Category: August 23

  • BLACK RIBBON DAY – August 23


    Every year on August 23rd, the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism remembers victims of totalitarian regimes. These include Stalinist, communist, Nazi and fascist regimes. The day is also known as Black Ribbon Day.

    Throughout history, millions of people around the world have died under communist and fascist leaders. Two of the most evil leaders in history have included Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin. Hitler became the chancellor of Germany in 1933. His evil regime lasted until 1945. Under his leadership, Nazis committed genocide against the Jews. But it wasn’t just Jews who suffered. It was also the disabled, the prisoners of war, concentration camp inmates, and other ethnic groups. Over 1 million of Hitler’s victims were under the age of 18.

    Joseph Stalin assumed leadership over the Soviet Union in 1924. He was the country’s political leader until his death in 1953. His policies became known as Stalinism. It was under Stalin’s leadership that the Soviet Red Army captured Berlin in 1945. This act helped to end World War II. But also under his long leadership, millions of people died. Most of these people were victims of ethnic cleansings, executions, famines, and forced deportations.

    It is very difficult to think about the many innocent victims who died under these leaders. However, we must remember events like these to help ensure history never repeats itself.

    HOW TO OBSERVE #BlackRibbonDay

    Many countries around the world hold special ceremonies to remember the victims of Stalinism and Nazism. Some people hold peaceful protests and demonstrations to draw awareness for human rights in communists and socialist countries. This is also an important day to study history and the impact Nazism and Stalinism has had on the world. There have been many books written and movies made on these subjects. Another way to observe the day is to wear a black ribbon. Spread awareness for this day on social media with #BlackRibbonDay.


    The origins of European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism go back to the 1980s. During this time, European refugees living in Canada organized peaceful protests. These protests raised awareness for the human rights abuses perpetuated by authorities in the Soviet Union. In 1991, Black Ribbon Day demonstrations were held in 56 cities around the world after the Soviet bloc collapsed. In 2008, the European Parliament formally designated August 23rd as European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism. Canada’s parliament followed suit in 2009. Since then, the United States, and other countries recognize August 23rd as Black Ribbon Day.

    August 23rd was chosen as it commemorates the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact that occurred in 1939. This pact was between the Soviet Union and Germany. Shortly after the pact was signed, WWII began.




    On August 23rd, celebrate a sandwich that originated in Cuba, but grew up in Florida. National Cuban Sandwich Day is a tribute to flavor found in a toasted pressed sandwich.


    While the Cubano traditionally consists of ham, roast pork, swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread, restaurants and home cooks serve up different versions. While the sandwich alone may serve as a satisfying meal, some very flavorful sides complement this globe-trotting sandwich. Like any grilled sandwich, a creamy, dunkable soup makes the perfect complement. Consider making this delicious Smoky Roasted Corn Soup. Another favorite side dish is seasoned sweet potato fries.

    The sandwich brings together flavor and history, too. By combining traditions from Cuban, German, and Italian immigrants, the sandwich offers a world tour of simple ingredients. If you’ve never had one, this is the day to try it.


    Many restaurants offer specials on their Cuban Sandwich to celebrate the day. You’ll want to give the place that makes your favorite Cubano a shout-out, too! You can also make your own. Try a traditional recipe or change it up with your own distinctive style. You can also share the day with others while exploring new side dishes and recipes. Be sure to use #NationalCubanSandwichDay to share your celebrations on social media.


    Journalist Christopher Spata of the Tampa Bay Times set out to test the National Day food celebration waters in 2016. In his mission to make up a new food holiday, he managed to create a celebration that has gone around the world. According to his article, he chose August 23rd because the only other food holiday was National Sponge Cake Day, “and who cares about that?” (He’s obviously never had sponge cake or tried making one.” And while some articles call it a hoax, those who celebrate food days take them seriously.

    Sandwich FAQ

    Q. When is National Sandwich Day?
    A. National Sandwich Day is November 3.

    Q. How many sandwich holidays are on the calendar?
    A. The short answer is there are 13 sandwich-specific days on the calendar. But, define sandwich. Most people (and dictionaries) define “sandwich” as a food comprised of two pieces of bread with a filling of meat, cheese, or other food items in between the bread. Hoagie, hamburger, and sloppy Joe easily fit that description. Grilled cheese sandwich has the word “sandwich” in its name. Those are no-brainers. But, what is a hot dog? Chili dog? What about the Oreo? Is it a sandwich or can you count desserts? Speaking of desserts, how about a s’more? Are graham crackers bread? That brings us to quesadillas. Tortillas are bread and some quesadillas use two tortillas. Is a quesadilla a sandwich? And then there are the open-face sandwiches. Is an egg benedict considered an open-face sandwich?




