April 14th, 1912 the White Star Line Titanic struck an ice berg at 11:40 pm. Two hours later, on April the 15th she sank taking 1522 people with her. Some people remember the Titanic for striking the ice berg on the 14th, she actually sank on the 15th and for some unknown reason many celebrate this day (Well they don’t really celebrate it) on April 16th. The truth is, it was never supposed to sink and perhaps if it had been treated as if it was able to sink, it might have still be afloat on April 16th. That said, we remember the ship and those lost when she went down today.
How to (sort of) celebrate – Visit one of the many Titanic exhibits across the world today. Read the passenger list of those on board the Titanic. Watch anyone of the dozen movies made about the Titanic.
Thought most lighthouses have been retired today, these buildings once guided ships to ports and kept them safe from shallows and reefs. The signal light high above the ground had to be kept lit by the keepers that often lived isolated from the rest of the world on small islands or on the coasts where towns could not be built. By an act of Congress, the operation of lighthouses on, or near, American soil was taken over by the government on August 7th, 1789. There are numerous stories that go along with these structures now, haunting and stories of heroes and, of course, all those stairs to climb.
How to celebrate – Visit one of the many lighthouse’s in the US. Read about the history of the lighthouse. Climb to the top of a lighthouse and then imagine this is what a keeper had to do several times a day.
October 13th Congress created the US Navy in 1775. It wasn’t much of a navy, but at least we had one. October 27th is Teddy Roosevelt’s birthday, he realized that a powerful navy was what would make America a world power instead of a struggling nation. Navy Day was created in 1922 by The Navy League, they chose Roosevelt’s birthday because in many ways, Roosevelt created the idea of a navy as we have today, pretty much unchallenged as one of the top of the world. Not only does the navy protect our shores, it allows America to reach out and assist other countries, and defend them when required. Sometimes a show of power actually creates peace. Today the air forces may hold the power but it often is a power that goes unseen. When the navy arrives, everyone knows it.
How to celebrate – Learn more about the Navy. Visit a port where Naval craft are stationed. Visit a Naval museum.
April 11th National Submarine Day
Now, before you get all excited and run out to Subway it’s not about sandwiches. Today we celebrate that marine vehicle that changed warfare forever. In recent years we have learned how to use it peaceful but originally, its only use was in war. The German U-boats came into use during World War 1 and changed the world forever. The Americans used submarines during the Revolution albeit not real successfully. The U.S. Submarine service was begun in 1900. Today it is a vital part of our national security. Over the years the submarine has gone from a one- person operation to the subs of today that require upwards of 160. They are still cramped, but they are getting better and better with time.
How to celebrate – Visit one of the many submarine museums.
Study the history of the submarine. Learn about how the submarine has evolved.
Here in the United States the U.S. Congress took over the operations of all lighthouses on August 7th, 1789. Once operated by the Federal Government the lighthouses became standardized here in America and were literally lifesavers for those at sea. they normally mark where the ocean meets the land, or lake if that is the case, and mark tremulous areas that Captains of ships need to watch out for.
Originally these lighthouses had to manned since the signal sent out was either a torch or lantern that had to be lit and watched over all night long. Many lighthouses had living quarters in the actual tower while others had houses connected to them where the lighthouse keeper could live.
During the day light hours the lighthouse was useful as a beacon for navigation, at night they were a necessity for mariners. As the years past and electricity replaced the torch or lantern, the lighthouse keeper became scarce since they were no longer required to light them, or watch them for fires.
So today the lighthouse has become more of a museum to the past when they were required. With the invention of radar and GPS, most are not even lit anymore. They serve as wonder platforms for observation of the area, most having beautiful views of the surrounding area.
How to celebrate – Visit a local lighthouse today. Stand in the middle of a very dark area and see if you can tell where the water and land meet. Start your own miniature lighthouse collection.