Today is Thursday, Dec. 31, the 366th and final day of 2020.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Dec. 31, 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.
On this date:
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 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 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 1951, the Marshall Plan expired after distributing more than $12 billion in foreign aid.
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.
Today’s Birthdays: TV producer George Schlatter is 91. Actor Sir Anthony Hopkins is 83. Actor Tim Considine (TV: “My Three Sons”) is 80. Actor Sarah Miles is 79. Actor Barbara Carrera is 79. Rock musician Andy Summers is 78. Actor Sir Ben Kingsley is 77. Actor Tim Matheson is 73. Pop singer Burton Cummings is 73. Rock musician Tom Hamilton (Aerosmith) is 69. Actor James Remar is 67. Actor Bebe Neuwirth is 62. Actor Val Kilmer is 61. Donald Trump Jr. is 43. Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas is 25.