April 22nd National Jelly Bean Day

Who doesn’t like jelly beans!?! Nearly everyone can find a flavor they like, altough there are some jelly beans specifically made for nobody to like these days. No one knows exactly where jelly beans came from, they just seem to have started to appear during the American Civil War as Union soldiers began receiving them, which would make one think they came from someone’s home. That would have been in the 1860’s and perhaps they were around before that as well, but if they were, we have no proof of it. Jelly beans are sort of like potato chips, it’s hard to eat just one!

How to celebrate – Have some jelly beans. Invent your own new flavor of jelly bean. Learn how to make your own jelly beans.

February 12th Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12th, 1809. His begins were humble, his education basically what he taught himself and he wasn’t the happiest man on earth. He had a sense of right from wrong and used that to his advantage but his best quality may have been that he listened to others. It doesn’t mean that he always agreed, but he listened. Since his roots came from the common man he could relate to them and never thought himself better than anyone else. Lincoln was shot on April 14th, 1865 as the Civil War was winding down. In death, he may have accomplished even more than he did in life. We celebrate his birthday as much for who he was as what he became.

How to celebrate – Remember Lincoln today. Research why he did what he did, you might be surprised with the answers. Watch a movie about Lincoln.

November 19th Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Today is the day that Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address to dedicate a national cemetery to those men who died in early July, both defending their country and trying to save a way of life. You can pick your side, both had their merits, both had their faults. It seems like there is a lot today that we want to try to forget, or erase from history but the truth is, history has brought us to where we are today, good or bad. And that’s what Lincoln was trying to say. Often it takes terrible things happening to teach us lessons we needed to learn, if we block them out like they never existed, then we have not learned the lesson history offers. Four score and seven years earlier our forefathers created the land Lincoln knew. It wasn’t perfect but it was better than most places and because we did learn our lessons we have made it all that better since. Don’t forget history because it is likely to repeat itself because of our ignorance.

How to celebrate – Read all of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Study the causes of the Civil War.

July 27th National Day of the Cowboy

The cowboy is one of the most misunderstood characters out of history. This man, or woman, settled the western US. They are tough and loyal and work hard, with pride, at what they do. A large number of the original cowboys came out of the American Civil War, people trained to ride horses aggressively during the war that found themselves without work in the east. The day was created in 2005, the fourth Saturday of July, though there is no record of who created it. The cowboy is much more than just a man, or woman, who drives cattle to a destination, they are the soul of the working class, doing what they love, in the only way they know how… straight forward never looking behind.

How to celebrate – Visit the west. Learn the ethics involved with being a cowboy. Love what you do for a living.

February 12th Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

Lincoln was one of the few president’s that nearly everybody agrees was among the top (maybe not so much in the south). He was one of the good ol’ boys, but with a brain. He also lived one of the sadder lives known to any of the presidents.

Born on February 12th, 1809 his life did not stand out all that much before he was elected. He served in a militia unit during the Black Hawk War but never saw any action. He was a failed retailer and a slightly better than average farmer. He did excel at being a lawyer which is what finally got him noticed by those who made presidents back then. But it was his logic and wit that won the day, not his brute force or winning.

John Wilkes Booth saw to his demise on April 14th, 1865, after the war had come to an end practically speaking. It was “Good Friday” and Ford’s Theater was packed since so many had heard the President would be attending. There are dozens of conspiracy theories floating around about who really did what, but the end results are the same.

How to celebrate – read about Lincoln’s life. Throw a birthday party in his honor. Read about the belief that Lincoln was secretly a vampire killer.

July 28th National Day of the Cowboy

Yee-haw, today is the National Day of the Cowboy! It’s created by the National Day of the Cowboy group in 2005. Who doesn’t like a cowboy? Rough, rugged and always polite.  It’s a really hard job but someone’s got to do it.

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Cowboys do live by a code. They are to be honest and have courage, Take pride in what they do, be curious about life, finish what one starts, keep any promise made, be tough but fair, maintain clean thoughts and deeds, always be tolerant, be a steward of the land and animals and stand up for what you believe in.

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And, of course, the unspoken rule made by the ladies… be a beef-cake. For most cowboys this isn’t too hard because the work they do makes them stay fit. They may not always be real clean and smell good, but looking good is half the battle!

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Cowboys have always been around, in one form or another. There job was to bring the animals in their charge to where they are needed. Along the line they had weather, other animals and people they had to protect the herd from. With many learning the art of horseback riding during the Civil War, they went west to ply their trade, settling a wild land as they did.

