The Thing About Today – September 18

September 18, 2020
Day 262 of 366


September 18th is the 262nd day of the year. It is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day in the United States.

It is also National POW/MIA Recognition Day in the United States. Congress established the National POW/MIA Recognition Day with the passage of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act.  Typically observed on the third Friday in September, it is one of the six days that Federal Law requires government facilities to fly the POW/MIA Flag. It serves to remember and honor the members of the Armed Forces who remain missing in action or are prisoners of war.

Tonight also begins the celebration of Rosh Hashana (רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה‎), the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration that begins on the first day of Tishrei, which is the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year. It marks the beginning of the civil year, according to the teachings of Judaism. It is the traditional anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman according to the Hebrew Bible, and the inauguration of humanity’s role in God’s world.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Cheeseburger Day, National Tradesmen Day (typically observed on the third Friday in September), and National Hug Your Boss Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1793, the first cornerstone of the United States Capitol was laid by George Washington.
  • In 1809, the Royal Opera House in London opened.
  • In 1819, French physicist and academic Léon Foucault was born. H demonstrated the effect of the Earth’s rotation using the Foucault pendulum, made an early measurement of the speed of light, discovered eddy currents, and is credited with naming the gyroscope.
  • In 1837, Tiffany & Co. was founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany and Teddy Young in New York City. Originally named Tiffany & Young, the store was called a “stationery and fancy goods emporium”.
  • In 1851, The New-York Daily Times was first published. It later became The New York Times.
  • In 1870, the Old Faithful Geyser was observed and named by Henry D. Washburn.
  • In 1895, the Atlanta Exposition Speech on race relations was delivered by Booker T. Washington.
  • In 1917, voice actress June Foray was born.
  • In 1919, the Netherlands gave women the right to vote.
  • In 1927, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) went on the air.
  • In 1947, the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency were established in the United States by the National Security Act. It also established the Air Force as an equal partner of the Army and Navy.
  • In 1948, Margaret Chase Smith of Maine became the first woman elected to the United States Senate without completing another senator’s term.
  • In 1963, English-Canadian composer and conductor John Powell was born.
  • In 1964, The Addams Family premiered.
  • In 1965, Get Smart premiered.
  • Also in 1965, I Dream of Jeannie premiered.
  • In 1971, actress Jada Pinkett Smith was born.
  • In 1973, actor James Marsden was born.
  • In 1977, Voyager I took the first distant photograph of the Earth and the Moon together.
  • In 1983, Hardcastle and McCormick premiered.
  • In 1985, The Equalizer premiered.
  • In 2009, Guiding Light came to an end after 72 years on the air. It holds the Guinness World Record of the longest-running drama in television in American history, broadcast on CBS for 57 years from June 30, 1952, until September 18, 2009. That run overlapped a 19-year broadcast on radio from 1937 to 1956, giving Guiding Light the records of the longest-running soap opera and the fifth-longest running program in all of broadcast history.
  • In 2014, Emma Watson delivered an address to a standing ovation at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The address helped launch the UN women’s campaign HeForShe, which calls for men to advocate for gender equality.


September 18th is National Music Day in Azerbaijan.

The event celebrates the 1885 birthday of Uzeyir Hajibeyov, an Azerbaijani composer, conductor, publicist, playwright, and social figure. He is recognized as the father of Azerbaijani-composed classical music and opera, and was the first composer of opera in the Islamic world.

Hajibeyov composed the music of the national anthem of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which was re-adopted after Azerbaijan regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and the anthem used by Azerbaijan during the Soviet period.

The tradition of Uzeyir Hajibeyov’s birthday as a celebration was founded by composer and conductor Niyazi who commemorated this day very year after Uzeyir Hajibeyov’s death. In 1995, on the 110th birthday of the genius composer, President Haydar Aliyev decreed that September 18th would be National Music Day.


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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