Today in history (Dec. 31)

Today In History
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Today is Friday, Dec. 31, the 365th and final day of 2021. This is today in history.

Today in history

  • 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 Times Square saw its first New Year’s Eve celebration, with an estimated 200,000 people in attendance.
  • In 2019, the health commission in the central Chinese city of Wuhan announced that experts were investigating an outbreak of respiratory illness and that most of the victims had visited a seafood market in the city; the statement said 27 people had become ill with a strain of viral pneumonia and that seven were in serious condition.


  • In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed an enabling act paving the way for Virginia’s western counties to become the state of West Virginia, which took place in June 1863.
  • In 1946, President Harry S. Truman officially proclaimed the end of hostilities in World War II.
  • In 2011, President Barack Obama signed a wide-ranging defense bill into law despite having “serious reservations” about provisions that regulated the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists.


  • In 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.
  • In 2016, Mariah Carey ushered in 2017 with a botched performance on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest” on ABC; Carey blamed the show’s producers for technical difficulties, while Dick Clark Productions called Carey’s claims “absurd.”

Local News

  • In 2010, Tornadoes fueled by unusually warm air pummeled the South and Midwest, killing a total of eight people in Arkansas and Missouri.
  • In 2015, Water was restored to folks in Reding’s Mill after flooding overwhelmed the city’s pumps and wells along with homes.
  • In 2018, The Lords Diner served hot meals to those in need in Pittsburg, Kansas.


TV producer George Schlatter is 92. Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins is 84. Actor Tim Considine (TV: “My Three Sons”) is 81. Actor Sarah Miles is 80. Actor Barbara Carrera is 80. Rock musician Andy Summers is 79. Actor Sir Ben Kingsley is 78. Producer-director Taylor Hackford is 77. Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg is 75. Actor Tim Matheson is 74. Pop singer Burton Cummings is 74. Actor Joe Dallesandro is 73. Rock musician Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith) is 70. Actor James Remar is 68. Actor Bebe Neuwirth is 63. Actor Val Kilmer is 62. Singer Paul Westerberg is 62. Actor Don Diamont is 59. Rock musician Ric Ivanisevich (Oleander) is 59. Rock musician Scott Ian (Anthrax) is 58. Actor Gong Li is 56. Author Nicholas Sparks is 56. Actor Lance Reddick is 52. Pop singer Joe McIntyre is 49. Rock musician Mikko Siren (Apocalyptica) is 46. Donald Trump Jr. is 44. Rapper PSY (Park Jae-sang) is 44. Rock musician Bob Bryar is 42. Rock musician Jason Sechrist (Portugal. The Man) is 42. Actor Ricky Whittle is 42. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is 42. Actor/singer Erich Bergen is 36. DJ/vocalist Drew Taggart (The Chainsmokers) is 32. U.S. Olympic beach volleyball gold medalist Alix Klineman is 32. U.S. Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas is 26.

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