May 6, 2020
Day 127 of 366
May 6th is the 127th day of the year. It is the first day of Hıdırellez, a celebration of spring in Turkey that commemorates the day on which the Prophets Hızır (Al-Khidr) and Ilyas (Elijah) met on Earth.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Nurses Day, National Beverage Day, National Crepe Suzette Day, National Bike To School Day (a day that changes annually), National School Nurse Day (the Wednesday of National Nurses Week), and National Skilled Trades Day (the first Wednesday in May).
Historical items of note:
- In 1527, Spanish and German troops sacked Rome. This date is considered to be the end of the Renaissance.
- In 1782, construction began on the Grand Palace at the command of King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke. It would be the royal residence of the King of Siam in Bangkok.
- In 1856, Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud was born.
- In 1889, the Eiffel Tower was officially opened to the public at the Universal Exposition in Paris.
- In 1915, Babe Ruth hit his first major league home run. He was a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox at this point in time, and this home run was the first of the 714 he hit during his record-setting career.
- Also in 1915, actor, director, producer, and screenwriter Orson Welles was born.
- In 1940, John Steinbeck was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath.
- In 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person to run the mile in under four minutes.
- In 1960, more than 20 million viewers watched the first televised royal wedding when Princess Margaret married Anthony Armstrong-Jones at Westminster Abbey.
- In 1961, actor George Clooney was born.
- In 1983, actress Adrianne Palicki was born.
- In 1994, The Channel Tunnel was opened, linking France and the United Kingdom under the English Channel. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and French President François Mitterrand officiated the event.
In 1937, the German zeppelin Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed within a minute while attempting to dock at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey.
Thirty-six people were killed in the incident, including 13 passengers, 22 crewmen, and one observer on the ground. The disaster was the subject of newsreel coverage, photographs, and announcer Herbert Morrison’s recorded radio eyewitness reports from the landing field, which were broadcast the next day.
The cause of the accident is unknown, but a variety of hypotheses have been put forward for both the cause of ignition and the initial fuel for the ensuing fire. Speculation for the cause includes sabotage, a static spark that ignited the hydrogen in the gas volume, a lightning strike, and potential engine failure upon docking. The fuel for the fire that consumed the ship has been speculated as well, from the hydrogen in the gaseous volume, incendiary paint in the superstructure, and an undetected fuel leak.
The event shattered public confidence in the giant, passenger-carrying rigid airship and marked the abrupt end of the airship era.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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