The Thing About Today – September 15

September 15, 2020
Day 259 of 366


September 15th is the 259th day of the year. It is World Lymphoma Awareness Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of lymphoma, an increasingly common form of cancer. Lymphoma is increasing in incidence and is a potentially life-threatening disease. One million people worldwide live with lymphoma and nearly 1,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every day.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Cheese Toast Day, National Linguine Day, National Felt Hat Day, National Double Cheeseburger Day, National Creme de Menthe Day, National Tackle Kids Cancer Day, National Neonatal Nurses Day, National Online Learning Day, Greenpeace Day, and National IT Professionals Day (typically observed on the third Tuesday in September).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1789, The United States “Department of Foreign Affairs”, established by law in July, was renamed the Department of State and given a variety of domestic duties.
  • In 1830, the Liverpool to Manchester railway line opened. British MP William Huskisson became the first widely reported railway passenger fatality when he was struck and killed by the locomotive Rocket.
  • In 1835, the HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin aboard, reached the Galápagos Islands.
  • In 1890, English crime novelist, short story writer, and playwright Agatha Christie.
  • In 1907, Canadian-American actress Fay Wray was born.
  • In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws deprived German Jews of citizenship. On the same day, Nazi Germany adopted a new national flag bearing the swastika.
  • In 1940, the Battle of Britain came to its climax when the Royal Air Force shot down large numbers of Luftwaffe aircraft.
  • In 1946, actor, director, producer, and screenwriter Tommy Lee Jones was born.
  • In 1949, with a “Hi-yo, Silver! Away!”, The Lone Ranger premiered.
  • In 1962, the Soviet ship Poltava set a course for Cuba. It was one of the events that set the Cuban Missile Crisis into motion.
  • In 1967, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson, responding to a sniper attack at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote a letter to Congress urging the enactment of gun control legislation.
  • In 1968, the Soviet Zond 5 spaceship was launched, becoming the first spacecraft to fly around the Moon and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • In 1971, Columbo premiered.
  • In 1977, actor Tom Hardy was born.
  • In 1981, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • Also in 1981, the John Bull became the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world when the Smithsonian Institution operated it under its own power outside Washington, D.C.
  • In 1986, L.A. Law premiered.


September 15th is observed as the International Day of Democracy.

The United Nations observance has the purpose of promoting and upholding the principles of democracy, and it invites all member states and organizations to commemorate the day in an appropriate manner that contributes to raising public awareness.

The preamble of the resolution affirmed that “…while democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy and that democracy does not belong to any country or region… …democracy is a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life.

The road to this declaration began in September 1997 when the Inter-Parliamentary Union adopted a Universal Declaration on Democracy. That Declaration affirms the principles of democracy, the elements and exercise of democratic government, and the international scope of democracy.

The international conferences on new and restored democracies process began in 1988 under the initiative of President Corazon C. Aquino of the Philippines after the so-called peaceful “People Power Revolution” overthrew the 20-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. The process developed into a three-part structure with the participation of governments, parliaments, and civil society.

After the sixth conference reinforced the tripartite nature of the process, concluding with a declaration and Plan of Action which reaffirmed the fundamental principles and values of democracy, an advisory board was established and promoted an International Day of Democracy.

Qatar took the lead in drafting the text of a United Nations General Assembly resolution and convened consultations with UN member states. The resolution was adopted by consensus on November 8, 2007.


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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