MARCH 4, 2018 | FINISHER’S MEDAL DAY | NATIONAL HUG A G.I. DAY | NATIONAL GRAMMAR DAY | NATIONAL POUND CAKE DAY | MARCHING MUSIC DAY
FINISHER’S MEDAL DAY
Finisher’s Medal Day on the first Sunday in March recognizes the long hours, days, weeks and even months of training thousands of men and women across the country have put in to achieve their goals of completing a race.
Every year, cities around the United States and the world hold half and full marathons, triathlons, and other endurance races. Most of the competitors are everyday working people who train before or after work, after caring for their families and keeping their other commitments. They remain on a schedule despite rain, snow, wind and sometimes injury.
Some have been athletes all their lives. Others are just starting out and want to see if they can do it. Many are amputees and are regaining some of what was taken from them. There are those who train as a team and those for whom this challenge is a one person mission.
Finisher’s Medal Day recognizes each of them who crosses the line. Whether they cross it once or many times, earning that medal is a lifetime achievement.
In 490 B.C., the Greek soldier Pheidippides was sent from the battlefield near Marathon, Greece to Athens to tell of the victory over the Persians. The distance was approximately 25 miles, and he ran the entire way. Once he arrived and delivered the message, the not quite fit soldier collapsed and died. Pheidippides earned a Finisher’s Medal.
His feat was revived over the years, and initially, the marathon race was 25 miles long. In 1896, the Olympics in Greece set the distance at 40 kilometers. There were varying distances along the way, always somewhere near but usually 25 miles. In 1904, for example, the Boston Marathon measured 25 miles. Michael Spring won the race in two hours thirty-eight minutes four and two fifth seconds. He earned his Finisher’s Medal.
At the 1908 London Olympics, the story goes that the route for the start and finish of the marathon was designed to pass beneath the royal nursery so the princess’s children could watch and the Queen and princess could participate in the ceremony of it all. This adjustment brought the distance to 26.2 miles. Everyone earned a Finisher’s Medal that day. The official distance for the Olympic marathon became 26.2 miles in 1921.
K.V. Switzer ran the Boston marathon in 1967 and completed the race in four hours forty-four minutes thirty-one seconds. Not an impressive pace, but Switzer finished. An official also tried to remove Switzer from the run. Why? Because Switzer was a woman and at the time the Boston marathon was still a men’s only race. However, she was allowed to complete the race and crossed the finish line. Kathrine Switzer earned her Finisher’s Medal.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Support all those you know who are striving to cross the finish line. Frequently a finish line means more than a single goal and getting there accomplishes more than just earning that medal. It’s a long, challenging road to the finish line. What does it mean to you? Tell us your Finisher’s Medal Day story.
Use #FinishersMedalDay to share on social media.
The Little Rock Marathon founded Finisher’s Medal Day to celebrate endurance athletes and their competitive spirit. They encourage all finishers, whether you are a runner or a walker, to celebrate Finisher’s Medal Day, too!
The Registrar at National Day Calendar proclaimed Finisher’s Medal Day to be observed annually on the first Sunday in March in 2018.
The Little Rock Marathon #LRMarathon began in 2003 and offers races for all ages and distances from the 5K (3.1 miles) distance to the marathon (26.2 miles) distance.
NATIONAL HUG A G.I. DAY
As the only day on the calendar that is mnemonically a military command, March 4th recognizes National Hug a G.I. Day.
Gather around your servicemen and women to give them a hug. It’s simply a way to show your support. With either a pat on the back or hearty handshake, be sure to give both past and present G.I.s your appreciation. While G.I.s refer to Army personnel, the day encompasses all those who have served in the military. So, hug those Jarheads, Wingnuts, Squids and Coasties, too!
Today the term G.I. is fairly commonly known to refer to those serving in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. How that came to be is a little less military protocol and more the American story.
It seems at the turn of the 20th century, G.I. was a notation used in supply records for galvanized iron. It was later used during World War I for German artillery shells made from galvanized iron.
Sometime during the war soldiers started interpreting the initials as “Government Issue” or “General Issue”. By the time World War II came around it was starting to gain meaning as the generic enlisted man.
Not surprisingly, sarcastic usage among many servicemen was common, feeling they were just like any other Government Issued supply being mass-produced for Uncle Sam.
About that time G.I. Joe was born. His creator, comic strip artist and former Army Sergeant David Breger, issued his first G.I. Joe cartoon series in Yank magazine on June 17, 1942.
The term G.I. became more permanently etched in the American language when in 1944 President Franklin Roosevelt signed the bill that became known as the G.I. Bill; Servicemen’s Readjustment Act.
