The “Military Order of the Purple Heart” was first awarded by George Washington in 1782, particularly for the veterans of the American Revolution who in “Any Singularly Meritorious Action” deserved one. Originally called the Military Merit Decoration, it was given to six veterans, though there may have been more that went unrecorded. It was made of purple silk cut into a heart shape with a thin edge of silver with the word merit inscribed across it.
The medal went dormant until World War 1 when 320,518 Americans were awarded the Purple Heart, now given to those who have been wounded or killed, and in some case for other special merit actions. This time the medals were awarded in the name of the President of the United States.
In 1932 a special day was set aside for those who had earned the Purple Heart but it varied from state-to-state, and city-to-city. Once again, with no wars taking place, the medal was set aside until General Douglas McArthur convinced Congress to re-designate the medal for those wounded or killed during World War 2. Another 1,076,245 were issued before the war was over. George Washington’s bust was added to the medal to give it even more meaning.
The medal has been in constant use since World War 2. 118,650 were issued during the Korean War, another 351,794 for Vietnam. Estimated numbers since then through 2010, include 607 for the Gulf War, 7,027 for Afghanistan and 35,321 in Iraq.
Since then, the Purple Heart has also been awarded to wounded animals in military service. The Purple Heart is the oldest medal in American history. The National Purple Heart Hall of Fame is in New Windsor, N.Y..
How to celebrate – Honor those who have fallen, or been wounded, in defense of America. Visit the Hall of Fame in New Windsor. Find out if anyone in your family has ever earned a Purple Heart.
One of summer’s most refreshing treats is the root beer float. Better known in some locations as a “Black Cow”.
We aren’t sure who actually invented the idea of mixing root beer with a luscious scoop of vanilla ice cream. There are two stories as to how the root beer float got started. The first is in 1874, Philadelphia, PA. Robert McCay Green ran an ice cream shop in Philadelphia and ran out of ice cream early in the day. He was able to buy some vanilla ice cream from a friend but there wasn’t a lot of it. In order to stretch out his limited reserves, he mixed it with root beer, and the root beer float was born.
The second story goes… Frank J. Wisner stood at the back window of his shop one night in Cripple Creek, Colorado. His day was done and he was enjoying the evening looking out over the mountains where the miners he served with various treats worked. The moon was reflecting on top of one of the mountains and he suddenly got an idea. He ran back into the shop and pulled out his children’s favorite soda, Myers Avenue Red Root Beer. He added a scoop of ice cream – the snow capped mountain – and served up his new invention the next day. He never stopped serving it there after. He called it, the “Black Cow Mountain”.
Well, whichever man it was that concocted the root beer float, we are glad they did. Who knows, there may be other claims as well but it doesn’t really matter, there’s no royalty payments involved here.
Maybe the best thing about National Root Beer Day is that A&W gives out free root beer floats! FREE! A&W got its start in 1923 and has been serving great tasting root beer ever since. Perhaps the only thing better is getting a little ice cream added to it and getting both for FREE!
The root beer float even smells good as a candle.
How to celebrate – Go to A&W and get a FREE root beer float! If you can’t find a root beer float, see if you can find a scented candle and at least enjoy the aroma. It is a little known fact that you can get a root beer float at McDonald’s. It is not on the menu but if you ask, they will fix it. Or better yet, make your own!
August 8th National Dollar Day
It wasn’t until August 8th, 1786 that Congress implemented a national currency, each state printed their own money or used silver and gold to pay its debts before then.
Originally most currencies were coins made from silver and gold to show it’s true value. The first dollar bill was printed in 1862, during the Civil War, and instead of George Washington it was Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase that appeared on the bill.
Today there are mints that print the money in Philadelphia, Denver, San Francisco, West Point and Fort Knox.
How to celebrate – Take out a dollar bill and inspect it, it’s supposed to have some really cool codes contained in the images. Look for the no longer printed $2.00 bill. You are supposed to turn in any gold or silver backs you find.
