Today is Sunday, Dec. 24, the 358th day of 2017. There are seven days left in the year. This is Christmas Eve.
On Dec. 24, 1914, during World War I, impromptu Christmas truces began to take hold along parts of the Western Front between British and German soldiers.
In 1814, the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812 following ratification by both the British Parliament and the U.S. Senate.
In 1851, fire devastated the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., destroying about 35,000 volumes.
In 1865, several veterans of the Confederate Army formed a private social club in Pulaski, Tennessee, that was the original version of the Ku Klux Klan.
In 1871, Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Aida" had its world premiere in Cairo, Egypt.
In 1906, Canadian physicist Reginald A. Fessenden became the first person to transmit the human voice (his own) as well as music over radio, from Brant Rock, Massachusetts.
In 1939, Pope Pius XII delivered a Christmas Eve address in which he offered a five-point program for peace and denounced "premeditated aggressions."
In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe as part of Operation Overlord.
In 1951, Gian Carlo Menotti's "Amahl and the Night Visitors," the first opera written specifically for television, was broadcast by NBC-TV.
In 1968, the Apollo 8 astronauts, orbiting the moon, read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis during a Christmas Eve telecast.
In 1980, Americans remembered the U.S. hostages in Iran by burning candles or shining lights for 417 seconds -- one second for each day of captivity.
In 1995, fire broke out at the Philadelphia Zoo, killing 23 rare gorillas, orangutans, gibbons and lemurs.
Birthdays: Author Mary Higgins Clark is 90. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is 71. Former president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is 60. Rock musician Ian Burden (The Human League) is 60. Designer Kate Spade is 55. Rock singer Mary Ramsey (10,000 Maniacs) is 54. Singer Ricky Martin is 46. TV personality Ryan Seacrest is 43. Actor Michael Raymond-James is 40. Rock singer Louis Tomlinson (One Direction) is 26.
Thought for Today: "Christmas is the day that holds all time together." — Alexander Smith, Scottish poet and essayist (1830-1867).