It's the big 3-9 for me today. I've decided this is where I'll stop counting birthdays. Some other notable things that happened on this date:
On Dec. 4, 1783, Gen. George Washington bade farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York.
In 1816, James Monroe of Virginia was elected the fifth president of the United States.
In 1875, William Marcy Tweed, the "Boss" of New York City's Tammany Hall political organization, escaped from jail and fled the country.
In 1918, President Wilson set sail for France to attend the Versailles Peace Conference.
In 1942, U.S. bombers struck the Italian mainland for the first time in World War II.
In 1942, President Roosevelt ordered the dismantling of the Works Progress Administration, which had been created to provide jobs during the Depression.
In 1965, the United States launched Gemini 7 with Air Force Lt. Col. Frank Borman and Navy Commander James A. Lovell aboard.
In 1977, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, ruler of the Central African Empire, crowned himself emperor in a lavish ceremony. (Bokassa was deposed in 1979; he died in 1996 at age 75.)
In 1978, San Francisco got its first female mayor as City Supervisor Dianne Feinstein was named to replace the assassinated George Moscone.
In 1991, the original Pan American World Airways ceased operations.
In 1996, the Mars Pathfinder lifted off from Cape Canaveral and began speeding toward Mars on an odyssey of 310 million miles. (It arrived on Mars in July 1997.)
Ten years ago: The NBA suspended All-Star Latrell Spreewell of the Golden State Warriors for one year for choking and threatening to kill his coach, P.J. Carlesimo, three days earlier. (An arbitrator later reduced the suspension and reinstated Sprewell to the Warriors, which had terminated his contract.)
Five years ago: United Airlines lost its bid for $1.8 billion in federal loan guarantees, a major setback to the nation's second-largest air carrier in its efforts to avoid bankruptcy. Supreme Court justices heard arguments on whether federal laws intended to combat organized crime and corruption could be used against anti-abortion demonstrators. (The court later ruled that such laws were improperly used to punish abortion opponents.)
One year ago: Lacking the Senate votes to keep his job, embattled U.N. Ambassador John Bolton offered his resignation to President Bush, who accepted it. Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith was convicted in the Philippines of raping a Filipino woman and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Truck driver Tyrone Williams was convicted in Houston of the deaths of 19 illegal immigrants crammed into a sweltering tractor-trailer. NASA announced plans to build an international base camp on the moon.