September 13th Uncle Sam Day

I think we are all pretty familiar with Uncle Sam… but did you know where he came from and how he got to be the symbol of our country? Well, apparently there was a merchant that sold meat to the soldiers during the War of 1812. His name was Sam Wilson and he grew so popular with the soldier, among others, that they took to calling him Uncle Sam.

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He operated out of Troy, New York and I guess you can see some resemblance in his photo to our Uncle Sam today. Well it so happens that his birthday falls on September 13th, which happens to be Uncle Sam Day! Now that didn’t really begin until 1961 when Congress voted on a drawing to be used for Uncle Sam. But they still did not vote in a day of celebration just yet.

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There were two other characters in the running for become a national symbol. The first was Brother Jonathan. He was a lot more popular in the newspapers and the south than he was with the general public. Although, if you examine his character he did wear the same sort of hat and striped pants. However as this was the fashion of the day he did not really stand out all that much.

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And then there was Uncle Sam’s girlfriend, Columbia. Now having a pretty woman to look at was inspiring and though provoking but did not exactly inspire men to fight. In fact, it rather made them want to take a nap and dream… maybe of Columbia herself!

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It took until 1989 for Congress to actually officially recognize Uncle Sam Day. And now, it’s been so long, apparently anyone with white hair can be an Uncle Sam! “We want you… to celebrate Uncle Sam Day!”

How to celebrate – Dress up as Uncle Sam yourself and parade about the town. Start a write in campaign to see if Columbia can at least be the symbol for our Congress! Try and create your own national symbol like Uncle Sam!

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February 6th Lame Duck Day

As long as you wield some kind of power people respect you and listen to what you have to say. As soon as they know you are retiring, leaving a job, or about to be replaced with someone else you have suddenly become a “Lame Duck”. This probably applies to the President of the the Untied States more than any other job in the world.

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The 20th Amendment, finalized on February 6th, 1933, sets the time and date that the President’s power is turned over to the President-Elect. From the moment of the election, time begins to tick and every day that passes, the president seems to lose a little power, a little more influence, and a little more respect. It not only applies to Presidents, Congressmen and Senators also go through this same process. However it seems to be the president who suffers the most.

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Normally whatever a President does in the last few weeks of office is offset by the new President coming into office. Presidential pardons come fast and furious sine there can be no political fallout to the President, money exchanges hands that may be left over in administrations, and congress generally refuses to entertain any motions, laws, or bills placed before them by the out going President.

How to celebrate – Think of all the out going Presidents and how they feel knowing they are leaving office. If your boss has announced their retirement see how little power they retain during their final days. Try to imagine your own pending retirement and how you will handle being a “lame duck”.

August 9th National Veep Day

The Vice-President of the Untied States is supposed to be the people’s second choice to the President, should the President fall while in office. More often than not these days they are put into that position to win over some battleground state or serve some cause that the actual President did not put high enough on their priority list. In theory, if the President cannot continue in his/her office the Vice-President should run the country exactly as his/her predecessor would have. But it never seems to work out that way.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 allows for the succession of the Vice-President to become President if for any reason the President can not continue in their office. In the United States this has happened 9 times. The first was during Benjamin Harrison’s presidency when he died of pneumonia in 1842. Vice-President John Tyler took office.

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Millard Fillmore took over for Zachary Tyler when he died from an illness in 1850.

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We all know about Abraham Lincoln. His Vice-President was Andrew Johnson when he was assassinated. Johnson had been brought in because of his southern heritage and Lincoln thought is would help to calm at least parts of the south. When Lincoln was killed he did his best to follow Lincoln’s wishes but the entire country thought he was soft on the south since he was from the south. He wasn’t, but the country did not know that.

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Chester Arthur took over for James Garfield when he was shot, lingered, and then died. It was 1881.

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Theodore Roosevelt took over for William McKinley in 1908 after his assassination.

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Calvin Coolidge became president when Warren G. Harding died of a heart attack in 1923.

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Harry S. Truman took over for Franklin D. Roosevelt, the only president elected to office for more than two terms (and the reason no other president can be elected for more than 2 terms) when he died in office.

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Lyndon B. Johnson was the unfortunate Vice-President to John F. Kennedy. That’s a hard act to follow

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And finally Gerald Ford took over for Richard Nixon, the only president to ever resign from office.

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Like them or not, they became President because they were one heart-beat away from the Oval Office. Think about that when you are electing the next president. It really can make a difference.

Just in passing, there have been sixteen times a President did not have a Vice-President, at least not for his entire time in office. In such a case, if the President should fall, and there is no Vice-President, the office falls to the Speaker of the House – Ever watch Eagle Eye! And if worse comes to worse, it falls to the Designated Survivor. Which is a new tv series coming out soon!

How to celebrate – Take the time to learn who the Vice-Presidents have been and what they stood for. Find out the duties of the Vice-President while in office. Find out why we can’t elect our own Vice-President. Why should we settle for who the President thinks is the best!?!

 

 

 

March 25, 2016 National Medal of Honor Day

It is National Medal of Honor Day. A medal created for “personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty.” Created in 1861 for the Navy, the Army soon followed with its version in 1862.  An Air Force Medal of Honor was created during World War I.  To date, over 3,500 Medal of Honors have been awarded to military men serving their country’s needs.

There were few medals offered prior to the American Civil War.  In 1780, the Fidelity Medallion was offered to veterans of the Revolution.  For those who went above the call of duty another medal was awarded in 1782, called the Badge of Military Merit.  In 1847, a Certificate of Merit was awarded veterans of the Mexican-American War.

This is truly a holiday that does not get the recognition in the mainstream that it deserves. Congress declared this day a National Holiday in 1863 when the first Medal of Honor was awarded for Jacob Parrott’s actions during the Andrews Raid. Of the 24 Raiders only 6 members received this honorable distinction for their role in the “Great Locomotive Chase“. Oddly, Andrews could not receive the award since he was a civilian and the award was distinctly meant to be offered only to military personnel. Eventually the The Medal of Valor was created for civilians.

Other Medals of Honor were given out to civilians by mistake.  Buffalo Bill received one that was later taken back, as well as Mary Edwards Walker, though hers was restored by Jimmy Carter in 1971.

The most recent Medal of Honor awarded was on February 29. 2016 to Edward C. Byers Jr., U.S. Navy Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator for his role in the US Navy SEAL operation ENDURING FREEDOM, freeing American hostage Dr. Dilip Joseph.

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Above is the Medal of Honor flag awarded with the Medal of Honor

 

So in honor of this day:

Fly your American flag proudly

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Visit the Great Locomotive Chase Andrew’s Raiders Monuments and Markers in person or virtually

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Thank a service member or vet for all that they do or write a Thank You Letter to a Medal of Honor Recipient

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Watch the Walt Disney Film the Great Locomotive Chase

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