ON THIS DAY: March 20, 2017

March 20th is

Alien Abduction Day *

Atheist Pride Day

Proposal Day

Ravioli Day

UN French Language Day *

World Storytelling Day *

Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day *

Great American Meat Out Day *

World Day of Theatre for Children *

National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

MORE! Harriet Beecher Stowe, Maud Menten and Libby Riddles, more



Vernal Equinox in Northern Hemisphere (in the U.S. 6:29 am EDT) – Autumnal Equinox in Southern Hemisphere

Celebrations of the equinox include:

  • Bahá’í holy day – Naw-Ruz (first day of the Bahá’í calendar)
  • Paganism – Ostara
  • Persian New Year –Novruz Bairam/Norooz/Nauryz Meyramy

Christmas Island – Labour Day

East Timor –
Presidential Election – 1st Round

Mexico – Benito Juarez Day

New Zealand – Otago:
Provincial Anniversary Day

Tunisia – Independence Day

On This Day in HISTORY

141 – 6th recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet

1413 – Henry V ascends the throne of England upon the death of his father Henry IV

1525 – The Parliament of Paris begins its pursuit of Protestants

1602 – The United Dutch East Indian Company (VOC) is formed, and the Netherlands grants it a monopoly on trade with Asia

1616 – Walter Raleigh, imprisoned in Tower of London for secretly marrying one of Queen Elizabeth I’s maids of honour without royal permission, is released after nearly 13 years in the Tower, to head a South America expedition in search of El Dorado

1627 – As the Anglo-French War heats up, with England supporting the Huguenots trapped during the siege of their stronghold at La Rochelle, France and Spain sign an accord for fighting Protestantism

1739 – Nadir Shah of Persia, after invading India, occupies Delhi and takes possession of the Peacock throne of the Mughal Empire

1792 – In Paris, the Legislative Assembly approves the use of the guillotine

1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte enters Paris after his escape from Elba and begins his “Hundred Days” rule

1816 – The U.S. Supreme Court affirms its right to review state court decisions when it overturns Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee, a land dispute over Lord Fairfax’s Virginia estate: the Virginia Court of Appeals had ruled the state legislature had a right to transfer the estate to the state of Virginia, then give part of the property to David Hunter; the ruling states that a U.S. agreement with Great Britain after the American Revolution returning land to British Loyalists takes precedence over state law

1833 – U.S. and Siam sign the Treaty of Amity and Commerce, a free trade agreement

1845 – Lucy Myers Wright Mitchell born, American author and art historian, known for her two-volume work A History of Ancient Sculpture

1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly, is published, and becomes the best-selling novel of the 19th century

1854 – The Republican Party is organized in Ripon WI by about 50 slavery opponents

1865 – A plan by John Wilkes Booth to abduct U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is foiled when Lincoln changes his plans and does not appear at the Soldier’s Home near Washington DC

1879 – Maud Menten born, Canadian physician and biochemist, known for the Michaelis-Menten equation

1886 – The first American AC power plant begins commercial operation, in Buffalo NY, built by William Stanley, who is backed by George Westinghouse

1888 – The Sherlock Holmes Adventure, A Scandal in Bohemia, begins on this date

1890 – The General Federation of Womans’ Clubs is founded

1897 – The first U.S. orthodox Jewish Rabbinical seminary is incorporated in New York

1899 – At Sing Sing prison, Martha M. Place became the first woman to be executed in the electric chair, convicted of the murder of her stepdaughter

1900 – The European powers announce their mutual agreement to keep China’s doors open to trade, just three months before the ‘55 days at Peking’ of the Boxer Rebellion

1903 – In Paris, paintings by Henri Matisse are shown at the “Salon des Independants”

1915 – ‘Sister’ Rosetta Tharpe born, American singer, songwriter and guitarist with cross-over appeal in gospel, jazz, blues and pop, “the original soul sister”

1920 – Rosemary Timperley born, British author, best known for her ghost stories

1922 – The USS Langley is commissioned, the first aircraft carrier for the U.S. Navy

1928 – Fred Rogers born, beloved children’s television host of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood (1968-2001); wrote the theme song, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

1932 – The German dirigible, Graf Zepplin, makes its first flight to South America on regular schedule

1933 – The first Nazi concentration camp is completed at Dachau

1934 – Rudolf Kuhnold gives a demonstration of radar in Kiel, Germany

1937 – Lois Lowry born, American author, YA/children’s books, Newbery Medal recipient

1941 – Fats Waller records “All That Meat And No Potatoes”

1947 – A blue whale weighing 180-metric tons is caught in the South Atlantic.

