The Thing About Today – November 29

November 29, 2020
Day 334 of 366

November 29th is the 334th day of the year. It is Unity Day in Vanuatu, a day dedicated to finding unity among the 270,000 citizens, 113 indigenous languages, and various unique customs and traditions across the 83 small volcanic islands.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as Electronic Greetings Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1777, San Jose, California, was founded as Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe by José Joaquín Moraga. It was the first civilian settlement, or pueblo, in Alta California.
  • In 1832, novelist and poet Louisa May Alcott was born.
  • In 1877, Thomas Edison demonstrated the phonograph for the first time.
  • In 1898, British novelist, poet, and critic C. S. Lewis was born.
  • In 1918, author and poet Madeleine L’Engle was born.
  • In 1935, actress Diane Ladd was born.
  • In 1961, The Mercury-Atlas 5 mission was launched. Enos, a chimpanzee, was launched into space. The spacecraft orbited the Earth twice and splashed down off the coast of Puerto Rico.
  • In 1964, actor and producer Don Cheadle was born.
  • In 1972, Atari released Pong, the first commercially successful video game.
  • In 1976, actor Chadwick Boseman was born. He died this year from colon cancer. He was taken from us far too soon.

November 29th is Liberation Day (Dita e Çlirimit) in Albania. It commemorates the day in 1944 when the country was liberated from Nazi Germany forces after the Albanian resistance during World War II.

After Italy was defeated by the Allies, Germany occupied Albania in September 1943. Paratroopers dropped into Tirana before the Albanian guerrillas could take the capital, and the German army drove the guerrillas into the hills and to the south.

Berlin subsequently announced it would recognize the independence of a neutral Albania and organized the Albanian government, police, and military. Many Balli Kombëtar units (an Albanian nationalist anti-communist paramilitary movement and political organization) collaborated with the Germans against the communists, and several Balli Kombëtar leaders held positions in the German-sponsored regime.

The partisans entirely liberated Albania from German occupation on November 29, 1944. The National Liberation Army, which in October 1944 consisted of 70,000 regulars, also took part in the war alongside the antifascist coalition. The Albanian partisans liberated Kosovo, and assisted Tito’s communist forces in liberating part of Montenegro and southern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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.

The Thing About Today – August 25

August 25, 2020
Day 238 of 366


August 25th is the 238th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Uruguay as they celebrate their separation from Brazil in 1825.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Whiskey Sour Day, National Kiss and Make Up Day, National Secondhand Wardrobe Day, and National Banana Split Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1609, Galileo Galilei demonstrated his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers.
  • In 1814, on the second day of the Burning of Washington, British troops torched the Library of Congress, United States Treasury, Department of War, and other public buildings.
  • In 1835, the first Great Moon Hoax article was published in The New York Sun, announcing the discovery of life and civilization on the Moon.
  • In 1894, Kitasato Shibasaburō discovered the infectious agent of the bubonic plague and published his findings in The Lancet.
  • In 1909, actor Michael Rennie was born.
  • In 1916, the United States National Park Service was created.
  • In 1918, pianist, composer, and conductor Leonard Bernstein was born.
  • In 1921, Canadian-American television personality and game show host Monty Hall was born.
  • In 1930, Scottish actor and producer Sean Connery was born. He was the first official James Bond, an immortal Scottish-Egyptian Spaniard, a security officer in space, a Russian submarine captain, Indy’s dad, and so many more characters.
  • In 1933, actor Tom Skerritt was born.
  • In 1939, actor, director, and producer John Badham was born.
  • In 1958, director, producer, and screenwriter Tim Burton was born.
  • In 1961, actress Joanne Whalley was born.
  • In 1964, television writer and producer Marti Noxon was born.
  • In 1981, the Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Saturn.
  • In 1989, the Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Neptune. It was the last planet in the Solar System at the time due to Pluto being within Neptune’s orbit from 1979 to 1999.
  • In 1991, Linus Torvalds announced the first version of what would become Linux.
  • In 2012, the Voyager 1 spacecraft entered interstellar space, thus becoming the first man-made object to do so.


August 25th is Liberation Day in France.

The date commemorates the Liberation of Paris (Libération de Paris), a World War II military battle that started on August 19, 1944 and ended six days later when the Nazi garrison surrendered Paris.

The liberation began when the French Forces of the Interior, the military structure of the French Resistance, staged an uprising against the Nazis as General George Patton’s Third Army approached. On the night of August 24th, elements of General Philippe Leclerc’s 2nd French Armored Division made their way into Paris and arrived at the Hôtel de Ville. The next morning, the bulk of the 2nd Armored Division and American 4th Infantry Division entered the city. Military governor of Paris and garrison commander Dietrich von Choltitz surrendered at the Hôtel Meurice.

General Charles de Gaulle of the French Army arrived to assume control of the city, operating as head of the Provisional Government of the French Republic. The fighting continued across France, but the politically divided French Resistance, Gaullists, nationalists, communists, and anarchists were united.


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.