April 13, 2020
Day 104 of 366
April 13th is the 104th day of the year. It is Teacher’s Day in Ecuador.
Historical items of note:
- In 1743, United States Founding Father Thomas Jefferson was born. He was the third President of the United States.
- In 1870, the New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded.
- In 1892, Robert Watson-Watt was born. He was the Scottish engineer who invented radar.
- In 1906, Samuel Beckett was born. He was an Irish novelist, poet, playwright, and Nobel Prize laureate.
- In 1935, actor Lyle Waggoner was born.
- In 1942, composer and conductor Bill Conti was born.
- In 1943, the discovery of mass graves of Polish prisoners of war killed by Soviet forces in the Katyń Forest Massacre during World War II was announced. This caused a diplomatic rift between the Polish government-in-exile in London from the Soviet Union, which denied responsibility.
- Also in 1943, the Jefferson Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C., on the 200th anniversary of President Thomas Jefferson’s birth.
- In 1950, actor Ron Perlman was born.
- In 1951, actor Peter Davison was born. He portrayed the Fifth Doctor in Doctor Who.
- In 1953, Central Intelligence Agency director Allen Dulles launched the mind-control program Project MKUltra.
- In 1960, the United States launched Transit 1-B, the world’s first satellite navigation system.
- In 1964, at the Academy Awards, Sidney Poitier became the first African-American male to win the Best Actor award for the 1963 film Lilies of the Field.
- In 1970, an oxygen tank aboard the Apollo 13 Service Module exploded, putting the crew in great danger and causing major damage to the Apollo command and service module Odyssey while en route to the Moon.
- In 1972, the Battle of An Lộc began during the Vietnam War. The battle lasted 66 days.
- In 1976, the United States Treasury Department reintroduced the two-dollar bill as a Federal Reserve Note on Thomas Jefferson’s 233rd birthday as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration.
- In 1997, Tiger Woods became the youngest golfer to win the Masters Tournament.
In 1742, George Frideric Handel’s oratorio Messiah made its world-premiere in Dublin, Ireland.
Messiah (HWV 56) is an English-language oratorio with a scriptural text compiled by Charles Jennens from the King James Bible and the Coverdale Psalter, the version of the Psalms included with the Book of Common Prayer.
The text is an extended reflection on Jesus as the Messiah called Christ. Part I begins with prophecies by Isaiah and others before moving to the annunciation to the shepherds, the only “scene” taken from the Gospels. Part II concentrates on the Passion and ends with the “Hallelujah” chorus. Part III covers the resurrection of the dead and Christ’s glorification in heaven.
The initial composition was modest, but over time it has been adapted for larger and more powerful orchestras, particularly by Mozart.
After its Dublin premiere, it moved to London nearly a year later. The initial public reception was modest, but the oratorio gained popularity and has become one of the best-known and most frequently performed choral works in Western music.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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