June 14th – ♫It’s a Grand Old Flag♫

June 14, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Good morning budding vexillologists. Today is Wednesday, June 14th. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Flag Day 

Flag Day 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.

On this day in 1777,  the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution, which designated the first official American flag. The first flag, which featured thirteen stars and thirteen stripes, has become known as the “Betsy Ross flag,” but it is uncertain whether Betsy Ross actually created the original design. There have been twenty-seven different American flags over the course of our nation’s history. The one we use today, which features fifty stars, became our national emblem in 1960 after admitting the last two states…Alaska and Hawaii.
The idea of an annual celebration of the flag dates back to 1885 when schoolteacher Bernard J. Cigrand held the first known Flag Day, however, it was President Woodrow Wilson who designated Flag Day as an official holiday in 1916. In August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.
There are specific guidelines for 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. Your local Boy Scout organization knows the proper ceremony and performs it on a regular basis. (Hint: It involves burning the flag). If you have an old flag, give it to them, then attend the ceremony. It is a ceremony everyone should see.

Birthday of the U.S. Army 

This holiday 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 face 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.

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. Blood Donors save lives every day by giving of themselves so those accident victims and those in need of transfusions for surgeries can live.
The history of blood donation goes back further than you might expect, reaching as far back as the 17th century. The medical specialists of the time knew that blood was a vital element in the body and losing too much of it was bound to have tragic consequences for the patient…but little else. The first transfusions were done using poorly understood science and resulted in some rather tragic results for the patients. Richard Lower was the first one to examine animals and blood circulation and finding ways to stop blood clotting. While he was of course only working with animals, he managed to drain the blood from a medium-sized dog and then transfuse the blood of a large mastiff into the smaller animal. Both dogs recovered with no appreciable ill effects. There were some odd beliefs about blood back then, and the first human transfusion involved putting the blood of a sheep into a patient who was suffering from a mild form of insanity. It was thought that perhaps the blood of so gentle a creature as a lamb might help to calm his insanity. The act of transferring animal blood into patients was strongly questioned by the tightly superstitious and morally rigid authorities of the time, and the practice was outlawed…for 150 years. It was an obstetrician who brought blood transfusions back into modern medical technology, starting in 1818. After he saved the life of a woman who had hemorrhaged terribly after giving birth, he started publishing works on how it was done and the study thereof. Throughout his life, he performed 10 transfusions, 5 of which saved the lives of the recipients. World Blood Donor Day celebrates the hard work and daring of these early medical professionals and recognizes the efforts they put into developing a technology that gave rise to a whole new breed of heroes today who donate their blood so that others may have a second chance.
This year, the theme of World Blood Donor Day is “Blood connects us all”, highlighting the common bond that all people share in their blood. With the slogan “Share life, give blood”, this year’s campaign, the 13th anniversary of World Blood Donor Day,  draws attention to the role that voluntary donation systems play in encouraging people to care for one another and promoting community cohesion.
The best way to celebrate World Blood Donor Day is, surprisingly enough, to go out and give blood. There’s always a need for blood of all types and there’s rarely enough to go around.

Own Your Share of America Day

With the upsurge of multi-national conglomerates, and with many “American” companies fleeing U.S. soil and moving their businesses overseas due to cheaper production costs and the confiscatory corporate tax rates in America – it is becoming increasingly difficult to decide whether the company you are investing in is truly an American company.
Own Your Share of America Day is a day that encourages people to do a little research and invest their money in truly American companies who still base themselves in America, use American labor, and, as much as possible, American resources. It is celebrated on the 14th of June unless it is a weekend day, and is sponsored by the National Association of Investors Clubs.

International Bath Day

While taking a bath is both healthy and relaxing, International Bath Day has little to do with the actual taking of a bath. Instead, it commemorates the date on which Greek mathematician, scientist, and scholar, Archimedes, discovered while taking a bath that an object’s volume could be accurately measured by being submerged in water. Archimedes’ exact date of birth is not known, only the year (287BC) so the day chosen to commemorate is the date on which he made his discovery, June 14th.
Since the Greeks used a different calendar than we use today, how was this date determined? Historians say that, as the ancient Greek legend goes, his discovery was exactly one week before the beginning of summer. The calendar in those days was astronomical and seasons were determined due to the 23.5-degree tilt of the Earth’s rotational axis in relation to its orbit around the sun. Summer begins on June 21st so a week before is June 14th and this was the date set to celebrate this holiday.
To celebrate International Bath Day simply take a bath…and contemplate upon the mysteries of the universe. See if you can make other physics-related discoveries. Who knows, maybe you will be the next Archimedes. If not, at least you’ll be clean and relaxed.

Pop Goes The Weasel Day

Although none of the sources in which this holiday was listed offered an explanation of exactly why today is Pop Goes The Weasel Day, one did posit that Pop Goes the Weasel Day should be interpreted to mean that one should celebrate all nursery rhymes in general. Another source offered the origins of nursery rhymes. Quoting from that source, the nursery rhyme below is said to be the first ever recorded:

“Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle.
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! goes the weasel.”

Every night when I go out
The monkey’s on the table
Take a stick and knock it off
Pop! goes the weasel.

Up and down the City Road,
In and out the Eagle,
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! goes the weasel.

