The Thing About Today – June 11

June 11, 2020
Day 163 of 366


June 11th is the 163rd day of the year. It is Davis Day on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada. Officially known as William Davis Miners’ Memorial Day, it is an annual day of remembrance for the coal mining communities to recognize all miners killed in the province’s coal mines. It originated in memory of William Davis, a coal miner who was killed during a long strike by the province’s coal miners against the British Empire Steel Corporation.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Making Life Beautiful Day, National Corn on the Cob Day, and National German Chocolate Cake Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1748, Denmark adopted the characteristic Nordic Cross flag later taken up by all other Scandinavian countries.
  • In 1770, British explorer Captain James Cook ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef.
  • In 1776, the Continental Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to the Committee of Five to draft a declaration of independence.
  • In 1837, the Broad Street Riot occurred in Boston, fueled by ethnic tensions between Yankees and Irish.
  • In 1864, German composer and conductor Richard Strauss was born.
  • In 1892, the Limelight Department was officially established in Melbourne, Australia. It was one of the world’s first film studios.
  • In 1895, Paris–Bordeaux–Paris took place. It is sometimes called the first automobile race in history.
  • In 1910, French biologist, author, inventor, and co-developer of the aqua-lung Jacques Cousteau was born.
  • In 1920, during the United States Republican National Convention in Chicago, Republican Party leaders gathered in a room at the Blackstone Hotel to come to a consensus on their candidate for the upcoming presidential election. This inspired the Associated Press to coin the political phrase “smoke-filled room”.
  • In 1933, actor, director, and screenwriter Gene Wilder was born.
  • In 1935, inventor Edwin Armstrong first demonstrated FM broadcasting at Alpine, New Jersey.
  • In 1944, USS Missouri (BB-63) was commissioned. It was the last battleship built by the United States Navy and future site of the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender.
  • In 1945, actress Adrienne Barbeau was born.
  • In 1959, actor and screenwriter Hugh Laurie was born.
  • In 1962, Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin allegedly become the only prisoners to escape from the prison on Alcatraz Island.
  • In 1963, Governor of Alabama George Wallace defiantly stood at the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama in an attempt to block two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from attending that school. Later in the day, accompanied by federalized National Guard troops, they are able to register.
  • Also in 1963, President John F. Kennedy addressed Americans from the Oval Office proposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The legislation would attempt to revolutionize American life by guaranteeing equal access to public facilities, ending segregation in education, and guaranteeing federal protection for voting rights.
  • In 1968, actress Sophie Okonedo was born.
  • In 1969, actor and producer Peter Dinklage was born.
  • In 1970, Anna Mae Hays and Elizabeth P. Hoisington officially received their ranks as United States Army Generals, becoming the first females to do so. They had been formally appointed on May 15th.
  • In 1977, the Main Street Electrical Parade premiered in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
  • In 1978, actor Joshua Jackson was born.
  • In 1982, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial premiered.
  • In 1984, Michael Larson successfully pulled off the Press Your Luck scandal by winning a record-breaking $110,237 by memorizing the gameboard patterns.
  • In 1986, actor Shia LaBeouf was born.
  • In 1990, the United Nations appointed Olivia Newton-John as an environmental ambassador.
  • In 1993, Jurassic Park premiered.
  • In 2002, Antonio Meucci was acknowledged as the first inventor of the telephone by the United States Congress.
  • In 2004, Cassini–Huygens made its closest flyby of the Saturn moon Phoebe.


June 11th is King Kamehameha I Day.

The Hawaiian public holiday honors Kamehameha the Great, the monarch who first established the unified Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, comprised of the Hawaiian Islands of Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui, and Hawaiʻi.

The day was first proclaimed by Kamehameha V on December 22, 1871. It was almost meant as a replacement for Hawaiian Sovereignty Restoration Day, which the king and ministers disliked due to its association with the Paulet Affair, the five-month occupation of the Hawaiian Islands in 1843 by British naval officer Captain Lord George Paulet of HMS Carysfort.

In 1883, a statue of King Kamehameha was dedicated in Honolulu by King David Kalākaua. It was a duplicate statue because the original was lost at sea. It was later recovered and placed in North Kohala on the island of Hawaiʻi. There are other duplicates in Emancipation Hall at the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C., and in Hilo on the island of Hawaiʻi.

King Kamehameha I Day was one of the first holidays proclaimed by the Governor of Hawaiʻi and the Hawaiʻi State Legislature when Hawaiʻi achieved statehood in 1959. Today, it is treated with elaborate events harkening back to ancient Hawaiʻi, respecting the cultural traditions that Kamehameha defended as his society was slowly shifting towards European trends.


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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