May 5th Cinco de Mayo

Today Mexicans (and Americans) celebrate Cinco de Mayo (often confused with Mexico’s Independence Day, September 16th). Cinco de Mayo celebrates the remebrance of the Battle of Puebla on May 5th. France controlled Mexico in the early 1860’s and Mexico wanted their freedom (they fairly won it at Puebla). It was France’s second intervention in Mexico, but it was also their last. Perhaps a little strange is that Mexico’s battle for freedom occurred on what is today American soil. Puebla is in California near Los Angles. Spain and Britain also went to war with Mexico but came to terms before the battle.

How to celebrate – Study the history of Mexico. Celebrate Mexico’s freedom from foreign interference. Visit the site of the battle.

July 14th Bastille Day

I have always thought the French Revolution was an odd occurrence. Not that it happened, the people wanted democracy over the Constitutional Monarchy. Don’t blame them. What is odd is that the monarch of France thought it was a good idea to help America win it’s revolution with out any thought that his own people might do the same!

Well, they did, and on July 14th, 1789 they stormed the Bastille to take over the country. Now most think the Bastille was a government building and I guess, in a way, it sort of was. It was a prison. The people freed those who could lead the rebellion against the king, most of whom the king had put in the Bastille. In France it is known as “Fete de la Federation”.

800-bastille-day-fireworks-20x11

One thing we should remember is that freedom is something won, not given. It has to be fought for and to fight for it, you have to have weapons. The first thing Germany did before World War 2 was to take away all weapons from the people. They could not fight back. Same thing after the Russian Revolution bringing communism into power. In fact, nearly every country that has had it’s right to bear arms taken away has lost it’s people’s freedom. (Not so in the UK)

195649-004-28F0B3F4

Bastille Day has been celebrated ever since July 14th, 1790. It will continue to be celebrated as long as the French people are free. Just like here in the US. We should love one another, but be able to defend our freedom from all those who would take it away. If you look at every country where people are suffering, you will find they have no way to fight back.

Bastille-Day_ss_450808630-790x400

How to celebrate – Throw a Bastille Day party! Celebrate your freedom! Study history to know how we all got to be where we are.

June 20th National Bald Eagle Day

I do not know of a more majestic bird than the Bald Eagle. I am proud it is the symbol of America. It has been our national bird since 1782. As the national bird it is portrayed with 13 arrows in it’s left talon symbolizing the original 13 colonies and an olive branch, the symbol for peace, it it’s right talon.

download (3)

Had Benjamin Franklin had his way our national bird would be the turkey. Even Turkey doesn’t use a turkey as it’s national bird. I’m not sure if Franklin had just finished a Thanksgiving meal or what but making the turkey our national symbol would not have been a very good idea. After all, turkeys are known for drowning because they look up at the rain for too long.

Ronald-Reagan-feature

Though we called it our national bird the day was not official until January 28, 1982 when President Ronald Reagan proclaimed it, Congress passing it into law on June 20, 1982. How it took over 200 years to make is official is beyond me!

download (2)

The eagle is a bird of prey, it does not kill for the joy of it but when it does strike, it is fast and deadly. Sort of like our special services are. It just looks like the kind of bird you don’t want to mess with but admire from afar.

images (5)

There is something about the Eagle that reminds us of freedom as well. It should never be caged, and in fact it is illegal to restrict one in any way.  It is a true symbol of what America, and Americans, stand for.

How to celebrate – See if you can spot an eagle in the sky where you live. (I am lucky, they are all over the place!) If you can’t find one locally, check at a zoo where those no longer able to fly find a home. Read about Eagles.

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.

american-civil-war-toy-soldiers-2017

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.

nastemancipation

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.

images (1)

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.

download

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.

May 28th Amnesty International Day

Today is the day to celebrate human rights and awareness of all the abuses that occur daily in the world. Of course you can’t do that in one day, but today is the day to start.

Amnesty-940x580

We here in America, and most of the rest or the modern countries of the world, complain about how rough we have it. The thing is, we do not know suffering like those living in oppressed countries and the very poor countries. Those countries devastated by war, famine and natural disasters.  In fact, people living in those countries would probably trade us for our worst days here.

amnesty

Think about them the next time you go to a restaurant or pub, go see a movie or theater show or just get a glass of water out of your tap. For the price of a meal at a medium priced restaurant, a couple of drinks, a movie or a seat in a theater you could probably feed a dozen or more starving people.

Amnesty_Street_Beating

For some unknown reason we have all decided that it is a governments job to take care of others. Whether it is our government or someone else’s government we expect them to take care of the problems around the world. That is not the role of government. Government is meant to take care of our own. The only time a government should be assisting another government is if there is war and even then, it’s not always in our interest to fight someone else’s war.  If people help people, the government doesn’t have to come into it. They have nothing to gain, or lose, if we are taking care of the problem with people.

about_us_topic_intro_2_0

We can’t stop war but we can stop hunger, we cannot stop natural disasters but we can help clean up the aftermath. Amnesty International was founded in London on May 28th, 1961.  There should be no politics about helping others. After all, there may come a time when we need help ourselves.

How to celebrate – Learn more about Amnesty International. Stop saying you wish you could help and go help. Set aside money from one meal out a month and send it to Amnesty International.

May 20th Armed Forces Day

Nearly every country in the world owes their existence to the men and women who fought to allow civilians to live where they live, countries to grow where they have grown and civilization to thrive where it has been born. War is not brought on by soldiers, it is brought on by politics that get out of control or greed that civilians create. Yet it almost always seems to be the soldier that pays the ultimate price.

