April 27th National Babe Ruth Day

It seems only appropriate now that baseball season is back in full swing that we should celebrate one of the men who made the game what it is – Babe Ruth.  Baseball has been popular since the Civil War when soldiers use to play their version of the game when in camp (this included hitting the runner with the ball, often knocking them out), but its popularity hit its zenith during Ruth’s days at “The House That Ruth Built” – Yankee Stadium.

1948_1949_leaf_3_babe_ruth_fr

This date is remembered as the next to last time Ruth visited the stadium was on April 27th, 1947. He would die of throat cancer soon after and a legend would pass from the game leaving behind fans that still speak of him today.

Babecomeshome-poster-1927

For years he would hold the home run record at 60, which is odd for a man that started his career as a pitcher. Since then, many have passed his record, namely Roger Maris (also a Yankee), with 61. No one will ever forget his famous gesture of pointing to where he would hit a home run for a young boy who he had visited in the hospital.  He proceeded to hit it exactly where he aimed. There seems to be some controversy as to whether this actually happened or not but what harm is there in believing it?

3b89d49

“The Bambino” helped make baseball what it is today and should always be remembered.  He wasn’t perfect but he was a hero to so many.

Babe-Ruth-death-Baltimore-Yankees-081614

How to celebrate – Visit Yankee Stadium and enjoy a baseball game today. Cheer on your favorite baseball team today.  Go to a little league game and cheer the children, even if you don’t know any of them.

April 22nd National Jellybean Day

Made from sugar, corn syrup and either pectin or starch, the jellybean has become as much a part of American tradition as, well, any candy ever made.  It is believe that the jellybean may have been invented by a Boston confectioner, William Schrafft.

983px-US_Military_Telegraph_Operators,_Headquarters,_Army_of_the_Potomac._July_1863._-_NARA_-_530480

What is known is that advertisements appeared during the Civil War that suggested jellybeans be sent to the troops fighting the war as a treat and to help keep up the fighting spirit.

220px-JellyBean1920

They were mentioned again in 1905 in the Chicago Daily News, and regularly advertised for sale after that. It’s popularity grew when it became egg shaped and assumed a roll in Easter.

jelly-collection

Today companies have figured out how to add flavoring to the jellybean and make it taste like practically anything. Even somethings that aren’t so good! Ah, give mankind long enough and he can find a way to ruin anything!

C315-2
1/26/1981 President Reagan with jellybeans with Alexander Haig and Richard Allen during a meeting with Interagency Working Committee on Terrorism in the Cabinet Room

Even the Gipper loved his jellybeans. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever met anyone who did not enjoy jellybeans. While they are an Easter favorite, they can be enjoyed any time of the year and they are a candy treat meant to be shared.

How to celebrate – Buy some jellybeans! There is a new game popular among those who eat jellybeans, a taste test of sorts, including jellybeans that are purposely meant to taste really bad. Get a party together and do your own taste test encounter. Try this recipe to make your own jellybeans.

April 17th Patriots Day

Patriots Day is primarily a celebration in the New England states where the “Shot Heard Around the World” was first heard. It commemorates the start of the Revolutionary War with the battles of Lexington and Concord, the “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” and The beginning of the Siege of Boston.  It always falls on the third Monday in April, though the actual action occurred on April 19th, 1775.

Lexington-by-William-Barnes-Wollen

It starts with the local militia taking a stand at Lexington trying to prevent the British from seizing the armory in Concord. Some 80 militia men, warned by William Dawes (Revere was arrested before he could warn the patriots), stood their ground before trained British Army units. It was a brief stand that the Redcoats blew right through.

concord-bridge-reenactment

Reaching Concord, the British found all the powder and weapons removed from the armory and after a short skirmish, began marching back to Boston.

d23e2ebdbf49ce6874cd3f96d22b9b4c

The Patriots had no standing army that could match the British in traditional tactics of the day. However, they had learned the art of hit and run, considered less honorable but very effective. The British, unchallenged to this point, found their way back to Boston a living nightmare as they were hit by the American’s at nearly every turn.

Fighting3

Hiding behind trees and firing only once before running away, the American’s made the British pay. In the end, 49 Americans were killed, 39 wounded and 5 went missing. The British lost 73 killed, 174 wounded and 53 missing before reaching the relative safety of Boston.

Though not all of America celebrates Patriots Day, we should. It is the first day we stood up on our own and started the long road to becoming a country.

How to celebrate – Remember those who lost their lives defending America before it was America. Read about the battles of Lexington and Concord. Check your family heritage and see if you may have had a Patriot in your history.

 

June 17th Battle of Bunker Hill Day

Today most bloggers will be writing about the great holidays of Apple Strudel Day, Flip Flop Day, Stewart’s Root Beer Day, and Eat You Vegetables Day, and while they are indeed important days to America, you’ll forgive me if I choose a lesser known one, the Battle of Bunker Hill Day.

You may remember Paul Revere’s Ride or what happened at Lexington and Concord, but the American Revolution really started above Boston on Breed’s Hill. True the Americans and the British collided at Lexington and then Concord, and the British were manhandled on their retreat back to Boston, but if that was where it ended, little would have changed.

As the British retreated into Boston the Americans surrounded them cutting off any movement from the Charlestown Peninsula (where Boston rests) except by sea. General Gage knew he had to break out. He feared little from the rebels, after all he had the finest troops Europe had ever seen under his command.

The break out was to come at Bunker Hill but rebel Colonel William Prescott saw Breed’s Hill, a slightly smaller hill next to Bunker Hill, as a better spot to defend. The attack came on June 17th, 1775.

Bunker_Hill

The British charged once and the rag tag army of the rebels drove them back.  Prescott issued his famous command, “Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes”. A second attack was launched with the same results. Staggered, but not beaten, the British reformed once again and charged with their most determined attack yet and broke the American lines.

bunkerhill001

However, the British losses were higher than anyone had expected. They drove the Americans back, but not away from Boston. The British retreated back into Boston to tend to their dead and wounded, and the Americans, encouraged by their near defeat of England’s best, closed back in. The siege of Boston began, and the Continental Congress sent George Washington to take command.

the-battle-of-bunker-hill-7-728

The American’s losses were some 300 dead and wounded. So while it may not be as interesting as Flip Flop Day, I think it holds some importance in America’s history.

How to celebrate: Visit Boston if you can. Remember Breed’s Hill and what it meant to our freedom. Fly the flag to show your support for those who led our way.