• On Dec. 28, 1869, the Knights of Labor, a labor union of tailors in Philadelphia, holds the first Labor Day ceremonies in American history. In 1894, Congress designated the first Monday in September a legal holiday for all federal employees and the residents of the District of Columbia.
• On Dec. 25, 1880, Layne Hall is born in Mississippi. When he died in 1990, Hall was the oldest licensed driver in the United States. In his nearly 75 years on the road, Hall never got a speeding ticket or citation of any kind.
• On Dec. 26, 1917, during World War I, President Woodrow Wilson announces the nationalization of many of the country’s railroads. The Railroad Control Act stated that within 21 months of a peace treaty, the railroads would be returned to their owners. In March 1920, the railroads became private property once again.
• On Dec. 27, 1932, at the height of the Great Depression, thousands of people turn out for the opening of Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Radio City Music Hall was designed as a palace for the people — a place of beauty where ordinary folks could see high-quality entertainment. It remains the largest indoor theater in the world.
• On Dec. 24, 1979, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan under the pretext of upholding the Soviet- Afghan Friendship Treaty of 1978. Within days, the Soviets had secured the capital of Kabul after overcoming fierce but brief resistance from the Afghan army.
(c) 2012 King Features Synd.