Today is Dec. 31, the 365th and final day of 2018.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 31, 1972, Major League baseball player Roberto Clemente, 38, was killed when a plane he chartered and was traveling on to bring relief supplies to earthquake-devastated Nicaragua crashed shortly after takeoff from Puerto Rico.
On this date:
In 1759, Arthur Guinness founded his famous brewery at St. James’s Gate in Dublin.
In 1775, during the Revolutionary War, the British repulsed an attack by Continental Army generals Richard Montgomery and Benedict Arnold at Quebec; Montgomery was killed.
In 1879, Thomas Edison first publicly demonstrated his electric incandescent light by illuminating some 40 bulbs at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey.
In 1904, New York’s Times Square saw its first New Year’s Eve celebration, with an estimated 200,000 people in attendance.
In 1946, President Harry S. Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.
In 1951, the Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $12 billion in foreign aid.
In 1985, singer Rick Nelson, 45, and six other people were killed when fire broke out aboard a DC-3 that was taking the group to a New Year’s Eve performance in Dallas.
In 1986, 97 people were killed when fire broke out in the Dupont Plaza Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Three hotel workers later pleaded guilty in connection with the blaze.)
In 1987, Robert Mugabe (moo-GAH’-bay) was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s first executive president.
In 1995, the syndicated comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes,” created by Bill Watterson, came to an end after a 10-year run.
In 1997, Michael Kennedy, the 39-year-old son of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, was killed in a skiing accident on Aspen Mountain in Colorado. Pianist Floyd Cramer died in Nashville at age 64.
In 2001, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani spent his final day in office praising police, firefighters, and other city employees in the wake of 9/11, and said he had no regrets about returning to private life.
In 2008: The U.N. Security Council held an emergency meeting on an Arab request for a binding and enforceable resolution condemning Israel and halting its military attacks on Gaza. A man left four gift-wrapped bombs in downtown Aspen, Colo. in a bank-robbery attempt, turning New Year’s Eve celebrations into a mass evacuation. (The man, identified as 72-year-old James Chester Blanning, shot and killed himself.)
In 2013: Only hours before the law was to take effect, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, acting on a request from an organization of Catholic nuns in Denver, blocked implementation of part of President Barack Obama’s health care law that would have forced some religion-affiliated organizations to provide health insurance for employees that included birth control. Character actor James Avery, who’d played the Honorable Philip Banks in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” died in Glendale, California, at age 68.
In 2017: New Yorkers endured the second-coldest New Year’s Eve celebration on record; the temperature in the city was 10 degrees Fahrenheit as a glittering crystal ball dropped with a burst of confetti and dazzling fireworks in Times Square. Bitterly cold temperatures spread across the Deep South; the dangerous temperatures would grip wide areas of the U.S. from Texas to New England for days. The Cleveland Browns joined the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams in NFL history to go 0-and-16, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-24. On the last day of the year, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” surpassed “Beauty and the Beast” as the top-grossing film in North America in 2017.
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