THIS DATE IN HISTORY:DEC. 17
In 1777, France recognized American independence.
In 1892 -- the dress rehearsal for "The Nutcracker Suite" by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky was staged in St. Petersburg, Russia, in the presence of Czar Alexander III, who, the composer later recalled, was "full of compliments." (However, the ballet was poorly received by the press and public when it premiered the following night.)
In 1903, the Wright Brothers -- Orville and Wilbur -- staged the first successful powered-airplane flights near Kitty Hawk, N.C.
In 1925, Col. William "Billy" Mitchell was convicted at his court-martial of insubordination.
In 1944, the U.S. Army announced it would end its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West Coast.