Life Day 24078: “It’s a Grand Old Flag”

June 14, 2013 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Today is Friday, June 14, 2013.
Good morning budding vexillologists. The first holiday today is Flag Day. Flag Day is part of Flag Week, and honors the good ole’ Stars and Stripes. It is always celebrated on June 14th. Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, however, it is at the President’s discretion to officially proclaim the observance. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day, and in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. There are specific guidelines regarding the proper display of the flag. If you decide to display your flag today to celebrate this holiday, I urge you to familiarize yourself with these rules. This link will give you the information you need. Also, there are specific guidelines for the proper disposal of a flag that is no longer serviceable by burning it. Your local Boy Scout organization knows the proper ceremony and performs it on a regular basis. If you have an old flag, give it to them, then attend the ceremony. It is a ceremony everyone should see.

The next holiday today is closely related to Flag Day. It is Pause for the Pledge Day. Pause for the Pledge Day originated in 1980 at the Star-Spangled Banner Flag House in Baltimore, Maryland.  Since then the concept has swept across the country in a grassroots movement supported by a broad spectrum of individuals, organizations, and businesses. The National Flag Day Foundation Inc. was created in 1982 “to conduct educational programs throughout the in promotion of National Flag Day and to encourage national patriotism by promotion of the “pause for the Pledge of Allegiance.” On June 20, 1985, the Ninety-Ninth Congress passed and President Reagan signed Public Law 99-54 recognizing the “pause for the Pledge of Allegiance” as part of National Flag Day activities. It is an invitation urging all Americans to participate on June 14, 7:00 p.m. (EDT) in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. The effect of this simple ceremony, which transcends age, race, religion, national origin, political and geographic differences, is a stimulating patriotic experience at home and a sign of unity abroad.  While most of us know the words of the Pledge, there are a large number who do not know about its origin. This link will enable you to refresh your memory on the subject if necessary.

The third holiday today is Birthday of the U.S. Army. It celebrates the formation of the U.S. Army. It is not an “official” holiday. This excerpt from the official U.S. Army website tells the story of its formation: “When the American Revolution broke out, the rebellious colonies did not possess an army in the modern sense. Rather, the revolutionaries fielded an amateur force of colonial troops, cobbled together from various New England militia companies. They had no unified chain of command, and although Artemas Ward of Massachusetts exercised authority by informal agreement, officers from other colonies were not obligated to obey his orders. The American volunteers were led, equipped, armed, paid for, and supported by the colonies from which they were raised. In the spring of 1775, this “army” was about to confront British troops near Boston, Massachusetts. The revolutionaries had to re-organize their forces quickly if they were to stand a chance against Britain’s seasoned professionals. Recognizing the need to enlist the support of all of the American seaboard colonies, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress appealed to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia to assume authority for the New England army. Reportedly, at John Adams’ request, Congress voted to “adopt” the Boston troops on June 14, although there is no written record of this decision. Also on this day, Congress resolved to form a committee “to bring in a draft of rules and regulations for the government of the Army,” and voted $2,000,000 to support the forces around Boston, and those at New York City. Moreover, Congress authorized the formation of ten companies of expert riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, which were directed to march to Boston to support the New England militia. George Washington received his appointment as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army the next day, and formally took command at Boston on July 3, 1775.” This holiday is always observed on June 14th. Another holiday today is World Blood Donor Day. World Blood Donor Day, observed annually on June 14th, serves to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank voluntary unpaid blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood. With the slogan “Give the gift of life: donate blood”, this year’s campaign, the 10th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day, will focus on the value of donated blood to the patient, not only in saving life, but also in helping people live longer and more productive lives.

The final holiday today is Pop Goes The Weasel Day. Although neither of my sources in which this holiday was listed offered an explanation of exactly why today is Pop Goes The Weasel Day, one did offer an explanation of the origins of the nursery rhyme. Quoting from that source: “Half a pound of tuppenny rice, Half a pound of treacle. That’s the way the money goes, Pop! goes the weasel.” What does the nursery rhyme which originated in the 17th century mean? Pop means pawn and weasel refers to coat. “It was traditional for even poor people to own a suit, which they wore as their ‘Sunday Best.’ When times were hard they would pawn their suit, or coat, on a Monday and claim it back before Sunday. Hence the term “Pop goes the Weasel.” So, I guess you’re supposed to pawn you best suit today. Just be sure to reclaim it before Sunday.

