This Day in History

Today is Monday, December 31st, the 365th day of the year.  It is the last day of the year.

On this day:

In 1879, Thomas Edison gave the first public demonstration of incandescent lighting at his Menlo Park, New Jersey, laboratory. 

In 1890, New York's Ellis Island opened as a US. immigration depot.

In 1935, Charles Darrow was issued a patent for the game of Monopoly.

In 1938, Dr. R.N. Harger introduced his "Drunkometer."  The device was the first breath test for drivers.

In 1946, President Harry Truman officially proclaimed the end of World War Two.

In 1955, General Motors became the first U.S. corporation to earn more than one-billion dollars in a single year. 

In 1972, Baseball Hall-of-Famer Roberto Clemente was killed in a plane crash near Puerto Rico.  He was 38-years-old. 

In 1972, "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve" aired for the first time on ABC. 

In 1981, CNN's "Headline News" made its debut.

In 1984, Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen was injured in a car accident.  The crash resulted in the amputation of his left arm.

In 1985, singer, actor Rick Nelson died at the age of 45.  Nelson and six others perished when fire broke out aboard a plane that was carrying the group to a New Year's Eve performance in Dallas, Texas.   

In 1991, Lee Iacocca stepped down as chairman of the Chrysler Corporation.

In 1997, Michael Kennedy, the son of late Senator Robert F. Kennedy was killed in a skiing accident in Colorado.  He was 39. 

In 2006, the ICasualties.org website reported that three-thousand members of the U.S. military had been killed since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. 

In 2012, more than 13 million viewers tuned in to watch ABC's "Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve" special.  Hosted by Ryan Seacrest in its 40th year, it was the first such special since Clark's passing earlier in the year at the age of 82.

In 2015, the New Year's Eve fireworks celebration in Rochester, New York was called off after an arrest in an ISIS-inspired terror plot.  Emanuel Lutchman was accused of planning to attack a restaurant or bar in the Rochester area in the name of ISIS.

In 2015, Singer Natalie Cole died at the age of 65.  The "Unforgettable" singer and daughter of Nat King Cole died from congestive heart failure at a Los Angeles hospital.

 In 2016, at least 35 people died after a gunman opened fire in a crowded Turkish nightclub.  Istanbul's governor told reporters that at least 40 more people were wounded in the Reina [[ ray-NUH ]] nightclub.

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