Friday, April 24, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Apr 24 2015

Arbor Day

Arbor Day (from the Latin arbor, meaning tree) is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees. Today, many countries observe such a holiday. Though usually observed in the spring, the date varies, depending on climate and suitable planting season. Arbor Day in the US is held on the last Friday of April.

On Arbor Day, people are encouraged to care for their natural environment. It's a time for people to get their hands in the dirt and plant and/or care for trees, bushes and plants. Events include: communal tree planting, exhibitions, fairs, music performances and open days in garden centers. Arbor Day awards are also presented in communities, schools, and organizations throughout the United States.

In 1854 J Sterling Morton moved from Detroit to the area that is now Nebraska. He and other pioneers noticed a lack of trees, which were needed to act as windbreaks to stabilize the soil and to give shade from the sun. Morton planted many trees around his own home and encouraged others to do the same.

On January 4, 1872, he proposed a holiday to plant trees on April 10 that year. This was known as "Arbor Day" and prizes were awarded to the counties and individuals who planted the most trees on the day. About one million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day. In 1885, Arbor Day became a legal holiday and was moved to April 22, which was Morton's birthday. In 1989 the official state holiday was moved to the last Friday in April. All states in the US now have an official Arbor Day, usually at a time of year that is has the best weather conditions for planting trees.

Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day

You are unlikely to read about it in your daily newspaper nor are your children apt to learn of it in school, and yet what was done to Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire starting in 1915 marked the first genocide of the 20th century. It has been recognized as such around the world, as well as by 42 states—but not by Turkey and not by President Obama.

This despite the fact that, while running for president and garnering votes, he reportedly said, “America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that president.” Last year, he called it “one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century” but avoided the term genocide and still does.

Make no mistake, however. Hitler knew what to call it and proceeded undeterrred against Jews, saying, “Go, kill without mercy . . . After all, who, today remembers the annihilation of the Armenians?” The answer, even today, is too few, and all the more reason for more of us to recognize Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day on April 24.

We here in Philadelphia certainly will. Marking the 98th anniversary of the genocide, we will gather at the Mher Stature located by the Philadelphia Art Museum at noon on the 27th for the sixth consecutive Philadelphia Armenian Genocide Walk. From there, we will walk to the Independence Visitor Center Liberty View Ballroom for a special program designed to both commemorate and educate.

You should also know that, in 2010, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute signed an agreement with the Armenian Film Foundation “for the preservation and dissemination of the largest collection of filmed interviews of survivors and witnesses of the Armenian Genocide, the first genocide of the twentieth century.” Through interviews in 10 countries, more than 400 testimonies have already been collected and are available through the Institute’s Visual History Archive.

Their stories begin with the onset of World War I in 1914 and the siding of the Young Turks with the Central Powers—Germany and Austria-Hungary. The fighting that ensued in Europe then gave the Turks the cover they needed to begin their genocide against the Armenians, little noticed by the rest of the world. The final toll: more than 1.5 million dead out of a population of some 2.5 million.

They began by disarming the entire Armenian population, severely punishing anyone who failed to turn in a weapon—even those in the Turkish army. Then came the extermination orders. The first to be rounded up and executed were 300 of Armenia’s top political leaders, educators, writers, clergy, and dignitaries in Constantinople—now the capital city Istanbul. The date: April 24, 1915.

That was followed by the arrest and killing of Armenian men throughout Turkey. Meanwhile, the women, children, and the elderly were ordered to pack a few belongings under the pretense of relocation to a safe, non-military zone. Instead, however, they were forced on death marches that lasted for months and took them hundreds of miles to the Syrian desert Der-el-Zor. All told, about 75% of those poor souls perished.

As the war raged on, Russian troops eventually attacked along the Eastern Front, but then withdrew in 1917 with some 500,000 Armenian survivors following them into provinces in the Russian Empire already inhabited by some of their countrymen. In May of 1918, though, the Turkish army pushed into the region in hopes of expanding Turkey into the Caucasus.

