happy birthday, America

looking good!

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One thing’s for sure, America ages beautifully. She’s turning 238 years old today and you know what, she’s still got it!

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July or even American’s birthday, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Sidebar for a little history break- we then declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain (which is now officially known as the United Kingdom). Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks,parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.

If you happen to be in DC today and “don’t have anything” to do. I have a few thoughts for you, head to the parade, the baseball game or even to the Capitol lawn for “A Capitol Fourth“, a free concert and then you will have the best view in town for the fireworks.

Did you know that the Washington, DC celebration of America’s Birthday attracts over half a million people annually?

God Bless America, land that I love. Today, American, I raise a glass to you. Here’s to you, America.

flag day

a little history

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I never knew Flag Day was such a big deal. Matt gave me the suggestion to write a post about Flag Day to inform people on what it is. After accepting his idea on the blog post, I realized that I had no idea what Flag Day really was either. Flag Day is actually really interesting and I am happy to hear what I’ve learned with you.

June 14, 1777 the Continental Congress adopted a resolution stated the design of the American flag, “that the flag of the United States shall be of  thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field, representing the new constellation.”  Though the Continental Congress fought for this resolution the observance of the adoption of the flag was not seen in their lifetime. Although there are many claims to the first official observance of Flag Day, all but one took place more than an entire century after the flag’s adoption in 1777.  Both President Wilson, in 1916, and President Coolidge, in 1927, issued proclamations  asking for June 14 to be observed as the National Flag Day. But it wasn’t until August 3, 1949, that Congress approved the national observance, and President Harry Truman signed it into law.

Now to some present day facts:

The National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution as part of its observance of the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner.

Dimensions are enormous: 30 by 42 feet. Fashioned of red, blue and undyed wool, with cotton for the 15 stars, the banner was planned as a bold statement to the British who were sure to come. When they did come in September 1914, Key witnessed the forceful — but unsuccessful — bombardment of the Fort. As the story goes, thus inspired, he wrote his famous words on the back of an envelope. Various Reisterstown residents, some years later, undoubtedly had chats with Francis Scott Key, Jr. and his famous father when the two came shopping in the village from Key Jr.’s home, “The Elms,” several miles up Westminster Pike.

This flag was turned over many years later to the Smithsonian, after a $7 million restoration — thanks in part to designer Ralph Lauren — now is displayed in a temperature-controlled chamber.

 

presidents day?

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Happy Presidents Day, my fellow Americans. I hope you are enjoying your day off and doing something truly American and celebrating our forefathers.

My friends, Presidents Day is really a myth. Today, I read a really interesting article that talks about the myth and consistory behind this day. As a teaser, this is what the opening paragraph has to say (maybe it will make you want to read more). “When is Presidents Day 2014? The correct answer to that question is “never.” When it comes to federal holidays, there is no such thing as Presidents Day. We’ve been saying this for years, but shockingly, the charade continues.”

PS- if you haven’t done anything yet to celebrate our forefathers, let me give you a few ideas:

– drink whiskey
– go to the shooting range
– eat blueberry pancakes
– wave the American flag
– watch Saving Private Ryan

RIP Ms. Temple

Here’s to you, Shirley

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Today, we grieve the loss of an icon individual, Shirley Temple. Temple, is that dimpled, curly-haired child star who sang, danced, sobbed and grinned her way into the hearts of the Depression-era moviegoers. Late last night, she died at her home near San Francisco.

Today let us grieve the loss by enjoying the star-inspired drink: Shirley Temple (or a Dirty Shirley). When I was little, Temple was always on the TV at my grandparent’s house. Temple became a large part of my childhood. Always sported 56 perfect curls on her head, she sang and danced her out heart in every movie I saw.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “as long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right.” I must pose the question, now that she has passed, how will we go on?

A few facts: She made an unsuccessful bid as a Republican candidate for Congress in 1967. After Richard Nixon became president in 1969, he appointed her as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations General Assembly. In the 1970s, she was U.S. ambassador to Ghana and later U.S. chief of protocol.

She stopped believing in Santa Claus at age 6, she once said, when “Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.”

