Monday, February 17, 2014

Holidays and Observances for February 17 2014

My Way Day

It’s My Way Day! Today is the official day to do everything your way. Sleep in late, eat whatever you want, and take as long as you like in the shower. The world revolves around you for the next twenty-four hours, so make sure that no one else influences your decisions. Do everything simply because you want to do it (but just make sure it's legal first).

Many notable events have taken place on February 17. In 1867, the first ship passed through the Suez Canal. In 1933, Newsweek Magazine published its first issue. In 1996, a NASA spacecraft orbited and landed on an asteroid for the first time.

All of these historical moments took place because someone had a brilliant idea and followed through with it, their way. So don't be afraid to express your ideas today, stand up for what you believe in, and do everything your own way!

National Champion Crab Races Day

It was sort of hard to celebrate today because, unfortunately, I'm all out of racing crabs. So instead I looked it up. There was a World Championship Crab Race today in California where crabs raced on a four foot raceway. I guess they eat a ton of crab at these things too. Don't you think that's sort of barbaric? To race them and have this huge celebration for the winner.... and then eat it's family?? I don't know. It sounds pretty heartless if you ask me. Have some respect!

I think it's pretty sad that all people could think of for February 17th is racing crabs. I mean, someone had to have thought of all these holidays, right? Were they just sitting around thinking, "Hm... February 17th... We already have International Polar Bear Day, what else is there? How about crab racing!" I mean, how random can you get?? But I guess some people really care about racing crabs. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against crab racing. Nothing sounds more thrilling than watching a crustacean shuffling down a track. I'm going to have to see that sometime.

The National Crab Racing Association (N.C.R.A.) was formed in 1979 by Jim Morgan, who as founder, immediately appointed himself “Commissioner for Life”, thereby ensuring that no one could vote him out of office as they do in other sports.

The biggest challenge, since this was a brand new sport, was finding championship class racers. Commissioner Morgan spent many frustrating months scouring the beaches and mud-flats of Florida with no success. There were lots of crabs but none with championship qualities. However, fate was not to be denied.

One sunny day, Morgan was searching the beaches of Siesta Key, when he struck up a conversation with a guy having an outing with his family. As luck would have it, he was the largest importer of Hermit crabs in the world. Thus began the 34 year relationship between Commissioner Morgan and Florida Marine Research (FMR).

Only the strongest and leanest crabs are selected and put through an extensive training program dealing mainly with discipline and attitude, which are two characteristics of all great athletes.

The best crabs are assigned to the roster of the official racing circuit for six months. At the end of their racing careers, they are retired as true champions and adopted out to good homes as pets.

Each year one champion is honored with the prestigious Morgan Trophy which is comparable to the Heisman Trophy in college football.

Over the past 34 years, the NCRA has toured all over the USA and Canada. As in other sports, rival associations (imitators) have sprung up. Most have come and gone, but a few have managed to grope along in our shadow using the seeds that Commissioner Morgan has sown.

The NCRA has continuously maintained recognition as #1 in its field. After all, in the Commissioner’s words:
 "There’s only one Kentucky Derby, there’s only one Indy500, and there’s only one crab race – the NCRA."

National PTA Founders Day

PTA Founders Day, February 17, is a reminder of the substantial role that PTA has played locally, regionally, and nationally in supporting parent involvement and working on behalf of all children and families. It's a time to renew our commitment to be a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education.

Three pioneering women created a national voice for all children: PTA.

Alice McLellan Birney, Phoebe Apperson Hearst, and Selena Sloan Butler

The organization was founded in 1897 in Washington D.C. as the National Congress of Mothers by Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst. If not for these women and their vision and determination, there would not be a PTA—an organization that has been woven into the very fabric of American life. Their concern and dedication to the nation’s children was and still is truly inspirational.

National PTA was created to meet a profound challenge: to better the lives of children. Today, PTA is the largest volunteer child advocacy organization in the nation and it continues to flourish because PTA has never lost sight of its goal—to change the lives of children across our great nation for the better. For more than a century, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) has provided support, information and resources to families focused on the education, safety, health and well-being of children. PTA’s founders, Alice McLellan Birney and Phoebe Apperson Hearst, and the founder of Georgia’s Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, Selena Sloan Butler, were women of imagination and courage. They understood the power of individual action, worked beyond the accepted barriers of their day and took action to literally change the world. They had a simple idea to improve the lives and futures of all of our children. As much as other conditions in America may have changed, that idea has not. PTA members, units and councils keep it alive.

National Founders Day has been observed by the National PTA since 1910 and continues strongly today. Founders Day is a reminder of the substantial role that PTA has played locally, regionally and nationally in supporting parent involvement and working on behalf of all children and families. It is a time to reflect and take pride in our many accomplishments and to renew our commitment to be a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for parents and a strong advocate for public education.

Many PTA Units and Councils hold yearly celebrations in observance of this day. These celebrations are held in honor of all the outstanding accomplishments and milestones that PTA has reached. Local Units and Councils may celebrate in any manner in which they choose.

