President Truman, left, shakes hands with New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey, right, at the dedication of the Idlewild Airport in Queens in 1948. On Dec. 24, 1963, the airport was renamed the JFK Airport in honor of the murdered President Kennedy. Harry S Truman Presidential Library and Museum

Looking backward

The north

10 years ago

Dec. 24, 2011: A Mohawk woman who lived in the 17th century has been selected for sainthood and is expected to receive the title sometime next year. Kateri was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980. This means that she was given the title “blessed.” Pope Benedict XVI is expected to announce the date of canonization for Kateri sometime in the middle of January.

25 years ago

Dec. 24, 1996: Advertisements were placed in the Watertown Daily Times this past week to sell Tickle Me Elmo dolls for as much as $300. But it was a nonprofit organization that made out the best in the Tickle Me Elmo saga. The American Cancer Society Jefferson-Lewis Chapter received a donated Tickle Me Elmo doll last week from the Salmon Run Mall. It sold raffle tickets for $1 each for a chance to win the most popular toy item this Christmas. By Monday evening, more than 1,800 raffle tickets had been sold.

50 years ago

Dec. 24, 1971: Everyone seems to be putting up a Christmas tree this Holiday season, and construction crews at three of the city’s largest projects are no exception. Workmen erected a tree atop the new Henry Keep Nursing Home at the corner of Pratt and Washington Sts. Two more of the city’s “top trees” adorn the State Office Building on Washington Street and the addition to the downtown office of the Marine Midland Bank.

75 years ago

Dec. 24, 1946: Christmas Eve brings Watertown residents a holiday with all the peace-time traditional activities for the first time since 1940. Home from the wars are men and women from the far quarters of the globe once again to share in the family dinner, the opening of gifts and the attendance of religious services. The desired “White Christmas” is expected here this year, following weeks of mild weather.

100 years ago

Dec. 24, 1921: Christmas, 1921, in Watertown promises to be one of the happiest celebrations ever held here. If it is more blessed to give than to receive, the generous people of this community will be awarded greater blessings than on any previous Christmas, for expressions of generosity this year exceed all previous records.

125 years ago

Dec. 24, 1896: An enormous turkey weighing 25 3/4 pounds was purchased for the Hotel Hardiman from Woolworth & Edmonds today, for the Christmas dinner.

150 years ago

Dec. 24, 1871: To the children, a happier week never comes than that which just fits in so nicely between Christmas and New Years, the two great holidays of the civilized world. Six months are spent by them in looking forward to these joyful scenes, and six months more fly past before they are forgotten. And older persons than children, too, are known to rejoice and be happy. In truth, it is every one’s especial right to be “merry.”

The world

1914: Over 577,000 Allied soldiers are to spend Christmas as prisoners in Germany.

1956: African Americans defy a city law in Tallahassee, Fla., and occupy front bus seats.

1963: New York’s Idlewild Airport is renamed JFK Airport in honor of the murdered President Kennedy.

1966: A Soviet research vehicle soft-lands on the moon.

1968: The first pictures of an Earth-rise over the moon are seen as the crew of Apollo 8 orbits the moon.

1970: Nine GIs are killed and nine are wounded by friendly fire in Vietnam.

1972: Hanoi bars all peace talks with the United States until U.S. air raids over North Vietnam stop.

1974: Cyclone Tracy devastates Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, destroying more than 70 percent of the city’s buildings, including 80 percent of its houses.

1974: An oil tanker’s spill pollutes 1,600 square miles of Japan’s Inland Sea.

2005: Chad declares a state of war against Sudan in the wake of the Dec. 18 attack on the town of Adre, in which approximately 100 people were killed.

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