SOTU

The State of The Union Address 2014

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Tonight we have the opportunity to watch President Obama address the Union. If you aren’t attending a watch party or don’t have cable, you have multiple options of how to watch the State of The Union.

The President will present his SOTU address before a joint session of Congress. The speech will begin at 9 PM ET.

From his SOTU addresses in the past, President Obama focused on the economy. He touched on jobs, innovation and cooperation as well. It will be interesting tonight to see how the President’s previous SOTU will compare to this one.

Many networks will cover the event live but you can also tune in online. The following sites will have a live stream.

The White House will also have a feed going during the SOTU, check it out here White House Live. Keep up with the conversation both on Twitter and Facebook.

st. nick’s day

discovering the truths about St. Nicholas

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After moving out to the East Coast, I learned that there are many traditions that Midwesterners do that go unnoticed around the US, which I think is silly and kind of a culture shock. A big tradition that goes unnoticed is St. Nicholas and St. Nick’s Day. Allow me to enlighten you on my dear friend, St. Nick.

His feast day, St. Nicholas Day, is December 6, which falls early in the Advent season. In some places, he arrives in the middle of November and then moves about the countryside. When he is moving around, he visits schools and homes to find out if children have been good. In other places, he comes during the night and finds carrots and hay for his horse or donkey along with children’s wish lists. Small treats are left in shoes or stockings so the children will know he has come.

Where St. Nicholas is prominent, his day, not Christmas, is the primary gift giving day. Parties may be held on the eve, December 5th, and shoes or stockings are left out for St. Nicholas to fill during the night. Children will find treats of small gifts, fruit or nuts, and special Nicholas candies and cookies. St. Nicholas gifts are meant to be shared, not hoarded for oneself.

For things to get even weirder for me– I found this out: In Milwaukee children don’t write letters to Santa; they hang stockings on St. Nicholas Eve with a wish list for Santa. St. Nick comes to each house, collecting the wish lists and filling stockings with candy and toys for good children and coal for naughty ones. The coal is a warning to get one’s act together in the next three weeks before Christmas. The schools alert new families so no one will be left out. Personally, when growing up, we put shoes and stockings out for St. Nick’s Day and wrote letters to Santa for Christmas.

Did you know: St. Nicholas may also be the inspiration for a special Advent project—one which shows his concern for justice and relief of suffering.

to JFK

fifty years after his assassination

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November 22 will never be the same for America. Fifty years ago on November 22 we lost President John F. Kennedy. November of 1963 marks when the stunned nation grieved and  millions conspiracy theories were born.

It was just after noon local time on Nov. 22, 1963, when the limousine carrying Kennedy entered Dealey Plaza in Dallas, its bubble top down so a smiling president, riding in the back seat with First lady Jackie Kennedy, could wave to an adoring crowd. A a World War II Navy hero and former U.S. senator from Massachusetts, was only 46 and not just three years into his first term as President.

Today, I was reading an interesting article from the USA Today about how the Assassination would have been different if it were to happen now, in the era of social media. During 1963 they had live around-the-clock TV coverage of big news. Take a peak to see how it would have played out on social media.

Today, we remember what a great man we lost. It was only fifty years ago, and our Nation grieved as we do again today.

Take a look at this as well. It’s an interesting take on how magazines flood newsstands with difference approaches to JFK, the assassination, the fifty year anniversary and how Americans are taking it.

celebrating 150 years

Gettysburg

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Gettysburg is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. The first and only (so far) time, I’ve been to Gettysburg is quite the story. For a quick synopsis re: Ann Marie, Joel and I were on a big adventure to Washington, DC. The parents helped move me across the country post graduation. As suspected I told them I wanted to stop at Gettysburg on our way, now understand that Gettysburg is not along the way at all. They said no. The next day after moving me in, they picked me up we got in the car and we drove to Gettysburg. Mind you, it was off season. When we got there, there were no tours (fail). We bought the CD collection that would allow us to stay in the car, and get out on our own time to see the sights. It was a fantastic trip. I cannot wait to go back and to explore more. The battle grounds were awesome, and the town is amazing.

Enough about me, Gettysburg is celebrating 150! This celebration is specifically happening today, November 19th and again on the 23rd.  Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address will take stage as the nation commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the speech as well as the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery. Gettysburg commemorates these events with a special ceremony, a parade and an illumination of the cemetery.

