September 8, 2020
Day 252 of 366
September 8th is the 252nd day of the year. It is Victory Day in Malta, also known as the feast of Our Lady of Victories or il-Vittorja, which recalls the end of three historical sieges made on the Maltese archipelago. Specifically, the Great Siege of Malta by the Ottoman Empire ending in 1565, the Siege of Valletta by the French Blockade ending in 1800, and, the Siege of Malta during the Second World War by the Italian army ending in 1943.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Ampersand Day, National Ants on a Log Day (observed on the second Tuesday in September), and National Another Look Unlimited Day (observed on the day after Labor Day).
It is also National Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses Day and World Physical Therapy Day.
Historical items of note:
- In 1504, Michelangelo’s David was unveiled in Piazza della Signoria in Florence.
- In 1522, Victoria arrived at Seville, technically completing the Magellan-Elcano circumnavigation of the world.
- In 1565, St. Augustine, Florida was founded by Spanish admiral and Florida’s first governor, Pedro Menéndez de Avilés.
- In 1810, the Tonquin set sail from New York Harbor with 33 employees of John Jacob Astor’s newly created Pacific Fur Company on board. After a six-month journey around the tip of South America, the ship arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River and Astor’s men established the fur-trading town of Astoria, Oregon.
- In 1841, Czech composer and academic Antonín Dvořák was born.
- In 1925, actor and comedian Peter Sellers was born.
- In 1930, 3M began marketing Scotch transparent tape.
- In 1937, author and illustrator Archie Goodwin was born.
- In 1938, American sergeant and radio host Adrian Cronauer was born.
- In 1945, the division of Korea began when United States troops arrived to partition the southern part of Korea in response to Soviet troops occupying the northern part of the peninsula a month earlier.
- In 1960, United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower formally dedicates the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA had already activated the facility on July 1st.
- In 1966, the landmark American science fiction television series Star Trek premiered with its first-aired episode, “The Man Trap”.
- In 1971, actor Martin Freeman was born.
- In 1973, Star Trek: The Animated Series premiered.
September 8th is International Literacy Day, declared by UNESCO on October 26, 1966. It was celebrated for the first time in 1967 with the goal of highlighting the importance of literacy to individuals, communities, and societies.
Some 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills. One in five adults is not literate and two-thirds of them are women. 60.7 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out. The ability to read would mean so much to improve their lives.
Among several other initiatives to support literacy, the UNESCO mission is supported through the Writers for Literacy Initiative by authors including Margaret Atwood, Paul Auster, Philippe Claudel, Paulo Coelho, Philippe Delerm, Fatou Diome, Chahdortt Djavann, Nadine Gordimer, Amitav Ghosh, Marc Levy, Alberto Manguel, Anna Moi, Scott Momaday, Toni Morrison, Érik Orsenna, Gisèle Pineau, El Tayeb Salih, Francisco Jose Sionil, Wole Soyinka, Amy Tan, Miklós Vámos, Abdourahman Waberi, Wei Wei, and Banana Yoshimoto.
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.