Thursday, April 9, 2015

Holidays and Observances for Apr 9 2015

Appomattox Day


At Appomattox, Virginia, Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders his 28,000 troops to Union General Ulysses S. Grant, effectively ending the American Civil War. Forced to abandon the Confederate capital of Richmond, blocked from joining the surviving Confederate force in North Carolina, and harassed constantly by Union cavalry, Lee had no other option.

In retreating from the Union army's Appomattox Campaign, the Army of Northern Virginia had stumbled through the Virginia countryside stripped of food and supplies. At one point, Union cavalry forces under General Philip Sheridan had actually outrun Lee's army, blocking their retreat and taking 6,000 prisoners at Sayler's Creek. Desertions were mounting daily, and by April 8 the Confederates were surrounded with no possibility of escape. On April 9, Lee sent a message to Grant announcing his willingness to surrender. The two generals met in the parlor of the Wilmer McLean home at one o'clock in the afternoon.

Lee and Grant, both holding the highest rank in their respective armies, had known each other slightly during the Mexican War and exchanged awkward personal inquiries. Characteristically, Grant arrived in his muddy field uniform while Lee had turned out in full dress attire, complete with sash and sword. Lee asked for the terms, and Grant hurriedly wrote them out. All officers and men were to be pardoned, and they would be sent home with their private property--most important, the horses, which could be used for a late spring planting. Officers would keep their side arms, and Lee's starving men would be given Union rations.

Shushing a band that had begun to play in celebration, General Grant told his officers, "The war is over. The Rebels are our countrymen again." Although scattered resistance continued for several weeks, for all practical purposes the Civil War had come to an end.

Jenkin's Ear Day


April 9, 1731. Spanish guardacosta boarded and plundered the British ship Rebecca off Jamaica and, among other outrages, cut off the ear of English master mariner Robert Jenkins. Little notice was taken until seven years later, when Jenkins exhibited the detached ear and described the atrocity to a committee of the House of Commons. In consequence, Britain declared war on Spain in October 1739, a war that lasted until 1743 and is still known as the “War of Jenkins’s Ear.”

In one of the first actions of the war, Vice Admiral Edward Vernon descended on Porto Bello, Panama with six ships of the line. Attacking the poorly defended Spanish town, he quickly captured it and remained there for three weeks. The victory led to the naming of Portobello Road in London and public debut of the song Rule, Britannia! With the beginning of 1740, both sides anticipated that France would enter the war on the side of Spain. This led to invasion scares in Britain and resulted in the bulk of their military and naval strength being retained in Europe.

Overseas, Governor James Oglethorpe of Georgia mounted an expedition into Spanish Florida with the goal of capturing St. Augustine. Arriving in June, he began a bombardment of the city while Royal Navy forces blockaded the port. Seeking to reinforce the garrison, the Spanish were able to penetrate the blockade, forcing Oglethorpe to abandon the siege and withdraw back to Georgia. Though the Royal Navy was focusing on home defense, a squadron was formed in late 1740, under Commodore George Anson to raid Spanish possessions in the Pacific.

Departing on September 18, 1740, Anson's squadron encountered severe weather and was plagued by disease. Reduced to one ship, Anson succeeded in capturing the treasure galleon Nuestra SeƱora de Covadonga off the Philippines on June 20, 1743. Completing a circumnavigation of the globe, he returned home a hero. Encouraged by Vernon's success against Porto Bello in 1739, efforts were made in 1741 to mount a larger expedition in Caribbean. Assembling a force of over 180 ships and 30,000 men, Vernon planed to attack Cartagena.

Arriving in early March 1741, Vernon's efforts to take the city were plagued by a lack of supplies, personal rivalries, and rampaging disease. Endeavoring to defeat the Spanish, Vernon was forced to withdraw after sixty-seven days which saw around a third of his force lost to enemy fire and disease. News of the defeat ultimately led to Walpole leaving office and being replaced by Lord Wilmington. More interested in pursuing campaigns in the Mediterranean, Wilmington began to wind down operations in the Americas.

Repulsed at Cartagena, Vernon attempted to take Santiago de Cuba, but was forced to abandon the operation when he met heavier than anticipated opposition. In the Mediterranean, Vice Admiral Nicholas Haddock worked to blockade the Spanish coast and though he took several valuable prizes, was unable to bring the Spanish fleet to action. British pride at sea was also marred by the damage inflicted by Spanish privateers which attacked unescorted merchantmen around the Atlantic.

