The Thing About Today – August 18

August 18, 2020
Day 231 of 366


August 18th is the 231st day of the year. It is Long Tan Day, also known as Vietnam Veterans’ Day, in Australia. The Battle of Long Tan took place on August 18th, 1966 in a rubber plantation near Long Tân, in Phước Tuy Province, South Vietnam, and is the best known of the Australian Army’s actions in the Vietnam War.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Fajita Day, National Mail Order Catalog Day, and National Ice Cream Pie Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1590, John White, the governor of the Roanoke Colony, returned from a supply trip to England and found his settlement deserted. Roanoake became known as the Lost Colony since the fate of the missing colonists has never been discovered.
  • In 1826, Major Gordon Laing became the first non-Muslim to enter Timbuktu. He was killed shortly after he departed Timbuktu, some five weeks later.
  • In 1868, French astronomer Pierre Janssen discovered helium.
  • In 1914, psychiatrist Lucy Ozarin was born. She was one of the first women psychiatrists commissioned in the Navy, and she was one of seven female Navy psychiatrists who served during World War II. She earned the rank of Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy Reserve Medical Corps.
  • In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, guaranteeing women’s suffrage.
  • In 1926, a weather map was televised for the first time.
  • In 1927, former First Lady of the United States Rosalynn Carter was born.
  • In 1952, actor and dancer Patrick Swayze was born.
  • In 1956, composer and conductor John Debney was born.
  • In 1958, investigations began into the television game show scandals. Two years later, the United States Congress amended the Communications Act of 1934 to prohibit the fixing of quiz shows.
  • In 1961, journalist and author Bob Woodruff was born.
  • In 1963, James Meredith became the first African American to graduate from the University of Mississippi.
  • In 1967, author and illustrator Brian Michael Bendis was born.


In 1587, Virginia Dare was born.

The granddaughter of the aforementioned Governor John White of the Colony of Roanoke, she was the first child born to English parents in the Americas. She disappeared with the rest of the colony, but during the past four hundred years, Virginia Dare has become a prominent figure in American myth and folklore, symbolizing different things to different groups of people.

She has been featured as the main character in books, poems, songs, comic books, television programs, and films. Her name has been used to sell different types of goods, from vanilla products to soft drinks, as well as wine and spirits. Many places in North Carolina and elsewhere in the Southern United States have been named in her honor.


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.




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