The Thing About Today – December 19

December 19, 2020
Day 354 of 366

December 19th is the 354th day of the year. It is Goa Liberation Day, commemorating the Indian Army’s invasion of Portuguese territories on the Indian subcontinent that they refused to surrender after India gained independence from British rule in 1947. On December 19, 1961, Operation Vijay resulted in the annexation of Goa and of the Daman and Diu islands into the Indian union. On May 30, 1987, the union territory was split, and Goa was made India’s twenty-fifth state, with Daman and Diu remaining a union territory.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Hard Candy Day, National Oatmeal Muffin Day, and National Wreaths Across America Day (an observation that shifts dates annually).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1606, the ships Susan ConstantGodspeed, and Discovery departed England, carrying settlers who founded, at Jamestown, Virginia, the first of the thirteen colonies that became the United States.
  • In 1714, astronomer and educator John Winthrop was born.
  • In 1825, violinist and composer George Frederick Bristow was born.
  • In 1924, the last Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost was sold in London, England.
  • In 1932, BBC World Service began broadcasting as the BBC Empire Service.
  • In 1961, English actor and author Matthew Waterhouse was born. He played Adric in Doctor Who.
  • In 1963, model and actress Jennifer Beals was born.
  • In 1972, actress Alyssa Milano was born.
  • In 1974, the ninth James Bond film, The Man with the Golden Gun, premiered.
  • In 1975, Canadian composer Jeremy Soule was born.
  • In 1980, actor and producer Jake Gyllenhaal was born.
  • In 1986, Platoon premiered.
  • In 1995, the United States Government restored federal recognition to the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Native American tribe.
  • In 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached by the United States House of Representatives, becoming the second President of the United States to be impeached. Andrew Johnson was the first, and Donald Trump was the third (and latest).
  • In 2013, spacecraft Gaia was launched by European Space Agency.

December 19th is National Heroes and Heroines Day in Anguilla. It is a day to celebrate and remember all those who have made important contributions to the nation.

As a British overseas territory in the Easter Caribbean, Anguilla was joined to St. Kitts and Nevis as an associated statehood in 1962. Resentment against this political decision festered, and in May 1967, the people of Anguilla marched on the Police Headquarters and evicted the Royal St. Kitts Police Force from the island.

On December 19, 1980, Anguilla fully seceded from the association. This date was marked by a public holiday called Separation Day, but in the years since, the Government of Anguilla has renamed the holiday to National Heroes and Heroines Day. The holiday became a general celebration of the people who have played an important role in the history of Anguilla and made significant sacrifices for the prosperity of this small but proud island nation.

The holiday also honors the revolution in 1967, including memorial services for those involved. The services are accompanied by parades and music performances and the whole day is observed as a joyous celebration rather than solemn remembrance.

The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

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