While as many as 100,000 Armenians died as a result, survivors took up arms, fighting successfully and ultimately declaring the establishment of an independent Republic of Armenia. In November of that same year, World War I ended with the defeat of Germany and the Central Powers, including Turkey.

Although Congress rejected then President Wilson’s efforts to make the fledging Republic of Armenia an official U.S. protectorate in May of 1920, he did not give up. The result: the Treaty of Sevres was signed on August 10, 1920 by the Allied Powers, the Republic of Armenia, and the new, moderate Turkish leaders recognizing an independent Armenian state composed of much of its former historic homeland.

It was not to last, however. The moderates were ultimately removed from power in Turkey and replaced by Mustafa Kemel Atarurk who refused to acknowledge the treaty. And since none of the allies came to its aid, only a small area in the easternmost edge of Armenia survived, becoming part of the Soviet Union and remaining so for 71 years.

But that is not the end of the story. Armenia stands now as a nation in its own right, gaining full independence on September 21, 1991, a model of reliance and determination. Its watchword: Never again.

National Hairball Awareness Day

The last Friday in April is National Hairball Awareness Day. If you live with a cat, chances are that you have heard a retching hacking sound coming from your cat at one time or another. Don’t ignore it: hairballs at the very least are unpleasant to your cat and at the worst can create severe problems.

What are Hairballs? The formation of hairballs is a common feline condition that is brought on by self-grooming and the associated ingestion of hair. The ingested hair can accumulate in your cat's throat or stomach, causing irritation. Cats with hairballs are often seen gagging, regurgitating or vomiting hair and mucus. All breeds are susceptible to hairballs, so all cat owners should know that controlling this issue is as easy as feeding their cats hairball control cat food.

"It's often an unsightly situation for cat owners, but not uncommon," said Dr. Debbie Davenport, a Hill's veterinarian. "Some 50-80% of cats produce hairballs as frequently as once a month. In most cases, hairballs are normal but unpleasant, but in a few cases, hairballs can be a symptom of something more serious happening in the cat's digestive system." If you suspect your cat has a serious problem with hairballs, you should consult your veterinarian.

National Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day

Today is National Pigs-In-A-Blanket Day! This delicious finger food is popular with kids and cocktail party guests all across the world. In fact, there are many different cultures that have their own unique twist on this comfort food classic.

In the United Kingdom, pigs-in-a-blanket are small sausages wrapped in bacon. People traditionally serve them as Christmas dinner appetizers. In Israel, kids enjoy Moshe Ba'Teiva (Moses in the Ark), which are miniature hot dogs rolled in a ketchup-covered puff pastry and baked in the oven. In the United States, pigs-in-a-blanket are hot dogs or Vienna sausages wrapped in biscuit or croissant dough and baked until golden brown. Yum!

No matter where you are or how you decide to cook your pigs-in-a-blanket, make this tasty finger food for dinner tonight and serve it with a side of ketchup. Happy National Pigs-In-A-Blanket Day!

National Teach Children to Save Day

Today April 24 is National Teach Children to Save Day, an annual tradition that was instituted by the American Bankers Association (ABA) Education Foundation 15 years ago. Provided that your child does not have a severe mental handicap, it is never too early to teach your special needs kid how to save money. Money management is a very important skill that your child will need to practice for the rest of his or her life, which will most likely necessitate an above average amount of money due to expenses resulting from his or her special needs.

According to its website, the ABA Education Foundation provides financial education resources and sponsors programs like Teach Children to Save and Get Smart About Credit (a program specifically for young adults) in an effort to help bankers improve their communities. Parents also need to be involved in this event. There are some ways you can teach your special needs kid how to save money. For instance, the ABA Education Foundation’s Parent Money Manual lists and explains eight personal finance ideas that parents can demonstrate for their kids. The eight ideas are as follows:
  • Children Learn From You
  • Needs or Wants?
  • Divide and Conquer
  • Bank on Knowledge
  • Pay by the Chore
  • Budget, Budget, Budget
  • Planning on a Budget
  • Back-to-School Saving
The ABA Education Foundation is also promoting a “Race to Save” campaign in which banks all over the United States plan to open 15,000 youth savings accounts. The foundation’s website also has resources for kids such as budgeting tips and a financial calculator. There is also a newsletter called “Money Talks” to which children can subscribe. The three banks in the Orlando area that are participating in National Teach Children to Save Day are FirstBank Florida (, Old Florida National Bank (, and SunTrust Bank ( SunTrust Bank is also participating in the “Race to Save” campaign. You can refer to their websites for additional information.