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So go ahead, and make their day by celebrating their heritage with them. They have never been perfect, but they never tried to be. They just did the best they could with what they had.

How to celebrate – Live by the code of the cowboy. Read about the cowboy.  Take a vacation, living the life of a cowboy.

June 19th Juneteenth Day

The American Civil War had little, and everything, to do with slavery. Slavery became a cause, not of the war, but for those who both wanted the war to continue and those who wanted it to stop. No man should ever be another slave, but in the mid 1800’s it was a way of life.

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Most soldiers on either side of the conflict knew much about slavery. In the north, the industrialization no longer required such cheap labor (In fact, many slaves in the south earned more than freedmen in the north). The average Confederate soldier could not afford slaves. So neither side had first hand dealings with slavery, regardless of the stories told.

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It was a political situation and things were not going well for the north. So on September 22, 1862 Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation interestingly freeing the slaves in only the states he no longer had control over. It was an effort to keep England out of the war and from siding with the south. (England had already outlawed slavery). It worked. I am quite sure Lincoln had the best of intentions ending slavery but it is not why he made the proclamation.

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No doubt if Lincoln had lived he would have made slavery illegal in the U.S. but when he died, it was only the law of the land in the south. He avoided nation wide because Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee could have left the Union if he had freed slaves countrywide.

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Freedom came when General Gordon Granger marched into Galveston, Texas on June 19th, 1965 officially ending the war. The 13th Amendment freeing all the slaves came on January 31st, 1865 declared by Congress.

How to celebrate – Learn more about slavery in America. Learn more about the Civil War in America. Celebrate freedom.

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 22nd National Jelly Bean Day

Who doesn’t enjoy a good jelly bean!?! I mean, can you pass by a bowl of jelly beans without taking a handful? Not me! No one knows exactly when the jelly bean came into existence but they were advertised as far back as the Civil War as the ideal treat to send to the Union soldiers in the field.

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Somehow they also became an Easter favorite. I remember being told they were rabbit droppings… as a kid, I thought that was cool but as an adult it’s a little disgusting. I still eat them though so I guess I got over the idea pretty quick!

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And naturally, the jelly bean has progressed over the years, the flavors have grown and even, in some cases, the shapes. I am still trying to deal with jelly beans that taste like popcorn or cheese steak.. not my favorite but some really like them. And then there are those that no one likes that taste awful… dish soap, axle grease or toenails. What really bothers me is that someone had create those tastes by actually knowing what the substance taste like!

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There are fine works of art created out of jelly beans. Here again, I don’t know if I can appreciate the art but I guess that all depends on your taste. (Get it! Taste!) So when asking what your art form is does the artist respond, ” jelly bean”?

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I don’t think I have ever met anyone who does not like a jelly bean, I mean, they may have other favorites and the jelly bean may not be on the top of the list but if offered, they general take at least one.. or two… or twenty.

How to celebrate – Have some jelly beans today, after all if you have children you probably have some left over from Easter.  Try and create your ow new flavor of jelly bean. Make certain that what you believe is a jelly bean is indeed a jelly bean before eating.

February 12th Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday

Today is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, February 12th, 1809. He is truly one of the greatest Presidents we have ever had, though if you study history it may not be for what you think he should be remembered for. He held this country together at a time when it could easily have fallen apart and led a nation through the bloodiest wars it has ever seen.

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A young Lincoln did not have a very joyful life. He worked hard, studied and bettered himself on his way to becoming the President. His one true love died before he could marry her and he settled in with a woman that was just as depressed as he was.

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Becoming President, he found himself in control of a divided union that would have most likely succumbed with anyone else in charge. The issues were purely economical and the rights of the states over the rights of the Federal government. It was a war that the south could never win but the union could easily lose.

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Though Lincoln is probably best known for the Emancipation Proclaimation it too was not what the history books often show it to be. Lincoln was anti-slavery, but slavery was only a rally call for the war. The Proclaimation was written to keep England and France out of the war, siding with the Confederacy. Since slavery was abolished in those countries, and somewhat now in the north, those countries could not very well help the Confederacy. The only slaves freed by the Proclamation were those in the states Lincoln had no control over.

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No doubt Lincoln would have freed all the slaves had he lived long enough.  John Wilkes Booth saw to it that he did not have the opportunity. On April 14th, Good Friday, Booth assasinated Lincoln at Ford’s Theater.

How to celebrate – Read more about Lincoln and learn the truth of his Presidency. Make a cake for Lincoln, but don’t expect him to show up to eat it. Learn the real causes of the Civil War.