In Georgia, Oglethorpe remained in command of the colony's military forces despite his earlier failure at St. Augustine. In the summer of 1742, Governor Manuel de Montiano of Florida advanced north and landed on St. Simons Island. Moving to meet this threat, Oglethorpe's forces won the Battles of Bloody Marsh and Gully Hole Creek which compelled Montiano to retreat back to Florida.

National Alcohol Screening Day


National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD) is an initiative first launched in 1999 by the National Institutes Of Health (NIH). The aim of this event is to increase public awareness that alcohol abuse and alcoholism (in which a person is dependent on alcohol), are recognized disorders which can be treated.

Throughout this day, members of the public are invited along to one of many screening centers across the United States. The people who visit the screening centers are dealt with on a case by case basis; they are asked to complete a written self-assessment about their alcohol use. Health care professionals at the centers then tailor advice to the person concerned.

When a persons use of alcohol has been assessed, they are then informed about the different types of alcohol related problems. Where relevant, the person is then given advice as to where help can be sought.

In some cases, it is a friend or family member of the person being screened who has an issue with alcohol. In such cases, professional advice is given on how to approach this other persons problem.

The first screening day in 1999, saw over 50,000 people visit the 1500 screening centers throughout the United States for advice; a higher than expected number of college students attended.

Alcohol abuse can be high in college students, who, whilst typically not dependent on alcohol, abuse it by frequently drinking large volumes. Excessive, often rapid, consumption of alcohol is also known as 'binge drinking'. In a follow up study of Alcohol Screening Day, it was found that 44% of college students interviewed, had consumed over four alcoholic drinks in a drinking session, on one or more occasions within 30 days.

Alcohol abuse can lead to many recognized health problems which can include anxiety, depression, sexual problems. Where alcohol abuse occurs over a longer period of time, there is increased risk of developing certain cancers, liver cirrhosis, high blood pressure and heart problems.

National Alcohol Screening Day has grown into a nationally recognized awareness campaign; there is a dedicated websitewhich covers this event.

Four areas of 'response' have been designated for National Alcohol Screening Day. These are titled:
  • CollegeResponse
  • WorkplaceResponse
  • CommunityResponse
  • Military Pathways
Each response is focussed on different aspects of society in which the public are given an opportunity for alcohol screening.

For example, the CollegeResponse provides alcohol screening to college students. The screenings may be online or in person at a college campus. 'In Person' screening kits are provided to educational establishments so they can run their own screening program on this day. The kits include, screening forms, magnets, posters, and educational information about alcohol abuse and healthy living.

The workplace, community and military response screening programs center around a customized website in which people are encouraged to take an online screening program for alcohol. As with the CollegeResponse, the aim of these screenings is to identify possible problems a person may have with alcohol and direct them to further assistance if required.

For those concerned that they may have a have a problem with alcohol a free online screening program is available.

National Cherish an Antique Day


Today is National Cherish an Antique Day! Do you have any family heirlooms hidden away in your closets? Today is the day to polish them up and put them on display! Humans have been collecting antiques since the beginning of our history. We have always been fascinated by the stories behind these curiosities and the rare glimpse they give us into the lives of our predecessors.

In 1979, the first episode of Antiques Roadshow aired in the United Kingdom. Local residents presented their family heirlooms and collectibles for appraisal, and learned their true value. The show was an instant success and is still in production today. On the American version of the show, the most valuable find to date was a set of carved rhinoceros horn cups, which were appraised at $1-$1.5 million!

Activities on National Cherish an Antique Day
  • As antiques would most likely to be hand-crafted artifacts, it would be a good idea to head for some antique shops where these could be found.
  • If you live in an old house, you may not even have to leave your home. If you forage through your attic or basement, you may discover some articles left over from your ancestors which actually may have some antique value.
  • Once you have located your antique, place it in a prominent place in your home so that you can indeed cherish it all day and share its uniqueness with others around you.
  • If you would like to combine social service with your activities on National Cherish an Antique Day, you could visit a historical place like a museum or a monument to refresh your knowledge about the antique element of the place, the building and the objects within it.