A penny for a spool of thread,
A penny for a needle.
That’s the way the money goes,
Pop! goes the weasel.

Not being fluent in 18th century English, I don’t know how to interpret what all of those verses mean – but the general theme suggests that often there is not enough money to make ends meet. According to this source, in all the verses, “pop” refers to pawn and “weasel” refers to coat. During that era, it was common for even poor people to own a suit, which they wore as their ‘Sunday Best.’ When times were hard often people would pawn their suit, or coat, on a Monday and claim it back before Sunday. Hence, the term “Pop Goes the Weasel” – meaning that they would have to pawn their suit to make it through.
So, to celebrate Pop Goes the Weasel Day, I guess you’re supposed to pawn your best suit? Just be sure to reclaim it before Sunday…I don’t know!

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 whipped cream on top. It’s very common though to serve shortcake with other fruits that you may have. Peaches, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries will all work on top of a shortcake just fine. However, strawberry shortcake remains one of America’s favorite desserts.
Strawberry Shortcake is also often served on Independence Day. Often, blueberries are added to the strawberries to make the dish red, white and blue (the white being the whipped cream); the traditional colors for the 4th of July.

National Bourbon Day 

For a whiskey to qualify as bourbon it must meet certain specific criteria —

  • It must be made in the United States.
  • Its mash, which is that mix of grains from which it is distilled, must be composed of at least 51 percent and no more than 79 per cent Indian corn,
  • And, bourbon must be aged for at least two years in a new, charred oak barrels made from American White Oak, but many types of bourbon are aged four years or longer.

While any state will do, most Bourbons are made in Kentucky, and most of their recipes use about 70 percent corn. Besides corn, the other grains often used in making the bourbon ‘mash’ include malted barley and either rye or wheat. Bourbon is referred to as a ‘blended’ whiskey, but the term blended here refers to the mixture of the different grains used…not the blending of the finished product. Some Kentucky bourbon makers say the limestone spring water in that area of the state lends bourbon its distinctive flavor, however, most experts agree that the aging in the charred wood produces caramelized sugars which give it the distinctive flavor. Bourbon gains its color and much of its flavor from the barrel aging.
The barrels can only be used once for bourbon, so some of the used barrels become furniture or firewood. Others are used for aging soy sauce, while the majority end up in the United Kingdom for their Scotch whiskeys. 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 has 40 to 50 percent alcohol by volume. Happy sipping!!

More Holidays

Pause for the Pledge Day

On This Date

  • In 1789 – Captain William Bligh of the HMS Bounty arrived in Timor in a small boat.
  • In 1834 – Cyrus Hall McCormick received a patent for his reaping machine.
  • In 1834 – Isaac Fischer Jr. patented sandpaper.
  • In 1846 – A group of settlers in Sonoma proclaimed the Republic of California.
  • In 1900 – Hawaii became a U.S. territory.
  • In 1919 – The first non-stop trans-Atlantic flight began. Captain John Alcott and Lt. Arthur Brown took off from St. John’s, Newfoundland and reached Galway in Ireland less than 16 hours later. One month earlier, Albert Cushing Read flew across the Atlantic, but his flight included a stop in the Azores Islands.
  • In 1922 – Warren G. Harding became the first President to be heard on the radio. The event was the dedication of the Francis Scott Key memorial at Fort McHenry.
  • In 1932 – Representative Edward Eslick died on the floor of the House of Representatives while pleading for the passage of the bonus bill.
  • In 1940 – German troops occupied Paris. The fall of Paris marked the end of Germany’s attacks on the western front. In the Armistice of Compiègne, three-fifths of France were declared occupied.
  • In 1940 – The Nazis opened their concentration camp at Auschwitz in German-occupied Poland.
  • In 1943 – The Supreme Court ruled that schoolchildren could not be made to salute the U.S. flag if doing so conflicted with their religious beliefs.
  • In 1944 – Sixty B-29 Superfortress’ attacked an iron and steel works factory on Honshu Island. It was the first U.S. raid against mainland Japan.
  • In 1949 – Albert II became the first monkey in space. The rhesus monkey was one of the several animals used for testing purposes before sending humans into space. Albert II survived his ascent to 134 km (83 mi) altitude but died on his return to Earth due to a parachute failure.
  • In 1949 – The state of Vietnam was formed.
  • 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].
  • In 1952 – The Nautilus was dedicated. It was the first nuclear-powered submarine.
  • In 1954 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an order adding the words “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.
  • In 1967 – Mariner 5 was launched from Cape Kennedy, FL. The space probe’s flight took it past Venus.
  • In 1982 – Argentine forces surrendered to British troops on the Falkland Islands. After 74 days of fighting, British troops captured the capital, Stanley, prompting the Argentine forces to surrender and return the islands to British control.
  • In 1989 – Former President Reagan received an honorary knighthood from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.
  • In 1990 – The Supreme Court upheld police checkpoints that are used to examine drivers for signs of intoxication.
  • In 1996 – The FBI released that the White House had done bureau background reports on at least 408 people without justification.
  • In 2002 – A large asteroid just missed the Earth. The asteroid, named 2002 MN, was a 73-meter lump that was three times closer to Earth than the Moon. With typical scientific precision, it was first discovered three days after its closest approach.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals – and about 20-million other people.

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