The Thing About Today – April 14

April 14, 2020
Day 105 of 366


April 14th is the 105th day of the year. It would be the first day of Takayama Spring Festival in Takayama, Gifu, Japan.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Dolphin Day, National Ex Spouse Day, National Gardening Day, National Pecan Day, National Reach as High as You Can Day, and Look up at the Sky Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 43 BC, the Battle of Forum Gallorum occurred. Mark Antony, besieging Caesar’s assassin Decimus Brutus in Mutina, defeated the forces of the consul Pansa. He was then immediately defeated by the army of the other consul, Aulus Hirtius.
  • In 1561, a celestial phenomenon was reported over Nuremberg. It was described as an aerial battle.
  • In 1775, the first abolition society in North America was established. The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage was organized in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Rush.
  • In 1828, Noah Webster copyrighted the first edition of his dictionary.
  • In 1865, United States President Abraham Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theatre by John Wilkes Booth. He died from his wounds the next day.
  • In 1894, the first-ever commercial motion picture house was opened in New York City using ten Kinetoscopes, a device for peep-show viewing of films.
  • In 1902, James Cash Penney opened his first store in Kemmerer, Wyoming.
  • In 1912, the British passenger liner RMS Titanic struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic. It sank overnight.
  • In 1929, television producer Gerry Anderson was born.
  • In 1939, The Grapes of Wrath, written by John Steinbeck, was first published.
  • In 1949, actor John Shea was born.
  • In 1958, the Soviet satellite Sputnik 2 fell from orbit after 162 days. It was the first spacecraft to carry a living animal, a dog named Laika, but she did not survive the journey.
  • Also in 1958, actor Peter Capaldi was born. He portrayed the Twelfth Doctor in Doctor Who.
  • In 1961, actor Robert Carlyle was born.
  • In 1968, actor Anthony Michael Hall was born.
  • In 1977, actress and producer Sarah Michelle Gellar was born.
  • In 1996, actress Abigal Breslin was born.
  • In 2003, the Human Genome Project was completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99%.


April 14th is observed as Pan American Day, a holiday that commemorates the First International Conference of American States. That conference concluded on April 14, 1890, and created the International Union of American Republics, the forerunner to the Organization of American States (OAS). The OAS works toward solidarity and cooperation among states in the Western Hemisphere.

Inspired by the idea of a Panamerica, United States Secretary of State James G. Blane first developed the concept of an International Conference for the Western Hemisphere. The idea took nearly a decade to bear fruit, but the resulting conference covered a large variety of subjects from currency and banking to military and trade.

In 1931, President Herbert Hoover declared the first official National Pan American Day to be observed on April 14th. Before that proclamation, Pan American Day celebrations took place on various days throughout the year and across the country, including cultural events and festivals celebrating the Western Hemisphere and the whole of the North and South American continents.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.




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