National Lighthouse Day
The first lighthouse was Egypt‘s Pharos of Alexandria, built in the third century BC. The lighthouse of Alexandria was made from a fire on a platform to signal the port entrance. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, it was one of the tallest man-made structures in the world for many centuries. Originally lighthouses were lit merely with open fires, only later progressing through candles, lanterns, and electric lights. Lanterns tended to use whale oil as fuel. The Argand lamp, invented in 1782 by the Swiss scientist, Aimé Argand, revolutionized lighthouse illumination with its steady smokeless flame. There are an estimated 18,600 lighthouses in the world, one thousand of them in the USA.
National Purple Heart Day
On Aug. 7, 1782, George Washington created the Purple Heart (originally called the Badge of Military Merit) to give to Soldiers for any commendable action. It was only awarded to a few Soldiers during that time and forgotten about until it was reinstated on Washington’s 200th birthday, Feb. 22, 1932. Purple Heart Day was established in 2014 to honor and recognize those who have been awarded the decoration. The Purple Heart is the oldest military decoration still presented to service members. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor estimates that 1.8 million Purple Hearts have been issued since it was re-established in 1932. It is believed that the award is purple because the color represents courage and bravery.
Today’s Birthdays of Note….
Carl Switzer – Actor, Alfalfa on Our Gang – born in Paris, Illinois
Garrison Keillor – Storyteller, Prairie Home Companion – born in Anoka, Minnesota