The first food-related holiday today is National Strawberry Shortcake Day. National Strawberry Shortcake Day is a day we honor the old time favorite cake called the shortcake. Shortcake is basically a sweetened biscuit. The most popular way to eat a slice of shortcake is with fresh strawberries in juice or sauce with cream on top. It’s very common though to serve shortcake with any other fruit that you may have. Bananas, peaches, blueberries, blackberries raspberries will all work on top of a shortcake just fine. However, strawberry shortcake remains one of America’s favorite desserts. It is also often served on Independance Day when blueberries are sometimes add to the strawberries to make the dish red, white and blue; the traditional colors for the 4th of July.

The other food-related holiday today is National Bourbon Day. For a whiskey to classify as bourbon it must be made in the U.S. While any state will do, most are made in Kentucky. In addition, its mash which is that mix of grains from which bourbon is distilled must comprise at least 51 per cent and no more than 79 per cent Indian corn. Most recipes use about 70 per cent corn, which gives it its nickname corn whiskey. Besides corn, the other grains used in the making of bourbon include malted barley and either rye or wheat. Some Kentucky bourbon makers say the limestone spring water in that area of the state lends bourbon its distinctive flavor. Bourbon must be aged at least two years in a new, charred oak barrel made from American White Oak. But many types of bourbon are aged four years or longer. Bourbon gains its color and much of its flavor from barrel aging. The charred wood provides caramelized sugars that add flavor to the whiskey. The barrels can only be used once for bourbon so many become furniture or firewood. Others are used for aging soy sauce, while most end up in the United Kingdom for their Scotch whiskies. Bourbon barrels are stored in large, multi-storey warehouses called rick houses. The wood barrels expand and contract based on the weather outside which eventually penetrates these rick houses. Hot weather causes the pores of the wood to open up more and impart their flavor. The result is barrels on the top floor will have a slightly different flavor than those on lower floors. Most distillers make their bourbon between 80 and 100 proof. This means it contains 40 to 50 percent alcohol by volume. Happy sipping!!

On this date in 1951 – “Univac I” was unveiled. It was a computer designed for the U.S. Census Bureau and billed as the world’s first commercial computer. [We’ve come a long way since then. Today, your smartphone has more memory capacity, and operates faster than this multi-room sized behemoth].
Also on this date in hisrory:
1789 – Captain William Bligh of the HMS Bounty arrived in Timor in a small boat.
1834 – Cyrus Hall McCormick received a patent for his reaping machine.
1834 – Isaac Fischer Jr. patented sandpaper.
1846 – A group of U.S. settlers in Sonoma proclaimed the Republic of California.
1900 – Hawaii became a U.S. territory.
1919 – The first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight began. Captain John Alcot and Lt. Arthur Brown flew from Newfoundland to Ireland.
1922 – Warren G. Harding became the first U.S. president to be heard on radio. The event was the dedication of the Francis Scott Key memorial at Fort McHenry.
1932 – U.S. Representative Edward Eslick died on the floor of the House of Representatives while pleading for the passage of the bonus bill.
1940 – The Nazis opened their concentration camp at Auschwitz in German-occupied Poland.
1943 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that schoolchildren could not be made to salute the U.S. flag if doing so conflicted with their religious beliefs.
1944 – Sixty U.S. B-29 Superfortress’ attacked an iron and steel works factory on Honshu Island. It was the first U.S. raid against mainland Japan.
1949 – The state of Vietnam was formed.
1952 – The Nautilus was dedicated. It was the first nuclear powered submarine.
1954 – U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an order adding the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.
1967 – Mariner 5 was launched from Cape Kennedy, FL. The space probe’s flight took it past Venus.
1982 – Argentine forces surrendered to British troops on the Falkland Islands.
1989 – Former President Reagan received an honorary knighthood from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.
1990 – The U.S. Supreme Court upheld police checkpoints that are used to examine drivers for signs of intoxication.
And, in 1996 – The FBI released that the White House had done bureau background reports on at least 408 people without justification.

If you were born on this date, you share a birthday with the following list of noteworthy individuals:
Harriet Beecher Stowe 1811 – Abolitionist.
Burl Ives 1909 – Folk singer.
Dorothy McGuire 1916 – Actress.
Gene Barry 1921 – Actor.
Pierre Salinger 1925 – Former White House Press Secretary.
Don Newcombe 1926 – Baseball player.
Marla Gibbs 1931 – Actress.
Rod Argent 1945 – Musician.
Donald Trump 1946 – Real estate tycoon.
Eddie Mekka 1952 – Actor.
Will Patton 1954 – Actor.
Eric Heiden 1958 – Olympic gold-medalist.
Boy George 1961 – Singer.
Yasmine Bleeth 1968 – Actress.
Steffi Graf 1969 – Tennis player.
Traylor Howard 1971 – Actress.
Diablo Cody 1978 – Screenwriter.
And finally, Kevin McHale 1988 – Actor.

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