USS_Essex_109-12r_2520x1800

Britain ruled a great deal of  the world by the deployment of it’s Navy, America has enjoyed it’s freedom because of the Navy and even the great empires of history have had powerful navies, even when landlocked.

Coast Guard Boat in Morro Bay, CA 04 Dec 2007

And while the Navy protects us from large scale land invasion, the Coast Guard keeps us safe from those that might slip through the cracks. They also protect us from many of the stupid things we do, like sailing without life preservers and letting the fuel run out when we go boating.

female-marines-10k-17-mar-2017

Armed Forces Day was created by Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson on August 31, 1949. It was announced by President Harry Truman on February 20th, 1950. Then finally celebrated on May 20th, 1950. It honors all our fighting forces, the Marines, Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard for their service from day one in America.

www.AviationExplorer.com

Now I know to many of you it may get old to thank our military as much as we do. Honestly though, we cannot thank them enough, ever. None of us would be here if not for them. Most of the countries would not exist without them. And oddly enough, there would never be peace without them.

1484824_-_main

How to celebrate – Thank every uniformed serviceman/woman that you see today for your life. Thank any retired serviceman/woman for their past service. Fly your flag proudly, whatever country you are in, the idea of your flag is the freedom you’ve been given and the soul of every soldier who has ever fought and died for you.

January 5th National Bird Day

If there is one creature on earth that represents freedom it has to be the bird. National bird day is a day to reflect on caging of birds and selling them in pet stores. Can a captive bird be a happy bird?

bird-in-the-rain

Well the elements are certainly a problem for all birds. Caught in the rain or snow can be devastating for a bird in the wild. They will suffer from the extreme cold or weather. However, most birds’ instincts make them aware of weather changes and are able to avoid them.

pet-bird-cage

So even though they can live in a controlled environment, will they be happy in a cage? Most have their wings clipped so they cannot fly anymore and while food is as plentiful as the owner makes it, there is no more hunting, seeking, or searching for nourishment. That too is something instinctive to most wild animals.

maxresdefault

And some of the most expensive birds are popular among the people who care for them. Parakeets, macaws, cockatiels, parrots and cockatoos are sought after by bird lovers all over the world but they are also found in the wild, often in great numbers. Think of putting any animal in a cage and leaving them there for most of their lives. How happy can they be? You can teach some to talk, feed them what they love to eat most, and love them all you want, but they are still are captive.

beautiful-birds-cute-fly-favim-com-2211854

Birds are meant to be free. They are meant to soar above us and inspire us. They represent the ultimate choice of freedom.

How to celebrate – Admire any bird you see in the sky. Think twice before buying a bird for a pet. If you do buy one, try to give it a life outside a cage, but do not release a bird once you have caged it, as it not longer has the ability to live free. Rescue a bird from a shelter. Volunteer at a local bird rescue.

November 11th Veteran’s Day

Today is the day we thank our veterans for serving their country. In all honesty, I think most people will forget about it. I was asked at a school why they do not close for Veteran’s Day anymore. I had no answer. What made it a little worse was it was a legal immigrant who asked because they were grateful for the men, and women, that helped win them their freedom. I think a lot of it is that few of us living in America have never really had our freedom threatened. We are free to protest, say what we want, and go where we want because of those who fought, and died, for us. That is something we should never forget.

vetpos87

Veteran’s Day use to be Armistice Day, celebrated by most of the world, commemorating the end of World War 1.  The war ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day in the 11th month of 1918. It is also known as Remembrance Day. It was promoted by Woodrow Wilson and for years was celebrated as Armistice Day.

veterans-day-thank-you-and-sayings

In 1945, after World War 2, Veteran Raymond Weeks suggested that Armistice Day be changed to Veteran’s Day to celebrate the American soldier. It was bounced around and was finally signed into law in 1954 by Veteran, and President, Dwight D. Eisenhower. For years all businesses closed down and people celebrated by supporting Veterans and participating in parades and festivities. Only in the last few years have we decided that it was okay to celebrate it by going to work and ignoring the Veterans who won our freedom. It is still a Federal holiday, just very few seem to care.

images-1

How to celebrate – Thank a veteran for their service, take them to lunch or just remember them at some point in the day, giving them a moment of silence. Use a vacation day if you have one to take the day off to honor those who died for you. Research the Veterans in your family. Tweet, blog or post the heroes in your family so others can remember them.

July 4th Independence Day

The 4th of July, 1776 is perhaps the most important day in American history. The day we declared our freedom from England. Of course it didn’t come to an end for 8 years but then good things come to those who wait. In 1783 the waiting was over (the war actually started in 1775).

Over the years the 4th of July has become a collage of fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches designed to help us know what we need to do to be great again.

Well, maybe remembering where we come from, what we have accomplished, and how we turned a few colonies into a nation would help. Back in the time when our heroes were real people and our actions spoke louder than some politicians blowing hot air. No, we haven’t always been right, but then who has? We have been the best we could be, and considering all, that’s been pretty good.

Oddly, it was the French government who helped us win our freedom, mainly to get back at the English. Still had it not been for them we probably would not have won. Then the people of France took our example and overthrew their government to win freedom for themselves. That really didn’t work out so well. Then in 1875 the French began building a statue for us, the Statue of Liberty, which wasn’t dedicated until 1886.

How to celebrate: Enjoy some fireworks but remember why we do them. Give a vet a sincere thank you.  Have an old time picnic with the family.