June 5th National Doughnut Day

Today was created by the Salvation Army in 1938 during the depression as they handed out doughnuts to those who could find little to eat as the country suffered from economic struggles. The day was created to honor the “Lassies” that went to Europe during World War 1 under Lt. Col. Helen Purvianee. They were the only women allowed on the front lines serving doughnuts and coffee to the soldiers of the Allied forces. Even then, these women were a part of the Salvation Army. There is something comforting about a doughnut. Check your local doughnut shops, they may be giving away doughnuts today for free!

How to celebrate – Support your local Salvation Army. Learn to make your own doughnuts. Learn more about the Salvation Army during World War 1.

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 9th National Winston Churchill Day

There have only been a few people in history that have been given an honorary citizenship in America. Winston Churchill was one of them. We know his life was filled with success, and often failure, but he is one of history’s most loved characters… and sometimes most hated.

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Starting his career as a young Army Officer he went on to serve as a politician and a writer, leading the British to failure at Gallipoli during World War 1 to saving an entire world during World War 2. How? By keeping England free until America’s might could turn the war around in the allies favor.

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Born in 1874, November 30th, Churchill would spend his life serving the people of England as Prime Minister from 1940-45 and then again from 1951-55. His means did not always seem to meet the needs but we were never in his shoes so while it’s easy to judge, it’s more difficult to convict.

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To not recognize what Churchill did to earn his citizenship from John F. Kennedy in 1963 would be a failure to see how history has been shaped by those who truly did make a difference. Kennedy knew this, the US Senate that voted on the citizenship knew this, let us not forget.

How to celebrate- Read a book about Churchill. Read a book about World War 2. Look up Chuchill’s quotes.

November 11th Veterans Day

Today we celebrate all those brave men and women who have served our country, standing up for freedom and fighting back those who would take it away. No matter what political stance you take, you have to be grateful for those who stood up for us and defended us, sometimes sacrificing all.

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Originally called Armistice Day for those who fought during World War 1, Veterans Day was first celebrate in 1921 when the United States, France and England all buried their own “unknown soldier” from World War 1. They chose November 11th because it was the day that World War 1 ended in 1918.

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It was called “the war to end all wars”, which of course was a little over stated. But the intent was that we would never see another war like the one they had just gone through. However, after another World War, an even more costly one, President Eisenhower turned Armistice Day into Veterans Day in 1954. I know the hope would be for no more wars but I think Eisenhower knew better.

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World War 1 ended on November 11th at 11:11, 1918 but Veterans Day lives on. It celebrates those who fought before the “Great War” and those who came after, as it should. Those Veterans who fought in war time, and those who help preserve peace when we were not at war are to be saluted, honored and cherished.

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How to celebrate – Thank any veteran you happen to see. Remember those who sacrificed all so you could be free. Honor the flag that all those brave men and women stood for and don;t tarnish it for matters so insignificant when compared to what was given to keep it flying.

June 2nd National Doughnut Day

Today is National Doughnut Day. It’s a day you can get free doughnuts from most doughnut shops, Krispy Kreme for example. Dunkin Donuts also gives out free doughnuts but I believe there are some restrictions. Check in your area to see who all is giving free doughnuts and who isn’t.

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History generally tells us that the term Dough Boys comes from World War 1 when women of the Salvation Army served doughnuts, along with other items, to the American soldiers in the trenches. But American soldiers were called Dough Boys dating back to at least the war with Mexico from 1846-48. American soldiers were so called dough boys because they cooked a dough like substance for their meals.

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But the term did come into play during World War 1 as American soldiers, and European soldier, fell in love with the doughnuts served by the Salvation Army… or maybe it was the women serving them that they fell in love with. These women were the only civilians allowed in the front ranks during the war.

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Lt. Colonel Helen Purviance became known as the “First Doughnut Girl” during the war. her rank was in the Salvation Army, not in the regular military.  Soldiers so fell in love with the doughnut that when the Salvation Army was not available to serve the treat they often cooked dougnuts in their helmets.

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The Salvation Army was so desperate for funding that in 1938 they took to the streets to sell doughnuts as a fund-raiser. Doughnut Day was established in Chicago that same year, making it a bizarre, but tasty, holiday.

How to celebrate – Go get your free doughnut! Share a dozen doughnuts with friends. Donate to the Salvation Army.

 

August 7th National Purple Heart Day

The “Military Order of the Purple Heart” was first awarded by George Washington in 1782, particularly for the veterans of the American Revolution who in “Any Singularly Meritorious Action” deserved one. Originally called the Military Merit Decoration, it was given to six veterans, though there may have been more that went unrecorded. It was made of purple silk cut into a heart shape with a thin edge of silver with the word merit inscribed across it.

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The medal went dormant until World War 1 when 320,518 Americans were awarded the Purple Heart, now given to those who have been wounded or killed, and in some case for other special merit actions. This time the medals were awarded in the name of the President of the United States.

In 1932 a special day was set aside for those who had earned the Purple Heart but it varied from state-to-state, and city-to-city. Once again, with no wars taking place, the medal was set aside until General Douglas McArthur convinced Congress to re-designate the medal for those wounded or killed during World War 2. Another 1,076,245 were issued before the war was over. George Washington’s bust was added to the medal to give it even more meaning.

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The medal has been in constant use since World War 2. 118,650 were issued during the Korean War, another 351,794 for Vietnam. Estimated numbers since then through 2010, include 607 for the Gulf War, 7,027 for Afghanistan and 35,321 in Iraq.

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Since then, the Purple Heart has also been awarded to wounded animals in military service. The Purple Heart is the oldest medal in American history. The National Purple Heart Hall of Fame is in New Windsor, N.Y..

How to celebrate – Honor those who have fallen, or been wounded, in defense of America.  Visit the Hall of Fame in New Windsor. Find out if anyone in your family has ever earned a Purple Heart.

 

June 3rd National Doughnut Day

The first Friday in June is always National Doughnut Day. This year that’s June 3rd. The holiday first came up in 1938, created by the Salvation Army to honor those members that went to France during World War 1. Since it was right in the middle of the great Depression it was also used as a way to feed those who could not feed themselves and as a fund raiser to help with special projects for the Salvation Army. It is still used as a fund raiser in Chicago even today!

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Some 250 women went to Europe to serve our boys “over there”. They made pies and coffee but by far the most popular item was the doughnut. The Salvation Army girls were called “Doughnut Girls”.

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The American Red Cross also sent out ladies with doughnuts during World War 1, they were called “Doughnut Dollies”.

 

Doughnuts are apparently an All-American thing. The first person to claim making doughnuts was Hanson Gregory in 1847 aboard a lime-trading ship, but this claim is somewhat unlikely since Paul R. Mullins referred to doughnuts in a book he wrote back in 1803. Washington Irving also mentions the doughnut in a book he wrote in 1809. It does, however, apparently come from the Dutch-American community.

Well whoever came up with the doughnut first we are very thankful.  Something else to be thankful for is free doughnuts! Celebrate Doughnut Day with the following companies…

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… with the purchase of a drink.  Or at…

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…where you can get a doughnut for free with no purchase, and you can get any kind of doughnut you want!

How to celebrate: Go get your free doughnut! Learn how to make doughnuts of your own at home.  Pretend it’s World War 1 and have a doughnut party!