Gibraltar celebrates Day of Decision, a national holiday. In 1976 the citizens of Gibraltar voted to remain an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. Located on the southern coast of Spain, and bordering the Strait of Gibraltar, the country is about ten times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC. Approximately 29,000 people live in Gibraltar, while about five 5 million tourists visit every year. The territory is strategically important because it lies at the intersection of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Older children could learn more at: Gibraltar.
John Smith became the leader of Jamestown Colony Council in Virginia in 1608. Jamestown, which had been founded on May 14, 1607, was struggling because the colonists were more interested in finding nonexistent gold than by providing for basic needs. When Smith took over, he stated, “He who shall not work shall not eat.” The group continued to struggle, but eventually his philosophy took root. Children could learn more at: John Smith.
Sewing machine was patented by Elias Howe in 1846. He received patent number 4,750.
Tongass National Forest was created in the Alaksa panhandle in 1907. The largest national forest in the United States, the Tongass is comprised of 16,700,000 acres of temperate rain forest. The Tongass encompasses nineteen designated winderness areas. Children can learn more at: Tongass.
TV dinner was produced by Swanson for the first time in 1953. The aluminum tray had several compartments containing turkey, stuffing, peas, and sweet potatoes. The company planned to sell about 5,000 TV dinners, but in the first year they sold ten million. In 1986 microwave-safe trays appeared. Children could learn more at: TV Dinner.
Abebe Bikila won the 1960 Olympics Marathon. The Ethiopian ran the marathon barefoot. A last minute replacement for another marathoner, Bikila had little time to prepare for the race, including finding suitable running shoes. He decided to run without shoes. His time was 2 hours 15 minutes 16.2 seconds, a new record. He also won the 1964 Tokyo Olympics marathon.
Carter Braxton (born Newington, Virginia, 1736; died Richmond, Virginia, October 10, 1797) signed the Declaration of Independence. Representing Virginia, he helped supply the American army. He lost his fortune due to the war and bad business ideas. He might have had to go to debtor’s prison, but he died of a stroke. Idea: Braxton actually staved off a possible battle in Virginia. Children could find out more about his abilities to make peace.
Betty Levin (born New York, New York, 1927) writes books for children. Her books include Brother Moose and Shoddy Cove.
Roger Maris (born Hibbing, Minnesota, 1934; died Houston, Texas, December 14, 1985) was a baseball player. On October 1, 1961, he broke Babe Ruth’s 1927 record of most homeruns hit in a season. Ruth had hit 60 homeruns; Maris hit 61 homeruns.