The Thing About Today – October 30

October 30, 2020
Day 304 of 366

October 30th is the 304th day of the year. Today is Thevar Jayanthi in India, the annual commemoration of the birthday of Pasumpon Muthuramalingam Thevar, a significant political figure in the state of Tamil Nadu.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Speak Up For Service Day, National Publicist Day, National Candy Corn Day, National Pharmacy Buyer Day (typically observed on the Friday of the last full week in October), National Frankenstein Friday (typically observed on the last Friday in October), and National Breadstick Day (typically observed on the last Friday in October).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1485, King Henry VII of England was crowned, beginning the Tudor reign.
  • In 1831, Nat Turner was arrested for leading the bloodiest slave rebellion in United States history.
  • In 1864, the Treaty of Vienna was signed, by which Denmark relinquished one province each to Prussia and Austria, thus ending the Second War of Schleswig.
  • In 1925, John Logie Baird creates Britain’s first television transmitter.
  • In 1938, Orson Welles broadcasted his radio play of H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds, causing anxiety in some of the audience in the United States. You can find a discussion about it in this article by the Smithsonian.
  • In 1945, Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs signed a contract for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the major league baseball color line.
  • Also in 1945, actor, comedian, director, and producer Henry Winkler was born.
  • In 1946, astronaut Robert L. Gibson was born.
  • In 1953, United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the top-secret document NSC 162/2 concerning the maintenance of a strong nuclear deterrent force against the Soviet Union.
  • In 1961, the Soviet Union detonated the Tsar Bomba, the most powerful explosive device ever detonated.
  • In 1970, television personality and Mythbuster Tory Belleci was born.
  • In 1973, the Bosphorus Bridge in Turkey was completed, connecting the continents of Europe and Asia over the Bosphorus for the second time.
  • In 1985, Space Shuttle Challenger lifted off for mission STS-61-A, its final successful mission.
  • In 2003, Wicked premiered on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre starring Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth.
  • In 2012, The Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm Ltd and its rights for Star Wars and Indiana Jones for $4.05 billion.

October 30th is the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repressions (День памяти жертв политических репрессий), an annual day of remembrance for victims of political repression in the Soviet Union.

The commemoration is held on the date of the Day of the Political Prisoner in the USSR, an initiative from 1974 by imprisoned Soviet dissidents, led by Kronid Lyubarsky for the recognition of inmates’ status as political prisoners.

The official date was introduced in April 1991 and gradually been adopted all over Russia as a Day of Remembrance for those “repressed” (arrested, exiled, sent to the camps, or shot) during the collectivization of agriculture, in the forced-labor camps of the Gulag, and shot in their tens of thousands during the Great Terror of 1937 to 1938.

As new political prisoners appear in Putin’s Russia, there have been objections to the appropriation by the State of an unofficial day of protest, that started among dissidents in camps for “political” offenders. Even a separation between the two, with the emergence of the unofficial “Restoring the Names” ceremony, has not satisfied all critics.

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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