Milestones: Wednesday, September 13, 2023
THE BIG APPLE AS CAPITAL — THE NEWLY-BORN UNITED STATES CAPITAL was established at New York City on Sept. 13, 1788. Although Philadelphia had served as the meeting place for the Continental Congress before and during the American Revolution, the fledgling U.S. Congress picked New York, N.Y. to be the new seat of government, but that lasted only two years. The capital was moved back to Philadelphia in 1790, where it remained for a decade until its permanent move to the new District of Columbia.
Washington, D.C. was formally approved in 1790 as a planned government district, and encompassed parts of the state of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Construction began in 1793; and Congress first convened there in 1800.
NATIONAL ANTHEM BORN OF WAR — “THE STAR-SPANGLED BANNER” was inspired in the overnight hours of Sept. 13–14, 1814, in the midst of a battle during the War of 1812. Francis Scott Key was aboard a ship that was delayed in Baltimore harbor during a British attack on Fort McHenry. Key, who was an attorney and poet, had been watching the battle; his relief upon seeing the American flag still flying over the fort at dawn and signifying a U.S. victory, inspired the verses of his poem, “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” that would later become the United States’ official national anthem.
Interestingly, the tune that was paired with Key’s poem was a British drinking song by John Stafford Smith. Popular in the States as well, it was the official song of the Anacreontic Society, an 18th-century gentlemen’s club of amateur musicians in London.
‘LAW & ORDER’ GETS REVIVED — THE EMMY-AWARD WINNING “LAW & ORDER” TV series premiered on Sept. 13, 1990. Whereas earlier police shows like “Barney Miller” were comedies, “Law and Order” set in the New York borough of Manhattan, was a serious drama, starring Jerry Orbach and Benjamin Bratt as police officers and Sam Waterston and Jill Hennessy as district attorneys. This series focused on the interaction between police and the district attorney’s office in dealing with a crime, and often dealt with complicated social and religious mores. “Law and Order” won the Outstanding Drama Series Emmy in 1997, according to David Bianculli’s book, “The Platinum Age of Television.”
The cast changed almost in its entirety between its first season and when the original show was canceled in 2010. However, it remained popular in syndication, spawned spinoffs such as “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” got a second life in 2022, and was renewed in April 2023, with original cast member Sam Waterston again in the role of Manhattan DA Jack McCoy.
SIMPLY “SCRUMDIDDLYUMPTIOUS” — ROALD DAHL, born on Sept. 13, 1916 to a Norwegian family in New South Wales, Australia, was one of the most significant children’s authors of the 20th century, specializing in humorous, dark fantasy novels such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” He once said his story was inspired by the samples his family received from chocolate companies wanting to know how tasty they were. The practice of chocolate factories’ sending out spies to their competitors became part of Dahl’s inspiration. That book was the inspiration for the 1971 movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”
A tradition was established around the author: The official Roald Dahl Day takes place every year on Sept. 13 — the birthday of the world’s number one storyteller, with many “scrumdiddlyumptious” ways to celebrate; of course, re-reading one of his novels is one of the customs.
GLUTEN-FREE LIVING — NATIONAL CELIAC AWARENESS DAY is observed annually on Sept. 13, both to honor Dr. Samuel Gee, who first established the connection between celiac disease and diet, and to raise awareness about the illness that makes gluten products containing wheat, rye or barley so toxic to some people. Celiac is a gastroenterological disorder as gluten damages the stomach lining. The awareness campaign has led to an expansion of available gluten-free products ranging from cake mixes to soy sauce.
Dr. Samuel Gee (1839-1911) was a British pediatrician who published the first complete modern clinical description of (celiac) coeliac disease, and built theories on a sound diet to mitigate the illness. Sometimes, he recommended foods that most gastroenterologists today would know to be unsafe for celiac sufferers.
YOUNG NEW CHEFS — SEPT. 13 IS ALSO “KIDS TAKE OVER THE KITCHEN DAY,” part of an outreach from the Young Chefs Academy that encourages and empowers youths across the U.S. to become more active in the planning, preparation and cooking of their meals. The observance is meant also to build bonds among family members as they cook together.
‘Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day’ has a dietary component also: to improve eating habits that improve kids’ health and weight as they learn to make easier but healthy meals.
See previous milestones, here.
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