April 28, 2020
Day 119 of 366
April 28th is the 119th day of the year. It is Workers’ Memorial Day and World Day for Safety and Health at Work, an international day of remembrance and action for workers killed, disabled, injured, or made unwell by their work. In Canada, it is commemorated as the National Day of Mourning.
In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Blueberry Pie Day, National BraveHearts Day, National Great Poetry Reading Day, and National Superhero Day.
Historical items of note:
- In 1253, a Japanese Buddhist monk named Nichiren put forward Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō for the very first time. He declared it to be the essence of Buddhism, effectively Nichiren Buddhism.
- In 1503, the Battle of Cerignola was fought, noted as one of the first European battles in history won by small arms fire using gunpowder.
- In 1900, Dutch astronomer and academic Jan Oort was born.
- In 1908, Oskar Schindler was born. He was the German industrialist and member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunition factories in occupied Poland and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
- In 1926, novelist Harper Lee was born.
- In 1934, novelist and journalist Lois Duncan was born.
- In 1938, actress Madge Sinclair was born.
- In 1941, actress, singer, and dancer Ann-Margret was born.
- In 1945, Benito Mussolini and his mistress Clara Petacci were killed by Walter Audisio, a member of the Italian resistance movement.
- In 1948, Igor Stravinsky conducted the premiere of his ballet Orpheus at the New York City Center.
- Also in 1948, journalist, author, and screenwriter Terry Pratchett was born.
- In 1952, actress Mary McDonnell was born.
- In 1965, voice actor Steve Blum was born.
- In 1971, actress Bridget Moynahan was born.
- In 1973, The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd (recorded in Abbey Road Studios) hit number one on the US Billboard chart, beginning a record-breaking 741-week chart run.
- Also in 1973, actress Elisabeth Röhm was born.
- Also in 1973, actor Jorge Garcia was born.
- In 1974, actress and producer Penélope Cruz was born.
- In 1981, actress Jessica Alba was born.
- In 1986, the United States Navy aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN-65) became the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to transit the Suez Canal. It navigated from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea to relieve the USS Coral Sea (CV-43).
- Also in 1986, the Soviet Union finally revealed the Chernobyl nuclear accident, two days after the event.
This year, National Superhero Day is observed on April 28th.
The unofficial holiday was created by a group at Marvel Comics in 1995. They reportedly celebrated by putting on capes and sending interns on a mission to find out what the public thought about superheroes, and what kind superhero they’d be if they had powers.
Despite the commercial origins, the day also provides an opportunity to discuss the popularity of superheroes, a set of modern myths, and how they impact people through pop culture.
I’ll recommend the 2012 short documentary Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines, now available for free on Tubi. If you already know the history of Wonder Woman and other superheroines through recent history, this won’t be anything new, but the personal stories make the presentation worth the time.
Consider talking to the fans in your life about why they love these superheroes and what they mean in their lives.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that one of my favorites is Captain America, primarily from his portrayal in the Marvel films, but also from his ethos of favoring freedom over blind loyalty.
One of my favorite quotes from the character comes from the pen of J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5. It was in The Amazing Spider-Man, Issue #537, which took place during the Marvel universe’s Civil War arc. Spider-Man denounced the Superhero Registration Act, an act that puts him in the crosshairs. He and Captain America, who is currently being seen as a national traitor for his stance on the act, cross paths. This provides Cap a moment to share some philosophy with Peter Parker.
Doesn’t matter what the press says. Doesn’t matter what the politicians or the mobs say. Doesn’t matter if the whole country decides that something wrong is something right. This nation was founded on one principle above all else: the requirement that we stand up for what we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences. When the mob and the press and the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like a tree beside the river of truth, and tell the whole world — “No, you move.”
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.