August 5, 2020
Day 218 of 366
August 5th is the 218th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Burkina Faso. It was founded as the Republic of Upper Volta on December 11, 1958, as a self-governing colony within the French Community. It gained full independence in 1960 and was officially renamed on August 4, 1984.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Underwear Day, National Work Like A Dog Day, and National Oyster Day. If I worked like my dogs for a day, I’d lay around and only take breaks to beg for food and bark at random things. But I’d be adorable.
Historical items of note:
- In 1305, William Wallace was captured by the English near Glasgow. He led the Scottish resistance against England, and after he was transported to London, he was put on trial and executed.
- In 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert established the first English colony in North America. It was founded at what is now St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
- In 1816, the British Admiralty dismissed Francis Ronalds’s new invention of the first working electric telegraph as “wholly unnecessary”, preferring to continue using the semaphore.
- In 1858, Cyrus West Field and others completed the first transatlantic telegraph cable after several unsuccessful attempts. Unfortunately, it would operate for less than a month.
- In 1861, in order to help pay for the civil war effort, the United States government levied the first income tax as part of the Revenue Act of 1861. The tax of three percent on all incomes over $800 was rescinded in 1872.
- In 1874, Japan launched its postal savings system, modeled after a similar system in the United Kingdom.
- In 1884, the cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty was laid on Bedloe’s Island (now Liberty Island) in New York Harbor.
- In 1914, the first electric traffic light was installed. Cleveland, Ohio had the honors.
- In 1930, astronaut and first man on the moon Neil Armstrong was born.
- In 1945, actress Loni Anderson was born.
- In 1957, American Bandstand, a show dedicated to the teenage “baby-boomers” by playing the songs and showing popular dances of the time, debuted on the ABC television network.
- In 1962, actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead at her home from an apparent drug overdose.
- In 1970, actor, director, producer, and screenwriter James Gunn was born.
August 5th is Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and the Day of Croatian Defenders (Dan pobjede i domovinske zahvalnosti i Dan hrvatskih branitelja in Croatian).
This public holiday commemorates the Croatian War of Independence, was fought from 1991 to 1995 between Croat forces loyal to the government of Croatia – which had declared independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) – and the Serb-controlled Yugoslav People’s Army (JNA) and local Serb forces.
On August 5, 1995, the Croatian Army took the city of Knin during Operation Storm, which effectively brought an end to Republic of Serbian Krajina proto-state. The main celebration is centered in that city, beginning with a mass and laying of wreaths in honor of those who died in the war and continuing with parades and concerts.
In 2008, the Croatian Parliament also assigned the name Day of Croatian Defenders to the holiday, thereby honoring current service members and veterans of the Republic of Croatia Armed Forces.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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