    On August 23rd, International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade & its Abolition is set aside to pause and remember the tragedy of the slave trade.

    The transatlantic slave trade existed from the 16th through 19th centuries. Most of the slaves came from central and western Africa. Over 400 years, nearly 13 million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to become slaves. Each passage across the ocean had a high death rate. About 2.4 million Africans died while being transported. Besides dying of disease and starvation, many slaves experienced other atrocities such as sexual abuse, being chained together, and enduring intense heat. Some of them were thrown overboard in the hopes of stopping the disease from spreading.

    It wasn’t until the night of August 22-23, 1791 that the first uprising against the slave trade happened. The event occurred in Santo Domingo (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic). Black revolutionaries rebelled against slave owners. In 1804, these revolutionaries crushed Napoleon’s army. Along with defeating the French troops, the revolutionaries defeated the Spanish and British armies. These victories set the stage to abolish the entire transatlantic slave trade.

    In 1808, importing slaves to the United States became illegal. Britain followed suit in 1833. It wasn’t until 1850 that Brazil outlawed the slave trade.


    Each year individuals and organizations around the world organize events to commemorate the observance. The goal of these events is to educate the public about the negative consequences of the slave trade. Some choose to do this through artistic expression, while others give lectures.

    Some ways for you to observe this day include:

    • Learn the history of the slave trade
    • Think about how history has changed as a result of the abolition of the slave trade
    • Watch Roots, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or other movies that tackle slavery
    • Visit a museum or historic site that educates the public on the slave trade (if you don’t have one in your community, you can find one online)


    UNESCO adopted August 23rd as the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition in 1997. In 1998, several countries organized cultural events and debates to celebrate the day. Through the years, the UN has invited people all over the world to express their resistance against slavery.




    On August 23rd, enjoy National Sponge Cake Day with the quintessential classic of the cake world. This airy queen of teas is the guest of honor, but we get the pleasure of tasting! 


    One of the trickiest cakes for bakers to master, a perfect sponge stands tall. Another balancing trick for bakers includes maintaining a fine crumb while keeping the cake moist. If you enjoy layering berries and whipped cream, the sponge handles this task beautifully. 

    The sponge cake is believed to be one of the first non-yeasted cakes. 

    The sponge cake is thought to have originated in the Caribbean. However, the earliest English printed recipe for sponge cake comes from an English poet and author, Gervase Markham. In 1615 he published a sponge cake recipe in the book The English Huswife, Containing the Inward and Outward Virtues Which Ought to Be in a Complete Woman.

    Quote markI can’t knit or make plum jam, but I can bake a bloody Victoria sponge. ~ Helen Mirren as Chris in Calendar Girls (2003)

    In 2003, the sponge cake played a tiny role in the movie Calendar Girls starring Helen Mirren. In the scene, Mirren’s character, Chris, enters a baking competition. However, she forgets she entered, and instead of entering a sponge cake of her own making, she submits a store-bought Victoria sponge cake.


    Get some sponge cake and enjoy it. Or, if you are up to the challenge, try this Glorious Sponge Cake recipe. Serve it with berries or a preserve. Use #SpongeCakeDay to post on social media.

    When is National Chocolate Cake Day?


    Our research was unable to find the creator of National Sponge Cake Day.

    Cake FAQ

    Q. When is National Cake Day?
    A. November 26 is National Cake Day.

    Q. How many cake holidays are on the calendar?
    A. There are 28 cake-related holidays on the calendar, not including pancake days. If we were to include pancakes in the count, every month would celebrate some kind of cake.




    Enjoy the last days of summer and the warm breezes on August 23rd as you celebrate the annual National Ride the Wind Day.


    National Ride the Wind Day commemorates the anniversary of the first human-powered flight to win the Kremer prize. On August 23rd of 1977, the Gossamer Condor flew the first figure-eight course specified by the Royal Aeronautical Society at Minter Field in Shafter, California. Slowly cruising at only 11 mph, it traveled a distance of 2,172 meters.

    The Gossamer Condor was built by Dr. Paul B MacCready.  Amateur cyclist and hang-glider pilot Bryan Allen piloted the aircraft.

    When is National Paper Airplane Day?


    Take to the air! We all know that cooler air is right around the corner. So take advantage of these nice days and get outside as much as possible. Test out those human-powered aircraft and make some history. Summer breezes allow us to fly human-powered. In the event you lack a human-powered aircraft, flying a kite is always a good back plan.

    You can also learn about piloting a glider or consider being a passenger. FAA certified pilots will take you soaring into the beautiful blue skies. Share your experiences and be sure to use #RideTheWindDay to post on social media.

