Category: January 18



    On January 18, National Michigan Day recognizes the Great Lake State.


    Surrounded by four of the five Great Lakes, Michigan has more shoreline than any of the contiguous 48 states. Of the 50 states, only Alaska has more.

    First explored by the French, the area became a U.S territory in 1783.  Flush with iron and copper, Michigan would become a center of industrial activity.

    Lake Michigan separates the upper and lower peninsulas of the 26th state granted statehood, making Michigan unlike any other in design.  To move from one peninsula to the other, ferries used to carry travelers back and forth.  But in 1957, the Mackinac Bridge connected the two sides making the journey more convenient and safer.  At 26,372 feet long, it is the third longest suspension bridge in the world.

    Industry and Music

    Industry dominated the early 20th century in Michigan. From logging, shipping, rail and automotive, the population grew with an influx of workers during war and peacetime. Influenced by skilled trades, engineering, and manufacturing, employment exploded.

    After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, assembly workers were in high demand all across the country. The Willow Run plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan built B-24 Bombers. As the epicenter of the automobile industry, Michigan was ripe for the increased production.

    One of the Willow Run factory workers became a Rosie the Riveter spokesperson wearing the iconic bandana and flexing her muscle to sell war bonds. Rose Will Monroe’s efforts, as well as thousands of other women in Michigan and across the country, changed the course a war and the image of women for generations.

    Known for its Motown sound and legendary music makers, Michigan and Detroit launched some of the most memorable names in jazz and gospel music.  From Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross to the Jackson 5 and Stevie Wonder, the birth of Motown was the launching of an era.


    Join National Day Calendar as we recognize Michigan’s industrious spirit and natural beauty. Uncover hidden treasures and explore all Michigan’s history, lakes, and peninsulas! Use #NationalMichiganDay to share on social media.

    For a complete list of Michigan State and National Parks & Historic Sites visit and Check out a few of the featured sites around the state below.

    Isle Royale – Houghton

    Motor Cities – Detroit

    Pictured Rocks – Grand Marais

    Agate Falls Scenic Site – Trout Creek

    Bond Falls Scenic Site – Paulding

    Colonial Michilimackinac Historic State Park – Mackinaw City

    Hoffmaster State Park – Muskegon

    Ionia State Recreation Area – Ionia

    Ludington State Park – Ludington

    Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Paradise


    Grand Rapids Public Museum – Grand Rapids

    Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum – Paradise

    Hitsville U.S.A. – Detroit

    Yankee Air Museum – Belleville

    Automotive Hall of Fame – Dearborn

    Michigan Science Center – Detroit

    R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

    Kalamazoo Institute of Arts – Kalamazoo

    Air Zoo – Kalamazoo

    The Henry Ford – Dearborn

    Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History – Detroit

    Earl Young Gnome Houses – Charlevoix

    Liberty Street Robot Supply & Repair – Ann Arbor

    Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School – Midland

    While the horseless carriage was invented in Germany and France, Michigan laid claim to production, design, and innovation earning Detroit the Motor City nickname Motown.

    Attracted to the machine industry and availability of shipping to large metropolitan areas of Chicago and New York by rail and water, Michigan made an ideal place to set up shop. Businessmen like Henry Ford and Ransom Olds didn’t have far to go; they were born in the great state of Michigan. Others made their way to the Great Lake State from as near as New York and as far as Europe. Those with names we recognize today. Businessman, machinists, inventors, and designers. Horace and Elgin Dodge, Henry M. Leland, Louis Chevrolet, William C. Durant, David Dunbar Buick.

    In 1959, Berry Gordy, Jr. established the Motown record label. In the label’s first year, they would sign soon-to-be greats like Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and Mary Wells.

    Hits by Stevie Wonder, the Miracles, Martha and the Vandellas, the Supremes, the Jackson 5, and many others developed a sound that became known as Motown.

    Motown helped launched the careers of Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson and many others.
    Pontiac rallied tribes from around the Great Lakes region to resist British encroachment. His persistence and planning were successful for a time.

    Noted playwright and author, Edna Ferber earned a Pulitzer Prize in 1924 for her novel So Big. Set in Chicago at the turn of the 20th Century, her main character strives to survive through the challenges of being a gambler’s daughter.

    Most known for completing the first solo and first non-stop transatlantic flight, Charles Lindbergh achieved the feat in the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927 at the age of 25.

    His historic flight took off from Roosevelt Field outside New York City and ended at Le Bourget Field near Paris, France.

    In 1969, Alfred Hershey earned the Nobel Prize in Physiology along with Max Delbrück and Salvador Luria for their genetic research on bacteriophages.

    Cardiothoracic surgeon, Norman Shumway, performed the first successful human heart transplant in 1968. Known as the father of heart transplantation, Shumway, performed the procedure at Stanford University School of Medicine.