The Soldiers’ National Cemetery was established after the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. About 17 acres are dedicated to bury over 3,500 fallen Union troops. President Abraham Lincoln arrived in Gettysburg November 18th to attend the dedication ceremony for the cemetery the next day. On November 19, he delivered the Gettysburg Address, which honored those who fought and died at Gettysburg and continues to be one of the most revered speeches in American history.

For more information about the events going on to commemorate the Gettysburg Address click here. This is going to be an awesome week in Gettysburg. If you make a stop, let me know how it is.

turn your clocks

don’t forget to turn your clocks back

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Daylight Saving Time is when the days become short and we are closer to the Winter Solstice. Honestly before I decided to write about Daylight Saving Time I couldn’t tell you anything about it. After much research, I now have a grasp on why we have Daylight Saving.

Daylight Saving Time was instituted in the United States during World War I in order to save energy for war production by taking advantage of the later hours of daylight between April and October. During World War II the federal government again required the states to observe the time change. Between the wars and after World War II, states and communities chose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time. Congress passed the Uniform Time Act, which standardized the length of Daylight Saving Time in 1996.

In 2005 Congress passed the Energy Policy Act and since 2007 Daylight Saving Time is  four weeks longer. This Act extended Daylight Saving Time by four weeks from the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of November, with the hope that it would save 10,000 barrels of oil each day through reduced use of power by businesses during daylight hours. As a result of this act, it is difficult to determine energy savings from Daylight Saving Time and based on factors, it is possible that little or no energy is saved by Daylight Saving Time.

Most states and a few countries will turn their clocks back on November 3, 2013 with the exception of Hawaii and Arizona because those states do not practice Daylight Savings Time. This means that we gain (not lose) an hour when we turn our clocks back an hour to 1:00 a.m. when our clocks reach 2 a.m. on Sunday. A helpful way to remember whether to set our clocks ahead or behind one hour during the Daylight Savings Time change for Fall 2013 is to “Fall Back” and “Spring Ahead.”

Did you know it’s actually Daylight Saving Time not Daylight Savings Time? It’s become so widely known as Daylight Savings Time in the US that no one makes the correction.

Fact: Only TWO countries: Kyrgyzstan and Iceland  observe year-round Daylight Saving Time.

Daylight Saving Time will end on Sunday, November 3, 2013 at 2 a.m. in the United States. It will resume on March 9, 2014 at 2 a.m.

tick-or-treat

smell my feet, give me something good to eat

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, it’s not Christmas, but it is the beginning of the holiday season…well, at least in my mind. I love Halloween. Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I have fond memories of Halloween, October and harvest. My childhood was filled with dressing up in costumes, decorating, craving pumpkins and drinking hot apple cider. I know, I am a little over the top.

Today, I wanted to talk to you about trick-or-treating. What a crazy weird idea, eh? Trick-or-Treating is now a billion dollar industry. As an American custom, trick-or-treating wasn’t always part of Halloween. A little over 60 years ago, many Americans had never even seen a trick-or-treater. It is something everyone, both parents and kids alike, look forward to every year. It doesn’t matter if you are in it for the costumes, the party, seeing everyone dressed up or just the candy–everyone is in it for something. 

When I was a kid (and yes, still now) I dressed up. I had the most elaborate costumes: Dorthy, Pippi Longstockings, a Christmas tree, a graduate, a princess, Raggedy Ann. Often times my mom would make them, but my favorite part of my costumes was a bag I got to carry around with me that looked like a witch. You guessed it, it was my trick-or-treating bag. For years I carried this around with me and come to think of it, next time I am at home, I’m snagging that from my parents for next year. No, I don’t go trick-or-treating now, but I still dress up. To me, dressing up is half the fun of Halloween. It’s the one time of the year it’s societally and socially acceptable to be someone you aren’t. For one night, you get to go out and embrace that.

I was curious to know more about the history on trick-or-treating and this is what I found. Take a look at this article. It’s an interesting read. We’ve come a long way. This holiday has boomed into something uncontrollable, but I don’t see anyone complaining about it.

Go out, dress up and live in the moment. Enjoy Halloween. Be safe and be smart. Happy Halloween!