December 24 in history:
The Apollo 8 message from the moon reached the earth very quickly in 1968. When the U.S. and Great Britain signed a treaty in Europe to end the War of 1812, word of the treaty took about two months to reach America. The Treaty of Ghent was signed on Christmas Eve of 1814. The Battle of New Orleans was fought two weeks later.
The Library of Congress had been burned earlier in 1814, when British forces set fire to the U.S. Capitol. The second major fire at the Library happened on December 24th, 1851. Many of Thomas Jefferson’s personal books donated to the Library were destroyed in that blaze.
Contrary to popular belief, the Library of Congress does not keep a copy of every book published in the U.S., but it just might have some copies of the popular Twilight books about modern-day vampires. Twilight author Stephenie Meyer was born on December 24th, 1973.
August 24 in history:
The White House and the U.S. Capitol were among the government buildings destroyed or damaged by fire by the British during a raid on Washington, D.C., late in the War of 1812. The British forces attacked on August 24th, 1814.
Many historians believe August 24th of 79 A.D. was the day that the Italian city of Pompeii was destroyed by a fiery eruption of the volcano Mount Vesuvius. The ruins of Pompeii were buried under several feet of ash for centuries. In 1599, parts of the city were briefly unearthed by an architect named Domenico Fontana.
Actor Joe Regalbuto played reporter Frank Fontana on the sitcom ”Murphy Brown.” Regalbuto was born August 24th, 1949…the same day and year as actor Charles Rocket, who also played a fictional TV reporter as the “Weekend Update” anchor on “Saturday Night Live.”