    From a talented jazz and gospel performer in the late 1960s to her own talk show and acting roles in television and film, Della Reese found success across seven decades.

    Award-winning director, writer and producer, Francis Ford Coppola, brought memorable films to the big screen during the 1960s and 70s including The Godfather series, Patton and Apocolypse Now.

    At the age of 16, Robert Heft designed the current 50-star flag as part of a class project in anticipation of the admittance of Alaska and Hawaii to the union. Upon completion, Heft sent the flag to Ohio congressman, Rep. Walter Moeller to submit the design to Congress for consideration. Heft’s design was approved because he submitted the only sewn design.

    The director who made the brat pack a household name, John Hughes launched the careers of 80s actors like Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez, Matthew Broderick, and Mary Stuart Masterson.

    Alexa Canady became the first woman African American neurosurgeon in the United States. Overcoming obstacles and persevering, Canady focused her specialty in pediatric neurosurgery.  Canady has filled a need for pediatric neurosurgeons at a time when the field has a shortage.

    Point guard for the LA Lakers, Earvin “Magic” Johnson played for 13 seasons. Johnson earned five NBA championships and three MVPs. In 2002, Johnson was inducted the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.



    National Thesaurus Day, on January 18th, honors Peter Mark Roget, the author of Roget’s Thesaurus, who was born on this day in 1779.  


    In 1840, Roget retired from a successful career in medicine and spent the rest of his life working on Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases. The work was the result of decades of collecting lists of words and categorizing them, much like a scientist would collect specimens. In Roget’s case, he collected words. He first published his thesaurus in 1852. And it was more than a book of synonyms – it was a complete categorization and organization of each word by meaning. 

    Since then, poets and writers have used the thesaurus to help make their writing come to life. However, the thesaurus also has its detractors. Some say the thesaurus weakens language and destroys it. 

    Whether you are looking for a more accurate word or trying to improve your writing, the thesaurus can be your best friend. Expanding your vocabulary increases both written and spoken communication skills, creative writing abilities, and can be helpful in advancing your career.


    Use a thesaurus to find the right word for your writing. Play a word game to expand your vocabulary. Explore the bookstore and discover a new (or old) thesaurus to page through. Challenge friends to describe each other with as many words as possible without using the thesaurus. Then see how their descriptions improve when they do. Use #NationalThesaurusDay to post on social media.

    Educators and Families, visit the National Day Calendar Classroom to discover more ways to celebrate with your students!


    While the day commemorates the birth of Peter Mark Roget, our research did not identify the founder of the observance. However, we did find new words to add to our lexicon. 

    Thesaurus FAQ

    Q. Does a thesaurus only contain synonyms?
    A. No. A thesaurus also lists antonyms, idioms, and related phrases.

    Q. Does a thesaurus include definitions?
    A. Usually a thesaurus does not include definitions. However, some are accompanied by a dictionary section that supplies definitions.

    Q. What is the plural of thesaurus?
    A. The plural form of thesaurus is either thesauri or thesauruses.



    National Peking Duck Day, on January 18th, recognizes the national dish of China. 


    This dish is considered a delicacy due to its elaborate preparation and intense flavors. Since the Yuan Dynasty, established by Kublai Khan, Peking Duck’s roots are steeped in tradition that chefs have perfected over thousands of years.

    The crispy, flavorful skin is the signature element of Peking Duck.

    Chefs prefer the White Beijing duck for preparing this dish. However, in the United States, the preference is for the Pekin duck. They are raised for 65 days before being brought to slaughter. First, chefs pluck the duck and pump it full of air between the skin and the meat. The meat is then covered with boiling water, skewered, and hung to dry. While drying, the duck is glazed with a sugar coating and left for 24 hours. This whole process adds to the crispness of the skin.

    The duck is then roasted hanging from the center of the oven to allow the fat to drip, basting the skin as it does. When presented, the Peking duck is often sliced artfully by the chef before the diners. Traditionally served in three portions, a Peking duck meal begins with the crispy skin, which diners dip into sugar. Following the skin, the next course is composed of thin pancakes stuffed with tender duck meat, hoisin and bean sauces, and cucumbers, onions, and garlic. The final serving is a duck soup or broth.


    Whether you try making Peking duck or dine out, celebrate the day! You can also watch A Christmas Story to get a serving of Peking. How will you celebrate? Use #NationalPekingDuckDay to post on social media.


    While we’ve never had Peking Duck, we’ve also not identified the source of this food holiday. However, we think it’s a swimmingly delicious way to celebrate!

    Peking Duck FAQ

    Q. How long does it take to make Peking duck?
    A. It takes a least 48 hours to complete Peking duck from start to finish. The dish requires a complex process resulting in the dish’s signature crispy skin and tender, flavorful meat. 