There are some 500 million cats in the world, most of which hang out at my front door. August 8th was chosen for International Cat Day by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) in 2002.
Among the favorite breeds are Persian, Burmese, Shorthair, Siamese, Maine Coon, Balinese, Ragamuffin, Munchkin and Bengal.
Enjoy your cat and treat it like the King or Queen of any jungle it happens to be living in.
How to celebrate: Share pictures of your cat on the internet. Get your cat a special treat just for them for the day. Give your cat some catnip and let them have a mellow day. Adopt a cat if you do not have one.
I remember when I was young my mother always telling me to come inside and eat and then I could go back out and play. Today, most mothers have trouble getting their kids to go outside at all! So maybe this day will be a game changer.
A lot of restaurants now have outside seating, and not just because they lost their roof in a storm. It seems like since we all spend so much time inside, eating has become popular outside. Why not! If the weather is nice it is something we all can enjoy. And if it rains, well… you don’t have to ask the waiter for more water.
I have to admit, food does taste better outside. I have no idea why. In the old days everybody ate outside, half of the time even if you were inside back then you were still outside. I think the sights, sounds and scents of being outside just make it better.
And remember when you were a kid eating outside!?! It was more fun because you could make a mess and no one would yell at you. Even as an adult, it’s hard to eat watermelon inside and not be sloppy. It also generally means a cookout is involved and I only know a few people who don’t like bar-b-que.
And today, with all the food trucks around, it makes it even better. Well, except for the noise from the generators and the smell of the gas from the trucks and generators. They have become the outside version of the food court in a mall… everyone can get whatever it is they want. (Though the food trucks are generally a good deal better tasting)
How to celebrate – Plan a meal outside today. Have a cook-out. Go to a food truck event.
Who is the best know monster of all time? Well, Frankenstein of course! He has been portrayed in so many movies, television shows and books that he has become an icon. He is played scary, funny, sad, happy, you name it and someone has performed it that way.
We celebrate it today on Mary Wollenstone Shelley’s birthday, August 30th, 1797. she actually wrote Frankenstein in 1818 and my research shows she was in Scotland at the time. She was a novelist, short story writer, dramatist, essayist, biographer and a travel writer but no doubt she is best remember for The Modern Prometheus, the original title of Frankenstein.
I am curious if she ever made anywhere near the money others did off of her work. And though I do not know it for sure, I doubt there is any copyright applied to her work anymore. There have also been stories about her getting the story from a relative who was actually trying to ring the dead back to life. I don’t know if there is any truth to it or not but it is a wild story to just dream up.
I also wonder if she had any idea it would become as popular as it did. And would she have taken offense at the way the world has treated her character. We probably will never know… unless, someone is secretly working on bringing her back.
How to celebrate – Read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Watch a Frankenstein movie. See if you can find any other works of Mary Shelley’s to read.
Finally a day Wellcat.com created that actually is a good idea! True, it isn’t a real holiday but maybe it should be. Eat More Herbs and Use Less Salt Day! It’s good for you and makes sense since this is the time of year we generally harvest our gardens before the cold starts to set it.
We all know the more salt we eat the worse it is for us. However, a lot of foods are bland and need something to wake up the flavor or we simply won’t eat it. Salt was the first choice and it also preserved food for later consumption. But it makes us fat by retaining water and cause numerous other health issues.
Now no one is saying not to use salt at all, just use less. There are all sorts of herbs we can add to flavor dishes. Most of them are actually good for us as well. And they are sort of fun to grow, generally not requiring as much attention as say, tomatoes. These herbs can also be preserved so that what we grow over the summer we can use all year long.
You can taste them ahead of time to see what you like, and don’t like and how much of them to use in a dish. They are often stronger, requiring less, and some may not mix all that well so you will have to experiment a little. That’s part of the fun though and no one can tell you what is right or wrong since it is your taste that makes them work.
