June 26, 2020
Day 178 of 366
June 26th is the 178th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Madagascar and Somalia, both of whom declared their independence in 1960 (from France and Britain, respectively).
It is also World Refrigeration Day, which is designed to awareness about the importance of refrigeration technologies in everyday life and to raise the profile of the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat-pump sector. The day was chosen to celebrate the birth date of Lord Kelvin on June 26, 1824
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Coconut Day, National Beautician’s Day, National Chocolate Pudding Day, and Take Your Dog to Work Day (which is typically observed on the friday after Father’s Day).
Historical items of note:
- In 1824, Irish-Scottish physicist and engineer William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin, was born. At the University of Glasgow, he did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and formulation of the first and second laws of thermodynamics, and did much to unify the emerging discipline of physics in its modern form. The absolute temperature scale is named in his honor.
- In 1870, the Christian holiday of Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States. The holiday was not always widely accepted in the colonies, but gradually gained acceptance through the short stories of Washington Irving. In December 1999, the Western Division of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, in the case Ganulin vs. United States, denied the charge that Christmas Day’s federal status violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution, ruling that “the Christmas holiday has become largely secularized”, and that “by giving federal employees a paid vacation day on Christmas, the government is doing no more than recognizing the cultural significance of the holiday”.
- In 1886, Henri Moissan isolated elemental Fluorine for the first time.
- In 1934, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Credit Union Act, which established credit unions.
- In 1936, the initial flight of the Focke-Wulf Fw 61 marked the debut of the practical helicopter.
- In 1945, the United Nations Charter was signed by 50 Allied nations in San Francisco, California.
- In 1948, Shirley Jackson’s short story The Lottery was published in The New Yorker magazine.
- In 1970, director, producer, and screenwriter Paul Thomas Anderson was born.
- Also in 1970, actor Chris O’Donnell was born.
- In 1974, the Universal Product Code (UPC) was scanned for the first time to sell a package of Wrigley’s chewing gum at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio.
- In 1993, singer-songwriter, dancer, and actress Ariana Grande was born.
- In 2000, the Human Genome Project announced the completion of a “rough draft” sequence.
- In 2003, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas that gender-based sodomy laws were unconstitutional.
- In 2013, the United States Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision (United States v. Windsor) that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional and in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
- In 2015, The United States Supreme Court ruled in a 5–4 decision (Obergefell v. Hodges) that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.
—Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy
June 26th is International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, a United Nations International Day against drug abuse and the illegal drug trade. The date is to commemorate Lin Zexu’s dismantling of the opium trade in Humen, Guangdong just before the First Opium War in China.
June 26th is also the United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, a day to speak out against the crime of torture and to honor and support victims and survivors throughout the world.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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