The Thing About Today – September 16

September 16, 2020
Day 260 of 366


September 16th is the 260th day of the year. It is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, a United Nations day commemorating the day in 1987 on which nations signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Play-Doh Day, National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day, National Guacamole Day, National Step Family Day, National Working Parents Day, and Mayflower Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1620, the Pilgrims set sail from England on the Mayflower. The Pilgrims arrived in North America on November 9, 1620, and established the Plymouth Colony in what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was named after the final departure port of Plymouth, Devon. Their leadership came from the religious congregations of Brownists, or Separatist Puritans, who had fled religious persecution in England for the tolerance of 17th-century Holland in the Netherlands.
  • In 1863, Robert College was founded in Istanbul. It was the first American educational institution outside the United States and was founded by Christopher Robert, an American philanthropist.
  • In 1875, businessman and philanthropist James Cash Penney was born. He founded J. C. Penney.
  • In 1877, American-Canadian inventor and businessman Jacob Schick was born. He founded Schick Razors.
  • In 1880, The Cornell Daily Sun printed its first issue in Ithaca, New York. The Sun is the United States’ oldest, continuously-independent college daily.
  • In 1898, author and illustrator H. A. Rey was born. He and his wife Margret created Curious George.
  • In 1908, the General Motors Corporation was founded.
  • In 1922, French-English director and screenwriter Guy Hamilton was born. He directed four James Bond films.
  • In 1924, actress Lauren Bacall was born.
  • In 1925, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer B.B. King was born.
  • In 1927, actor Peter Falk was born.
  • In 1955, a Soviet Zulu-class submarine became the first to launch a ballistic missile.
  • In 1956, TCN-9 Sydney became the first Australian television station to commence regular broadcasts.
  • In 1958, actress Jennifer Tilly was born.
  • In 1959, the first successful photocopier, the Xerox 914, was introduced in a demonstration on live television from New York City.
  • In 1963, The Outer Limits premiered.
  • In 1964, actress, comedian and producer Molly Shannon was born.
  • In 1966, the Metropolitan Opera House opened at Lincoln Center in New York City with the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s opera Antony and Cleopatra.
  • In 1971, actress and comedian Amy Poehler was born.
  • In 1972, Bridget Loves Bernie premiered. It was the first television series featuring a mixed marriage, which in this case was an interfaith marriage between a Catholic woman and a Jewish man. Loosley based on the premise of the 1920s Broadway play and 1940s radio show Abie’s Irish Rose, the series was quite controversial and was canceled after one season. Stars Meredith Baxter and David Birney married in real life after the series ended.
  • In 1975, Cape Verde, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe joined the United Nations.
  • In 1976, Armenian champion swimmer Shavarsh Karapetyan saved 20 people from a trolleybus that had fallen into a Yerevan reservoir.
  • In 1979, eight people escaped from East Germany to the west in a homemade hot air balloon.
  • Also in 1979, The Sugarhill Gang released Rapper’s Delight was released. The song is credited for introducing hip hop music to a wide audience, as it reached the top 40 in the United States, the top 3 in the UK, and number one in Canada. The song was recorded in a single take, and there are five versions of the song: A 3:55 single, a 4:55 album version, a 6:30 12″ short version, a 7:07 long single version, and a 14:35 12″ long version.
  • In 1981, actress Alexis Bledel was born.
  • In 1984, Miami Vice premiered.
  • In 1992, the trial of the deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega ended in the United States with a 40-year sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering.
  • In 1993, Frasier premiered.


In 1810, with the Grito de Dolores, Father Miguel Hidalgo began Mexico’s fight for independence from Spain.

In the 1810s, what would become Mexico was still New Spain, and therefore part of the Spanish crown. The independence movement began to take shape when José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara went to the small town of Dolores (now known as Dolores Hidalgo) and asked local Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo to help to free New Spain from Spanish control.

Gutiérrez de Lara went to Washington, D.C. for military support while Hidalgo remained in Dolores. Fearing arrest, Hidalgo asked his brother Mauricio to convince the local sheriff to free the pro-independence inmates. Mauricio and armed men set 80 inmates free in the early morning of September 16th, and Hidalgo ordered the church bells to be rung as he gathered his congregation.

Flanked by Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama, he addressed the people in front of his church, urging them to revolt. His speech became known as the “Cry of Dolores”.

The liberated country adopted Mexico as its official name, and their independence was achieved after a decade of war. Gutiérrez de Lara served as a commander during the war, and independence was achieved by the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire on September 28, 1821.

Hidalgo is credited as being the “father of his country”. Every year on the eve of Independence Day, the President of Mexico re-enacts the cry from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City, while ringing the same bell Hidalgo used in 1810.


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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