1956 – Tunisia gains independence from France

1963 – The first “Pop Art” exhibit opens in New York City

1964 – The ESRO (European Space Research Organization) is established

1965 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson orders 4,000 troops to protect the Selma-Montgomery civil rights marchers

1980 – The U.S. makes an appeal to the International Court concerning the American Hostages in Iran

1981 – Argentine ex-president Isabel Peron is sentenced to eight years in a convent

1982 – U.S. scientists return from Antarctica with land mammal fossils, the first discovered there

1984 – U.S. Senate rejects an amendment to permit spoken prayer in public schools

1985 – For the first time in Avon’s 99-year history, its representatives receive a salary, changing from a commissions-only system

1985 – Libby Riddles wins the 1,135-mile Anchorage-to-Nome dog race becoming the first woman to win the Iditarod

1985 – The first Great American Meat Out Day * is launched by the vegans of FARM, inviting meat-eaters to try going a day without eating meat

1987 – U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved AZT, a drug shown to slow the progress of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)

1989 – A Washington DC district court judge blocks a curfew imposed by Mayor Barry and the City Council

1990 – Namibia becomes an independent nation, ending 75 years of South African rule

1990 – Imelda Marcos, widow of ex-Philippines dictator Ferdinand Marcos, goes on trial for racketeering, embezzlement and bribery

1991 – U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that employers could not exclude women from jobs where exposure to toxic chemicals could potentially damage a fetus

1991 – The first Storytelling Day * is held in Sweden

1993 – Russian President Boris Yeltsin declares emergency rule, and announces referendum on whether the people trust him or the hard-line Congress to govern

1995 – About 35,000 Turkish troops cross the northern border of Iraq in pursuit of the separatist rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)

1995 – In Tokyo, 12 people are killed and more than 5,500 others sickened when packages of the nerve gas Sarin are released on five separate subway trains; the terrorists belong to a Japanese doomsday cult

1996 – U.K. authorities announce that humans can catch CJD (Mad Cow Disease)

1997 – Liggett Group, maker of Chesterfield cigarettes, settles 22 state lawsuits by admitting the industry markets cigarettes to teenagers and agreeing to warn on every cigarette pack that smoking is addictive

1998 – India’s new Hindu nationalist-led government pledges to “exercise the option to induct nuclear weapons”

1999 – Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones complete their non-stop trip over 26, 500 miles, which began on March 3, becoming the first to circumnavigate Earth in a hot air balloon

1999 – Legoland California opens Carlsbad, California

2002 – Arthur Andersen LLP pleads innocent to charges that it shredded documents and deleted computer files related to the energy company Enron

2003 – U.S. and British forces invade Iraq from Kuwait

2008 – Alien Abduction Day * becomes official at the Toronto Alien Festival

2010 – UN French Language Day * is established by UNESCO “to celebrate  multilingualism and cultural diversity”

2011 – Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day * becomes an annual tradition to honor Mister Rogers on his birthday by wearing a sweater, doing something neighborly, and reflecting on what we can learn from his example

2013 – UN General Assembly declares first official International Day of Happiness * but the idea is from Bhutan, a nation self-proclaimed among the happiest on Earth

2014 – World Day of Theatre for Children * launched by the ASSITEJ, which unites people and groups worldwide who made theatre for children and young people


  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor Day poster
  • National Native HIV/AIDS Awareness Day logo
  • International flags
  • Henry V of England
  • Walter Raleigh, time quote
  • Lucy Myers Wright Mitchell with book cover of re-issue
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe, siding with weak quote
  • Maud Menten profile
  • A Scandal in Bohemia opening, drawing of Irene Adler
  • 1903 “Salon des Independants” catalogue and postcard
  • The USS Langley
  • Lois Lowry, world changed quote
  •  Marilyn diptych, by Andy Warhol
  • Storytelling Day – Once Upon a Time
  • Legoland California
  • International Day of Happiness banner


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for over 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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8 Responses to ON THIS DAY: March 20, 2017

  1. Russell says:

    Lots of great things. I recall reading about the race for electricity. I think Edison and others were for DC and and Westinghouse backed AC. It was a race to light the Chicago World’s Fair. To me it was interesting as the backers were major players in other industrial aspects. Ford and Edison were great buddies.

