Today is Thursday, Dec. 28, the 362nd day of 2017. There are three days left in the year.

On Dec. 28, 1945, Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

In 1612, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei observed the planet Neptune, but mistook it for a star. (Neptune wasn't officially discovered until 1846 by Johann Gottfried Galle.)

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

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

In 1856, the 28th president of the United States, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, was born in Staunton, Virginia.

In 1937, composer Maurice Ravel died in Paris at age 62.

In 1973, the book "Gulag Archipelago," Alexander Solzhenitsyn's expose of the Soviet prison system, was first published in Paris.

In 1981, Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first American "test-tube" baby, was born in Norfolk, Virginia.

In 1987, the bodies of 14 relatives of Ronald Gene Simmons were found at his home near Dover, Arkansas, after Simmons shot and killed two other people in Russellville. (Simmons, who never explained his motives, was executed in 1990.)

Five years ago: Dockworkers along the East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico agreed to extend their contract for more than a month, averting a strike that could have crippled major ports from Boston to Houston and bottled up billions of dollars' worth of cargo. (A new contract was ratified in April 2013.) Russia's President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning Americans from adopting Russian children.

Birthdays: Comic book creator Stan Lee is 95. Actress Dame Maggie Smith is 83. Rock singer-musician Charles Neville is 79. Rock singer-musician Edgar Winter is 71. Actor Denzel Washington is 63. Country singer Joe Diffie is 59. Country musician Mike McGuire (Shenandoah) is 59. Talk show host Seth Meyers is 44. Actor Brendan Hines is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer John Legend is 39. Actress Sienna Miller is 36.

Thought for Today: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." -- Carl Sagan, American astronomer (1934-1996).