male pages from sexual overtures by former Florida Congressman Mark Foley, but that they broke no rules and should not be punished.
One year ago: President Barack Obama rejected claims that he had betrayed Democrats by cutting a deal with Republicans on Bush-era tax cuts and implored his party to back the compromise, arguing it could jump-start the economy. Hackers rushed to the defense of WikiLeaks, launching attacks on MasterCard, Visa, Swedish prosecutors, a Swiss bank and others who had acted against the site and its founder, Julian Assange. A fire that started during an inmate brawl swept through an overcrowded prison in Chile, killing at least 81 people.
Today's Birthdays: Actor-director Maximilian Schell is 81. Flutist James Galway is 72. Singer Jerry Butler is 72. Pop musician Bobby Elliott (The Hollies) is 70. Actress Mary Woronov is 68. Actor John Rubinstein is 65. Rock singer-musician Gregg Allman is 64. Reggae singer Toots Hibbert (Toots and the Maytals) is 63. Actress Kim Basinger (BAY'-sing-ur) is 58. Rock musician Warren Cuccurullo is 55. Rock musician Phil Collen (Def Leppard) is 54. Country singer Marty Raybon is 52. Political commentator Ann Coulter is 50. Rock musician Marty Friedman is 49. Actor Wendell Pierce is 48. Actress Teri Hatcher is 47. Rapper Bushwick Bill (The Geto Boys) is 45. Singer Sinead (shih-NAYD') O'Connor is 45. Actor Matthew Laborteaux is 45. Rock musician Ryan Newell (Sister Hazel) is 39. Actor Dominic Monaghan is 35. Actor Ian Somerhalder is 33. Rock singer Ingrid Michaelson is 32. R&B singer Chrisette Michele is 29. Rock singer-actress Kate Voegele (VOH'-gehl) is 25. Actress AnnaSophia Robb is 18.
Thought for Today: "Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime." — Ernest Hemingway, American author (1899-1961).
(Above Advance for Use Thursday, Dec. 8)
Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.