July 26, 2020
Day 208 of 366
July 26th is the 208th day of the year. Today celebrates the independence of Liberia from the American Colonization Society in 1847 and the independence of Maldives from the United Kingdom in 1965.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Aunt and Uncle’s Day, National Bagelfest Day, National Coffee Milkshake Day, National All or Nothing Day, and National Parent’s Day (which is typically observed on the fourth Sunday in July).
It is also National Disability Independence Day, which celebrates the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Historical items of note:
- In 1745, the first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford, England.
- In 1775, the office that would later become the United States Post Office Department was established by the Second Continental Congress. Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania took office as Postmaster General.
- In 1803, the Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened in south London, United Kingdom.
- In 1856, Irish playwright, critic, and Nobel Prize laureate George Bernard Shaw was born.
- In 1891, France annexed Tahiti. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is a magical place.
- In 1895, actress and comedian Gracie Allen was born.
- In 1908, United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner. That office was later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
- In 1909, actress Vivian Vance was born.
- In 1918, Emmy Noether’s paper, which became known as Noether’s theorem, was presented at Göttingen, Germany. From that theorem, conservation laws were deduced for symmetries of angular momentum, linear momentum, and energy.
- In 1921, actor and writer Jean Shepherd was born. His book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash was the basis for the movie A Christmas Story.
- In 1928, director, producer, screenwriter, and cinematographer Stanley Kubrick was born.
- In 1943, singer-songwriter, producer, and actor Mick Jagger was born.
- In 1945, the Labour Party officially won the United Kingdom general election of July 5th by a landslide. Winston Churchill was removed from power.
- Also in 1945, actress Helen Mirren was born.
- In 1946, Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.
- In 1947, United States President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 into law. This created the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Department of Defense, United States Air Force, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the United States National Security Council.
- In 1948, United States President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, desegregating the military of the United States.
- In 1951, Walt Disney’s 13th animated film, Alice in Wonderland, premiered in London, England.
- In 1953, Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks, thus beginning the Cuban Revolution. The movement took the name of the date: The 26th of July Movement.
- In 1957, actress Nana Visitor was born.
- In 1963, Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.
- In 1964, actress and producer Sandra Bullock was born.
- In 1971, Apollo 15 launched with astronauts David R. Scott, Alfred M. Worden, and James B. Irwin on board. It was the first Apollo “J-Mission”, which were designed for extensive scientific investigation of the Moon, both on the lunar surface and from lunar orbit. It was the first mission to use the Lunar Roving Vehicle.
- In 1973, actress Kate Beckinsale was born.
- In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.
- In 2005, Space Shuttle Discovery launched on mission STS-114, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.
- In 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first female nominee for President of the United States by a major political party at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The distinction of “major political party” is important because former Secretary Clinton was not the first female nominee overall. That distinction belongs to Victoria Woodhull with the Equal Rights Party in 1872.
In 1887, Unua Libro was published, founding the Esperanto movement.
The language was created by Polish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof with the goal of developing an easy and flexible language that would serve as a universal second language to foster world peace and international understanding. He hoped it would build a “community of speakers”, as he believed that one could not have a language without such a community.
Esperanto grew throughout the 20th century, both as a language and as a linguistic community. Despite speakers facing persecution in regimes such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Stalin, Esperanto speakers continued to organize and publish around specific regions and interests. In 1954, the United Nations granted official support to Esperanto as an international auxiliary language.
The advent of the internet has only helped the community to blossom through connectivity and learning apps like Duolingo. With over two million speakers worldwide, it is the most widely spoken constructed language in the world.
July 26th is commemorated as Esperanto Day.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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