August 6, 2020
Day 219 of 366
August 6th is the 219th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Bolivia, which separated from Spain in 1825, and Jamaica, which separated from the United Kingdom in 1962.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Root Beer Float Day, National Fresh Breath Day, National Wiggle Your Toes Day, and National IPA Day (typically observed on the first Thursday in August).
Historical items of note:
- In 1661, the Treaty of The Hague was signed by Portugal and the Dutch Republic. Based on the terms of the treaty, the Dutch Republic recognized Portuguese imperial sovereignty over New Holland (Dutch Brazil) in exchange for an indemnity of 4 million reis, conversion from 2 million Caroli Guilders, over the span of 16 years.
- In 1787, sixty proof sheets of the Constitution of the United States were delivered to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- In 1809, English poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson was born.
- In 1819, Norwich University was founded in Vermont as the first private military school in the United States.
- In 1848, American writer and first black Army nurse Susie Taylor was born.
- In 1881, Scottish biologist, pharmacologist, and botanist Alexander Fleming was born. He was a Nobel Prize laureate for his discovery of the world’s first broadly effective antibiotic substance, benzylpenicillin (Penicillin G), from the mold Penicillium rubens in 1928.
- In 1890, at Auburn Prison in New York, murderer William Kemmler became the first person to be executed by electric chair.
- In 1911, actress, television producer, and businesswoman Lucille Ball was born.
- In 1926, Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim across the English Channel.
- Also in 1926, in New York City, the Warner Bros.’ Vitaphone system premiered with the movie Don Juan starring John Barrymore.
- In 1928, painter and photographer Andy Warhol was born.
- In 1942, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands became the first reigning queen to address a joint session of the United States Congress.
- In 1951, actress Catherine Hicks was born.
- In 1960, Chubby Checker performed his version of “The Twist” on The Dick Clark Show. It started a worldwide dance craze.
- In 1962, Malaysian-Hong Kong actress and producer Michelle Yeoh was born.
- In 1965, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law.
- In 1972, English singer-songwriter, dancer, and actress Geri Halliwell was born.
- In 1976, actress and producer Soleil Moon Frye was born.
- In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee released files describing his idea for the World Wide Web. WWW debuted as a publicly available service on the Internet.
- Also in 1991, Takako Doi, chair of the Social Democratic Party, became Japan’s first female speaker of the House of Representatives.
- In 1996, NASA announced that the ALH 84001 meteorite, thought to originate from Mars, contained evidence of primitive life-forms.
- In 2012, NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on the surface of Mars. Only planned as a two-year mission, Curiosity is still operational, living for 2844 Martian sols (2921 total days).
- In 2015, comedian Jon Stewart hosted The Daily Show for the last time.
In 1945, during World War II, Hiroshima, Japan was devastated when the atomic bomb “Little Boy” was dropped by the United States B-29 Enola Gay. Approximately 70,000 people were killed instantly, and tens of thousands died in subsequent years from burns and radiation poisoning. This event and the similar bombing of Nagasaki, Japan were part of the Allied response to Japan’s refusal to surrender unconditionally.
The anniversary is marked by a Japanese vigil. The city of Hiroshima holds the Peace Memorial Ceremony to console the victims of the atomic bombs and to pray for the realization of lasting world peace. The ceremony is held in front of the Memorial Cenotaph in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park.
Participants include the families of the deceased and people from all over the world. The first ceremony was held in 1947 by the then Hiroshima Mayor Shinzo Hamai.
The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.
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