The Thing About Today – August 21

August 21, 2020
Day 234 of 366


August 21st is the 234th day of the year. It is Youth Day in Morocco and National Senior Citizens Day in the United States.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Brazilian Blowout Day and National Spumoni Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1754, Scottish engineer and inventor William Murdoch was born. He created gas lighting.
  • In 1831, Nat Turner led black slaves and free blacks in a rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia. The rebellion claimed the lives of 55 to 65 whites and about twice that number of blacks.
  • In 1888, the first successful adding machine in the United States was patented by William Seward Burroughs.
  • In 1897, the American automobile manufacturer and marque of Oldsmobile was founded.
  • In 1904, pianist, composer, and bandleader Count Basie was born.
  • In 1906, animator, director, and producer Fritz Freleng was born.
  • In 1911, the Mona Lisa was stolen by Vincenzo Peruggia, a Louvre employee.
  • In 1942, Disney’s Bambi was released. It was based on the book by Felix Salten.
  • In 1945, physicist Harry Daghlian was fatally irradiated in a criticality accident during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Demon core was a spherical 6.2-kilogram subcritical mass of plutonium manufactured during World War II by the Manhattan Project as a fissile core for an early atomic bomb. It got its name as a result of two supercriticality accidents.
  • Also in 1945, Greek-American composer and conductor Basil Poledouris was born.
  • In 1956, English-Canadian actress Kim Cattrall was born.
  • In 1959, United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an executive order proclaiming Hawaii as the 50th state of the Union. Hawaii’s admission is currently commemorated by Hawaii Admission Day.
  • In 1961, American country music singer Patsy Cline returned to record producer Owen Bradley’s studio in Nashville, Tennessee to record her vocals to Willie Nelson’s “Crazy”. It became her signature song.
  • Also in 1961, Motown released what would become its first #1 hit in America: “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes.
  • In 1967, Canadian actress Carrie-Anne Moss was born.
  • In 1968, James Anderson Jr. was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. It was the first to be awarded to an African American United States Marine.
  • In 1987, Dirty Dancing was released.
  • In 1989, actress Hayden Panettiere was born.


In 1983, Philippine opposition leader Benigno Aquino, Jr. was assassinated at the Manila International Airport.

He was the husband of Corazon Aquino, who later became the Philippine President. They are both treated as two of the heroes of democracy in the country for their fight against oppression of their people. His assassination led to the downfall of Ferdinand Marcos on February 25, 1986, through the People Power Revolution. In 2004, the commemoration ceremony for the holiday was held and events were attended by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Fidel V. Ramos.

The site of his assassination was renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport in his 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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