The Thing About Today – September 11

September 11, 2020
Day 255 of 366


September 11th is the 255th day of the year.

Between the years of 1900 and 2099, September 11th on the Gregorian calendar is the leap day of the Coptic and Ethiopian calendars. These leap days occur in the years immediately before leap years in the Julian and Gregorian calendars, and in all common years of the Coptic and Ethiopian calendars, September 11th is New Year’s Day.

It is also the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, that claimed nearly 3,000 lives and injured over 25,000 others. The attacks precipitated substantial long-term health consequences for responders and servicemembers. They also instigated the ongoing international War on Terror.

That’s all I intend to say about that.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Make Your Bed Day and National Hot Cross Bun Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 9 AD, the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest ended. The Roman Empire suffered the greatest defeat of its history and the Rhine was established as the border between the Empire and the so-called barbarians for the next four hundred years.
  • In 1297, at the Battle of Stirling Bridge, Scots jointly led by William Wallace and Andrew Moray defeated the English.
  • In 1609, Henry Hudson discovered Manhattan Island and the indigenous people living there.
  • In 1776, the British-American peace conference on Staten Island failed to stop the nascent American Revolutionary War.
  • In 1789, Alexander Hamilton was appointed as the first United States Secretary of the Treasury.
  • In 1792, the Hope Diamond was stolen along with other French crown jewels when six men broke into the house where they were stored.
  • In 1816, German lens maker Carl Zeiss was born. He created the Optical instrument.
  • In 1826, Captain William Morgan, an ex-freemason, was arrested in Batavia, New York for debt. This was after declaring that he would publish The Mysteries of Free Masonry, a book against Freemasonry. This set into motion the events that led to his mysterious disappearance.
  • In 1857, the Mountain Meadows massacre came to a conclusion as Mormon militiamen and Paiutes murdered 120 pioneers at Mountain Meadows, Utah.
  • In 1940, director, producer, and screenwriter Brian De Palma was born.
  • In 1950, actress Amy Madigan was born.
  • In 1956, director, producer, and screenwriter Tony Gilroy was born.
  • In 1961, actress Virginia Madsen was born.
  • In 1970, actress Taraji P. Henson was born.
  • In 1972, the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit system began passenger service.
  • In 1979, actress Ariana Richards was born.
  • In 1987, actor Tyler Hoechlin was born.
  • In 1997, NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor reached Mars.


September 11th is the National Day of Catalonia (Diada Nacional de Catalunya in Catalan), which is a day-long festival and one of its official national symbols. It commemorates the fall of Barcelona during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714 and the subsequent loss of Catalan institutions and laws.

The Army of Catalonia that initially fought in support of the Habsburg dynasty’s claim to the Spanish throne was finally defeated at the Siege of Barcelona by the army of the Bourbon king Philip V of Spain. This happened on September 11, 1714, after 14 months of siege, and it resulted in the loss of the Catalan constitutions and the institutional system of the Principality of Catalonia under the aegis of the Nueva Planta decrees and the establishment of absolutism.

The holiday was first celebrated on September 11, 1886. As governments have come and gone over the years, the holiday has seen fluctuations in both popularity and demonstrations, but most recently (as of 1980) the Generalitat de Catalunya, upon its restoration after the Francoist State, restored the celebration with the first law approved by the restored Parliament of Catalonia.


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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