The Thing About Today – June 6

June 6, 2020
Day 158 of 366

 

June 6th is the 158th day of the year. It is National Huntington’s Disease Awareness Day in the United States, designed to bring awareness to the inherited disorder that results in the death of brain cells and the quest for a cure.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Eyewear Day, National Higher Education Day, National Gardening Exercise Day, National Yo-Yo Day, National Drive In Movie Day, and National Applesauce Cake Day. It’s also the first Saturday in June, which means that it’s National Black Bear Day, National Bubbly Day, National Prairie Day, and National Trails Day.

 

Historical items of note:

  • In 1844, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded in London. The Village People  would tell us all about it 134 years later.
  • Also in 1844, the Glaciarium opened in London. It was the world’s first mechanically frozen ice rink.
  • In 1859, Queensland was established as a separate Australian colony from New South Wales. The date is commemorated as Queensland Day.
  • In 1892, the Chicago “L” elevated rail system began operation.
  • In 1912, the eruption of Novarupta in Alaska began. It was the largest volcanic eruption of the 20th century.
  • In 1918, biochemist, academic, and Nobel Prize laureate Edwin G. Krebs was born.
  • In 1923, author, illustrator, and painter V.C. Andrews was born.
  • In 1932, the Revenue Act of 1932 was enacted. It created the first gas tax in the United States, at a rate of 1 cent per US gallon.
  • In 1933, the first drive-in theater opened in Camden, New Jersey.
  • In 1934, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 into law, establishing the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • In 1947, actor Robert Englund was born.
  • In 1963, actor Jason Isaacs was born.
  • In 1971, Soyuz 11 was launched.
  • In 1987, actor Daniel Logan was born.
  • In 2002, a near-Earth asteroid estimated at ten meters in diameter exploded over the Mediterranean Sea between Greece and Libya. The explosion was estimated to have a force of 26 kilotons, slightly more powerful than the Nagasaki atomic bomb.

 

In 1944, the Allied invasion of Normandy during World War II – codenamed Operation Overlord – began with Operation Neptune, commonly referred to as D-Day.

The largest seaborne invasion in history, the operation began the liberation of German-occupied France (and later western Europe) and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front. 155,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy in France. The Allied soldiers quickly broke through the Atlantic Wall and pushed inland.

Planning began in 1943. In the months leading up to the invasion, the Allies conducted Operation Bodyguard to mislead the Germans regarding the date and location of the main Allied landings. The landings were conducted in poor weather and were actually postponed one day from their intended assault. If the weather was any worse for June 6th, a further postponement would have meant a delay of at least two weeks due to the phase of the moon, the tides, and the time of day.

The amphibious landings were preceded by extensive aerial and naval bombardment and an airborne assault consisting of 24,000 American, British, and Canadian airborne troops shortly after midnight. Allied infantry and armored divisions began landing on the coast of France at 6:30am.

The target 50-mile stretch of the Normandy coast was divided into five sectors: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. The landing was treacherous: The beaches were under heavy fire from gun emplacements, and the shore was mined and covered with obstacles such as wooden stakes, metal tripods, and barbed wire. Due to the high cliffs at Omaha, the casualties were heaviest there. At Gold, Juno, and Sword, several fortified towns were cleared in house-to-house fighting, and two major gun emplacements at Gold were disabled using specialized tanks.

Despite all of this, the Allies failed to achieve any of their goals on the first day. The five beachheads were not connected until June 12th, but the operation gained a foothold that the Allies gradually expanded over the coming months. Allied casualties were documented for at least 10,000. Between 4,000 to 9,000 German soldiers died during the assault.

 

The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

 

 

Culture on My Mind – The Floor is Lava?

Culture on My Mind
June 5, 2020

 

This week’s “can’t let it go” is a childhood game.

Last month, game designed, curator, and writer Holly Gramazio published an essay on her blog about the game The Floor is Lava. It’s really a fascinating read.

The game is pretty simple: Players chase each other around while never touching the floor or the ground. It’s usually played indoors, much to the chagrin of parents as kids are trouncing all over the furniture.

When Holly Gramazio was growing up, though, the floor was never lava. Quicksand, maybe, but never lava. So when she heard the general version of the game was about molten earth, she ran a social media poll of 3500 people and got some interesting results.

