Labor Day

September 2, 2016

Back in May, Memorial Day marked the beginning of summer, leading to three months of barbecues, vacations, and outdoor activities. After a long and hot summer, we are now at Labor Day in the United States. Children go back to school and the summer traveling season slows down. Labor Day is the day where many take the opportunity to have one last hurrah. A final barbecue, trip to an attraction, or to take the day off.

Every first Monday in September is Labor Day in the United States. The day is to celebrate the everyday worker and their achievements. The first Labor Day was celebrated in 1882 in New York City by the Central Labor Union. The second Labor Day was held a year later on September 5th, which was held the previous year on the same day. Finally, as originally proposed, it was changed to the first Monday in September in 1884. It was originally held in New York City, but then other cities followed suit. Eventually, a few states began to propose Labor Day observations in their legislatures. In 1885, Oregon was the first state to officially recognize Labor Day as an official day while New York was still introducing the bill to their local legislators. By June 28, 1894, Grover Cleveland officially signed the act into law under the pressure of Congress.

Which one? There is debate on who originally proposed the idea of Labor Day. Some say it was Peter J. McGuire, who was the founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. Others say it was Matthew Maguire, who was a machinist and a secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Patterson, NJ.

In the present, Labor Day is considered a public holiday, so major government offices, post offices, and schools are closed to observe the holiday. Many businesses are also closed in observance or close early. Those who do work on the holiday are usually given holiday pay.


State Post – West Virginia

August 15, 2016

West Virginia became the 35th state in the Union after President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation on April 20, 1863, although the proclamation would not become effective for another sixty days. This was after the people of Virginia seceded from the Union in 1840. The ones who opposed formed their own government and this formed the state of West Virginia. This is the only state to be proclaimed with a Presidential Proclamation.

West Virginia’s state flag is wswv35n-indoor_-00_west-virginia-3x5ft-nylon-flag-with-indoor-pole-hem-and-fringehite with a navy blue border surrounding it. In the center is the coat of arms of West Virginia, while a wreath of rhododendron (the state flower) is on the lower half of the coat of arms. Above it is a red ribbon, reading the words “State of West Virginia”. Inside the coat of arms stands two men and in between them is a rock which has the date of West Virginia’s admission (June 20, 1863) inscribed and the state’s motto, Montani Semper Liberi, meaning “Mountaineers are always free”.

West Virginia adopted its state flag on March 7, 1929 by Senate Joint Resolution Number 18, which was approved by the Legislature. The proportions of the West Virginia state flag are the same as the United States national flag.

While coal was West Virginia’s biggest industry for years, tourism is now their biggest industry, placing coal in second. People visit popular attractions like the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Seneca Caverns, and New River (which is ironically one of the oldest rivers in the world).



Greece & Brazil

August 1, 2016

With the Olympics coming up, there are two very important flags you will see for two weeks: The flags from Greece and Brazil. This is because Greece is where the Olympic movement was born wgr46hf_-00_greece-flag-4-x-6-inchand Brazil is where the 2016 edition of the Olympics are held.

The current version of the Greek flag has nine horizontal stripes, blue and white. On the left hand corner is a blue square and a white cross. This flag was adopted on December 22, 1978. Earlier versions were adopted by the First National Assembly of Epidaurus on January 13, 1822. The nine stripes are believed to represent the symbols in the Greek battle cry, “Ελευθερία ή Θάνατος” (Eleutheria H Thanatos), which translates to “Freedom or Death”, which was said during the Hellenic Revolution against the Ottoman Empire. This flag is referred to as the “Κυανόλευκη” (Kyanólefki) or “blue-white” in Greece. The white symbolizes clouds in the sky, waves in the sea, and perpetual progress.

Trivia: Greek Flag Day is October 27.

The most recent Olympics held in Greece was in 2004 in Athens, the same city where the very first Olympics were held in 1896.


