Happy First Day of Fall!

Today is the first day of the fall season, and more importantly, the Autumn equinox, when night and day are exactly equal in length. Here are a few interesting facts that you might not know about this important natural phenomenon.

  • From the Autumn Equinox until the Winter Solstice, the nights will get continually longer and the days will get continually shorter.
  • Fall (and the cooler weather that comes with it) isn't caused by Earth's increasing distance from the sun, but rather by the Earth's tilt in relation to the sun.
  • The red, orange and yellow colors of the fall leaves a decrease in the pigment chlorophyll, which gives them their green color. When the temperature cools, the chlorophyll breaks down and exposes other pigments.
  • The word "fall" dates back to the 1600s, when British poets began to use it to describe the season because of the falling leaves.
  • This year, the Autumn Equinox officially begins at 4:02 p.m. ET in the Northern Hemisphere.

Public Domain/Pixabay/metromike007

Here’s How to Observe Patriot Day

September 11 marks the anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks in New York City and beyond, and the day will forever be known in America as Patriot Day. This is a time to remember the American men and women killed in the attacks on September 11, 2001, as well as those brave men and women who have worked tirelessly since then to maintain our country's safety and freedom.

The flag at the White House and at all government buildings will be flown at half-mass all day on Patriot Day, and if you display a flag in your home, it should also be lowered. A moment of silence will be held at many offices, schools and television programs at 8:46 a.m., the moment the first plane struck the World Trade Center's North Tower. If you would like to do even more for Patriot Day, you can also volunteer your time through AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, Senior Corps, and other national service initiatives.

Celebrate National Thrift Shop Day on August 17!

Do some good for the environment and your wardrobe on National Thrift Shop Day on August 17! This national holiday celebrates the importance of thrift shops, allowing shoppers to save some money while also supporting charitable organizations and reducing waste from buying new clothing and household goods.

In order to celebrate National Thrift Shop Day, simply hit your favorite thrift stores in the Dahlgren area. If you purhcase anything from these stores, post a photo to social media using the hashtag #NationalThriftShopDay.

Public Domain/Pixabay/pexels

Best Ways to Spend the End of Summer — And How to Transition to Back-to-School

Summer is coming to a close and back-to-school season is just around the corner, so you might be wondering how to make the most of the time you have left at home with the kids. Here are some great ideas for things to do at the end of summer (and ways to make easing into the new school year a bit easier).

  • See a movie at the Dahlgren Theater. Check out a family-friendly movie at the Dahlgren Theater — upcoming movies include Spider-Man: Homecoming, Girls Trip and War for the Planet of the Apes.
  • Plan a picnic. Take advantage of the cooler days by planning a picnic at Barnesfield Park. Plan the perfect menu of picnic recipes, pack it all in a wicker basket and bring along your favorite old blanket to lay in the grass.
  • Go stargazing. Head out to a hillside and bring along a map of the night sky. Spend the evening picking out your favorite stars, constellations and other celestial bodies.
  • Plan out back-to-school lunches. Do a trial run of the new school lunches you might like to pack for your kids this year. Whether you want to try out healthy pasta salads or a new type of sandwich, you can have fun (and teach the kids the ins and outs of healthy meal planning) by working together to develop a new lunch menu.
  • Donate unworn clothes before back-to-school shopping. Before you go shopping for the kids' new clothes, go through their closets and make piles of items to donate. Have the kids try on their old jeans and too-small sweaters, and then take them to a local charity store before you hit the mall.

Public Domain/Pixabay/Pexels

Happy Fourth of July, Dahlgren!

Happy Fourth of July, Dahlgren residents! Here are some fun facts about this patriotic holiday.

  • While many people believe that the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, there were actually only two people who signed on July 4: John Hancock and Charles Thomson. secretary of Congress. The others signed on August 2.
  • John Adams wanted to celebrate Independence Day on July 2, the day Congress voted for independence.
  • President Calvin Coolidge was born on July 4.
  • Three US presidents have died on July 4: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Monroe. Adams and Jefferson actually both died on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the country they helped found.
  • July 4 didn't become a federal holiday until 1870, nearly 100 years after the nation was founded.
  • In 1884, miners blew up the post office in Swan, Colorado, because it wasn't supplied with fireworks.
  • Americans consume around 155 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July each year.

10 unusual facts you probably didn't know about the Fourth of July [Business Insider]

Public Domain/Pixabay/Pexels

Happy National Hammock Day!

Yesterday was the first day of summer, so it's only fitting that today is National Hammock Day. There's no better way to celebrate the summer season than by posting up between two trees for a day of reading, relaxing or snuggling up with the one you love.

Here are some fun facts about hammocks that you might not know.