Especially regarding what the game is called and how it works in other countries.

Seriously, check it out: “The Floor” by Holly Gramazio

 

Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

The Thing About Today – June 5

June 5, 2020
Day 157 of 366

 

June 5th is the 157th day of the year. It is Arbor Day in New Zealand.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Gingerbread Day, National Moonshine Day, National Veggie Burger Day, and National Doughnut Day (which is typically observed on the first Friday in June).

 

Historical items of note:

  • In 1832, the June Rebellion broke out in Paris in an attempt to overthrow the monarchy of Louis Philippe. It was memorialized by Victor Hugo in his novel Les Misérables and figures largely in the stage musical and films that are based on the book.
  • In 1849, Denmark became a constitutional monarchy by the signing of a new constitution.
  • In 1916, Louis Brandeis was sworn in as a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. That made him the first American Jew to hold such a position.
  • In 1919, author and illustrator Richard Scarry was born.
  • In 1934, American journalist and 13th White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers was born.
  • In 1953, film producer, co-founder of Amblin Entertainment, and president of Lucasfilm Kathleen Kennedy was born.
  • In 1956, Elvis Presley introduced his new single, “Hound Dog”, on The Milton Berle Show. The audience was scandalized with his suggestive hip movements.
  • Also in 1956, saxophonist, songwriter, and producer Kenny G was born.
  • In 1964, the deep-sea research vehicle DSV Alvin is commissioned.
  • In 1971, model, actor, producer, and rapper Mark Wahlberg was born.
  • In 1977, actress Liza Weil was born.
  • In 1989, the Tank Man halted the progress of a column of advancing tanks for over half an hour after the Tiananmen Square protests.
  • In 1995, the Bose–Einstein condensate was first created. It is a state of matter, sometimes known as the fifth state of matter, which is formed when a gas of bosons at low densities is cooled to temperatures very close to absolute zero (-273.15 °C).

 

June 5th is World Environment Day.

The day is the United Nations’ principal event for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. First held in 1974, it has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness about environmental issues such as marine pollution, human overpopulation, global warming/climate change, sustainable consumption, and wildlife crime.

World Environment Day is a global event with participation from over 143 countries annually.

 

The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

 

 

The Thing About Today – June 4

June 4, 2020
Day 156 of 366

 

June 4th is the 156th day of the year. It is the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression, a United Nations observance that was established on August 19, 1982. Originally focused on victims of the 1982 Lebanon War, its purpose expanded to “acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental, and emotional abuse.” The day affirms the UN’s commitment to protect the rights of children.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Clean Beauty Day, National Old Maids Day, National Cheese Day, and National Cognac Day. IT is also recognized as National SAFE Day, which is an event that brings awareness to gun safety and responsible storage of firearms.

 

Historical items of note:

  • In 1783, the Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrated their montgolfière. It is better known as the hot air balloon.
  • In 1784, Élisabeth Thible became the first woman to fly in an untethered hot air balloon. Her flight covered four kilometers in 45 minutes, reaching 1,500 meters altitude.
  • In 1855, Major Henry C. Wayne departed New York aboard the USS Supply to procure camels to establish the U.S. Camel Corps.
  • In 1876, the Transcontinental Express arrived in San Francisco after traveling 83 hours and 39 minutes from New York City via the First Transcontinental Railroad.
  • In 1907, actress Rosalind Russell was born.
  • In 1912, Massachusetts became the first state of the United States to set a minimum wage.
  • In 1917, the first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded. Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall received the first Pulitzer for biography (for Julia Ward Howe), Jean Jules Jusserand received the first Pulitzer for history for his work With Americans of Past and Present Days, and Herbert B. Swope received the first Pulitzer for journalism for his work for the New York World.
  • In 1919, the United States Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees suffrage to women, and sent it to the states for ratification.
  • In 1928, German-American therapist and author Ruth Westheimer was born.
  • In 1939, the Motorschiff St. Louis was denied permission to land in Florida. Carrying 963 Jewish refugees, the ship had previously been turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, more than 200 of its passengers later died in Nazi concentration camps.
  • In 1940, British forces completed the evacuation of 338,000 troops from Dunkirk in France. To rally the morale of the country, Winston Churchill delivered his famous “We shall fight on the beaches” speech to the House of Commons.
  • In 1944, Rome became the first Axis capital to fall to Allied forces in World War II.
  • In 1960, author Kristine Kathryn Rusch was born.
  • Also in 1960, English television presenter, comedian, singer, former footballer, and Doctor Who companion Bradley Walsh was born.
  • In 1961, singer-songwriter and producer El DeBarge was born.
  • In 1964, actor Sean Pertwee was born.
  • In 1970, Polish-Swedish actress, model, and Bond Girl Izabella Scorupco was born.
  • In 1971, actor and producer Noah Wyle was born.
  • Also in 1971, actor James Callis was born.
  • In 1975, actress, filmmaker, humanitarian, and activist Angelina Jolie was born.
  • In 1982, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was released.
  • In 1986, Jonathan Pollard pled guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel.
  • In 2010, the maiden flight of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, named Falcon 9 Flight 1, launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40.