Some of the ways you might celebrate include:
  • Holding an annual dinner for PTA officers and school staff. This could be a formal sit down dinner or it might be a buffet or even a picnic.
  • You may wish to recognize a special principal, teacher or staff member who has made positive differences in the lives of children. You can honor them with a Missouri PTA Distinguished Service Award
  • Donations of books to the library in honor of someone who exemplifies what PTA stands for.
  • Donations to the State or National PTA, showing continued support of the efforts of PTA.
  • Message on a billboard or sign recognizing PTA Founders Day.
  • At your February meeting have a birthday cake and invite all your past presidents to join you, recognize them with a flower or similar item.
However you choose to celebrate Founders Day, just remember what we are celebrating--our founders and all the hard work that they did and our current and past PTA officers who continue to work tirelessly on behalf of children.

Presidents' Day

Presidents’ Day is an American holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February. Originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington, it is still officially called “Washington’s Birthday” by the federal government. Traditionally celebrated on February 22—Washington’s actual day of birth—the holiday became popularly known as Presidents’ Day after it was moved as part of 1971’s Uniform Monday Holiday Act, an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers. While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents’ Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents past and present.

The story of Presidents’ Day date begins in 1800. Following President George Washington’s death in 1799, his February 22 birthday became a perennial day of remembrance. At the time, Washington was venerated as the most important figure in American history, and events like the 1832 centennial of his birth and the start of construction of the Washington Monument in 1848 were cause for national celebration.
Did You Know? President's Day never falls on the actual birthday of any American president. Four chief executives—George Washington, William Henry Harrison, Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan_were born in February, but their birthdays all come either too early or late to coincide with Presidents’ Day, which is always celebrated on the third Monday of the month.
While Washington’s Birthday was an unofficial observance for most of the 1800s, it was not until the late 1870s that it became a federal holiday. Senator Steven Wallace Dorsey of Arkansas was the first to propose the measure, and in 1879 President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law. The holiday initially only applied to the District of Columbia, but in 1885 it was expanded to the whole country. At the time, Washington’s Birthday joined four other nationally recognized federal bank holidays—Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Independence Day and Thanksgiving—and was the first to celebrate the life of an individual American. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, signed into law in 1983, would be the second.

The shift from Washington’s Birthday to Presidents’ Day began in the late 1960s when Congress proposed a measure known as the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. Championed by Senator Robert McClory of Illinois, this law sought to shift the celebration of several federal holidays from specific dates to a series of predetermined Mondays. The proposed change was seen by many as a novel way to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers, and it was believed that ensuring holidays always fell on the same weekday would reduce employee absenteeism. While some argued that shifting holidays from their original dates would cheapen their meaning, the bill also had widespread support from both the private sector and labor unions and was seen as a surefire way to bolster retail sales.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act also included a provision to combine the celebration of Washington’s Birthday with Abraham Lincoln’s, which fell on the proximate date of February 12. Lincoln’s Birthday had long been a state holiday in places like Illinois, and many supported joining the two days as a way of giving equal recognition to two of America’s most famous statesmen.

McClory was among the measure’s major proponents, and he even floated the idea of renaming the holiday “President’s Day.” This proved to be a point of contention for lawmakers from George Washington’s home state of Virginia, and the proposal was eventually dropped. Nevertheless, the main piece of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed in 1968 and officially took effect in 1971 following an executive order from President Richard Nixon. Washington’s Birthday was then shifted from the fixed date of February 22 to the third Monday of February. Columbus Day, Memorial Day and Veterans Day were also moved from their traditionally designated dates. (As a result of widespread criticism, in 1980 Veterans’ Day was returned to its original November 11 date.)

While Nixon’s order plainly called the newly placed holiday Washington’s Birthday, it was not long before the shift to Presidents’ Day began. The move away from February 22 led many to believe that the new date was intended to honor both Washington and Abraham Lincoln, as it now fell between their two birthdays. Marketers soon jumped at the opportunity to play up the three-day weekend with sales, and “Presidents’ Day” bargains were advertised at stores around the country.

By the mid-1980s Washington’s Birthday was known to many Americans as Presidents’ Day. This shift had solidified in the early 2000s, by which time as many as half the 50 states had changed the holiday’s name to Presidents’ Day on their calendars. Some states have even chosen to customize the holiday by adding new figures to the celebration. Arkansas, for instance, celebrates Washington as well as civil rights activist Daisy Gatson Bates. Alabama, meanwhile, uses Presidents’ Day to commemorate Washington and Thomas Jefferson (who was born in April).

Washington and Lincoln still remain the two most recognized leaders, but Presidents’ Day is now popularly seen as a day to recognize the lives and achievements of all of America’s chief executives. Some lawmakers have objected to this view, arguing that grouping George Washington and Abraham Lincoln together with less successful presidents minimizes their legacies. Congressional measures to restore Washington and Lincoln’s individual birthdays were proposed during the early 2000s, but all failed to gain much attention. For its part, the federal government has held fast to the original incarnation of the holiday as a celebration of the country’s first president. The third Monday in February is still listed on official calendars as Washington’s Birthday.

