August 10, 2020
Day 223 of 366
August 10th is the 223rd day of the year. It is the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence of Quito. Ecuador proclaimed independence from Spain on August 10, 1809, but independence finally occurred on May 24, 1822, at the Battle of Pichincha.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Shapewear Day, National Connecticut Day, National Lazy Day, and National S’mores Day.
Historical items of note:
- In 1519, Ferdinand Magellan’s five ships set sail from Seville to circumnavigate the globe. The Basque second-in-command Juan Sebastián Elcano would complete the expedition after Magellan’s death in the Philippines.
- In 1675, the foundation stone of the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London, England was laid.
- In 1793, the Musée du Louvre was officially opened in Paris, France.
- In 1846, the Smithsonian Institution was chartered by the United States Congress after James Smithson donated $500,000.
- In 1897, German chemist Felix Hoffmann discovered an improved way of synthesizing acetylsalicylic acid (better known as aspirin).
- In 1948, Candid Camera made its television debut after being on radio for a year as Candid Microphone.
- In 1949, United States President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act Amendment, streamlining the defense agencies of the United States government, and replacing the Department of War with the United States Department of Defense.
- In 1960, actor and producer Antonio Banderas was born.
- Also in 1960, Psycho premiered in Los Angeles, California.
- In 1965, actress, singer, writer, and director Claudia Christian was born.
- In 1972, actress Angie Harmon was born.
- In 1988, United States President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, providing $20,000 payments to Japanese Americans who were either interned in or relocated by the United States during World War II.
In 1962, author Suzanne Collins was born.
Born in Hartford, Connecticut, she was the daughter of a military officer, so she spent her childhood moving from place to place. She graduated from the Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham as a Theater Arts major, completed her bachelor of arts degree from Indiana University Bloomington with a double major in theater and telecommunications, and earned her Master of Fine Arts in dramatic writing from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
Collins started her career in 1991 as a writer for children’s television shows, including Clarissa Explains It All, The Mystery Files of Shelby Woo, Little Bear, and Oswald. She was also the head writer for Scholastic Entertainment’s Clifford’s Puppy Days. She received a Writers Guild of America nomination in animation for co-writing the critically acclaimed Christmas special, Santa, Baby!
After meeting children’s author James Proimos while working on the Kids’ WB show Generation O!, she was inspired to write children’s books herself. Her inspiration for Gregor the Overlander, the first book of The New York Times best-selling series The Underland Chronicles, came from Alice in Wonderland, when she was thinking about how one was more likely to fall down a manhole than a rabbit hole, and would find something other than a tea party. The series spanned five books between 2003 and 2007.
In September 2008, Scholastic Press released The Hunger Games, the first book of a trilogy by Collins. Partly inspired by the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, the series was also inspired by her father’s career in the Air Force, which gave her insight into poverty, starvation, and the effects of war. The series was adapted into a series of four movies by Lions Gate Entertainment.
As a result of the trilogy’s popularity, Collins was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people of 2010. She also released a prequel in 2020 called The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.
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.