December 23

In 1968, 82 sailors from the USS Pueblo were released by North Korea. The Navy intelligence ship had been boarded and captured by North Korea on January 23, 1968. This was a major incident in the Cold War between East and West. North Korea claimed that the ship had strayed into North Korean waters, but the U.S. maintained that the ship was in international waters. There were claims by the American sailors that they had been tortured. Negotiations finally obtained the release of the sailors after North Korea forced the U.S. to claim that the ship had entered their territorial waters. The U.S. government then retracted the statement once the prisoners had been returned. The Pueblo is still in possession of North Korea where it is a tourist attraction, but it remains a commissioned ship of the U.S. Navy.

 

The North Tower of the World Trade Center in NYC became the tallest building in the world in 1970 when the top of the building was completed. It stood at 1,368 feet tall (417 meters). The North Tower surpassed the Empire State Building after it held the record for forty years. In 1973, the Sears Tower in Chicago would take over the record for being the tallest building in the world. Today the tallest skyscraper in the world is the Burj Khalifa building in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

 

Sixteen survivors of the 1972 Andes flight disaster were rescued in 1972. This was a chartered flight that carried 45 people including members of a rugby team traveling across the Andes from Uruguay to Chile. Twenty-seven people remained alive after the crash. Subsequently, an avalanche killed eight others. The survivors had little food or source of heat as they tried to survive at an altitude of 11,800 feet. Faced with starvation the survivors fed on the dead passengers whose bodies had been preserved by the snow and cold. The survivors remained alive for 72 days until rescuers reached by after a 10-day trek across the Andes. Several books have been written about the incident, including Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read.

 

Birthdays Today

 

1929Dick Weber, American bowler (d. 2005)

1933Akihito, Japanese emperor

1935Paul Hornung, American football player and sportscaster

1944Wesley Clark, American general

1946Susan Lucci, American actress

1963Jim Harbaugh, American football player and coach

Larry Moskal began his career as a Social Studies teacher in 1971. He graduated from the University of Buffalo with degrees in history and education. Larry taught Social Studies for the Ken-Ton School system, a suburban school system north of Buffalo, New York until 2005, and then taught and was the Dean of Students at San Miguel High School in Tucson. At Ken-Ton, he pioneered several online courses for high school students. In the 1980s, he spent three years teaching in Colombia, South America and spent four years at Lewiston-Porter High School. He currently is the PowerSchool Administrator for San Miguel accomplishing his work over the Internet.