Brazil adopted its flag on November 19, 1889 but was updated on May 11, 1992. Brazil’s flag is green with a yellow rhombus with a dark blue circle in the middle with 27 stars (originally 21 stars) wbr46hf_-00_brazil-flag-4-x-6-inch-stick-flagand a white band, reading “Ordem e Progresso”, meaning Order and Progress, the national motto in green letters. The stars in the blue circle symbolize a starry sky but the stars also represent the country’s federated units, every star a single state, including the federal state.

The Brazilian flag was designed by Raimundo Texeira Mendes along with Miguel Lemos, Manuel Pereira Reis, and Décio Villares at the request of the then provisional president, Marshal Deodoro da Fonseca. This was after Brazil had become a republic after being a constitutional monarchy.

Fact: The 2016 Olympics is the first to be held in South America.

Soccer: Brazil has won the most World Cups in soccer, with five wins. Brazil has many superstars including Pelé, who helped in the bid to win Brazil the right to host the



Parade of Nations

July 25, 2016

Every four years since 1896, the Summer Olympics are held in a pre-selected host city for several weeks. This year (2016) the Olympics are held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. These games will be the first to be held in South America and the first to be held in the Southern Hemisphere in recent years since the Sydney games in 2000.

flgtbnr1000029438_-00_team-usa-premium-felt-banner-flagEvery Olympic games holds an Opening Ceremony, featuring spectacular performances, music, culture, and more. In the midst of the Opening Ceremony is the Parade of Nations, which usually take place in a stadium, arena, or another type of venue in the host nation. The Parade of Nations is where the participating countries parade into the venue, carrying their flag, along with their national team. The teams usually range from one person to several hundred. Each team has a flagbearer, and the flagbearer is picked due to various reasons. Sometimes the flagbearer may be the sole team brazil-superknitmember, a medal hopeful, a medal winner from the previous games, or an official from the nation’s team. Larger nations like the United States elect their flagbearer

The Parade of Nations is led by Greece and ends with the host nation, which in this year’s case is Brazil. The parade will proceed according to the host nation’s alphabet. The names of the countries are written in the host nation’s language, so it will be listed in a different order. The reason Greece goes first in the parade is because they are the country who originally started the Olympics, so they always go first (with the exception of the 2004 Olympics in Athens, when they went last as they were the host).

It is tradition for the flagbearers to dip (or lower) their country’s flag as a sign of respect, except for the case of the United States. When the US marches in the Parade of Nations, it is tradition for the flagbearer not to dip the flag to the leader of the host nation. This was apparently have been the case since the 1908 Olympics when the flagbearer, Ralph Rose, who was an Irish-American, said “The flag dips to no earthly king”. It is unknown particularly WHY it was done but it was made permanent after the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.

Fast Fact: There is also a Parade of Nations for the Winter Olympics, as well!


State Post – Kansas

July 1, 2016

Kansas joined the Union as the 34th state on January 29, 1861. The Civil War had started the year the state entered the Union and while they were a new state, they were the state who had suffered the most casualties from the war compared to any other state.

sks35n-indoor_-00_front_kansas-3x5ft-nylon-flag-with-indoor-pole-hem-and-fringeKansas’ state flag was adopted on May 21, 1927. It had been flown at Fort Riley for the first time to honor the troops and the Kansas National Guard. The flag is a navy blue and has the state seal emblazoned in the middle. This seal depicts the rising sun in the East while life, of covered wagons, livestock, and farming, go on in the left hand corner and below. In the sky are 34 stars, each symbolizing a state at the time the seal was created during Kansas’ entry into the Union. Above the stars is a gold ribbon, reading Ad Astra Per Aspera, the state’s motto, meaning “to the stars through difficulties”. Underneath the state seal is the word “Kansas” in yellow and atop the seal is a sunflower sitting on a twisted blue and gold bar. This bar is said to symbolize the Louisiana Purchase in which the land Kansas was in was also acquired from. The sunflower is also Kansas’ state flower.14956238168_fba2131c7a_b

Sunflower State/Wild Sunflower: As one can see on the state flag, the state’s official flower is the sunflower. They were growing before the land even became a state, and explorers marveled at the beauty of the golden petals. Early on, their stalks were burned for fuel and the seeds had been fed to birds. It was sadly thought of as a “noxious weed” by people who disliked the flower but was still loved by many residents of Kansas. The flower grows native to the state’s soil and many life forms, like bees and butterflies, thrive on sunflowers. Their seeds also make a very tasty snack!