  • Hammocks were first invented by the Central and South Americans for sleeping off of the ground.
  • Later, hammocks were used by sailors aboard ships to save space and create a more comfortable bed than the hard ground.
  • In the 1920s, hammocks were used by parents to contain babies just learning to crawl.
  • The earliest hammocks were made of tree bark! Since then, hammocks have been made of rope, sisal, palm fronds and other natural materials.
  • The earliest hammocks prevented against disease and attack. Their breathable materials didn't get infected with viruses and disease the way blankets and mattresses did, and because they kept the sleeper elevated off the ground, they protected against bites from snakes, scorpions and other venomous creatures.
  • Styles of hammocks reflect the regions where they originated. For example, the Mayan and Nicaraguan hammocks have a loose weave made from a supportive net, while Brazilian hammocks are made of a cotton fabric that is a bit more durable.

Happy Summer Solstice, Dahlgren!

Today is the Summer Solstice, which marks the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere. It's also the longest day of the year for anyone north of the Equator. Here are some fascinating facts about this annual phenomenon.

  • Because the Earth orbits the sun on a tilted axis, the Northern Hemisphere gets more sun exposure between March and September. The peak sunlight is between June 21 and June 22, hence the Summer Solstice.
  • On Tuesday, June 21, most people in America will get 1.5 extra hours of sunlight. This time gets longer the further north you are (for example, Iceland gets about 20 hours of daylight during the Summer Solstice!)
  • Just because the Summer Solstice gives us more sunlight doesn't mean that it's the latest sunset or the earliest sunrise of the year.
  • Every year, the Earth's rotation slows slightly due to tidal friction. This means that every year, the days get very, very slightly longer. 4.5 billion years ago it took just 6 hours for the Earth to complete a rotation, while today, of course, it takes 24 hours.
  • Despite the slowing of Earth's rotation, it doesn't mean that each year marks the new longest day in history. This is because there are other factors affecting the rotation besides just tidal friction (including melting glacial ice, geologic activity at the planet's core, earthquakes and more).

The summer solstice is upon us: 7 things to know about the longest day of the year [Vox]

Public Domain/Pixabay/AWerdan

Happy Flag Day, Dahlgren!

June 14 is Flag Day, a holiday that many Americans know little about. This patriotic holiday commemorates the day when our newly founded country adopted our current flag back on June 14, 1777, but it wasn't until 1916 when President Woodrow Wilson maade the hoiday official. In August of 1949, an Act of Congress established Flag Day, but it's still not recognized as an official federal holiday.

Here are some more facts about Flag Day:

  • Pennsylania was the first state to celebrate Flag Day as a state holiday.
  • The oldest Flag Day parade in the country is held in Fairfield, Washington. It began in 1909 or 1910.
  • The earliest written reference to Flag Day is cited in Kansas: a Cyclopedia of State History, published by Standard Publishing Company of Chicago in 1912. It credits George Morris of Hartford, Connecticut using the phrase.
  • In 1885, a schoolteacher named Bernard J. Cigrand held the first recognized formal observance of Flag Day at the Stony Hill School. Later, after he moved to Chicago, he held a public school children's celebration of Flag Day with more than 300,000 children.
  • William T. Kerr, a native of Pittsburgh, founded the American Flag Day Association of Western Pennsylvania in 1888.
  • Today, Americans are encouraged to fly an American flag during the week surrounding Flag Day.
  • Many local government buildings fly their flags and hold ceremonies celebrating the flag's history on Flag Day.

The History Of Flag Day [US Flag]

Happy Memorial Day: Where to Celebrate in Dahlgren

Today is Memorial Day, a day to honor our brave soldiers who gave their lives serving our country.

To celebrate Memorial Day near Dahlgren, head over to the war memorial at the Cannon in Colonial Beach, just a short drive away. There will be a memorial service at this historic site in honor of Memorial Day.

If you choose to celebrate on your own, you can visit a local cemetery and place flags on the tombstones of those fallen soldiers. This is a day of remembrance, so celebrate America's many freedoms by thinking of those who paid the ultimate cost to protect them.

Public Domain/Pixabay/Unsplash

Happy National Arbor Day, Dahlgren!

Today is Arbor Day, and that means that it's a great time to celebrate the beautiful trees that make the world so green and lush. Here's a little bit about the history of Arbor Day and it's importance in our modern world.

  • The first Arbor Day in the world took place in the Spanish village of Mondoñedo in 1594.
  • In America, the first documented Arbor Day celebration was organized in Nebraska City, Nebraska, by J. Sterling Morton on April 10, 1872. On this day, approximately one million trees were planted throughout the state.
  • The person responsible for spreading Arbor Day throughout the country and the world was Birdsey Northrop of Connecticut. He delivered his Arbor Day and Village Improvement message when he visited Japan in 1883, and that same year, the American Forestry Association made him the Chairman of the committee to campaign for Arbor Day nationwide.
  • In 1906, when President Theodore Roosevelt was giving speeches about the importance of Arbor Day, a conservationalist from Pennsylvania named Major Israel McCreight argued that these speeches were targeting only men in the lumber industry. He encouraged the President to target children with youth education programs detailing the negative aspects of destroying our national forests.
  • On April 15, 1907, Roosevelt gave the "Arbor Day Proclamation to the School Children of the United States."
  • By the 1920s, every state had passed public laws marked off certain days for celebrating Arbor Day or Arbor and Bird Day.

Public Domain/Pixabay/jingoba

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