The Thing About Today – September 19

September 19, 2020
Day 263 of 366


September 19th is the 263rd day of the year. It is Independence Day for Saint Kitts and Nevis, commemorating its separation from the United Kingdom in 1983.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Butterscotch Pudding Day, Talk Like A Pirate Day, and a whole slew of things that are typically observed on the third Saturday of September: National Dance Day; National Gymnastics Day; Boys’ and Girls’ Club Day for Kids; Puppy Mill Awareness Day; Responsible Dog Ownership Day; and National CleanUp Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1796, George Washington’s Farewell Address, formally The Address of Gen. Washington to the People of America on His Declining the Presidency of the United States, was printed across America as an open letter to the public. You can read it here via The American Presidency Project at UC Santa Barbara.
  • In 1846, two French shepherd children, Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud, experienced a Marian apparition on a mountaintop near La Salette, France. It is now known as Our Lady of La Salette.
  • In 1881, United States President James A. Garfield died of wounds suffered in a July 2nd shooting. Vice President Chester A. Arthur assumed the office upon Garfield’s death.
  • In 1908, Japanese martial artist Tatsuo Shimabuku was born. He was the founder of Isshin-ryū.
  • In 1911, British novelist, playwright, poet, and Nobel Prize laureate William Golding was born.
  • In 1927, actress Rosemary Harris was born.
  • In 1928, actor, businessman, and 1960s Caped Crusader Adam West was born.
  • In 1933, actor David McCallum was born.
  • In 1944, the Battle of Hürtgen Forest began near the Belgian-German border during World War II. It would become the longest individual battle that the United States Army has ever fought.
  • In 1948, actor Jeremy Irons was born.
  • In 1949, English model, actress, and singer Twiggy was born.
  • In 1950, American television journalist, anchor, and author Joan Lunden was born.
  • In 1952, The Adventures of Superman premiered on television.
  • In 1957, Plumbbob Rainier became the first nuclear explosion to be entirely contained underground, producing no fallout.
  • In 1966, journalist and producer Soledad O’Brien was born.
  • In 1972, writer N. K. Jemisin was born.
  • In 1974, comedian and talk show host Jimmy Fallon was born.
  • In 1975, Fawlty Towers premiered.
  • In 1982, Scott Fahlman posted the first documented emoticons on the Carnegie Mellon University bulletin board system. They were 🙂 and 😦 .
  • In 1987, actress Danielle Panabaker was born.
  • In 1989, Doogie Howser, M.D. premiered.
  • In 1994, ER premiered.
  • In 1995, The Washington Post and The New York Times published the Unabomber’s manifesto.


September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

It is a parody holiday created in 1995 by John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur and Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers of Albany, Oregon.

According to Summers, the day is the only known holiday to come into being as a result of a sports injury. During a racquetball game between Summers and Baur, one of them reacted to the pain with an outburst of “Aaarrr!”, and the idea was born. They chose Summers’ ex-wife’s birthday since the date would be easy for him to remember.

The holiday gained exposure when Baur and Summers sent a letter about it to the American syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry in 2002. The holiday, and its observance, springs from a romanticized view of the Golden Age of Piracy (1650s-1730s).

Ahoy, me hearties!


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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