ON THIS DAY: December 17, 2016

December 17th is


Maple Syrup Day


Wright Brothers Day *

Wreaths Across America Day *


MORE! Deborah Sampson, Simón Bolívar, and Charles Dickens, click



Pagan: Saturnalia – gift-giving, gambling, hat-wearing, drinking and feasting in honor of the Roman god Saturn

Bhutan – National Dayinternational Flags

India – Bengaluru:
Bangalore Literature Festival

Lebanon – Bayrūt:
HYTE Concert

Mexico – Las Posadas
(Joseph and Mary’s journey to Bethlehem)

United States – Indianapolis IN:
Pyramid of Enlightenment Psychic Fair


On This Day in HISTORY

497 BC – The first Saturnalia festival was celebrated in ancient Rome


1538 – Pope Paul III excommunicates Henry VIII of England

1760 – Deborah Sampson Gannett born, American woman who disguised herself as a man in order to fight in the American Revolution as Robert Shurtlieff. When wounded, she removed the musket ball from her thigh herself to keep her gender from being discovered

1777 – American Revolution: France formally recognizes the United States

1778 – Humphry Davy born, English chemist and physicist


1790 – Discovery of the Aztec calendar stone


1807 – John Greenleaf Whittier born, American poet and abolitionist


1819 – Simón Bolívar declares the independence of Gran Colombia in Angostura, now Ciudad Bolívar in Venezuela

1843 – Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is published


1865 – First performance of the Unfinished Symphony by Franz Schubert

1873 – Ford Madox Ford, English-French author, The Good Soldier


1874 – William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canadian economist and politician, 10th Prime Minister of Canada

1892 –First performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker in St. Petersburg

1894 – Arthur Fiedler born, American conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra

1900 – Dame Mary Lucy Cartwright born, British mathematician known for work with dynamical systems and chaos, first woman to receive the Sylvester Medal, to serve on the Council of the Royal Society, and to be President of the London Mathematical Society

1903 – The Wright brothers make the first controlled powered, heavier-than-air flight in the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

1903 – Ray Noble born, English bandleader, composer, “Love Is the Sweetest Thing”

1906 – Fernando Lopes-Graça born, Portuguese composer-conductor

1910 – Sy Oliver born, American Jazz composer-arranger-bandleader

1918 – 1,000 demonstrators from the Australian Workers’ Union, angry about taxation, wage and employment issues, march on Government House in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

1929 – William Safire born, American journalist and author, On Language, Safire’s Political Dictionary

1935 – First flight of the Douglas DC-3


1943 – The ban on Chinese immigrants becoming U.S. citizens is lifted by repeal of the Act of 1882 and the introduction of the Magnuson Act

1944 – The U.S. Army announces the end of its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast. Japanese-Americans are released from detention camps

1947 – First flight of the Boeing B-47 Stratojet strategic bomber


1951 – The American Civil Rights Congress delivers “We Charge Genocide” to the UN

1953 – The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decides to approve RCA’s color television specifications

1955 – Carl Perkins writes the song “Blue Suede Shoes”

1957 – The United States successfully launches the first Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile at Cape Canaveral FL

1959 – The film On the Beach premieres in New York City and in 17 other cities, the first motion picture to debut simultaneously in major cities around the world

1960 – Troops loyal to Emperor Haile Selassie in Ethiopia crush the coup that began December 13, returning power to their leader upon his return from Brazil.

1967 – Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt disappears while swimming near Portsea, Victoria, and is presumed drowned

1969 – The U.S. Air Force closes its Project “Blue Book” concluding that there is no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings

1978 – OPEC decides to raise oil prices by 14.5% by the end of 1979

1986 – Davina Thompson is the first recipient of a heart, lungs, and liver transplant

1992 – U.S. President George H.W. Bush, Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)

1992 – The first Wreaths Across America Day * is started by Morrill Worcester, to lay holiday wreaths on Veterans grave markers

2003 – SpaceShipOne, piloted by Brian Binnie, makes its first powered and first supersonic flight


2005 – Anti-World Trade Organization protesters riot in Wan Chai, Hong Kong

2014 – The United States and Cuba re-establish diplomatic relations after severing them 55 years before



  • Maple Syrup Day poster
  • Wreaths Across America Day poster
  •  Roman feasting mural
  • Humphry Davy science quote
  • Aztec sun stone calendar – Museo Nacional de Antropología, México City
  • John Greenleaf Whittier quote from his poem “Don’t Quit”
  • A Christmas Carol title page, with illustration of Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball
  • First page of The Good Soldier
  • Douglas DC-3 – 1930s
  • Boeing B-47 Stratojet
  • Pilot Brian Binnie stands atop SpaceShipOne



About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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2 Responses to ON THIS DAY: December 17, 2016

  1. When I am told us senior citizens can’t do stuff, I point to the example of Brian Bennie. He has been inducted into the Ball Watch Explorers Club. One cannot apply, it is by invitation only. Brian is in his 60s, and can still get the job done as a test pilot, flying the suborbital Space Ship Two.

    I am green with envy. I would tackle this in a heartbeat, given the chance. Kids should not be allowed to have all the fun.

    This video was produced by Ball Watch to promote their new watch for aviators and astronauts. That image beginning at 1:06 in the video gives me chills every time I watch it. Old guy, indeed.

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