September 13th Uncle Sam Day

There are several theories of where the idea of Uncle Sam came from but probably the most believable came out of the War of 1812. A gentleman out of Troy, NY regularly served the American army with meat and other sundries and his service was always greeted with enthusiasm by the troops. According to legend, he wore a tall top hat and sported a white beard and hair. He may even have worn the red, white and blue colors to honor the American troops he served. Whether this legend is true or not we do know that someone got the idea of Uncle Same started around 1813. His image was first used in 1961 and the official day came in 1989.

How to celebrate – Dress up like Uncle Sam. Read about the War of 1812. Research the different variations of Uncle Sam.

October 9th Leif Erikson Day

Leif Erikson was a Viking, Norseman and the first person to set eyes on the North American soil. He sailed from Greenland, his home, and saw many different lands though it was not in his interest to land where their was nothing visible to be pillaged. It is known he set sail in 1002 A.D. and during this voyage he sailed by North America but did not set foot on land as he saw little of use to him. So Columbus still gets credit for landing, though over the years people have deemed that something they would rather forget. Congress created a resolution celebrating Leif Erikson Day in 1964. It makes you wonder who else might have discovered the America’s perhaps even before Erikson. We will never know but if not for these daring individuals, we might have no history to celebrate.

How to celebrate – Pretend to be a Viking. Read about Leif Erikson. Learn how to sail.

June 14th Flag Day

Today is Flag Day in the United States. It is used to remember what our nation stands for by the symbol it proudly waves. Of course it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Created, we think, by Betsy Ross in June of 1776 and celebrated by Francis Scott Key as it flew over Fort McHenry in the War of 1812 it has become the red, white and blue of our hearts and minds. Many have given their all to keep that flag flying.

How to celebrate – Put your flag up today. Be proud of your country. Learn the proper treatment of the flag.

March 20th Snowman Burning Day

Snowman Burning Day – March 20th

This holiday is celebrated in both the United States and Switzerland as the changing of the seasons, from Winter into Spring. Now you can’t really burn a Snowman, it’s way to wet. You can melt it, but you don’t need a fire to do that, so it is a symbolic day where no one is actually proposing you burn a snowman. Unless you have had a very long Winter, you probably won’t be able to find, or build, a snowman to burn! It has been suggested that you can explode a snowman instead… but I wouldn’t suggest this.

How to celebrate – Find, or save, a snowman from Winter. Enjoy the warmer weather. Watch Frosty the Snowman re-runs!

October 9th National Leif Erikson Day

It is only fitting that since we celebrated Columbus Day yesterday that we celebrate Leif Erikson Day today. After all, Leif Erikson probably did discover the American mainland long before Columbus was even born.

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There seems to be some documentation that Erikson was on a walkabout (by boat) in 1002 AD when he ran into the American mainland from his base in Greenland. Now the Vikings were raiders, not settlers, so they did not even try to establish any base or fortification since they had planned to return to Greenland anyway.

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His ships would have been smaller than Columbus’ ships, but then he didn’t have as far to go either. He also is not blamed for all the bad things that happened to the Native Americans because he did not make a permanent settlement. No one is actually certain that he even set foot ashore, after all, there was much visible to plunder. But there is little doubt now that he did find land that he could have landed on.

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One can only wonder what he would have done to the Native Americans if he had landed. I doubt he was any kinder than Columbus was, maybe not even near as nice. It is easy today to judge those of the past because we can see all the faults, but had we lived back then who knows how we would have felt.

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October 9th was set by Congress in 1964 to be Leif Erikson Day. It became a resolution so, we have to honor it. So those who fault Columbus… like I said yesterday, this was all bound to happen. Just like today, no one does anything without thinking it is going to profit them. You may not honor the reasons, that’s okay, but you have to respect the men who set sail not knowing where they might be led.

How to celebrate – Study the life of Leif Erikson. Imagine how you would have reacted if you found a new land. Become a Viking!

September 28th National Native American Day

Today we celebrate some of the most mistreated people on the face of the earth, the Native American. When I was young I always thought the cowboys and cavalry were the greatest thing on earth, but then I learned what they did to the Native Americans and I felt ashamed.

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The Europeans, and people from other settling groups, push the Native American across the United States, Mexico and Canada until they had no place left to go. The answer was to put them on reservation. Not a good answer, but an answer. It’s sort of like taking a wild animal and putting them in a cage and see how they like it.

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Not that the Native American was a wild animal, they were actually more peaceful that the people who claimed them to be savages. But when pushed hard enough, they did fight back and who could blame them?

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There are more than 562 tribes that lived free in America before it was “settled”. Most were very peaceful people. Many helped the settlers, some saved the settlers from starvation. In return, we pushed them off their lands and gave them deceases they had no cure for.

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There are some 3 million left today living in the United States. The only thing they did wrong was being here before the rest of the world got here. They honor life, the land and the beasts given man. It is time we all honor them for the suffering at our hands.

How to celebrate – Honor the Native American for who they are. Study what daily life was like for any of the native tribes. Visit a tribe and see the wonder of colors, food and life styles.

June 14th Flag Day

It has become popular not to honor the American Flag anymore. I don’t know when that started and I have no idea when it will end but I know it’s wrong.  The flag represents everything good about America, not the bad, but I guess it’s all about how you look at life. If you can’t be proud of yourself, you can’t be proud of a flag.

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Yet, it seems to be okay for other countries to honor their flags. Just not us. Maybe if one saw it tattered and filled with bullet holes they might consider it a little more. It represents a people, a nation and all the ideals ever created for it and those that live under it.