And then there was no going back when Hasbro trademarked their G.I. Joe as an action figure in 1964.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Find a G.I. you know and give them a hug. Is your G.I. too far away to give a hug? Send him or her a virtual one via text, e-mail, phone or even snail mail. Use #HugAGIDay to post on social media.
In 1996, Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith created Hug A G.I. Day. She selected the only day on the calendar that was also a military command to salute and celebrate the men and women who risk their lives for our country and freedoms. We have included the link to the original page for you. http://adriennesiouxkoopersmith.blogspot.com/2013/02/hug-gi-day-1996-ask-style-celebrating.html
NATIONAL GRAMMAR DAY
National Grammar Day is observed across the United States each year on March 4th.
According to Global Language Monitor, the estimated number of words in the English language is 1,025,109. There is some controversy over that figure, but it’s safe to say it is over a million.
Language is something to celebrate. Some people might suggest that grammar is a set of rules for language, but it is a system for understanding language. Understanding the system and the structure helps us to understand each other better and can help us to learn new languages.
There are some hard and fast rules of grammar, though. Even some of those come up for debate from time to time. Have you ever heard of the Oxford comma?
HOW TO OBSERVE
Do your best to use proper grammar and use #NationalGrammarDay to post on social media.
Martha Brockenbrough, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, designated National Grammar Day in 2008.
NATIONAL POUND CAKE DAY
National Pound Cake Day is annually observed in the United States on March 4th. Pound cake lovers, near and far, can celebrate with a piece (or two) of this delicious rich delight.
The traditional recipe for pound cake makes a cake much larger than most families can consume, as it calls for a pound each of flour, butter, eggs and sugar. Hence the name Pound Cake.
In the United States, sour cream pound cake is a popular variation apart from the traditional pound cake recipe. Other variations include adding vanilla or almond flavoring or dried fruits.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Turn on your ovens and bake up a traditional pound cake.
1 pound cake flour (3-1/2 cups)
1 pound butter
1 pound sugar (2 cups)
1 pound eggs (9 large)
1 to 2 tablespoons vanilla or 1/2 to 1 tablespoon almond
Preheat oven to 300°F. Prepare two or three bread loaf pans or one bundt pan and a loaf pan.
Cream butter well, add sugar gradually and cream until light and fluffy.
Add eggs two at a time, and beat well after each. Add flavoring.
Add flour gradually and beat until smooth.
Pour mixture into pans. Bake about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Enjoy!
Use #NationalPoundCakeDay to post on social media.
Within our research, we were unable to identify the creator of National Pound Cake Day.
MARCHING MUSIC DAY
March forth to the rhythm of life on Marching Music Day every March 4. In honor of dedicated musicians and performers of many diverse styles and backgrounds, Marching Music Day celebrates all varieties of the art forms bringing us “music on the move.”
For centuries, the beat of a drum has kept military units moving in unison. From the training field to the battlefield, the football stadium to the Broadway stage, small gyms, auditoriums and grand arena spectacles, fifers, pipers, buglers, drum corps, marching bands, parade groups, drill teams and color guards bring music to life to the delight of millions of performers and spectators.
The military roots of the drum corps have evolved into an art form which moves us during somber memorials and thrills us with their ability to perform delightful music while executing intricate routines with exact precision. Drill squads, marching bands, drum lines, and drum corps name but a few of the many styles of marching music which have developed over the years, engaging hundreds of thousands of performers of all ages, abilities and experience levels.
We see marching music in schools, military units, community celebrations and local auxiliaries. The music is as varied as the ensembles themselves. Instruments may be limited to brass in some settings or may include woodwinds and electric guitars in others. Dance teams, baton twirlers and color guards perform to soundtracks ranging from traditional, standard marches to rock and roll, jazz, contemporary and electronic dance music.
And marching music keeps changing! Spectacular string bands incorporate their own unique sound and elaborate costuming. Technology has brought about the production of lighter, electronic and digital instruments making it possible for musicians to march with violins, cellos, basses and synthesizers to entertain crowds in unique and creative new ways.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Support your local marching music groups by attending their performances, backing their competitions, contributing to their endeavors or becoming one of their musicians. Whether it’s through a school, a veterans group or an independent ensemble, they will appreciate your support. Use #MarchForth #MarchingMusicDay to share your support on social media.
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National Day Calendar™ is the authoritative source for fun, unusual and unique National Days! Since our humble beginnings on National Popcorn Day in 2013, we now track nearly 1,500 National Days, National Weeks and National Months. In addition, our research team continues to uncover the origins of existing National Days as well as discover new, exciting days for everyone to celebrate.
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