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.
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.
Every 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 member, 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!
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:
- 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 1846.
- 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!
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.
September 16, 2015
Indiana is the 19th state to enter the union on December 11, 1816. Indiana was originally part of the Indiana Territory, formed in 1800. This territory included surrounding states Illinois, Wisconsin, and some areas of Michigan and Minnesota. While Indiana was part of the Indiana Territory, the capital was Vicennes from 1805 until 1813, when it was changed to Corydon. By 1825, it had again changed to Indianapolis and has remained ever since. A constitution was later reached in 1916, thus giving Indiana its statehood.
Indiana’s state flag was designed by Paul Hadley of Mooresville, Indiana and adopted by the Indiana General Assembly in 1917. His design was chosen as the winner in a design contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution at the Indiana state centennial in 1916. The flag is blue with 19 gold stars emblazoned on it. The first five stars connected to the torch in a semi-circle symbolize the states admitted to the United States before Indiana but after the original 13 colonies. The star above the torch is the Indiana star along with the words Indiana written in yellow.
Although Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky, he moved to Indiana at the age of 7 with his parents and grew up in Indiana. His childhood home in Spencer County, Indiana, is now a museum.
Hoosiers: Indiana is known as “The Hoosier State”. People from the state of Indiana are known as Hoosiers but no one knows for sure where the term originated from. Some believe it’s a term people used to describe the early settlers of Indiana, others believe it is shortened from “Who’s your relative?” These are just two of the rumored origins of the term Hoosier.
Name Origin: Indiana means, “Land of the Indians”, named in 1800.
Memorial Day Tradition: The Indianapolis 500, also known as the Indy 500 race, is held each Memorial Day weekend. It has been held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1911.
April 27, 2015
Jenny R. in Wisconsin included one of our flags in a raffled basket for her cause, Community Clothes Closet. United States Flag Store’s garden flag and holder were tucked in an adorable garden basket to be auctioned off at the fashion show on May 17th in Appleton Wisconsin. The Fox Cities Fashion Show is a community-wide event where volunteers model vintage clothing for a fun-filled afternoon. The Community Clothes Closet will use the proceeds from this fundraiser to keep its doors open to those in need. Jenny says, “Thank you for helping us continue our mission of providing free clothing to people in need while maintaining their dignity and offering opportunities to improve their lives.”
If you would like more information about the Community Clothes Closet or our fashion show please visit them here.
February 16, 2015
President’s Day celebrates the presidents of the United States of America. This holiday is observed on the third Monday in February despite Abraham Lincoln’s birthday being on February 12th while George Washington’s is just ten days later, on February 22nd. Fun Fact: Not just Washington and Lincoln were born in February. William Henry Harrison and Ronald Reagan are also two other presidential February birthdays.
When George Washington was alive in the 1700s, his birthday was celebrated by much of the US, therefore observing it as a holiday. President’s Day was established in 1885 for George Washington since as he was the first President. In 1968 the first attempt to make this a national holiday failed but the second attempt (1971) was successful. Thanks to this, federal offices, schools, and even the post office will be closed to observe Washington’s Birthday, called the Uniform Monday Holiday Act to give workers a three-day weekend.
However, it’s not just Washington who gets all the attention. Some states celebrate Washington, others celebrate Washington and another person, while others celebrate both Washington and Lincoln, like my home state of California.
For President’s Day, you can raise Old Glory in honor of the presidents. It is a great way to show your patriotism and respect for these pioneers in American history. Of course, you can always raise the flag for any president, veteran, or service member you would like to celebrate.
Did you know? In the 1980s, retail stores began to use President’s Day as a marketing opportunity. Since people start to get income tax checks this time of year and many businesses are closed for the holiday, it gave consumers the benefit of time and availability to hit the sales, and the retailers a boost to their after-Christmas slumps.