Today and every single day from now on, you should think about how to teach good money management to your special needs kid. For more information about National Teach Children to Save Day, you can go to the websites stated above. After all, the famous saying that you probably heard when you were a kid is true: “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

World Day for Laboratory Animals

World Day for Laboratory Animals, also known as World Day for Animals in Laboratories or World Lab Animal Day, is an annual global observance held on April 24. It was established in 1979 by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) based in the United Kingdom.

The date April 24 was chosen because it marked the birthday of Hugh Dowding, British Air Chief Marshal who was an avid anti-vivisectionist. After the Second World War, he served as president of NAVS, and his wife Muriel was a NAVS Council member.

According to statistics provided by NAVS, every year approximately 100 million animals suffer and die in laboratories, although there are advanced alternatives that can replace tests on animals. World Lab Animal Day focuses on raising awareness about cruel animal tests and their advanced non-animal alternatives that are more effective and reliable and do not result in the death of living creatures.

World Day for Laboratory Animals is marked by protests, demonstrations, rallies, conferences, media events against the use of animals in research. The surrounding week is referred to as World Week for Animals in Laboratories, Lab Animal Week or World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week.

World Meningitis Day

Every year more than 1.2 million people suffer from meningitis!

On April 24, the Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) will unite with our 43 member organisations in 28 countries worldwide to celebrate our sixth World Meningitis Day (WMD).

Held every year on April 24, WMD is recognized to raise the global profile of meningitis, emphasize the importance of vaccination, and provide support to those dealing with the consequences of the disease.

Meningitis is a disease that can affect anyone, anywhere and at any time! This year, together with our members, we want to share information about meningitis and promote the important role of vaccinations in preventing the most deadly and most devastating forms of the disease.

Join us in our global fight to prevent meningitis worldwide because we can and we should! Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for regular updates on our WMD activities, to share meningitis facts, read personal meningitis stories, share your story and contribute to the discussions. Help us make meningitis a disease people know about and know it can be prevented with vaccines. Together we can help prevent this disease.

Every year more than 1.2 million people are affected by meningitis. Bacterial meningitis is the most severe and common form and it causes approximately 120,000 deaths globally each year.

Even with prompt diagnosis and treatment, approximately 10% of patients die and up to 20% or more sustain permanent damage and disability. What’s scary about this disease is that the signs and symptoms are similar to those of the common flu. These include, but are not limited to, fever, vomiting, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light and drowsiness. They can appear in any order and some may not appear at all. Those surviving meningitis can have their lives devastated as a result of long-term effects such as deafness, brain damage and when septicaemia is involved loss of limbs.

Find out more about meningitis including those at greater risk of contracting the disease and the different types of meningitis on our Facts About Meningitis page.

This can be prevented!
The most severe forms of meningitis can be prevented with vaccines. For many years now safe and effective vaccines have been used to protect against the three major causes of bacterial meningitis, commonly known as meningococcal, pneumococcal or Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).

The Hib vaccine has been widely available for many years and this has caused Hib meningitis to be close to elimination. Sadly, this isn’t the case for the other causes of bacterial meningitis leaving all of us, and particularly children under the age of 5 and adolescents, at risk of contracting the disease.

What many people also don’t know is that introducing the pneumococcal, meningococcal and/or Hib vaccines not only help prevent meningitis but a variety of other diseases including pneumonia, otitis media (middle ear infection), septicaemia and epiglottitis.