Like Independence Day, Presidents’ Day is traditionally viewed as a time of patriotic celebration and remembrance. In its original incarnation as Washington’s Birthday, the holiday gained special meaning during the difficulties of the Great Depression, when portraits of George Washington often graced the front pages of newspapers and magazines every February 22. In 1932 the date was used to reinstate the Purple Heart, a military decoration originally created by George Washington to honor soldiers killed or wounded while serving in the armed forces. Patriotic groups and the Boy Scouts of America also held celebrations on the day, and in 1938 some 5,000 people attended mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City in honor of Washington.

In its modern form, Presidents’ Day is used by many patriotic and historical groups as a date for staging celebrations, reenactments and other events. A number of states also require that their public schools spend the days leading up to Presidents’ Day teaching students about the accomplishments of the presidents, often with a focus on the lives of Washington and Lincoln.

Random Acts of Kindness Day

In our crazy, scheduled worlds, we rarely take the time to slow down and reflect on how fortunate we are to live in a community such as ours. Kitchener-Waterloo has a long-cherished reputation for community building and generosity. Random Act of Kindness Day® is an opportunity to encourage others to do nice things for their neighbors; ultimately resulting in building a stronger, better community for all.

For each of the past two years, support and participation in Random Act of Kindness Day® has surpassed expectations! And this year is already ramping up to be another amazing success! 

Dreaming Big....
The KWCF was dreaming big when, in 2008, it had 100,000 Random Act of Kindness Day® cards printed with hopes to get them out into the community and spread the word. Those cards encouraged the holder to perform a simple act of kindness for someone, hand the card over to that person, and encourage that person to do the same. A very simple concept with a powerful community impact! 

Since then, 150,000 of those cards make their way into the hands of roughly 25% of Kitchener-Waterloo population each year. An amazing and remarkable feat accomplished by a mere staff of six with support from a committee of dedicated volunteers! This generous group called “Friends of the Foundation” takes time out of their already busy schedules to create awareness and help promote Random Act of Kindness Day® in the community. 

Kindness begets kindness....
And, the simple acts of kindness and generosity are endless! Citizens can buy someone a coffee, congratulate someone on a job well done, offer to drive someone to an appointment, hold a door open, pay a parking meter, help someone with their homework, carry someone’s groceries, and the list goes on and on....

The KWCF also provides posters to help promote the day. Individuals interested in supporting the day place posters and cards in high traffic locations around the community – they can be found in banks, offices, counters at local businesses, elevators, school offices, libraries etc. and can also be found as a cut out in the regional paper. One of our local businesses even made sure that every single one of their (9,000) employees received a card on their desk last year!

Schools (including elementary, high school, colleges, and universities) have been very supportive of Random Act of Kindness Day® . Students and teachers have developed creative and innovative activities to promote the day – which The KWCF has been told is a very good fit with the school boards’ anti-bullying campaigns.

Random Act of Kindness Day® is a very high profile event in Kitchener-Waterloo. It has helped to build fantastic community partnerships with many businesses, organizations, and individuals getting involved. The media has also been wonderful with their support – helping to spread the message through video ads, psa’s, interviews, articles, stories, and on-air promotions.

Get involved! Help spread kindness through citizen engagement and make your community a better place to live, work, and play!

World Human Spirit Day

On 17th February, people all over the world will come together in mind and spirit to celebrate their connection with each other with two minutes silence at 3.00 pm, USA, Eastern Time.

There is a spark of freedom that lives deep within all humanity... It is called a free spirit and on World Human Spirit Day, it will be communicating to the human race loud and clear;
I'm A Free Spirit ... I kindly request peace and harmony on earth.

It is now time for the human spirit to live the creative, peaceful life it is meant to live, and for the personal human ego to serve that purpose...Together we can all make a difference.

People will sense a connection between each other when they go into the two minutes silence on Human Spirit Day. It will be a very powerful silent meditation and the more people that participate, the more powerful it becomes to bring about world peace and harmony.

Silence connects us to spirits meaningful forces and in the silence we are renewed and refreshed. If we allow the negative forces to engulf us and do not take authentic action when we can, we are held in bondage ... slaves to ideas, perceptions, beliefs and dogma that do not bring any lasting love and joy.

If we take a story from the Bible, Moses asked Pharaoh to release his people from slavery. Pharaoh did not take any notice and it took ten plagues to make him change his mind. We can look on that story as is in the literal sense, or we can dig a little deeper for meaning and use it as an analogy, to examine our own lives, and find out if we are slaves to our own egos ... Are our own perceptions of life plaguing us into negative mood swings, which will end in ill health, by the fact we are ignoring spirits true intent?

It is far better to prevent ill-health and avoidable mishaps, before it they hold ... There is no better way I know than by tuning into the forces of a free spirit.

Let all the people of the globe connect on World Human Spirit Day to make this world a place of peace and harmony. By giving your time to inform others, you are doing the work of a true soul.