Today is Presidents Day

Today is Presidents Day

Presidents Day is a federal holiday which, in the United States, is observed on the third Monday in February. This day is set aside, by more and more of America’s population, to honor all of the past United States Presidents that have served our country. Two of our nation’s greatest Presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, are brought to mind as we celebrate this day. Their birth dates, which fall close to this same time, have been celebrated for decades with public ceremonies in Washington, D.C. and throughout the United States.

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Today in History: First Official Air Mail Flight in 1911

Today in History: First Official Air Mail Flight in 1911

107 years ago today, the first official flight with air mail takes place in Allahabad, British India when 23-year old French pilot Henri Pecquet transported 6000 letters and postcards in his biplane from Allahabad to Naini, some 6 miles (10 km) away.

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Today in History: Premiere of “Madame Butterfly”

Today in History: Premiere of “Madame Butterfly”

It was not all smooth sailing for Giacomo Puccini’s opera “Madame Butterfly” at its world premiere at La Scala in Milan, Italy in 1904. Quite the opposite, the opening was interrupted by its hostile audience’s disapproving shouts, boos and whistles. Italian newspapers commented that “the spectacle given in the auditorium seemed as well organized as that on the stage since it began precisely with the beginning of the opera.” It was only after Puccini had considerably shortened his opera that it became a huge success. To date, Madame Butterfly is a staple of the standard opera repertoire. Puccini’s sentimental music helped foster the unbroken popularity of the Japanese tragedy of the Geisha Cio-Cio-San and U.S. Naval officer Pinkerton. Madame Butterfly followed equally successful Puccini operas like “La Boheme” (1896) and “Tosca” (1900).

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Today is National Hippo Day

Today is National Hippo Day

Did you know that Hippo loosely translates to “River Horse” in ancient Greek? National Hippo Day celebrates the third largest mammal on Earth. Go ahead and waddle in a mud bath, get angry with some tourists, or just yawn a lot whilst opening your mouth really-really widely ….

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Today is World Radio Day

Today is World Radio Day

WRD Day is about celebrating radio’s unique power of touching lives and bringing people together across the globe. #WorldRadioDay was proclaimed in November 2011 by UNESCO’s General Conference (Wikipedia).

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Today in History: Bombing of Dresden in 1945

Today in History: Bombing of Dresden in 1945

73 years ago today, a series of Allied firebombing raids begins against the German city of Dresden, reducing the “Florence of the Elbe” to rubble and flames, and killing as many as 135,000 people. It was the single most destructive bombing of the war—including Hiroshima and Nagasaki—and all the more horrendous because little, if anything, was accomplished strategically, since the Germans were already on the verge of surrender.

Among the conclusions reached at the February 1945 Yalta Conference of the Allied powers was the resolution that the Allies would engage in concerted strategic bombing raids against German cities known for war-production and manufacturing, in an effort to bring the Nazi war machine to a crashing halt. The tragic irony of the raid on Dresden, a medieval city renowned for its rich artistic and architectural treasures, is that during the war it had never been a site of war-production or major industry. Both Allies and Germans alike have argued over the real purpose of the firebombing; the ostensible “official” rationale was that Dresden was a major communications center and bombing it would hamper the German ability to convey messages to its army, which was battling Soviet forces at the time. But the extent of the destruction was, for many, disproportionate to the stated strategic goal—many believe that the attack was simply an attempt to punish the Germans and weaken their morale.

More than 3,400 tons of explosives were dropped on the city by 800 American and British aircraft. The firestorm created by the two days of bombing set the city burning for many more days, littering the streets with charred corpses, including many children. Eight square miles of the city was ruined, and the total body count was between 35,000 and 135,000 (an approximation is all that was possible given that the city was filled with many refugees from farther east). The hospitals that were left standing could not handle the numbers of injured and burned, and mass burials became necessary. Source: www.history.com.

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