 

In 1989, the Tiananmen Square protests were suppressed in Beijing by the People’s Liberation Army.

The Tiananmen Square protests, also known as the Tiananmen Square Incident and the June Fourth Incident – 六四事件, literally the six-four incident – were student-led demonstrations that started on April 15th and were forcibly suppressed almost two months later when the government declared martial law.

This led to the Tiananmen Square Massacre, in which troops with assault rifles and tanks fired at the demonstrators and those trying to block the military’s advance into the square. Estimates of the death toll vary from several hundred to several thousand, with thousands more wounded.

The protests were sparked by the death of pro-reform Communist general secretary Hu Yaobang. Amid the backdrop of rapid economic development and social changes in post-Mao China, these protests reflected social anxieties about the country’s future, both among the populace and the political elite. The economic reforms of the 1980s developed a nascent market economy that helped some but not all, and the legitimacy of the single-party political system was challenged.

The country faced inflation, corruption, limited preparedness of graduates for the new economy, and restrictions on political participation. Students raised their voices, calling for greater accountability and due process. They wanted democracy, freedom of the press, and freedom of speech.

At the height of the protests, nearly 1 million people assembled in the Square.

Authorities responded with both conciliatory and hardline approaches, revealing deep divisions in the party. A student-led hunger strike galvanized support for the demonstrators around the country, spreading the protests to 400 cities, and forcing party leadership to use stronger measures. The State Council declared martial law on May 20th and mobilized approximately 300,000 troops to Beijing. In the early morning hours of June 4th, they advanced into the city and began killing both demonstrators and bystanders.

The international community, human rights organizations, and political analysts condemned the action and the government. The Chinese government responded with widespread arrests of protesters and their supporters, suppression of other protests around China, expulsion of foreign journalists, and strict control of information by stifling the media, demoting and purging officials, and authoritarian strengthening of security forces.

It is considered a watershed event in world history, but the limits established on the Chinese people have kept the Tiananmen Square event one of the most sensitive and most widely censored topics in China.

 

The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

 

 

Timestamp #SJA7: The Last Sontaran

Sarah Jane Adventures: The Last Sontaran
(2 episodes, s02e01, 2008)

 

Earth’s mightiest potato meets Bannerman Road’s exemplary half-forms.

Sarah and Maria gaze at the night sky, talking about their adventures together and everything that lies on the path before them. That next adventure materializes at the Tycho Project’s radio telescope in Goblin’s Copse as Professor Nicholas Skinner and his daughter Lucy search for alien life. Strange lights buzz about in the night sky, but upon investigation, the Skinners disappear.

The night lights intrigue Sarah Jane, who asks Mr. Smith about them in the morning. This interrupts Luke and Clyde, who have been learning about battle strategies using a computer game. Mr. Smith believes that the lights are meaningless.

Meanwhile, Alan has received a job offer. He and Maria have a lot of thinking to do.

