September 16th American Legion Day

Congress declared there should be a day to honor those soldiers returning from World War 1 in 1919. It was finally actually declared, and created, to be September 16th in 2009. Of course today it includes any American soldier that has served over seas during any time of war, or even during peace. There are over 3 million members in some 14,000 posts across the United States. It is a place where old friends and fellow veterans can get together to remember both the victories, and the losses they share together.

How to celebrate – Honor a veteran. Make today special for any Legions in your area. Search your families history for Veterans of Foreign Wars.

June 3rd National Doughnut Day

Doughnuts were first spoken of in the 1800’s but didn’t really become famous until World War 1 when the Salvation Army sent women to Europe to give the Americans, and European soldiers doughnuts and coffee as a break from the war. Not only did it help the troops, but it became an international food at the same time. In 1938 the Chicago Salvation Army created today to honor those brave women who brought a little cheer to the front-line soldiers, wounded and even the civilian population of war-torn Europe. Today is always celebrate on the first Friday in June.

How to celebrate – Have some doughnuts. Read about the Salvation Army efforts during all wars. Learn how to make your own doughnuts.

April 9th Winston Churchill Day

Winston Churchill was one of the most successful politicians, and one of the least successful politicians ever to exist. He was The First Lord of the Admiralty during the horrid loss a Gallipoli during World War 1 but then came back during World War 2 as the Prime Minster of England to lead his country through those dreadful years. Today is not his birthday as one might think but the day John F. Kennedy made him an honorary citizen of the United States in 1963. His role in history will always be questioned but there is no doubt his place in history in well deserved.

How to celebrate – Read about Winston Churchill. Try and identify which of the three men in the picture is Churchill. Check out his numerous famous quotes.

September 16th American Legion Day

Right after World War 1 ended in 1919, the American Legion was formed to assist those soldiers returning home from war. The things they had seen, lived through and perhaps even had done themselves made the transition to peace a challenge. The Legion gave the men, and women, a place to go where they could relate to others, share experiences and return to normal with those suffering the same nightmares and horrors they has been through. Oddly, the American government did not recognize today until 2009. The American Legion has over 3 million members and 14,000 posts across the world.

How to celebrate – Support the American Legion. Thank any past or present soldier for their sacrifice. Realize that recovering from war, wounded or not, requires time.

August 7th National Purple Heart Day

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.

November 11th Veteran’s Day

November 11th at 11:11 in 1918 World War 1 ended. In 1921 the world began to celebrate Armistice Day honoring those soldiers that fell during the war sacrificing the ultimate sacrifice for what they believed was worth protecting. President Eisenhower turned that date into Veteran’s Day in 1954 honoring all Veterans having served their country. We owe our Veterans our freedom and our way of life. We need to remember them, honor them and give them our thanks for all they have done and all they will do.

How to celebrate – Thank all veterans you see. Visit the grave of the Unknown Soldier. Make a list of all the veterans from your family tree.

November 10th Forget-Me-Not Day

November 10th Forget-Me-Not Day

Judge Robert S. Marx returned from World War 1 a wounded man. When he returned he saw other disabled men who seemed to be forgotten. He created a day that all should remember those men, not the just the ones who died, but the ones who returned as well. Sometimes the wounds were obvious, others were not. Sometimes, the obvious wounds are easier to recover from than those not seen. And so in 1921 he created Forget-Me-Not Day. This day works for all wars and conflicts. Anyone serving at any point continues to fight their own wars over and over again, even when they come home.

How to celebrate – Remember all those who served our country. Look up the veterans in your family. Visit the heroes everyone else has forgotten.

June 5th National Doughnut Day

Today was created by the Salvation Army in 1938. During the depression they handed out doughnuts to those who could find little to eat as the country suffered from economic struggles. The day was created to honor the “Lassies” that went to Europe during World War 1 under Lt. Col. Helen Purvianee. They were the only women allowed on the front lines serving doughnuts and coffee to the soldiers of the Allied forces. There is something comforting about a doughnut. Check your local doughnut shops, they may be giving away doughnuts today for free!

How to celebrate Support your local Salvation Army. Learn to make your own doughnuts. Learn more about the Salvation Army during World War 1.

June 5th Hot Air Balloon Day

Today is Hot Air Balloon Day. I have no idea why but it is so why fight it? Hot Air balloons have been around us for a while, the first recorded flight was on November 11th, 1783… but there may have been flights before then.

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During the American Civil War they were used for reconnaissance, mainly on the Union side but the Confederacy had them as well. During World War 1 they were still used for observation but it was discovered that they equally made a steady platform for dropping bombs on the enemy below. Most were known as dirigibles.

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The biggest problem with these early balloons is that they were normally filled with hydrogen, a very flammable chemical that would explode around heat. Since the gas had to be heated to lift off, this caused a little bit of a problem. The most famous tragedy concerning a Hydrogen balloon was the Hindenburg, a pleasure flight.

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Eventually helium replaced hydrogen and being a much more stable gas, the problem was overcome. Today, balloons are used mainly for entertainment purposes and romantic interludes.

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How to celebrate – Go on a hot air balloon ride. Learn how to fly a hot air balloon. Watch the movie, “Around The World In 80 Days”.

April 9th National Winston Churchill Day

There have only been a few people in history that have been given an honorary citizenship in America. Winston Churchill was one of them. We know his life was filled with success, and often failure, but he is one of history’s most loved characters… and sometimes most hated.

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Starting his career as a young Army Officer he went on to serve as a politician and a writer, leading the British to failure at Gallipoli during World War 1 to saving an entire world during World War 2. How? By keeping England free until America’s might could turn the war around in the allies favor.

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Born in 1874, November 30th, Churchill would spend his life serving the people of England as Prime Minister from 1940-45 and then again from 1951-55. His means did not always seem to meet the needs but we were never in his shoes so while it’s easy to judge, it’s more difficult to convict.

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To not recognize what Churchill did to earn his citizenship from John F. Kennedy in 1963 would be a failure to see how history has been shaped by those who truly did make a difference. Kennedy knew this, the US Senate that voted on the citizenship knew this, let us not forget.

How to celebrate- Read a book about Churchill. Read a book about World War 2. Look up Chuchill’s quotes.