March 31, 2020
Day 91 of 366
March 31st is the ninety-first day of the year. It is the International Transgender Day of Visibility, an annual event celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination against them worldwide.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Bunsen Burner Day, National Clams on the Half Shell Day, National Crayon Day, National Prom Day, National Tater Day, and National Equal Pay Day. The last one is observed on a Tuesday in March or April and changes annually.
Historical items of note:
- In 1492, Queen Isabella of Castile issued the Alhambra Decree. Also known as the Edict of Expulsion, it ordered her 150,000 Jewish and Muslim subjects to either convert to Christianity or face expulsion from her lands.
- In 1596, René Descartes was born. A French mathematician and philosopher, he was the one who thought and therefore was.
- In 1685, German composer Johann Sebastian Bach.
- In 1889, the Eiffel Tower was officially opened.
- In 1917, the United States took possession of the Danish West Indies after paying $25 million to Denmark. They renamed the territory as the United States Virgin Islands.
- In 1918, Daylight saving time went into effect in the United States for the first time.
- In 1927, actor William Daniels was born. He was Mr. Sweeny in Boy Meets World and the voice of KITT in Knight Rider and its spinoff TV movie.
- In 1930, the Motion Picture Production Code was instituted in the United States. It imposed strict guidelines on the treatment of sex, crime, religion, and violence in film for the next thirty-eight years.
- In 1939, The Hound of the Baskervilles was released. It was the first of fourteen films starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson.
- In… 19… 43… Christopher Walken… was… born.
- In 1945, a defecting German pilot delivered a Messerschmitt Me 262A-1, the world’s first operational jet-powered fighter aircraft, to the Americans. It was the first to fall into Allied hands.
- In 1948, actress Rhea Perlman was born.
- In 1966, the Soviet Union launched Luna 10. It later becomes the first space probe to enter orbit around the Moon.
- In 1971, actor Ewan McGregor was born. He portrayed Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel films.
- In 1985, the first WrestleMania takes place in Madison Square Garden in New York City. It was the biggest wrestling event from the WWE (then called the WWF).
In 1992, USS Missouri, the last active United States Navy battleship, was decommissioned in Long Beach, California.
USS Missouri (BB-63) was an Iowa-class battleship. Nicknamed the “Mighty Mo” or the “Big Mo”, she was the third ship of the United States Navy to be named after the State of Missouri and was the last battleship commissioned by the United States.
Missouri was ordered in 1940 and commissioned in June 1944. In the Pacific Theater of World War II, she fought in the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa and shelled the Japanese home islands. She fought in the Korean War from 1950 to 1953 and was decommissioned in 1955 into the United States Navy reserve fleets. She was reactivated and modernized in 1984 as part of the 600-ship Navy plan, eventually providing fire support during Operation Desert Storm in January and February 1991.
Missouri received a total of eleven battle stars for service in World War II, Korea, and the Persian Gulf, and was finally decommissioned on March 31, 1992, after serving a total of seventeen years of active service. She was finally struck from the Naval Vessel Register until her name was struck in January 1995.
In 1998, she was donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association and became a museum ship at Pearl Harbor. She is best remembered as the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan, which ended World War II.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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