February 27, 2020
Day 58 of 366
February 27th is the fifty-eighth day of the year. It is Independence Day in the Dominican Republic.
In the United States, it is “celebrated” as Anosmia Awareness Day, National Kahlua Day, National Retro Day, National Strawberry Day, National Polar Bear Day, National Chili Day, and National Toast Day.
National Chili Day is typically observed on the fourth Thursday in February, and National Toast Day is typically observed on the last Thursday of February.
Historical items of note:
- In 380, the Edict of Thessalonica was issued by Emperors Theodosius I, Gratian, and Valentinian II. It declared their wish that all Roman citizens convert to trinitarian Christianity.
- In 1782, the House of Commons of Great Britain votes against further war during the American Revolutionary War.
- In 1801, Washington, D.C. was placed under the jurisdiction of the United States Congress pursuant to the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801.
- In 1807, poet and educator Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born.
- In 1902, journalist, author, and Nobel Prize laureate John Steinbeck was born.
- In 1922, the Supreme Court of the United States decided in the case of Leser v. Garnett. This was a challenge to the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, allowing women the right to vote, and the Court determined that the amendment was constitutionally sound.
- In 1932, actress and humanitarian Elizabeth Taylor was born.
- In 1933, the Reichstag fire occurred. The Reichstag was Germany’s parliament building in Berlin, and Marinus van der Lubbe, a young Dutch Communist, claimed responsibility. The Nazis used the fire to solidify their power and eliminate the communists as political rivals.
- In 1940, Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben discovered carbon-14.
- In 1951, The Twenty-Second Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. This limited United States Presidents to two terms in office.
- In 1966, actor Donal Logue was born.
- In 1968, CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite delivered his famous scathing editorial on America’s chances of winning the Vietnam War.
- In 1983, actress Kate Mara was born.
In 1964, the Government of Italy asked for help to keep the Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling over.
The Tower of Pisa, a freestanding bell tower of Pisa’s cathedral, is the third oldest structure in the city’s Cathedral Square. It was built in three stages over 199 years from 1173 to 1372, but began to sink shortly after work had progressed to the second floor in 1178. This was due to the foundation (only three meters thick) sinking into the weak and unstable soil. Construction was halted for nearly a century while the Republic of Pisa was almost continually engaged in battles with Genoa, Lucca, and Florence, which allowed time for the soil to settle.
In an attempt to compensate for further tilting, the engineers built the upper floors with one side taller than the other, resulting in a curved tower. Numerous attempts were made over the centuries to prevent the tower from toppling, but most of them either failed or further endangered the tower. In 1964, Italy requested help and welcomed a multinational task force of engineers, mathematicians, and historians to tackle the project. Finally, in May 2008, engineers announced that the tower was stabilized such that it has stopped moving for the first time in history. It is expected to remain stable for the next 200 years.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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