The Thing About Today – July 12

July 12, 2020
Day 194 of 366


July 12th is the 194th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Kiribati (which separated from the United Kingdom in 1979) and São Tomé and Príncipe (which separated from Portugal in 1975).


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Simplicity Day, National Different Colored Eyes Day National Pecan Pie Day, Paper Bag Day, and Eat Your Jello Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 100 BC, Roman politician and general Julius Caesar was born.
  • In 1493, Hartmann Schedel’s Nuremberg Chronicle, one of the best-documented early printed books, was published.
  • In 1817, essayist, poet, and philosopher Henry David Thoreau was born.
  • In 1854, George Eastman was born. He founded the Eastman Kodak company.
  • In 1862, the Medal of Honor was authorized by the United States Congress.
  • In 1895, architect and engineer Buckminster Fuller was born. He designed the Montreal Biosphère and published more than 30 books, coining or popularizing terms such as “Spaceship Earth”, “Dymaxion” (applied to a house, car, and map), ephemeralization, synergetic, and “tensegrity”. Since he popularized the widely known geodesic dome, the carbon molecules known as fullerenes were named in his honor for their structural and mathematical resemblance to geodesic spheres.
  • Also in 1895, director, producer, and songwriter Oscar Hammerstein II was born.
  • In 1943, German Wehrmacht and Soviet forces engaged in one of the largest armored engagements of all time, known as the Battle of Prokhorovka.
  • In 1951, actress Cheryl Ladd was born.
  • In 1957, astronaut Rick Husband was born. He was the commander of Space Shuttle Columbia when it disintegrated upon re-entry during mission STS-107.
  • In 1971, the Australian Aboriginal Flag was flown for the first time.


July 12th is The Twelfth, also known as the Glorious Twelfth or Orangemen’s Day, an Ulster Protestant celebration that celebrates the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the victory of Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. As noted yesterday, this began the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland.

The event is celebrated with large parades held by the Orange Order and Ulster loyalist marching bands, and streets are bedecked with British flags and bunting while large towering bonfires are lit. The Twelfth is mainly celebrated in Ulster and is a public holiday in Northern Ireland. The Twelfth involves thousands of participants and spectators.

In Ulster, where about half the population is from a Protestant background and half from a Catholic background, the Twelfth has been accompanied by violence since its inception. Many see the Orange Order and its marches as sectarian, triumphalist, and supremacist, as well as a politically unionist and loyalist organization. This violence related to The Twelfth in Northern Ireland worsened during the 30-year ethno-political conflict known as the Troubles.

This violence is often downplayed as the event is presented as a family-friendly cultural event open to tourists, though small factions still tend to stir up trouble.


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

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