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There are certain rules for handling the flag. It is to be flown from sunrise to sunset, never at night without a light on it. You raise it quickly in the morning and lower it slowly at dusk. You do not let it fly in rain or any bad weather and should be flown at half-staff when you, or the country, are in mourning. Half-staff remains for 30 days, no more, no less. The flag should never touch the ground and you fly no flag over your countries flag. And when it gets too tattered and worn to fly anymore it should be buried or burned, don’t just wad it up and throw it away.

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It’s not the cloth itself, nor the pretty colors, it is the symbol of what it stands for. Of course, there are those who stand for nothing and believe in nothing. Those millionaires who kneel when all those who ensure their expense accounts are met are standing. And when they say it’s not the flag they are against, it’s the government or elected officials, the past and their own personal observations, they are just telling you about themselves. That they are more important than anyone, or anything around them.

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So I say, grow up… the reason no one cares about your woes is because you don’t really care about theirs. A flag represents a nation. Can that nation be better? Yes! But nothing ever gets better by tearing it down first.

How to celebrate- Learn what a flag is all about. Fly a flag today. (An American flag, not a Disney World flag, not  rainbow flag, not a football flag.) If you want your views to be  taken seriously, take the views of others in to consideration as well.

April 25th National East Meets West Day

There has always been a difference in culture between the East and the West. Look at Japan and Canada, Russia and America, Indian and Mexico. It doesn’t mean one is better than the other or that one is right and one is wrong, it just means… well… there is the east and there is the west!

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If you go far enough east you will eventually end up in the west and vise-versa. There are football games and other sporting events that tries to prove which is better but in the end, it really doesn’t matter. Take a football game many of the players that play for a western team came from the east, and many playing in the east came from the west.

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During World War 2 a big drive was for the Americans to meet up with the Russian to end the war. the Russians were considered the Eastern troops, the Americans the Western. In fact when the two sides decided they could not get along they separated Germany into East Germany and West Germany.

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Even in America the life styles were different. The above photo is of an 1800’s street in Philadelphia. Well established by the mid 1800’s, Philadelphia became a point of culture and refinement. It had been around longer, gone through more was a permanent fixture.

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An old west town of the same era was a little cruder and contained a not so refined culture and citizens. The buildings were smaller and less secure because frankly, the owners didn’t know if they were going to stay there or not. One was not better than the other, they just served different needs and purposes.

How to celebrate – Try and determine where east meets west where you live. If you live in the East take a trip West. If you live in the West take a trip East. (Note what difference you see, and don;t see, on your trip)

December 15th Bill of Rights Day

On March 4th, 1789 the Constitution was ratified. On September 25, 1789 12 Amendments were proposed to the Constitution. On December 15th, 1791 10 of those Amendments were ratified becoming a part of the Constitution.

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Among those 10 are: 1.) The Freedom of Speech, Press and Religion. 2.) The right to bear arms. 3.) Protection of homeowners from quartering troops, except during war. 4.) The right and protection against unreasonable search and seizure. 5.) The right of due process of law, protection against double jeopardy, self incrimination.

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6.) The right of a speedy trial by jury of peers and rights of the accused. 7.) The right to trail by jury in civil cases. 8.) Protection from cruel and unusual punishment, excessive bail. 9.) Protection of rights not specified in the Bill of Rights. 10.) States rights, power of the States.

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It is amazing how this group of men could write a document that has lasted so long and been right so many times. There have been many additional amendments but these first 10 cover so much of what we honor even today. (By the way, amendment 10 is the real cause of the Civil War and an issue we still deal with today.)

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Oh, and the two that were not adopted… well both had to do with how many Congressmen there would be and what they were to be paid. Had the amendment been accepted there would be over 6,000 Congressmen today!

How to celebrate – Read and understand what the Bill of Rights mean, don’t just assume you know because of what someone else has told you. Name one other country that has a better constitution and bill of rights. Salute the flag that stands for the constitution and bill of rights.

June 14th Flag Day

It’s sad these days when so many communities find flying the American flag offensive. That it upsets those who have come here from different nations and makes them feel left out. Maybe we should ban Oreos since they didn’t have those either, or how about shoes since they may have gone barefoot or maybe we should get rid of food and voting and freedom and peace since they didn’t have any of that!

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Why is it okay for other countries to fly their flag on our land but we can’t fly it in our own yards!?! It is the symbol of freedom, something every other country in the world strives for but seldom attains. I am not sure when or where it became popular to take down the American flag and replace it with any other flag. The American flag is what gives you the right to fly any flag… lose Old Glory and you lose every other flag you want to fly. Of course they should always fly below the American flag, sort of like you don’t add more gravy and then put mashed potatoes over the gravy.

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The story goes that Betsy Ross made the first flag and presented it to George Washington. We are finding that this is probably a myth. It seems it was the combination of several people including George Washington himself.

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And many have died defending the flag. To ignore the flag is to ignore their efforts. However, if you are brave enough to fly the flag there are a few things you should know. Always put up the flag at sunrise quickly, lowering it at sunset slowly. The flag is never to be flown at night unless there is a light shining on it. It should not be flown in rain or bad weather. If an event happens that causes you to put your flag at half staff, a death or tragic event, it should remain at half staff for 30 days. The flag should never touch the ground. When a flag gets old or tattered it should either be burned or buried, never thrown in a trash can.

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Stop being ashamed of the best country in the world! Fly your flag proudly.

How to celebrate – Fly your flag accordingly. If you don’t have a flag, buy one! Stop listening to those who tell you flying the flag is wrong. It is the symbol of our country, a country to be very, very proud of.