What Happened on December 4?

  • The United States Senate approved of US participation in the United Nations. (1945) The United Nations had officially come into being about two months earlier, when its charter was signed by the US, the UK, the USSR, China, and France, among other nations. One of the first major actions of the US in the UN was to urge the UN to send a peacekeeping force to Korea in 1950.

  • The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in the US. (1619) Although the modern holiday stems from the 1621 Thanksgiving celebration at Plymouth, Massachusetts, a group of settlers in Virginia had including Thanksgiving in their charter. They celebrated the legally mandated day for the first time on December 4. Unfortunately, the settlement lasted for less than three years, which is why the modern holiday is based on the date of Plymouth's first Thanksgiving.

  • The first stage of assembly of the International Space Station was completed. (1998) The American-built "Unity" node was connected to the Russian-built "Zarya", which was already in orbit. With these two pieces attached, other craft could dock at the space station, and the living units could be attached.

  • Woodrow Wilson set sail for the Paris Peace Conference. (1918) Wilson spent six months in Paris working with other leaders on the Treaty of Versailles, and simultaneously developing the League of Nations. Wilson was the first president to travel abroad while he was in office.

  • The first psychological report on shell shock was presented. (1917) Psychiatrist W.H. Rivers presented his paper "The Repression of War Experience" to the British Royal School of Medicine. The paper was revolutionary in detailing the symptoms of shell shock, as well as possible causes and treatments for it. It laid the groundwork for the development of treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

  • The first Sunday newspaper was published. (1791) The Observer, was published in Britain. It was originally a flop, and left the publisher, W.S. Bourne, heavily in debt. New ownership turned it around, and The Observer became a well-known newspaper with a high circulation. Two hundred years later, The Observer was also the first newspaper to offer its information via podcast.

  • British declare suttee illegal in India. (1829) Suttee, the practice of a widow burning herself on her husband's pyre, was abolished, and those who helped a woman commit suttee were eligible to be tried for murder.

  • American hostage Terry Anderson was released from Lebanon. (1991) Anderson, a journalist in Beirut, had been held captive by Hezbollah Shiite Muslims for almost seven years. Hezbollah militants captured Anderson along with a group of other Americans but he was held captive the longest.

  • The first Burger King opened in Miami, Florida.(1954) Three years later, the signature "Whopper" was added to the menu, and business took off. There are over 11 thousand Burger Kings in more than 60 countries.

  • The Mary Celeste was discovered. (1872) One of the most famous "ghost ships," the Mary Celeste was discovered floating empty at sea. The crew had vanished, though all the food supplies and personal belongings were untouched. The mystery remains an archetype for maritime disappearances.

Discussion Comments


While I can't say that I've heard of suttee before, I'm not surprised that it was made illegal in India. From what I'm reading, it seems like a very disturbing and unsettling concept.

In fact, is it just me, or do some people have some rather strange traditions, some which are even borderline masochistic?

Though in some ways, I do feel like being tried for murder is a little too extreme. On a final note, as disturbing as some of these traditions are, I guess it really goes to show just how different we are from each other.

After all, the traditions that may seem unusual to us, are perfectly normal to them, and what seems normal to us, might actually be quite strange to foreigners. It's important to take everything into perspective, no matter how unusual it may seem.


You know, speaking of American hostages, I've been noticing a very frequent and disturbing pattern over the years, one in which anyone who appears to be a suspect of any kind (especially from America) is captured by radical groups of extremists and held hostage for a set period of time, sometimes even for months.

In fact, has anyone else noticed this to be a recent trend? What I find to be disturbing about it, is the fact that it really shows how when you enter into a different country, the laws are quite different there, and you have to abide to their rules, under their authority.

Using an example, does anyone remember the story of Roxana Saberi? Apparently, she was an American journalist who was held captive by authorities for months, and even falsely accused of carrying alcohol.

If she had been in America, more than likely, they couldn't have done anything to her. However, considering how she was in the Middle East, she had to abide by their rules. As unsettling as it is, it's the truth.


Speaking of shell shock, in my opinion, when it comes to war, I feel like one thing that many people tend to forget about is the fact that war isn't just a terrible thing because of the fact that many people are being killed for no reason, but even more so, it's also because the soldiers can and will have post traumatic stress disorder. Either that, or they'll be exposed to a lot of things that most people wouldn't and shouldn't see.

For the most part, it seems like this is the case if someone was to watch one of their friends get blown up, or if they were to get severely injured in an accident. Despite the fact that they survived, that trauma is always with them, and it's something they'll never forget.

Based on what I've seen and heard about during the Iraq War, it seems like when many people came home after the war is over, everyone was happy that they were reunited with their family, almost oblivious to the true devastation that war can cause. Not just physically, but psychologically.

In fact, does anyone know what percentage of soldiers get PTSD during a war? Some answers would be greatly appreciated.

While I don't know the answer myself, I'm going to assume that it's quite a few people, especially in the sense that war contains tons of bloodshed, and whether you like it or not, someone is going to have to lay down their lives.

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