The Bannerman Road Gang heads to Goblin’s Copse to investigate the lights. The space is large and they feel like they’re being watched. The facility is abandoned, which piques Sarah Jane’s interest. Lucy bursts in and tells them that something is in the woods before collapsing. When she comes to, she tells Sarah Jane her story. She believes that the mysterious being has her father, and both Clyde and Luke go to investigate. They are pursued by a familiar (but cloaked) figure and eventually find his spacecraft.

Lucy falls asleep, so Sarah Jane talks to Maria about the news that is bothering her. Alan’s job offer will take them to the United States, and while Sarah Jane readily accepts the news, Maria doesn’t want to leave.

Chrissy visits Alan and receives the news. Alan is apprehensive, but Chrissy says that he must take the job.

When Lucy awakens, she tells Sarah Jane and Maria about the lights. Sarah Jane believes that they are drones. Professor Skinner returns, though he’s not quite himself, and says that the lights were merely ball lightning. He kicks Sarah Jane and Maria out, but Sarah Jane knows that something is wrong.

Luke and Clyde call Sarah Jane and show her the spacecraft. She disables the cloak with her sonic lipstick, revealing a shape that she knows from her encounter with Linx and Styre. Before she can contact UNIT, the Sontaran returns and captures them. He is Commander Kaagh, but his superior warrior prowess doesn’t stop Maria from distracting him so they can all escape.

Sarah Jane tells Clyde that they need to return to the telescope. They attempt to reason with Skinner, but find him under the control of the Sontaran and meddling with satellites. Before Sarah Jane can disable the mind control device, Kaagh captures them. Meanwhile, Luke and Maria sneak in via the ventilation system.

Kaagh is intrigued as to how Sarah Jane knows his people. He is the sole survivor of the fleet that the Tenth Doctor defeated. He has vowed vengeance on Earth for the humiliation of their defeat. His plan is to use the Tycho radio telescope to steer Earth’s satellites into nuclear reactors, therefore triggering nuclear annihilation.

Clyde protests and Kaagh says that he will make a good experimental subject. When Sarah Jane steps in front of Clyde, Kaagh shoots her. Luckily, she’s only stunned because she is to be taken back to the Sontaran homeworld to stand trial for the Doctor’s crimes.

Luke and Maria rescue Clyde, prompting Kaagh to give chase through the complex. They narrowly escape through a hatch to the woods beyond. Sarah Jane awakens, locked in a room with Lucy without her tools. Sarah Jane convinces Lucy to help her rig up a tool to escape.

While Alan and Chrissy talk over the job offer, Maria calls her father and asks him to visit Mr. Smith. Of course, Chrissy crashes the party as the gang learns about probic vents, and Alan covers by saying that it’s a live-action roleplaying game. Chrissy sees through the lie and learns that the Bannerman Road Gang fights aliens. She’s eager to help save Maria.

The kids break into the Sontaran ship and scavenge for anything they can use to defeat Kaagh. Clyde runs interference as Luke mixes chemicals. Maria reveals her news to Luke, leaving Luke distraught over losing his friend. She focuses him back on task as Clyde leads Kaagh back to the telescope.

At the telescope, Sarah Jane and Lucy jam the dish’s transmissions as the program nears completion. Professor Skinner investigates and is trapped in the room as the ladies escape. They reunite with Clyde and Lucy tries to disable the program.

Chrissy and Alan arrive as Kaagh frees Professor Skinner. Elsewhere, Clyde and Sarah Jane find Luke and Maria on the run from the Sontaran drones. Sarah Jane disables the drones with her newly-recovered sonic lipstick, then dispatches Clyde and Maria to disable the telescope dish while Luke helps Lucy. Luke stops the countdown at 3:33 after figuring out that the program was constructed in base 6 notation. Because, you know, six fingers.

It’s a good thing that Kaagh doesn’t count using his toes.

Clyde and Maria are trapped by Kaagh and Skinner. They are returned to the control room where Kaagh activates Lucy as a sleeper agent. Lucy restarts the program as Kaagh holds them all at gunpoint. Kaagh is only stopped by Chrissy as she jams her designer shoe in his probic vent. Sarah Jane disables the Sontaran devices in the Skinners while Maria drugs Chrissy so she won’t remember the event.

The Bannerman Road Gang forces Kaagh back into his ship, which no longer has weapons, where he returns home to Sontar. When Maria asks if that’s last they’ve seen, Sarah Jane tells her that she hopes so. However, no matter how far someone goes away, she never considers them gone.