National Chinese Almond Cookie Day


Today, give your palate a sweet cleanse because April 9 is National Chinese Almond Cookie Day!

The slightly sweet crunch of almonds is the center of attention in this simple cookie. The taste and texture is very similar to pecan sandies.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, almonds are thought to be anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic, so crunch to your health! Typical to southern and southeastern China, these almond cookies are usually enjoyed around Chinese New Year, and are given as gifts to family and friends.

They are also a part of Chinese-American cuisine, often playing second fiddle to the favorite fortune cookie. In some Chinese restaurants, they are served to cleanse the palate after several courses, rather than being regarded as a dessert.

Start a new tradition and make these simple, sweet treats. And if you're thinking these cookies don't carry a fortune, you'd be wrong. Chinese almond cookies symbolize coins, which is why they are a New Year tradition. More cookies, more money!

National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day


From the days of the Revolutionary War to the trials of our times, America has been blessed with an unbroken chain of patriots who have always stepped forward to serve. Whenever our country has come under attack, our men and women in uniform have risen to its defense. And whenever our freedoms have been threatened, they have responded with unyielding resolve -- sometimes trading their liberty to secure our own.

Today, we pay tribute to former prisoners of war who made that profound sacrifice. Caught behind enemy lines and stripped of their rights, these service members endured trials few of us can imagine. Many lost their lives. But in reflecting on the tragic price they paid, we also remember how their courage lit up even the darkest night. Where others might have given up or broken down, they dug in. They summoned an iron will. In their strength, we see the measure of their character; in their sacrifice, we see the spirit of a Nation.

As we express our gratitude to heroes who gave so much for their country, we remain mindful that no one gesture is enough to truly honor their service. For that, we must recommit to serving our veterans as well as they served us -- not just today, but every day. We must pursue a full accounting of those who are still missing. And for service members who have come home, we must never stop fighting to give them the stability and the support they have earned. That is the promise we renew today -- for former prisoners of war, for their families, and for every American who has sworn an oath to protect and defend.

National Name Yourself Day


April 9th is ‘National Name Yourself Day’ which is an opportunity to change your name to something you like better, albeit for only 24 hours.

Are you happy with your name? Take the jump to take our poll.

I was stuck with the name ‘George’ because it’s my father’s name. According to my mom, no other boy names were even considered. My dad would hear nothing of it. No discussion. End of story.

I HATED IT! From a kid’s perspective, ‘George’ was the dorkiest name possible. It was a sinking ship in a sea of names like Randy, Kevin, Tim, Scott, and Mike. I would have given anything to change it.

Somewhere along the way my perspective changed, and I became a boring adult. Somehow, as I acquired additional handles such as ‘Dad’ and ‘husband’, ‘George’ became unique. It’s a name I’ve grown into, and actually like today. In my entire adult life, I’ve never worked with another ‘George’.

What does your name mean? I was shocked at the accuracy of this random website which claims free name analysis. Apparently the name ‘George’ has dual influences:
"At times you can be extremely happy, expressive, full of fun, and good-natured; yet at other times you find congenial association impossible, being controlled by self-pity, moods, and depression."
It’s frightening how accurate that is! How does your name reflect your personality? Find out here, and let us know in the comments section below.

So would you permanently change your name if you had the opportunity?

National Winston Churchill Day


April 9 is Winston Churchill Day. On this day in 1963, Sir Winston Churchill became an honorary citizen of the United States of America. Although Churchill was not present, both his son and grandson were able to attend the ceremony with President John F. Kennedy presiding.

Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was born in 1874. He was elected to the British Parliament in 1900. He married Clementine Hozier in 1908.

The admired British politician also served as First Lord of the Admiralty, Secretary of State for War and Air and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In 1953, Churchill won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Often described as one of the greatest orator’s of the time, several of his well-known quotations include “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it” “Madam, all babies look like me,” “I am easily satisfied with the best,” “Eating my words has never given me indigestion” and “My most brilliant achievement was to persuade my wife to marry me.”

During the later part of his life, painting played a significant role in Churchill's life. His passion for painting began during World War II and his work was highly acclaimed.

Surrounded by his wife and loved ones, Churchill died at his home in London in January 1965. He was 90 years old. By decree of Queen Elizabeth, his body lay in state for three days.