They also brighten up your dish and make it look more tempting. So finally, a day from Wellcat that might actually have meaning and be useful. (And no doubt they stock in companies that sell the seeds to grow your own.)
How to celebrate – Grow your own herbs! (Not weeds of either kind) Test the flavors and figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. No omit salt, just use less of it.
Okay, so I am sort of getting use to useless days, but I guess they can be fun… or at least sort of if you can figure out what it is you’re supposed to do to celebrate them. Or even why they exist at all. Most seem to come from a company called Wellcat.com, which makes a profit on these days but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how.
I am not downing them, they must be doing well, at least for cats, but what the heck is race your mouse day? I mean, is it a computer thing, do you keep pet mice, do you torture a mouse by letting your cat chase it? No one seems to know… and frankly, I don’t think anyone really cares.
If it is a computer thing, you can’t win so what’s the point of playing? And if it’s an animal thing it isn’t going to end up pretty however it ends. So just what do you do to celebrate something either impossible or gross?
So I’ve been thinking about it. What can one do to race a mouse? And why would one even want to race a mouse? Does the mouse know if it wins? Does the mouse care? I think, however, I may have come up with an answer….
Race Mickey Mouse at Disney! I know he isn’t yours and I know that it will cost you several hundred dollars just to get in and see Mickey. (Maybe Wellcat gets a percentage of that!) Either way, if you aren’t thrown out of the park afterwards you can at least spend the day enjoying the rides and sights.
How to celebrate – You tell me!?! Go to Disney. Get a life.
Today came about because of “Because Day” which is the third Weds of in May. Some one added the word Just to Joseph J. Goodwin’s creation. But just because it is today, we’ll act like it stands alone. It is a day to celebrate all those things you can do, just because you want to.
I mean, there is really no good reason for hang gliding. I guess if you silently want to invade a country that might work but with those gliders either being bright red or blue normally I think you might get caught. So if you hang glide, you probably do it just because you can.
Again, is there really a good reason to walk a tight rope? I guess if you need to get from one place to another in a hurry you might try it but I wouldn’t bet on getting too far. One walks a tight rope just because it’s there and they can, or can’t as the case may be. Personally, I find it difficult enough to walk on the sidewalk!
Or how about singing in an opera!?! Yes you get to show off your talent and tell a story that no one understands in America. In a lot of cases, it also allows you to have a profession where you can eat a lot! But you don’t really need to singing outrageously in order to tell a story. So you do it.. just because you can.
And streaking… well technically this is illegal so you really can’t but, who cares. Those who do, do it just because, they can. So it makes me wonder if you can streak while hang gliding while on a tight rope and singing opera! Well, why not! After all, it’s Just Because Day.
How to celebrate – Do something today, just because you can. (Make sure it’s legal first) Try a food you’ve never had before. Pretend you are someone famous… just because you can.
I can never get enough of dogs… I mean I like cats, birds and other pets, but there is just nothing like a dog. They offer love for no reason at all, accept whoever loves them and never, never lie. They become our children that stay home. And they constantly want to please.
They don’t ask for too much in return. A little food, a little water, maybe a walk or two and some attention… they do not need new dresses, want the latest toy or drive us into the poor house going to college for 12 years. Sadly they don’t live all that long often leaving us sad and lonely.
Today was created by the National Dog Day Foundation in the attempt to save 10,000 dogs a year from being destroyed. One Dog a Day is their motto, just one. To abuse a dog is being about as low as one can get. Yes they make mistakes, but don’t we all. At least they learn from them!
It is impossible to look in their eyes and not see love. As humans, we could learn a lot from them. When friends and family let you down or don’t stand by you for whatever reason… dogs don’t care. They will be there for you, with you and help you through some of the roughest times.
There is a friend waiting for you out there. They need you as much as you need them, they want you as much as you want them. What a joy it is to have a dog. What a joy it is to love a dog. Don’t ever give up on them because they will never give up on you.
How to celebrate – Love your dog. Rescue a dog. You already have a best friend out there, you just need to find them!