Today's Highlight in History:
On December 24th， 1951， Gian Carlo Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors，" the first opera written specifically for television， was first broadcast by NBC TV.
On this date:
In 1524， Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama -- who had discovered a sea route around Africa to India -- died in Cochin， India.
In 1814， the War of 1812 officially ended as the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent in Belgium.
In 1851， fire devastated the Library of Congress in Washington DC， destroying about 35，000 volumes.
In 1865， several veterans of the Confederate Army formed a private social club in Pulaski， Tennessee， called the Ku Klux Klan.
In 1871， Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Aida" had its world premiere in Cairo， Egypt， to celebrate the opening of the Suez Canal.
In 1906， Canadian physicist Reginald A. Fessenden became the first person to broadcast a music program over radio， from Brant Rock， Massachusetts.
In 1920， Enrico Caruso gave his last public performance， singing in Jacques Halevy's "La Juive" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
In 1943， President Roosevelt appointed General Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces as part of Operation "Overlord."
In 1968， the "Apollo Eight" astronauts， orbiting the moon， read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis during a Christmas Eve television broadcast.
In 1980， Americans remembered the US hostages in Iran by burning candles or shining lights for 417 seconds -- one second for each day of captivity.
Ten years ago: Ousted Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega， who had succeeded in eluding US forces， took refuge at the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Panama City.
Five years ago: Armed Islamic fundamentalists hijacked an Air France Airbus A-300 carrying 227 passengers at the Algiers airport； three passengers were killed during the siege before the hijackers were killed by French commandos in Marseille two days later. British playwright John Osborne ("Look Back in Anger") died at age 65.
One year ago: Ignoring NATO warnings， Serb tanks and troops struck an ethnic Albanian stronghold in Kosovo. Most of California's citrus crop was considered ruined after three straight nights of freezing cold.
"Christmas comes， but once a year is enough."
-- American proverb.