DEAR ABBY: Something very troubling is going on. Everywhere I turn, people are saying that the new millennium starts one second after midnight Dec. 31, 1999. That just isn't true. The correct date is Jan. 1, 2001 -- NOT 2000!
Allow me to explain: There are 100 years in a century. The first century encompassed the years 1 through 100. The second century ran from 101 through 200, the third century from 201 through 300, etc. Get it?
Abby, please urge the media to put this information before the public. Someone once said it takes one small spark to start a prairie fire. Perhaps this one "spark" of information will ignite the candle of wisdom -- and shine some light on an important fact your readers need to know. –-"FATHER TIME" IN THE U.S.A.
DEAR FATHER TIME: I'm embarrassed to confess that I'm one of the guilty parties who referred to 1999 as the "final year of the century," so thank you for providing me an opportunity to set my readers straight. You are one voice in a chorus of individuals who want the public to be made aware that the year 2000 is the final year of the century, and the new millennium begins on Jan. 1, 2001.
I hate to be the one to say this, but you're swimming against a tidal wave. Although you are technically correct, when people see the first digit in the year change from a "1" to a "2," they can't help but think a new century has arrived.