Today is World Giraffe Day

Today is World Giraffe Day

World Giraffe Day is an annual celebration of the longest-necked animal on the longest day or night (depending on which hemisphere you live) of the year – June 21 – every year!

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Welcome, Summer! Today is the First Day of Summer !

Welcome, Summer! Today is the First Day of Summer !

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Today in History: The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York in 1885

Today in History: The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York in 1885

130 years ago today, the dismantled Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor after being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean from France in 350 individual pieces packed in more than 200 cases. The statue was a gift of friendship to the United States from the people of France. The copper and iron statue was designed by French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi who named it “Liberty Enlightening the World.” It was dedicated by U.S. President Grover Cleveland on October 28, 1886. At 305 feet from its pedestal to the top of its torch, the Statue was taller than any New York City structure at the time. Today, the Statue of Liberty is one of America’s most famous landmarks and known around the world as a symbol of freedom and democracy.

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Today is Nature Photography Day

Today is Nature Photography Day

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Today is National Red Rose

Today is National Red Rose

National Red Rose Day honors the flower that is a symbol of love and romance. Red roses were used in many early cultures as decorations in wedding ceremonies and wedding attire. It was through this practice that, over the years, the red rose became known as a symbol of love and romance. The tradition of giving red roses as the strongest message of love is still practiced today.

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Today in History: London’s Big Ben starts taking time

Today in History: London’s Big Ben starts taking time

Big Ben is the nickname commonly used to describe the famous Elizabeth Tower (Clock Tower prior to 2012), the Great Clock and the Great Bell of Westminster Palace in London. But the name originally applied only to the bell. The history of the clock dates back to 1843 when construction of the Clock Tower began. A competition was held but due to concerns about the clock’s accuracy it took seven years for the designs to be finalized. The clock was finished in 1854 and two years later, the first Big Ben bell was cast. During testing in October of 1857, however, the bell cracked. In April of 1858, a new bell was completed. With all bells in place, the Great Clock was installed in the spring of 1859. The Clock started taking time on 31 May. On July 11, Big Ben’s Great Bell’s strikes could be heard for the first time. Its quarter bells first chimed on September 7.

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Today in History: Volkswagen is founded in 1937

Today in History: Volkswagen is founded in 1937
80 years ago today, the German automobile manufacturer Volkswagen was established. The idea for a small, affordable family car was introduced years earlier by engineer, Ferdinand Porsche, who wanted to create an automobile that was easy to build and inexpensive to buy. In 1933, Adolf Hitler got involved and contracted Porsche to design and build the Volkswagen (“People’s Car”) that could fit 2 adults and 3 children, drive 100 km/h (62 mph) and would cost no more than 1,000 Reichsmark (approx. $396). Hitler quickly funded the building of a brand-new Volkswagen factory to create Ferdinand Porsche’s design. Construction began on May 26, 1937. Volkswagen was founded two days later on May 28.

The People’s Car was to be made available to all German citizens through a state sponsored savings plan at a price of 990 Reichsmark (comparable to the price of a small motorcycle at the time). The car was initially called a KdF-Wagen (Kraft durch Freude / Strength through Joy). But by the time the first cars had been produced – the KdF-Wagen was displayed for the first time at the Berlin Motor Show in 1939 – World War II started. All production was halted and re-focused on military vehicles. No cars were ever delivered through the savings plan. One early Type 1 convertible model was given to Hitler on his 50th birthday.

At the end of the war, with the factory plant in ruins, the Allies used Volkswagen to help revive the German auto industry and thus the success story of the VW Beetle began. In 1950, the “beetle”-shaped car sold for approx. 4000 Deutsche Mark (approx. $2000). In 1955, VW had produced its one millionth car. In 1972, the Beetle broke the long-standing worldwide production record of Ford’s legendary Model T with 15 million vehicles. By 2003, when the last original Beetle rolled off the production lines in Puebla, Mexico, almost 22 million Beetles had been sold in over 150 countries – a true world record.

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