Chrissy wakes up in the Jackson house. Maria tells them that she’s decided they should follow the job offer. Six weeks later, Maria stops by to take one last look at the attic and to say farewell. Sarah Jane says that it’s like she’s saying goodbye to her daughter, but she’s happy for the Jacksons.

The Bannerman Road Gang says goodbye to one of their own. Chrissy tells Sarah Jane that she remembers everything, but promises not to say anything. Later that night, Clyde, Luke, and Sarah Jane gaze upward at the night sky, hoping for the best for their friend.

Sarah Jane consoles them with a few words of advice: “I learned a long time ago that if you’re missing somebody, just… look up at the night sky. Whoever it is, wherever they are, chances are they’re looking at the stars just like you. Sometimes, for all its size, the universe isn’t such a big place after all.”

 

One of the things I admire about Sarah Jane Smith is that she recognizes her limitations. As soon as she understood that the threat was a single Sontaran, she was ready to call in the cavalry. Luckily for us, she didn’t get the chance because this story provided a wonderful chance for the team to work together. Especially the kids, who really carried the bulk of the plot.

Sarah Jane seems lighter of heart this time around, and Mr. Smith has developed a personality and a sense of humor. That was helpful because it lightened the tone of the show while still bringing a meaningful story to bear. It bridged the gap between Doctor Who and Sarah Jane by bringing a mutual monster to the table, but it didn’t forget to explore the characters and their relationships.

The farewell to Maria was touching, and the impact on our team is noticeable. I felt for each of them as they lost part of their tight-knit family.

Internal references to the last season of Sarah Jane aside, this episode also made use of franchise callbacks such as the green Sontaran blood and the Marie Celeste.

I also admired how this Sontaran was less comical and more menacing. He’s also been hiding in Goblin’s Copse for a while fixing that ship because it’s been a while since they tried to poison the Earth. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the plot device of trying to destroy the planet by smashing satellites into nuclear power facilities. The kinetic energy alone from all of Earth’s satellites impacting the planet would be devastating, but trying to use inherently stable nuclear power plants as fuel for the fire doesn’t cause a bigger boom. Just a messier one.

 

Rating: 4/5 – “Would you care for a jelly baby?”

 

 

UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: The Day of the Clown

 

The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

 

 

The Thing About Today – June 3

June 3, 2020
Day 155 of 366

 

June 3rd is the 155th day of the year. It is Mabo Day in Australia, a celebration of Eddie Koiki Mabo. An indigenous Torres Strait Islander, his campaign for Indigenous land rights led to a landmark decision of the High Court of Australia that overturned the legal fiction of terra nullius on 3 June 3, 1992. The previous legal standing had directed the course of Australian law with regards to land and title since the voyage of James Cook in 1770.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Egg Day, National Repeat Day, National Chocolate Macaroons Day, and National Running Day. That last one is typically observed on the first Wednesday in June.

 

Historical items of note:

  • In 1539, Hernando de Soto claimed Florida for Spain. Does that make him the first Florida Man?
  • In 1885, Cree leader Big Bear escaped the North-West Mounted Police. It was the last military engagement fought on Canadian soil.
  • In 1889, the first long-distance electric power transmission line in the United States was completed. It spanned 14 miles between a generator at Willamette Falls and downtown Portland, Oregon.
  • In 1926, poet Allen Ginsberg was born.
  • In 1930, author and poet Marion Zimmer Bradley was born.
  • In 1947, special effects artist and producer John Dykstra was born.
  • In 1950, screenwriter Melissa Mathison was born.
  • In 1961, lawyer, academic, author, and founder of the Creative Commons Lawrence Lessig was born.
  • In 1965, Gemini 4 was launched. It was the first multi-day space mission by a NASA crew, and astronaut Ed White performed the first American spacewalk.
  • In 1967, reporter Anderson Cooper was born.
  • In 1988, the movie Big premiered.
  • In 1989, the government of China sent troops to force protesters out of Tiananmen Square after seven weeks of occupation.
  • In 2012, the pageant for the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II took place on the River Thames.

