Did you know that every date on your calendar celebrates something? For instance, today is the anniversary of the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
You might imagine that President Kennedy was responsible for establishing NASA because of his enthusiasm for winning the space race against the Soviet Union, but it actually was during the Eisenhower administration that the agency was formed on July 29, 1958. The impetus was fear brought on by the Soviet's successful launch of Sputnik in 1957.
Why did Sputnik inspire fear? Log on to the Beaufort County Public Library's website at www.beaufortcountylibrary.org and find the database DISCUS -- under "Online Resources < Research Resources." "American History in Context" has a fascinating article, "The Creation of NASA," that explains everything.
This date also celebrates the bravery of Navy crewmen who, 67 years ago today, helped other survivors of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, the worst naval disaster in America's history. Having just delivered components for the two atomic bombs later dropped on Japan, the Indianapolis was torpedoed and sunk on the open sea by a Japanese submarine. Of the 1,200 crewmen aboard, only 341 survived. The others died of their wounds, by drowning or from shark attacks.
Want to know more? Ask a librarian for a copy of "In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis."
If you haven't planned next summer's vacation yet, you might want to consider visiting Galicia, Spain, for a bizarre experience. Today is their Festival of Near Death Experiences. According to "Chase's Calendar of Events," "(T)hose who have been near death and survived are carried in open coffins or march in shrouds to the local church." To plan your trip, try your local library's travel section. "Globe Trekker, Madrid" is a travel DVD that might be of interest.
On Monday, you can celebrate the first concert appearance of Elvis Presley. That concert took place July 30, 1954, in Memphis, Tenn. Elvis was only 19 at the time and barely out of high school. Fans of The King can find the book "Me and a Guy Named Elvis," by Jerry Schilling, a man who met Elvis about the same time as that concert and remained his friend until Elvis' death in 1977.
Monday also is the anniversary of the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa. The former notorious leader of the Teamsters Union disappeared without a trace July 30, 1975. He was last seen outside a restaurant in a town near Detroit. No body was ever found, but Hoffa was declared officially dead about seven years later. For more on celebrity deaths, try the book "They Went That-a-Way." None of the Beaufort County libraries have a copy, but we are members of SCLends, a materials-sharing consortium. Six libraries across the state own copies of the book. Place a hold on a copy, and it will be delivered to your local library.
What could be more festive than a birthday celebration? On Sunday and Monday, celebrate the birthdays of Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker; Elizabeth Dole, former U.S. senator from North Carolina; Martina McBride, country singer; Emily Bronte, novelist; Henry Ford, creator of the automobile that bears his name; and Casey Stengel, baseball hall of famer and former manager of the New York Yankees. Browse the biography section of your local branch library for more about them.
Need more reasons to celebrate? Ask your reference librarian to show you a copy of "Chases' Calendar of Events: the Ultimate Go-To Guide for Special Days, Weeks, and Months."
There's always a reason to celebrate.