TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1941, the United States declared war on Japan and officially entered World War II.
In 1980, John Lennon was shot to death outside his Manhattan apartment building.
In 1991, the leaders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine signed an agreement dissolving the Soviet Union and establishing the Commonwealth of Independent States.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed into law the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Eli Whitney (1765-1825), inventor; James Thurber (1894-1961), humorist; Sammy Davis Jr. (1925-1990), entertainer; David Carradine (1936-2009), actor; Jim Morrison (1943-1971), singer-songwriter; Kim Basinger (1953- ), actress; Ann Coulter (1961- ), political commentator; Teri Hatcher (1964- ), actress; Kevin Harvick (1975- ), race car driver; Ryan Newman (1977- ), race car driver; Ian Somerhalder (1978- ), actor; Nicki Minaj (1982- ), rapper; Sam Hunt (1984- ), singer-songwriter; Dwight Howard (1985- ), basketball player.
TODAY'S FACT: SpaceX became the first private company in the world to successfully launch, place in orbit and recover a spacecraft on this day in 2010.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1940, the Chicago Bears routed the Washington Redskins in the NFL championship game, 73-0. It remains the largest margin of victory in NFL history.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "I have to be a star like another man has to breathe." -- Sammy Davis Jr.
TODAY'S NUMBER: 500,000 -- pounds of cotton exported by the United States in 1793, before Eli Whitney's invention of the cotton gin. By 1810, the U.S. was exporting 93 million pounds of cotton annually.
TODAY'S MOON: Between last quarter moon (Dec. 7) and new moon (Dec. 14).