 

June 3rd is Bicycle Day.

The United Nations General Assembly declared the international celebration, recognizing “the uniqueness, longevity and versatility of the Bicycle, which has been in use for two centuries, and that it is a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transport.”

The idea came from American sociology professor Leszek Sibilski, eventually gaining the support of fifty-seven other countries. The main message is that the bicycle belongs to and serves all of humanity. The bicycle serves as a symbol of human progress and advancement, and promotes “tolerance, mutual understanding, and respect.” It also facilitates social inclusion and a culture of peace.

The event also recognizes the ecological impact of bicycles, emphasizing them as a “symbol of sustainable transport” that conveys a positive message of sustainable consumption and production.

 

The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

 

 

The Thing About Today – June 2

June 2, 2020
Day 154 of 366

 

June 2nd is the 154th day of the year. It is International Sex Workers Day, which honors sex workers and recognizes their often exploited working conditions. The event commemorates the occupation of Église Saint-Nizier in Lyon by more than a hundred sex workers on June 2, 1975, an event that drew attention to their inhumane working conditions. It has been celebrated annually since 1976.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Rotisserie Chicken Day, National Rocky Road Day, National Bubba Day, and National Leave The Office Early Day. That last one is typically observed on June 2nd unless the date falls on a weekend, in which case it is observed on the closest working day.

 

Historical items of note:

  • In 455, vandals entered Rome and plundered the city for two weeks.
  • In 1740, French philosopher and politician Marquis de Sade was born.
  • In 1774, the Quartering Act was enacted. It allowed a governor in colonial America to house British soldiers in uninhabited houses, outhouses, barns, or other buildings if suitable quarters are not provided.
  • In 1840, English novelist and poet Thomas Hardy was born.
  • In 1857, English composer and educator Edward Elgar was born.
  • In 1896, Guglielmo Marconi applied for a patent for his wireless telegraph.
  • In 1907, journalist and author Dorothy West was born.
  • In 1910, Charles Rolls, co-founder of Rolls-Royce Limited, became the first man to make a non-stop double crossing of the English Channel by plane.
  • In 1924, United States President Calvin Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act into law. It granted citizenship to all Native Americans born within the territorial limits of the United States.
  • In 1930, astronaut Pete Conrad was born.
  • In 1936, actress Sally Kellerman was born.
  • In 1944, composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch was born.
  • In 1951, artist, gay rights activist, and designer of the rainbow flag Gilbert Baker was born.
  • In 1953, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II occurred. She was crowned Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Her Other Realms and Territories & Head of the Commonwealth, and the coronation was the first major international event to be televised.
  • In 1954, actor and producer Dennis Haysbert was born.
  • In 1966, Surveyor 1 landed in Oceanus Procellarum on the Moon, becoming the first United States spacecraft to soft-land on another world.
  • In 1977, actor and producer Zachary Quinto was born.
  • In 1978, actress Nikki Cox was born.
  • In 1979, actress Morena Baccarin was born.
  • In 1982, actress Jewel Staite was born.
  • In 2003, Europe launched its first voyage to another planet. The European Space Agency’s Mars Express probe launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan.

 

June 2nd is Decoration Day in Canada.

Decoration Day recognizes veterans of Canada’s military. It began on June 2, 1890, and was originally a form of protest for veterans of the Battle of Ridgeway. They felt that their contributions to the protection of Canada during the Fenian Raids were being overlooked by the government, and they protested by placing decorations at the Canadian Volunteers Monument near Queen’s Park in Toronto on the anniversary of the battle.

It became an annual event and accumulated more participants as the ranks of Canadian veterans grew, including veterans of the Fenian Raids, the North-West Rebellion, the Second Boer War, and the First World War.

This all resulted in Great Britain creating service medals recognizing participants in the pre-First World War Canadian conflicts. Commemoration of Decoration Day became less prominent in the early 1900s, although it returned to some prominence when the First World War began. A Ridgeway monument was created in 1916 and made a National Historic Battlefield in 1921.

In 1931, the Armistice Remembrance Day Act established November 11th, Remembrance Day, as the official day commemorating military service in Canada. Despite that, some recognition of Decoration Day continues each year.

 

The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.