The Thing About Today – October 21

October 21, 2020
Day 295 of 366

October 21st is the 295th day of the year. It is National Nurses’ Day in Thailand.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day, National Reptile Awareness Day, BRA (Breast Reconstruction Awareness) Day, Hagfish Day, and Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce. The last three are typically observed on the third Wednesday in October.

It is also Medical Assistants Recognition Day, which is typically observed on the Wednesday of the third business week in October.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1520, Ferdinand Magellan discovered the strait now known as the Strait of Magellan.
  • In 1797, in Boston Harbor, the 44-gun United States Navy frigate USS Constitution was launched.
  • In 1833, Alfred Nobel was born. The Swedish chemist and engineer invented dynamite and founded the Nobel Prize.
  • In 1867, the Medicine Lodge Treaty is signed by southern Great Plains Indian leaders, which required Native American Plains tribes to relocate to a reservation in western Oklahoma.
  • In 1879, Thomas Edison applied for a patent for his design for an incandescent light bulb.
  • In 1911, actor Peter Graves was born.
  • In 1921, President Warren G. Harding delivered the first speech by a sitting United States President against lynching in the deep South.
  • In 1929, author and critic Ursula K. Le Guin was born.
  • In 1940, the first edition of the Ernest Hemingway novel For Whom the Bell Tolls was published.
  • In 1941, Wonder Woman made her premiere in All Star Comics #8.
  • In 1950, astronaut Ronald McNair was born.
  • In 1956, actress and screenwriter Carrie Fisher was born.

I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.

—Carrie Fisher, Wishful Drinking
  • In 1959, in New York City, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opened to the public.
  • Also in 1959, Japanese actor and producer Ken Watanabe was born.
  • Also in 1959, President Eisenhower approved the transfer of all US Army space-related activities to NASA, including most of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency.
  • In 1964, My Fair Lady premiered.
  • In 1983, the meter was defined as the distance light travels in a vacuum in 1/299,792,458 of a second.
  • In 2005, images of the dwarf planet Eris were taken and subsequently used in documenting its discovery.

October 21st is Apple Day in the United Kingdom.

Apple Day is an annual celebration of apples and orchards. It traditionally falls on October 21st, the date of the first event in 1990, but events are also held throughout the month.

Common Ground, the organization responsible for the first Apple Day, describes the day as a way of celebrating and demonstrating that variety and richness matter to a locality and that it is possible to effect change in your place. They use the apple as a symbol of physical, cultural, and genetic diversity, and they hope that linking particular apples with their place of origin will allow orchards to be recognized and conserved for their contribution to local distinctiveness, including the rich diversity of wildlife they support.

Apple Day events can be large or small, from apple games in a garden to large village fairs with cookery demonstrations, games, apple identification, juice and cider, gardening advice, and the sale of many hundreds of apple varieties.

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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