June 6th D-Day, WW II

There are somethings we should never forget and D-Day is one of them. June 6th, 1944 was the beginning of the end or World War 2 when allied troops from American, Britain and Canada landed on 5 beaches in France. The US attacked Omaha and Utah beaches, UK Gold & Sword beaches and Canada Juno beach. 156,000 men gained a foothold in Europe against Germany though it cost some 4,000 their lives. The operation was a success to some degree because the Germans were fooled, knowing the invasion was coming but thinking it would fall elsewhere. Landings had already taken place in Italy but the final blow came in France on June 6th, 1944.

How to celebrate – Remember those who paid the supreme price to retake Europe. Visit the Normandy landing areas if you go to Europe. Read and the landings and sacrifice made by the Allied soldiers.

April 29th Greenery Day

You would think that on Greenery Day we would celebrate trees or plants or maybe even Kermit the Frog but today is all about the 124th Emperor of Japan Hirohito’s birthday. Born in 1901, Hirohito served the Japanese people until his death in 1989. He lead Japan through some of it’s best, and some of it’s worst , times. His part in World War 2 will never be known for sure, though he was put on the same level as Hitler at one time he did not face the same fate that other war criminals faced. It is good he is remembered for the beautiful country Japan was before the war and after the war because the ugliness it caused during the war should never be forgotten.

How to celebrate – Visit Japan. Read about Hirohito’s involvement during World War 2 and decided his guilt or not for yourself. Spend your day gardening.

April 29th Peace Rose Day

April 29th Peace Rose Day

Somewhere between 1935 and 1939, French horticulturist Francis Meilland developed a new rose he wanted to share with the world. Knowing World War 2 was about to begin and that his work would probably be destroyed, he sent cutting of the rose to Italy, Turkey, Germany and the US. In France it was known as the “Madame A. Meilland”, in Italy the “Gioia” (Meaning joy) in Germany the Gloria Dei (Glory to God) and in the US it became known as the Peace Rose because of its association with the End of World War 2 in Europe on April 29th, 1945.

How to celebrate – Grow your own Peace Rose. Read about Francis Meilland. Plant a rose garden.

April 8th Draw A Bird Day

April 8th Draw A Bird Day

DAB Day has been around since the 1940’s in the UK. Why, well… I guess because it could be since I found no other particular reason for it. Perhaps with the war in Europe raging it gave people something to do, or maybe it gave an air of freedom or maybe it broke the tension of the bombardment.  Or maybe it’s not as obvious as we think since a woman in the UK was often called a bird. Which makes us all wonder why, only slightly more than why we celebrate Draw A Bird Day at all.

How to celebrate – Draw a bird. Visit the UK. Join the Audubon Society.

November 4th National Candy Day

Today is National Candy Day. It is every child’s dream and most parents’ nightmare! The word candy actually comes from Middle England around the 13th century. That came from Old French, “culre candi”, which came from the Persian “Qand” or “Qandi”, which means sugar cane. The first “candy” was made from honey that was used to preserve fruit and flowers. The honey coated the fruit which happened to make a nice tasting treat. It also helped the digestive track and soothed sore throats.

It is believed that the first “candy” to reach America came from either Britain or France, or perhaps both, in the form of “Rock Candy”. Rock Candy was basically nothing but crystallized sugar, all of which was clear. That would have been in the 18th century and the process to make Rock Candy was so expensive that only the very wealthiest could afford it. Over the years we have learned how to add food dyes and flavoring to Rock Candy to make it somewhat more popular.

Chocolate did not come into the picture until centuries later even though Columbus took the cocoa plant back to Europe after his first voyage to the Americas in 1492. Other milestones for the candy industry came in the 1800’s when candy was made cheaper by production lines and crude machines. This candy was known as “Penny Candy” and for the first time in history, everyone could afford a sweet, at least on special occasions. By 1847 a candy press was invented making candy as cheap as it had ever been and in quantities that made it available even in remote locations. In 1851 the steam pan became available to melt down the sugar even faster and an industry was born.

In 1928 Hershey’s introduced Reese’s peanut butter cups, the first real sign that chocolate could be mass produced as well and sold in a package to consumers. The peanut butter filling was something new for the industry but was extremely well received.