    Educators and parents, visit the National Day Calendar Classroom for many different projects!


    We were unable to find the creator of National Ride the Wind Day.

    Ride the Wind FAQ

    Q. Where is the Gossamer Condor stored?
    A. The Smithsonian Institute displays the Gossamer Condor in an exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum.

    Q. Did Paul MacCready and his team invent and other human-powered aircraft?
    A. Yes. The team invented the Gossamer Albatross which flew across the English Channel and the Bionic Bat, named for its onboard battery storage. The team also invented several solar aircraft.

    Q. Is there a human-powered helicopter?
    A. Yes. In 2013, the Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition challenged developers to design a human-powered helicopter. The parameters required the helicopter to hover for 60 seconds and reach an altitude of 3 meters. Dr. Todd Reichert and Dr. Cameron Robertson designed the winning helicopter, the Aerovelo Atlas. It hovered for 64 seconds and reached a height of 3.3 meters.


    August 23rd Celebrated History


    King Edward I of England has the Scottish revolutionary, William Wallace, executed.  Wallace was hung and then disemboweled, beheaded, and quartered.


    London establishes the first one-way street.


    The Fifth Avenue Hotel in New York City opens and is the first American hotel to include a passenger elevator.


    The message “Sherman is sighted” is the first ship-to-shore message sent by wireless.


    Fannie Farmer opens the Miss Farmer’s School of Cookery. She was also a cookbook author and proponent of standard measures in cooking


    Harry D. Weed patents “Grip-Tread for Pneumatic Tires” making traveling icy roads less hazardous. That same year he establishes the Weed Chain Tire Grip Company.


    Frank King’s comic strip, Gasoline Alley, premieres in the Chicago Tribune.


    Anne Morrow flies solo for the first time, only months after marrying Charles Lindbergh.


    The Big Sleep starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall is released.


    Hail pummels the small town of Rushmore, Minnesota. The thunderstorm dumped hail a foot deep on the Nobels County town.


    The Beatles release their single “She Loves You” from their Twist and Shout album in the United Kingdom.


    NASA’s Lunar Orbiter 1 captures the first photograph of Earth from the Moon’s orbit.


    A bank robbery went wrong in Stockholm, Sweden, leading to a hostage crisis. The drawn-out event lasted five days. During that time, the hostages begin to sympathize with their jailers. This phenomenon becomes known as “Stockholm syndrome.”


    The Gossamer Condor 2 flew the first man-powered flight for at least 1 mile.


    The sitcom, That 70’s Show premiered its first episode.

    August 23rd Celebrated Birthdays

    Louis XVI – 1774

    Born Louis Auguste, he took the French throne at the age of 20 after the death of his grandfather, Louis XV. His policies created insurmountable debt for the country which would eventually lead to the French Revolution.

    Sarah Frances Whiting – 1847

    The first director of the Whitin Observatory, Whiting taught astronomy and physics at Wellesley College.

    Edgar Lee Masters – 1869

    The author of more than 30 books and plays is best known for his work, Spoon River Anthology.

    Will Cuppy – 1884

    Combining dry wit with a little bit of fact, the American humorist and journalist commented on nature and historical personalities.

    Grace Chu – 1899

    Also known as Madame Chu, the cooking enthusiast began hosting cooking classes in her home while her husband was posted at the U.S. Embassy. She would later continue the courses and become a U.S. citizen. Chu also published two popular books on Chinese cooking.

    Ernie Bushmiller – 1905

    Best known for his comic strip, Nancy, the artist once thought he couldn’t draw.

    Hannah Frank – 1908

    The Art Nouveau artist is best known for her black and white drawings and sculptures.

    Gene Kelly – 1912

    The talented singer, dancer and actor starred alongside Judy Garland, Debbie Reynolds, Rita Hayworth, Frank Sinatra, and Spencer Tracy to name a few.

    Barbara Eden – 1931

    Eden co-starred in the sitcom I Dream of Jeannie alongside Larry Hagman. During her career, Eden made more than 90 appearances on film and television.

    Keith Moon – 1946

    Best known as the drummer for The Who, Moon also played several roles in film.

    Shelley Long – 1949

    The actor is best known for her role as Diane Chambers in the sitcom Cheers.

    River Phoenix – 1970

    Before his tragic death, the talented young actor appeared in several films including Stand by Me, Running on Empty, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and My Own Private Idaho.

    Kobe Bryant – 1978

    Drafted into the NBA in 1996, Bryant would go on to an All-Star career with the L.A. Lakers. In January 2020, he was tragically killed in a helicopter accident.

    Natalie Coughlin – 1982

    The 12-time Olympic medalist is a powerhouse swimmer who started her swimming career at the age of 6.