Stars, Stripes, and History

Posted on June 27, 2016

By Candy Jones-Guerin

Our Nation’s largest birthday celebration is just around the corner and we’re excited to get the party started!

On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies claimed their independence from England, an event which eventually led to the formation of the United States. Each year on July 4th, we don our red, white, and blue to pay homage and celebrate with food, friends, and fireworks.

There are also a lot of lesser known facts about this important day. Take note of these and surprise whomever you celebrate with.

Did you know…

  • Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on a “laptop,” which was a writing desk that could fit on one’s lap.
  • Including John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, a total of three US presidents have died on July 4th. James Monroe is the third president to share this fate.
  • According to author Kenneth C. Davis, July 2nd is the real day of Independence, but it’s celebrated on the fourth because that’s when congress accepted Jefferson’s declaration.
  • Due to concerns about cracking the iconic instrument, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846. Instead, every year, to mark the Fourth of July, the 2,000-pound bell is tapped 13 times to signal for bells across the country to start ringing.

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World Refugee Day – June 20th

Posted on June 2, 2016

By Debra Kirby

Since ancient times refugees have fled their homes and countries because of war, famine, natural disaster, and religious and racial persecution and genocide, often risking their lives and the lives of their children in search of safe haven. The current Syrian refugee crisis is only the latest in a string of similar tragic human events that has occurred in every corner of the world.

In the aftermath of World War II in response to the atrocities committed during that conflict, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was issued by the United Nations, which recognized the right of persecuted people to seek asylum in other countries. The United Nations also established the IUN International Refugees Organization (IRO), which provided assistance to some 1.5 million European and Asian World War II refugees. Though it was disbanded in 1951, it was replaced by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which continues to provide such assistance and which established the first World Refugee Day on June 20, 2001 – now an annual event observed by more than 100 countries throughout the world.

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