Along with Sunflowers, wheat is a very big commodity in the state. Large amounts of wheat grow (enough to provide everyone in the world with at least six loaves of bread!) but the wheat harvest is very short! From early June to the first part of July, according to the Kansas Wheat Commission.

Kansas is also known for the well-known film Wizard of Oz (1939) in which the first part of the film takes place in Kansas. In Liberal, Kansas, there is a replica of Dorothy’s house known as Dorothy’s House and Land of Oz!


Independence Day Trivia!

June 30, 2016


Independence Day, or more commonly known as the Fourth of July is one of the biggest events and celebrations in America’s history. Still, we must not forget why we celebrate this important day and everything the led to it, plus more facts about it. Today, I am presenting you with some trivia about the Fourth of July that may surprise you:

  • The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia.
  • While many get the Fourth off today, it was not officially declared by Congress a paid Federal holiday until 1938. It was originally unpaid since 1870.
  • Nathan’s Hot Dogs holds their Hot Dog Eating Contest annually. This is to see who can eat the most hot dogs in the fastest time. The event is held on New York’s Coney Island and is broadcast on national television on cable.
  • Three presidents died on the 4th of July: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams within hours of each other on 1826, and James Monroe in 1831. The only president to the be born on the 4th of July was Calvin Coolidge in 1872.
  • The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped thirteen times in honor of the original thirteen colonies. The bell has not been rung since
  • John Hancock was the first signer of the Declaration of Independence and the only signer ON the Fourth of July. It actually took a month for all 56 signatures to get on the Declaration of Independence and John Adams thought the Second of July would become Independence Day.
  • While we light fireworks on the Fourth some 240 years after we became a country, in the first year afterward, many Americans placed a candle on their windowsills to show their patriotism for their new country. Those still loyal to the British crown left their windowsills bare.
  • While we hold barbecues today that feature burgers and hot dogs, our founding fathers ate foods like turtle soup, poached salmon in egg sauce, peas, boiled potatoes in their skins, and apple pandowdy for dessert!

Hope you enjoyed all the trivia! Happy 4th, America!



Memorial Day

May 27, 2016


May is a very important month for American service men and women. There is Armed Forces Day, which is celebrated annually on the third Saturday in May. Then there is also Memorial Day, a day in which to remember service men and women who have died in combat or while in service to their country.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. The reason why it was first known as Decoration Day was because service members’ graves were decorated with flowers and flags. This day was created as a reaction to all the deaths of over 600,000 soldiers in the Civil War. These were from both sides of the war. Something had to be done to remember the dead. And so, on May 5, 1868, Memorial Day was created. On the inaugural Decoration Day, General James Garfield appeared at the Arlington National Cemetery and made a speech while participants decorated the graves of thousands of Civil War soldiers, both Union and Confederate.

New York was the first state to officially recognize Memorial Day in 1873 and was recognized by all Northern states just seven years later. The South opposed this day to memorialize the soldiers, so they celebrated on their own day until after World War I. The day is spent memorializing all members of the military who have died in combat after the Civil War

Thanks to the passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 by Congress, Memorial Day is now observed in nearly every state on the last Monday in May. Several states consider it a Federal holiday which allows for it to be a three day weekend for many. It is also considered to be the official start of the summer season in the United States.

Trivia: At Arlington National Cemetery, each grave interred there has one American flag to mark it on Memorial Day? This has been done since 1948.