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This day in history

December 28, 2009

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► Today is Monday, Dec. 28, the 362d day of 2009. There are three days left in the year.

► Today’s birthdays: Comic book creator Stan Lee is 87. Former United Auto Workers union president Owen Bieber is 80. Actor Martin Milner is 78. Actress Nichelle Nichols is 77. Actress Dame Maggie Smith is 75. Rock singer Charles Neville is 71. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) is 65. Senator Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) is 63. Rock singer-musician Edgar Winter is 63. Rock singer-musician Alex Chilton (The Box Tops) is 59. Actor Denzel Washington is 55. Country singer Joe Diffie is 51. Country musician Mike McGuire (Shenandoah) is 51. Actor Chad McQueen is 49. Country singer Marty Roe (Diamond Rio) is 49. Actor Malcolm Gets is 45. Actor Mauricio Mendoza is 40. Comedian Seth Meyers is 36. Actor Brendan Hines is 33. R&B singer John Legend is 31. Actress Sienna Miller is 28. Actor Thomas Dekker is 22. Actress Mackenzie Rosman is 20. Pop singer David Archuleta is 19.

► In 1694, Queen Mary II of England died after more than five years of joint rule with her husband, King William III.

►In 1832, John C. Calhoun became the first US vice president to resign, stepping down because of differences with President Jackson.

► In 1846, Iowa became the 29th state to be admitted to the Union.

► In 1856, the 28th president, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, was born in Staunton, Va.

► In 1897, the play “Cyrano de Bergerac,’’ by Edmond Rostand, premiered in Paris.

► In 1908, a major earthquake followed by a tsunami devastated the Italian city of Messina, killing at least 70,000 people.

► In 1944, “On the Town,’’ with music by Leonard Bernstein and book and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, opened on Broadway.

► In 1945, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

► In 1973, Alexander Solzhenitsyn published “The Gulag Archipelago,’’ an expose of the Soviet prison system.

► In 2004, the US Agency for International Development said it was adding $20 million to an initial $15 million contribution for Asian tsunami relief as Secretary of State Colin Powell bristled at a UN official’s suggestion the United States was being “stingy.’’ Activist and author Susan Sontag died in New York at 71. Actor Jerry Orbach died in New York at age 69.