Posts

August 4 is U.S. Coast Guard Day

u.s. coast guard dayToday is U.S. Coast Guard Day.

After the Continental Navy disbanded in 1785, no proviso existed in the U.S. Constitution for the establishment of a permanent maritime force.

In 1790, Alexander Hamilton, the country’s first Department of Treasury Secretary, founded the service that would become the Coast Guard.

Established to enforce tariff laws and manned by crews of civilians, the fleet became known as the system of cutters, named for the type of vessel used: armed ships, usually single-masted, that measured at least 65 feet in length.

From 1798 through 1800, the U.S. and France fought an undeclared naval war known as the “Quasi-War,” precipitated by the U.S. reneging on the repayment of loans received from France during the American Revolutionary War.

Congress passed legislation authorizing President John Adams to reestablish the U.S. Navy and conscript revenue cutters from the Treasury Department during the conflict.

In September of 1800, Adams and Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of France, signed a treaty ending hostilities between the two countries.

The Revenue Cutter Service and the United States Life-Saving Service, created in 1848 to save shipwrecked sailors, merged in 1915 to become the U.S. Coast Guard.

Happy U.S. Coast Guard Day!

Copyright © 2018 Worldwide Weird Holidays

August 14 is Navajo Code Talkers Day

Navajo Code Talkers Day

Solomon Islands, WWII

Today is Navajo Code Talkers Day, a holiday that honors the distinguished record of soldiers who transmitted military messages in the Navajo language during World War II. The Axis powers were unable to break the code, which helped safeguard U.S. military communications and may have hastened the end of the war.

In May of 1942, 29 Navajo recruits graduated boot camp at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, CA, and subsequently developed a dictionary that translated U.S. military terminology. They kept no written records, memorizing each word during their training.

Navajos were able to encrypt, transmit, receive and decode a three-line English message in 20 seconds. By contrast, devices of the era such as the German Enigma machine required an average of 30 minutes to perform the same task.

Code talkers participated in every operation conducted by the U.S. Marines in the Pacific theater. In February of 1945, during the first two days of the battle of Iwo Jima, six of them worked around the clock to send and receive more than 800 messages in Navajo.

Their service went unrecognized for decades due to the language’s continued use by the military.  After it was declassified in 1968, Major Howard Connor, signal officer of  the 5th U.S. Marine Division during World War II, stated, “Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima.”

President Ronald Reagan declared August 14, 1982, National Navaho Code Talkers Day. (He preferred Americanized spelling.) The last of the original 29 Navajo code talkers, Chester Nez, died on June 11, 2014, at the age of 93. Due to the program’s secrecy, the total number can only be estimated, at 400.

Let’s remember them now and every day. Happy Navajo Code Talker Day!

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays

August 7 is Purple Heart Day

Today is Purple Heart Day. On August 7, 1782, at his headquarters in Newburgh, NY, General George Washington, the commander in chief of the Continental Army, ordered the creation of a Badge of Military Merit.

purple heart day

Replica of original badge

The badge consisted of a purple, heart-shaped piece of cloth with the word MERIT embroidered in silver across the front. It was awarded to soldiers who showed “not only instances of unusual gallantry in battle, but also extraordinary fidelity and services in any way.”

Only three soldiers who fought in the American Revolutionary War received the decoration: Elijah Churchill, William Brown and Daniel Bissell, Jr. Afterward, it was largely forgotten until General Douglas MacArthur lobbied to revive it.

On February 22, 1932, the 200th anniversary of Washington’s birth, the U.S. War Department announced the creation of the “Order of the Purple Heart.”
purple heart day
The medal bears the image of Washington and his coat of arms. It’s presented to members of the military who have been “wounded or killed in any action against an enemy of the United States or as a result of an act of any such enemy or opposing armed forces.”

The Purple Heart has been a symbol of bravery and sacrifice since the founding of the United States. Today’s holiday serves as a reminder to honor our veterans.

 

Copyright © 2017 Worldwide Weird Holidays