A Blast from the Past

By United Press International

Today is Dec. 21.

Death rained from the Scottish skies on this date in 1988. A bomb planted by terrorists caused Pam Am Flight 103 to explode in midair and crash to the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland -- killing everyone aboard and 11 people on the ground for a total death toll of 270.


The tragedy raised questions about security and the notification of passengers in the event of threatened flights. The resulting investigation revealed that government agencies and the airline knew the flight was possibly the target of terrorists.

It was on this date in 1620 that the Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth, Mass., following a 63-day voyage from England aboard the Mayflower. Plymouth Rock -- the legendary landing site first identified as such in 1769 -- has been an historic shrine ever since.

A space milestone: on this date in 1968, Apollo VIII -- the first manned voyage to the Moon -- was launched from Cape Kennedy, Fla. Col. Frank Borman, Capt. James Lovell and Major William Anders orbited the Moon on Christmas Eve and returned to Earth three days later. They were the first humans to orbit the Moon and see the far side of the Moon.


In a case that highlighted racial tensions, three young white men were convicted on this date in 1987 of manslaughter in an attack on a black man in New York's predominantly white Howard Beach section. The victim had been hit by a car and killed after being chased onto a busy highway.

A Kentucky man, Larry Mahoney, was convicted on this date in 1989 on 27 counts of manslaughter in 1988 collision with church bus. It was the nation's deadliest drunken-driving accident.

The first crossword puzzle in an American newspaper was compiled by Arthur Wynne and published in The New York Sunday World on this date in 1913.

And on this date in 1937, Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" , the first full-length animated feature film, opened in Los Angeles.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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