History is an amazing, living creature: If we do not look back at our past, we are doomed to repeat it; if we look back too much, we miss our present and future. But all three phases in our life, measured as we do by the passage of time on this planet, are simultaneous, important, and influential on the other two at any given moment: If you decide not to get out of bed in that fleeting moment of “now,” the events that unfold in your future will be altered. If you decide to pass on an act of kindness done to you by someone in your past, you will change the state of your present attitudes and outlooks, and change the course of events in someone else’s life in the process.
With that in mind, here are a random selection of historical events that took place on this day, 7 December. They may be mere statistics to us now, but at the time they were life-altering, history-changing, significant events to be overcome, survived, or defeated by. Of those tragic events that took place within your lifetime, take a moment of silence out of respect for the loved ones that were left behind to pick up the pieces of a life altered without warning… it’s a day relatives, children, spouses and parents will never forget.
- 521 – Columba, Irish missionary, monk, and saint was born (d. 597)
- 574 – Emperor Justin II retires due to recurring seizures of insanity, he abdicates the throne in favor of his general Tiberius and proclaims him Caesar.
- 1869 – American outlaw Jesse James commits his first confirmed bank robbery in Gallatin, Missouri.
- 1917 – World War I: The United States declares war on Austria-Hungary.
- 1941 – World War II: Attack on Pearl Harbor – The Imperial Japanese Navy attacks the United States Pacific Fleet and its defending Army Air Forces and Marine air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, causing 2,400 deaths and a declaration of war upon Japan by the United States. Japan also invades Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies at the same time (December 8 in Asia).
- 1946 – A fire at the Winecoff Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia kills 119 people, the deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history.
- 1949 – Chinese Civil War: The government of Republic of China moves from Nanking to Taipei, Taiwan.
- 1972 – Apollo 17, the last Apollo moon mission, is launched. The crew takes the photograph known as The Blue Marble as they leave the Earth.
- 1987 – Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 1771 crashes near Paso Robles, California, killing all 43 on board, after a disgruntled passenger shoots his ex-boss traveling on the flight, then shoots both pilots and himself.
- 1988 – Spitak Earthquake: In Armenia an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale kills more than 25,000, injures 30,000 and leaves 500,000 homeless out of a population of 3,500,000.