April 21, 2020
Day 112 of 366
April 21st is the 112th day of the year. It is National Tea Day in the United Kingdom.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Chocolate Covered Cashews Day, National Kindergarten Day, National Yellow Bat Day, and National Library Workers Day. That last one is observed on the Tuesday of National Library Week.
Today is also the 94th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. She is the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch, the longest-serving female head of state in world history, and the world’s oldest living monarch, longest-reigning current monarch, and oldest and longest-serving current head of state.
Historical items of note:
- In 1615, the Wignacourt Aqueduct was inaugurated in Malta.
- In 1816, Cornish-English novelist and poet Charlotte Brontë was born.
- In 1918, German fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as “The Red Baron”, was shot down and killed over Vaux-sur-Somme in France.
- In 1922, Scottish novelist and screenwriter Alistair MacLean was born.
- In 1926, Her Majesty Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom and her other realms, was born.
- In 1934, the “Surgeon’s Photograph”, the most famous photo allegedly showing the Loch Ness Monster, was published in the Daily Mail. In 1999, 65 years later, it was revealed to be a hoax.
- In 1952, Secretary’s Day was first celebrated. It is now known as Administrative Professionals’ Day.
- In 1958, actress Andie MacDowell was born.
- In 1962, the Seattle World’s Fair (called the Century 21 Exposition) opened. It was the first World’s Fair in the United States since World War II.
- In 1963, the first election of the Universal House of Justice was held, marking its establishment as the supreme governing institution of the Bahá’í Faith.
- In 1979, actor James McAvoy was born.
- In 1988, actor Robbie Amell was born.
In 2014, the city of Flint, Michigan switched its water source to the Flint River, beginning the Flint water crisis.
Prior to this, Flint used the treated Detroit Water and Sewerage Department water, which came from Lake Huron and the Detroit River. Officials failed to apply corrosion inhibitors to the new water supply, resulting in lead leaching from aging pipes into the water and exposing over 100,000 residents to extremely elevated levels of the heavy metal neurotoxin.
On January 5, 2016, Governor Rick Snyder (of whom related evidence exists regarding corruption and a cover-up) declared a state of emergency in the city, and President Barack Obama declared a federal state of emergency to authorize additional help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.
An extensive lead service line replacement effort began in 2016, and while officials assert that the water quality has returned to acceptable levels, residents are skeptical. As of April 2019, an estimated 2,500 lead service lines were still in place. Work continues, with an expected completion date of July 2020.
Overall, the continuing crisis has caused lead poisoning in up to 12,000 people. In addition, 15 people have died from Legionnaires disease, leading to criminal indictments against 15 people, five of whom have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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