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

Celebrate Earth Day With These Eco-Friendly Activities

Earth Day is this Saturday, April 22, and celebrating this worldwide holiday means doing some good for our planet. Here are a few fun ideas for ways to celebrate Earth Day near Dahlgren.

  • Forget the car! Instead, take public transportation, ride your bike or even walk to get where you need to go.
  • Volunteer your time picking up trash on a local highway, plant trees with a nature conservancy, or plan a clothing drive to help the community while putting those old garments to good use.
  • If you don't already recycle, be sure to go over the building's recycling plan in honor of Earth Day. It's easier than you might think to separate your glass, plastic and paper!
  • Switch your bills to e-bills in order to cut down on paper waste. You might even find that it makes your monthly bill pay easier.
  • Invest in a reuseable water bottle so that you can stop purchasing plastic disposable bottles.
  • Update your lightbulbs with eco-friendly LED bulbs. These lightbulbs last longer and cut down on your energy use.
  • Enjoy some time outdoors. One of the best ways to celebrate Earth Day is by going for a hike, talking a walk in the neighborhood or riding your bike to enjoy the green spaces in the area.

Public Domain/Pixabay/Larisa-K

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Dahlgren! Whether you like to drink green beer at your favorite Irish bar or make a traditional dinner of corned beef and soda bread, there are a number of ways to celebrate this beloved Irish holiday.

We'd love to hear how our residents like to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. If you have a special holiday tradition (or if you're starting a new one this year), share your St. Paddy's plans in the comment section!

What Would Your Perfect Day Look Like?

There's so much to do in the Dahlgren area, it's not hard to plan a day of fun and excitement. What would your perfect day look like? Whether you'd start with brunch and spend the rest of the day shopping or hit the trails on your mountain bike, let us know in the comments what you'd do on your perfect day!

Here’s How Valentine’s Day Came to Be

Happy Valentine's Day, Dahlgren! If you've always wondered how this unique holiday came to be, here's a look at the history behind the festivities.

  • While many believe that Valentine's Day celebrates Saint Valentine, there were actually a number of Christian martyrs named Valentine. Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni were just two of them.
  • The likely origins of Valentine's Day as a celebration come from the Roman fertility festival Lupercalia. During this event, Roman men and women danced, drank wine and hoped to find a husband or wife. Like the modern Valentine's Day, it was celebrated in mid-February.
  • Since Lupercalia came to be when Romans were Pagan, the festival changed once Christianity came to Rome. After that, the festival honored Saint Valentine and became a bit less wild.
  • Alternatively, some scholars believe that Valentine's Day was actually constructed by 14th Century poet Geoffrey Chaucer. These historians say that before Chaucer wrote about springtime being a time of romance, no one linked Saint Valentine to anything at all romantic.
  • Today, studies show that Americans spend an average of $18.2 billion, or $136.57 per person, on gifts for Valentine's Day. Whatever its origins, the holiday has become synonymous with love, romance and gift-giving in modern culture!

Valentine’s Day: Did It Start as a Roman Party or to Celebrate an Execution? [The New York Times]

Learn About the History of Inauguration Day From These Fun Facts!

Today is Inauguration Day, and while this is a day of pomp and circumstance in American history, it hasn't always been quite so celebratory. Here are some fun facts about the history of Inaugruation Day, its many traditions and the few ceremonies that were a bit more out of the ordinary.

  • The first Inauguration Day was on April 30, 1789 when George Washington was sworn in as our first President. The organizers forgot to bring a Bible for the swearing-in ceremony, so Washington borrowed one from a nearby Masonic lodge.
  • The shortest inaugural address was on March 4, 1793, when George Washington was sworn in for a second term. It was only 135 words.
  • John Adams was the first President sworn in by a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on March 4, 1797.
  • On March 5, 1805, Thomas Jefferson had an impromptu parade when he rode from the Capitol to the White House for his inauguration.
  • The first Inaugural Ball was on March 4, 1809 when James Madison was elected president.
  • John Quincy Adams chose to be sworn in on a legal book instead of a Bible at his inauguration on March 4, 1825.
  • The first time there were multuple Inaugural Balls was during Andrew Jackson's inauguration on Mar. 4, 1833.
  • William Henry Harrison died just 32 days after his inauguration on Mar. 4, 1841, after he gave a long speech in frigid temperatures.
  • James K. Polk is credited as the first president to use "Hail to the Chief" at his inauguration on Mar. 4, 1845.
  • James Buchanan's inauguration on Mar. 4, 1857 was the first one to be photographed.
  • Benjamin Harrison's inauguration on Mar. 4, 1889 was the first time the outgoing president's family invited the new First Family to a lunch before the parade.
  • Warren G. Harding was the first president to arrive by car to his inauguration on Mar. 4, 1921.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt's inauguration on Jan. 20, 1937 was the first held in January.
  • Bill Clinton's inauguration on Jan. 20, 1997 was the first one broadcast online.

What to Know About Every Inauguration in American History [TIME]

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