    I missed the age of Mr Rogers, I had to watch Captain Kangaroo.

    Harriet Beacher Stowe, very interesting lady. Yesterday I read a story about the Whitehouse Cook for George Washington. I think the man’s name was Harkles. He was a slave and bore children into slavery. He did not get his freedom under Washington only after his death. He was a run away slave until Martha freed all of them. It is a good read.

    • wordcloud9 says:

      Hi Russell –

      The electricity battle is a really interesting story – too long to tell at On This Day, but I enjoyed scanning through it in my research.

      I didn’t catch Mr. Rogers until I was baby-sitting for friends whose little boy was a huge fan – I enjoyed watching with him. More than I can say when, a couple of decades later, I was helping another friend with her boy who was addicted to that awful bloated purple ‘dinosaur’ Barney – children’s television, like everything else educational in America, has been ‘dumbed down’ to imbecility..

      • Russell says:

        Did you catch 60 minutes last night in regards to Public Television? The had a piece on the influence of se
        Sesame Street, very interesting news story. I miss Rather and Ronney, heck just too many to name Bradley was great too.

        • wordcloud9 says:

          I was writing last night, so I missed it, but I do know that Sesame Street has had a huge positive impact. When Republicans put down public television, it makes me see red – the federal government should be funding public TV a lot more, not eliminating its funding.

    • Two stories about Fred Rogers.
      1) He wore the long sleeves to cover his tattoos. He apparently got more than one when he was in the service.
      2) Christopher Guest (a.k.a. Lord Guest, comedy actor writer and director of “Spinal Tap” and “Best in Show” fame and Mr. Jamie Lee Curtis) used to do a wicked Mr. Rogers bit on SNL. He was only on the show a year, but shortly after his tenure there, he was filming a movie somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Either Nebraska or South Dakota. I forget which. Well, they had the cast and crew put up in this little motel. One morning, Guest got up and looked out the window to see . . . Mr. Rogers milling about in the parking lot in front of his room. His first thought was “Oh, no! Mr. Rogers has hunted me down and is going to kick my ass for those skits!” Then he found out that Fred was there to film a bit for his own show about some local factory. Although Guest was relieved, it would have been even funnier if Mr. Rogers had given Guest the politest beating in history.

      I am of an odd age where I had both the Captain and Mr. Rogers as well as Sesame Street and The Electric Company (I’ve been a fan of Morgan Freeman almost my entire life).

      I accidentally watched some of the Disney Channel not too long ago and wept at the level of insipid banality, crass commercialism and outright stupidity.

      Yep. We need more public television. Not less.

      This message brought to by the letters “W’, “T” and “F” and a grant from The Logic Corporation. At Logic, we match more patterns before noon than all of modern television does in a year. And the Chub Group, where our motto is “So we like caramel corn! A lot! What’s it to ya, pal?”

      • wordcloud9 says:

        LOL Gene –

        From the twinkle in Mr. Rogers’ eye, I wonder if a meeting between him and Christopher Guest might just have been friendly and a lot of fun.

        One of the few bright spots left at Disney is Pixar,which still produces good family entertainment that works for kids and adults. But the ‘after market’ sequels to any of Disney’s animated films, Pixar or not, are the worst animation I ever seen – cheap, completely flat and distorted figures, with terrible scripts,which get dumped on the Disney Channel to fill the spaces in between the endless hours of product marketing. I can only watch a minute or two before I have to move on.

  2. Dame Vera Lynn is 100 today. I wrote a tribute to her about three years ago. That came out of a dark evening, sitting at my desk with memories of what it was like during WW2. Troop trains going by, loaded with young men. Many of them would never come back. Long freight trains of gondola cars full of smelly sulfur. Gondola cars were not covered, so as the train went by, a thin cloud of yellow dust was flying off the loaded cars. You could still smell the sulfur after the trains passed. A lot of sulfur was needed, because it is an essential ingredient in gunpowder and explosives. There were flatcars with airplanes, tanks, jeeps and artillery pieces. The planes were disassembled and most in open wooden crates. It was not at all clear that we could win the war. The USA and our allies were taking a beating across two oceans. Through those dark days, the sweet clear voice of Vera Lynn offered hope for better days to come.

    Happy birthday, Dame Vera.

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