It is Darwin Day today as well. Darwin Day is a recently instituted celebration intended to commemorate the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin on February 12, 1809. The day is used to highlight Darwin’s contribution to science and to promote science in general.
It is also National Freedom to Marry Day. National Freedom to Marry Day is a non-official United States holiday held annually on February 12 to promote same-sex marriage. The holiday was founded in 1999 by Lambda Legal, a gay rights advocacy law firm based out of Washington, DC. The most notable National Freedom to Marry Day was February 12, 2004 when, following a directive from San Francisco, California Mayor Gavin Newsom to his county clerk, the City and County of San Francisco began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. On February 10, Newsom had asked the clerk’s office to make the changes on the “forms and documents used to apply for and issue marriage licenses…in order to provide [them] on a non –discriminatory basis.”
Some of the writers born on February 12th include:
Thomas Campion (1567), Caspar Barlaeus (1584), Charles Pinot Duclos (1704), Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué (1777), George Meredith (1828), Lou Andreas-Salome (1861), Kazimierz Tetmajer (1865), Jean Effel (1908), R. F. Delderfield (1912), Janwillem van de Wetering (1931), Axel Jensen (1931), Julian Lincoln Simon (1932), Judy Blume (1938), Raymond Kurzweil (1948), Joaquín Sabina (1949), Dan Puric (1959), Jacqueline Woodson (1963), David Westlake (1965), Darren Aronofsky (1969), Judd Winick (1970), and Sophie Zelmani (1972).
Peter Cooper was born on this day in 1791. He was an American industrialist, inventor, philanthropist, and candidate for President of the United States. He designed and built the first steam locomotive in the U.S., and founded the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in Manhattan, New York City.
As I mentioned in the first paragraph, the 16th President of the United States was born on this day in 1809.
Christopher McCandless was born on this day in 1968. He is the subject of the biography Into the Wild. The American adventurer hiked into the Alaskan wilderness in April 1992 with little food and equipment, hoping to live simply for a time in solitude. Almost four months later, McCandless’ remains were found, weighing only 67 pounds. He died of starvation near Lake Wentitika in Denali National Park and Preserve. In January 1993, Jon Krakauer published McCandless’ story in that month’s issue of Outside magazine. Inspired by the details of McCandless’s story, Krakauer wrote and published Into the Wild in 1996 about McCandless’ travels. The book was adapted into a film by Sean Penn in 2007 with Emile Hirsch portraying McCandless. That same year, McCandless’s story also became the subject of Ron Lamothe’s documentary The Call of the Wild.
As mentioned, today is Georgia day. It was on February 12, 1733 that the Englishman James Oglethorpe founded Georgia, the 13th colony of the original Thirteen Colonies, and its first city at Savannah. On this day in 1825 the Creek ceded the last of their lands in Georgia to the United States government by the Treaty of Indian Springs, and migrated west.
In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded on this day. Also on February 12, of that year was New Zealand‘s worst maritime disaster of the 20th century. This happened when the SS Penguin, an inter-island ferry, sank and exploded at the entrance to Wellington Harbour.
African American United States Army veteran Isaac Woodard was severely beaten on February 12, 1946 by a South Carolina police officer to the point where he lost his vision in both eyes. The incident later galvanized the Civil Rights Movement and partially inspired the film by Orson Welles called Touch of Evil.
Venera 1 was launched by the U.S.S.R on February 12, 1961. This was the first spacecraft to fly past Venus, as part of the Soviet Union‘s Venera programme. It flew past Venus on May 19 of the same year, but radio contact with the probe was lost before the flyby, resulting in it returning no data.
Four years ago today the Colgan Air Flight 3407 crashed into a house in Clarance Center, New York while on approach to Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. Everyone on board was killed as well as one person on the ground.
Disclaimer: Much of the information in this blog is taken directly from Wikipedia and Amazon. Images have been taken from various sources around the World Wide Web.