February 26, 2020
Day 57 of 366
February 26th is the fifty-seventh day of the year. It is Liberation Day in Kuwait.
Historical items of note:
- In 1616, Galileo Galilei was formally banned by the Roman Catholic Church for teaching and defending his view that the Earth orbits the sun.
- In 1802, Victor Hugo was born. He was the French author, poet, and playwright, his most famous works are the novels Les Misérables (1862) and The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (1831).
- In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte escaped from Elba.
- In 1829, Levi Strauss was born. The German-American fashion designer founded Levi Strauss & Co.
- In 1908, animator, producer, and voice actor Tex Avery was born.
- In 1909, Kinemacolor was debuted to the general public at the Palace Theatre in London. It was the first successful color motion picture process.
- In 1916, comedian Jackie Gleason was born.
- In 1918, author, critic, and Star Trek alum Theodore Sturgeon was born.
- In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson signed an act of Congress to establish the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
- In 1928, singer-songwriter and pianist Fats Domino was born.
- In 1929, President Calvin Coolidge signed an executive order to establish the 96,000 acre Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
- In 1932, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor Johnny Cash was born.
- In 1963, actress, singer, and activist Chase Masterson was born.
- In 1966, AS-201 was launched. It was the first uncrewed test flight of an entire production Block I Apollo command and service module and the Saturn IB launch vehicle.
- In 1993, a truck bomb parked below the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City exploded, killing six and injuring over a thousand people.
This year, February 26th is Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season of penitence in the liturgical year. I’m not a member of a religion that observes the season, but I have several friends that are and I have been interested in what it means. There is obviously so much more to it than I can write in this short segment.
It is a Christian holy day of prayer and fasting, traditionally observed by Western Christians including Anglicans, Latin Rite Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Moravians, Nazarenes, Independent Catholics, and many from the Reformed faith. The name derives from the placing of repentance ashes on the foreheads of participants, often to the dictum, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Those ashes are prepared by burning palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebrations.
The First Council of Nicæa spoke of Lent as a period of fasting for forty days, in preparation for Eastertide. In some denominations, the holiday is observed though observed fasting, abstinence from meat, and repentance as the observer contemplates their transgressions. The United Methodist Church states that the fast comes from a biblical basis since Jesus, as part of his spiritual preparation in their Gospels, fasted for 40 days and nights in the wilderness.
The abstinence from mammal and fowl meat is observed on every Friday of the Lenten period, which this year runs until Thursday, April 9th.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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