    Q. What are the three traditional servings of Peking duck?
    A. Traditionally, chefs serve Peking duck in three dishes. The first is the skin which guests dip into sugar. Then, the chef will serve the tender duck meat stuffed inside thin pancakes. A variety of sauces are served with this course. Finally, a duck soup or broth is served.

    Q. Why is Peking duck inflated?
    A. The skin of the duck is inflated so the fat can be rendered from both sides of the skin. The fat also bastes the duck meat.

    Q. What gives Peking duck its rich, dark color?
    A. Maltose syrup poured over the duck creates the rich, dark color. 

    January 18th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History


    Thomas Jefferson asks Congress to appropriate funds that would support the Corps of Discovery. At the time, Jefferson made the request secretly. Led by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark, the expedition departed on May 14, 1804.


    The first landing of an aircraft on the deck of a ship took place in San Francisco Harbor. Pilot Lt. Eugene B. Ely successfully landed his Curtiss pusher biplane safely on a 119-ft landing platform placed on the deck of the U.S.S. Pennsylvania.


    The International Olympic Committee restores Jim Thorpe’s gold medals after more than seventy years. In 1912, the phenomenal athlete won gold in the decathlon and pentathlon events at the Stockholm Olympics in Sweden. Six months later, the Olympic Committee stripped him of his medals because he had been paid to play baseball in 1909 and 1910. However, an Olympic rule in effect in 1912 required the committee to contest the athlete’s amateur status within 30 days.

    January 18th Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthdays

    Peter Roget – 1779

    The retired physician pursued his love of words and completed Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases.

    Daniel Hale Williams – 1856

    A physician of many firsts, Dr. Williams is credited with the first successful heart surgery on July 10, 1893.

    A.A. Milne – 1882

    The children’s author is best known for creating the Hundred Acre Woods and the characters who live there, including Winnie the Pooh.

    Cary Grant – 1904

    One of the classic Hollywood legends, Grant shined in comedy and action roles. He saw both critical and commercial success throughout his career and yet, Grant never won an Academy Award for any of them, though he was nominated twice.

    Shelby Hearon – 1931

    The American novelist published her first story Armadillo in the Grass in 1968. She earned the American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award for her novel Owning Jolene.

    Curt Flood – 1938

    The centerfielder played professional baseball for 15 seasons in major league baseball. During his career, Flood played for the Cincinnati Redlegs, St. Louis Cardinals, and Washington Senators. The three-time All-Star also earned seven Gold Gloves and ended his career with a .293 batting average.



    National Winnie the Pooh Day on January 18th commemorates author A.A. Milne’s birthday in 1882. He brought the adorable, honey-loving bear to life in his stories, which also featured his son, Christopher Robin.



    Milne’s lovable Pooh Bear, as he was fondly called, is a fictional bear inspired by a black bear named Winnie. Winnie lived at the London Zoo during World War I. The author’s son, Christopher Robin, would visit the bear often and named his own teddy bear after her and a swan named Pooh.

    This friendship inspired a collection of books starting with When We Were Young in 1924. E.H. Shepard beautifully illustrated the books.

    Their adventures took them and millions of children through the Hundred Acre Woods. Each character played a unique role in the books. Whether the wisdom of Owl or Rabbit lead the group awry or a celebration ensued, the story’s characters became beloved around the world. 

    In the 1960s, Disney bought the rights to the Winnie-the-Pooh characters dropping the hyphen from Pooh’s name. The illustrations were a bit different, too.

    Milne’s stories have been translated into over 50 languages and are considered classic children’s stories today.


    Snuggle up with your favorite Pooh fan, a pot of honey, and take turns reading about the adventures of Winnie the Pooh. Share your favorite Pooh Bear adventure or quote. Watch a Winnie the Pooh movie. Listen to songs like “Return to Pooh Corner” by Kenny Loggins. 

    You can also read more about this lovable bear in 7 Intriguing Stories About Winnie-The-Pooh.

    Use #WinnieThePoohDay to post on social media.


    Since at least 1986, National Winnie The Pooh Day has been observed across the country. However, we’ve been unable to identify the founder of the day. We will continue researching. 

    Winnie the Pooh FAQ

    Q. Was Christopher Robin a real boy?
    A. Author A.A. Milne created the character Christopher Robin after his own son Christopher Robin Milne.

    Q. How many books are in the Winnie the Pooh series?
    A. A.A. Milne wrote four books for the series. They are:

    • When We Were Very Young (1924)
    • Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
    • Now We Are Six (1927)
    • The House At Pooh Corner (1928)

    Q. When did Tigger first appear in the Winnie the Pooh books?
    A. Tigger is the last main character introduced in the Winnie the Pooh series. He first appears in The House At Pooh Corner in 1928.