On December 22, 1944, during the World War II Battle of the Bulge, U.S. Brigadier General Anthony C. McAuliffe rejected the Germans’ demand that the Americans surrender, writing “Nuts!” in his official reply.
In 1775, Esek Hopkins was appointed the commander-in-chief of the Continental Navy.
In 1864, during the Civil War, Union General William T. Sherman wrote a message to President Lincoln which said in part: “I beg to present you as a Christmas-gift the city of Savannah.”
In 1997, during his visit to Bosnia, President Clinton thanked American troops and lectured the nation’s three presidents to set aside their differences.
In 1997, gunmen attacked an Indian village in southern Mexico, killing 45 people.
In 2001, Richard C. Reid, a passenger on an American Airlines flight from Paris to Miami, tried to ignite explosives in his shoes, but was subdued by flight attendants and other passengers.
In 2002, a defiant North Korea said that it had begun removing U.N. seals and surveillance cameras from nuclear facilities that U.S. officials said could yield weapons within months.
In 1894, French army officer Alfred Dreyfus was convicted of treason in a court-martial that triggered worldwide charges of anti-Semitism. (Dreyfus was eventually vindicated.)
In 1963, an official 30-day mourning period following the assassination of President Kennedy came to an end.
In 1977, three dozen people were killed when a 250-foot-high grain elevator at the Continental Grain Company plant in Westwego, Louisiana, exploded.
In 1807, Congress passed the Embargo Act, barring all U.S. trade with foreign countries.
In 1984, New York City resident Bernhard Goetz shot and wounded four youths on a Manhattan subway, claiming they were about to rob him.
In 1808, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony Number 5 in C Minor, Opus 67, and Symphony Number 6 in F Major, Opus 68 (“Pastoral”), had their world premieres in Vienna, Austria.
In 2006,rape charges were dropped against three Duke University lacrosse players, but kidnapping and sexual offense charges remained. (Those charges were later dropped as well.) Space shuttle Discovery returned to Earth after a smooth, 13-day flight to rewire the international space station.
In 2002, Joe Strummer, lead singer of the legendary British punk band The Clash, died in Broomfield, England, at age 50.
Former House Speaker Jim Wright is 85. Actor Hector Elizondo is 71. Country singer Red Steagall is 69. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Steve Carlton is 63. ABC News correspondent Diane Sawyer is 62. Rock singer-musician Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick) is 61. Baseball All-Star Steve Garvey is 59. Singer Robin Gibb is 58. Golfer Jan Stephenson is 56. Actress BernNadette Stanis is 54. Rapper Luther Campbell is 47. Country singer-musician Chuck Mead (BR549) is 47. Actor Ralph Fiennes is 45. Actress Lauralee Bell is 39. Country singer Lori McKenna is 39. Actress Dina Meyer is 39. Actress Heather Donahue is 33. Actor Chris Carmack is 27. Singer Jordin Sparks (“American Idol”) is 18.
December 22, the 356th day of 2007. There are 9 days left in the year. Winter’s arrival: 1:08 a.m. Eastern time.