April 12, 2020
Day 103 of 366
April 12th is the 103rd day of the year. It is Easter Sunday, a Christian holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the third day following his crucifixion. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by the 40-day Lenten period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
The holiday is also marked by the coloring and hunting of Easter eggs, the Easter Bunny, gift-giving, and biting the ears off of chocolate rabbits. It was on an Easter Sunday in the early ’90s that I received my first Star Wars novel, and my life hasn’t been the same since.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National For Twelves Day, National Big Wind Day, National Colorado Day, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, and National Licorice Day.
Historical items of note:
- In 1606, The Union Flag was adopted as the flag of English and Scottish ships.
- In 1916, author Beverly Cleary was born.
- In 1934, the strongest surface wind gust in the world (at the time) was measured at the summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire. Wind speed was measured at 231 miles per hour, but has since been surpassed.
- In 1936, actor Charles Napier was born.
- In 1945, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt died in office. Vice President Harry S. Truman became the thirty-third President of the United States upon succession.
- In 1947, comedian and talk show host David Letterman was born.
- In 1955, the polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, was declared safe and effective.
- In 1971, actress, director, and producer Shannen Doherty was born.
- Also in 1971, actor Nicholas Brendon was born.
- In 1979, actress Claire Daines was born.
- Also in 1979, actress Jennifer Morrison was born.
- In 1981, the first launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia occurred on mission STS-1.
- In 1983, Harold Washington was elected as the first black mayor of Chicago.
- In 1992, the Euro Disney Resort officially opened with its theme park Euro Disneyland. The resort and park names were later changed to Disneyland Paris.
- In 1994, actress Saoirse Ronan was born.
In 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human to travel into outer space. He performed the first manned orbital flight, Vostok 1.
The flight consisted of a single orbit around the planet, spanning 108 minutes in total. Gagarin returned to the surface after ejecting from his capsule at 23,000 feet.
Gagarin was a Soviet Air Forces pilot who almost failed his initial flight training until his instructor provided him a cushion to help him see better from the cockpit. He expressed interest in the space program after the launch of Luna 3 in October 1959 and was selected in 1960.
In commemoration of his flight, the day is celebrated as Cosmonautics Day in Russia and as both Yuri’s Night and the International Day of Human Space Flight worldwide.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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