During World War 2, soldiers were given M&M’s made by Mars Inc., for a pick me up because they were coated in a hard candy shell that did not melt while they were in the field. The first real use of M&M’s was actually reported during the Spanish Civil War in the 1930’s where Ernest Hemingway noted seeing soldiers with a hard shelled candy they carried around with them for an energy burst.

How to celebrate – Whatever type of candy you like best, today is the day to enjoy a piece or two. Try to invent your own new candy! Go back to the basics with this recipe for Rock Candy and make your own!

September 2nd VJ Day WWII

There are three dates that mark the end of World War 2 with the surrender of Japan. The first is August 14th, 1945 when Japan sent a cable to the US stating their intention to surrender. August 15th, when the US accepted the surrender of Japan and then September 2nd when the formal surrender of Japan occurred on the deck of the USS Missouri on September 2nd. With the surrender of Japan World War 2 officially came to an end, Germany having surrendered earlier in the year. The world’s most horrific war had come to an end though it would, in some case, take years to get all troops to stop fighting as they had not received word of the surrender themselves.

How to celebrate – Read about World War 2. Learn why it was so difficult for Japan to surrender. Discover who was a part of the Allies, and who was a part of the Axis.

Dec. 21st National Kiwi Day

December 21st National Kiwi Day

Here is a fruit that is native to China and had a certain popularity in the Far East prior to World War 2 but never really caught on until soldiers fighting in New Zealand tried the fruit, liked it and brought it back to the west with them. Originally known as “Yang Tao”, the Chinese gooseberry, it eventually was named Kiwi. Sounds Hawaiian! It is often mixed with strawberries as they seem to compliment each other. Interesting, at least to me, is the fact that though it is native to China, the number one producing country for Kiwi today is Italy.

How to celebrate – Have some Kiwi today. Visit China and see Kiwi in the wild. Make your own recipe using Kiwi.  

December 7th Pearl Harbor Day

In 1941 the pride of the American Pacific fleet lay mostly in Pearl Harbor. People were getting ready for the holidays and while the threat from Japan was widely known, the target apparently was not. Over 2,400 American service men were killed, along with 68 civilians, when Japan launched it’s surprise attack. It was a Sunday and only skeleton crews were on watch. 5 of the 8 battleships in port were sunk, practically every ship there was damaged. By luck, the carriers were out at sea leaving some strength for the future. In Roosevelt’s words “… a day that will live in infamy.” has. It is celebrated by remembering those who gave all today, in 1941, to keep America free. Japan’s formal declaration of war arrived after the attack, because of the lack of a typist. Whether it would have made any difference or not can only be imagined.

How to celebrate – Visit Pearl Harbor. Remember those who gave their all for the country. Be proud to be an American.

August 14th & 15th V-J Day

Today marks the final end of World War 2 as Japan sends a cable to the United States that it surrendered. It was released to the news the next day, August 15th, and the official end came on September 2nd in Tokyo Bay as the surrender papers were signed. As nearly a decade of war, finally came to an end, or sort of anyway, there was the occupation which lasted another 10 years, or more. No matter how you feel about the way the war ended, at least it ended. VJ stands for Victory over Japan.

How to celebrate – Honor those who gave all to end the war. Read about World War 2. Visit Japan.

June 6th D-Day

June 6th -_ D-Day

156,000 soldiers landed on Omaha, Utah, Gold, Sword and Juno beaches to reclaim Europe from Nazi Germany on June 6th, 1944. Thousands would give their all on this day, Canadians, British, French and Americans. It was the one day in the early part of June that had clear enough weather the Allies could actually attempt the landing, and an attempt it was. The Germans had built up the beach defenses to an extreme and though the Allies were fairly sure they could hold some of the beaches it really was done on a hope and a prayer. The landings were preceded by parachute drops and the resistance causing as much havoc as they could. The landing, requested by the Russian, did succeed however and it was the beginning of the end for the Third Reich.

How to celebrate – Remember all those who served in World War 2 (there aren’t many left). Visit the beaches where many of the wrecks have been left reminding us of the day. Read a book written from those who survived the day.