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May 21, 2016

Today we celebrate:

Cultural Freedom Day - The first of many third Saturday in May holidays, for this one we celebrate free culture. The term comes from Lawrence Lessig who used “Free Culture” as the title to his book. The day is about creating art, and allowing anyone who wants to, to use their art, study it, spread it around and use it to improve their own art and spread that around as well.

I Need A Patch For That Day - There are a many different groups that use patches as a way of recognising an achievement, or keeping a memory of an event, by using patches. The Girl Scouts, for example, have patches for absolutely everything that you sew on a vest or sash or bag and keep forever. But you don’t need to join the Girls Scouts to do this for yourself or your family, you can order patches for events you do with your family and display them however you want.

National Strawberries and Cream Day - This is a simple, but oh so delicious dish. All it is is a dish of sliced strawberries, freshly picked from the farm if possible, and a dollop of whipped cream, freshly whipped with fresh cream if you have it. Put the two together and you have a little piece of heaven to enjoy.

Preakness Stakes - Celebrated on the third Saturday in May, this is the second race of the Triple Crown and is always two weeks after the Kentucky Derby and three weeks before the Belmont Stakes.  It is an exciting race, especially if the same horse that won the Kentucky Derby is racing in it.

River Cleanup Day - Celebrated on the third Saturday in May, this is a day of action. Thousands of volunteers all around the country get together in their local areas to clean up the trash in rivers, creeks, streams, and lakes. See if you can find a local volunteer group to join today, or make your own with some friends who care about our environment.

Armed Forces Day – Celebrated on the third Saturday in May, this is a day to honor the men and women who serve in the United States Armed Forces. There will be a wide variety of activities going on all day all over the country from parades to motorcycle rides to educational activities. In the past there were celebration days for each of the branches of the armed forces, but in 1949, Secretary of Defense, Louis Johnson, announced that they would all be consolidated under one day because all of the armed forces had united under Department of Defense. The only branch that has chosen to still have it's own day is the Marines although they support this day as well.

Military-Amateur Crossband Communications Day – On this day, usually celebrated on the same day as Armed Forces Day, the Military Auxiliary Radio System conducts a traditional military to amateur crossband communications test and a message-receiving test. This gives amateur radio operators an opportunity to display their skills and receive recognition from the Secretary of Defense. This radio system is in place so that the military, as well as state and local emergency response organizations, have access to communications in the event of an emergency.

Rapture Party Day - A few years ago, this day in 2011 to be exact, was the day that Harold Camping predicted that the end of the world would begin. He had a lot of followers who planned for that event, called The Rapture, and fully expected to be taken up to heaven. Prior to this, Mr. Camping predicted the Rapture would happen in September of 1994. Most Christian groups did not believe him, and it turned out that he was indeed incorrect.

World Whisky Day - Celebrated on the third Saturday in May, this is a day to enjoy a whisky with your friends. I thought whisky was spelled whiskey, but according to the website, I was incorrect.

National Memo Day – While the memo is occasionally a useful method of conveying information, sometimes it is overused. Other times it seems that important information still doesn't get to the people it needs to get to. But I don't think it's the memo's fault. I think that most likely it is the fault of whoever is sending the memo. So we should still celebrate the memo today.

National Waiters And Waitresses Day – Waiters and Waitresses put up with a lot of grief from their customers. Not you, of course, I'm talking about other customers with unruly children, obnoxious manners, poor tippers and humongous mess makers. But in spite of all that, most of them are able to keep their friendly attitudes and do a great job providing excellent service. So let’s give them a hand today, and maybe an extra big tip.

American Red Cross Founder's Day – Clarissa Harlowe Barton founded the Red Cross in 1881 at the age of 60. The age when most people are beginning to think about retirement and golfing 24/7. Then, she ran the organization for 23 years. Prior to that she provided assistance to Union troops during the Civil War. She led an amazing and inspiring life, you can read about it here.

World Day For Cultural Diversity For Dialogue & Development – This is a day proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in November 2001 for the purpose of promoting diversity around the world. The UN would like communities to understand the value of cultural diversity, realize that we can all learn from each other, and live together in harmony.

Sister Maria Hummel Day – Born on this day in 1909, Sister Maria Innocentia Hummel, O.S.F., was an artist and a German Franciscan Sister. She created the artwork for the Hummel figurines which are very famous in the art world. It should be noted that Adolf Hitler hated her art and although the Nazi's allowed her to work, they banned distribution of her work in Germany. In 1940, the Nazi's seized the convent that she lived in and forced many of the 250 Sisters to leave. The 40 Sisters that remained there lived without heat or a means of support so Hummel continued to work, sometimes even drawing pictures with a Jewish theme which was very dangerous.  The Nazi's took half of the money she made and the rest went to buy food for the Sisters. Sister Hummel became ill during this time and never recovered. She died in 1946.

National Learn To Swim Day – Celebrated for the third year, this day is always and forevermore celebrated on the Saturday of the weekend before Memorial Day weekend. This is a day to become aware of the importance of teaching your children how to swim. Children who cannot swim are far more likely to drown if they accidentally end up in a pool or pond or lake or river. Make sure your child learns this important lifesaving skill and if your child is afraid of the water, as my youngest was when she started learning, don't cave in to their fear and give up on making them go to lessons. After a scare in a pool when she was three, my daughter cried through nearly 6 months of swimming lessons before she finally started enjoying the water and now she swims like a fish. It’s hard, but it's worth it.

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