October Holidays and Observances
Fire Prevention Day falls on Friday, October 9th. October 9th was chosen as Fire Prevention Day as it marks the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, 148 years ago. Many people know the story of the Great Chicago Fire. Legend holds that Patrick and Catherine O'Leary's cow knocked over a lighted lantern in their barn igniting the fire, which roared out of control in minutes.
United Nations Day has been marked throughout the world with meetings, exhibits and observed as a public holiday. In the United States the President has issued a proclamation each year since 1946. The United Nations General Assembly declared October 24th as a day to highlight, celebrate and reflect on the work of the United Nations.
The most popular holiday in October is Halloween, of course! Halloween dates back to about 1745 and is celebrated each year on October 31st. It is of Christian origin and the name Halloween means “hallowed evening” or “holy evening”. Over time the observance of Halloween has included trick or treating, dressing up in scary costumes which resemble monsters, ghosts, witches, etc. The annual New York Halloween Parade, initiated in 1974, is the world’s largest Halloween parade and the only major nighttime parade in America celebrating Halloween.
Faster than the Speed of Sound.
Did you know that on October 14, 1947 a young man named Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier for the first time?
Yeager was born in 1923 in rural West Virginia. After graduating high school, he joined the Army Air Corps in September of 1941 at 18 years old. Less than a year later he was serving as crew chief when he was selected for pilot training, earning his pilot’s wings in 1943. Yeager went on to be a combat fighter during World War II, flying in 64 missions over Europe.
After the war ended, Yeager worked as a flight instructor for a short time before he was assigned to the Flight Test Division at Wright Field in Ohio. While stationed in Ohio, Yeager volunteered to test fly the experimental rocket X-1. After several attempts, Yeager finally reached the speed of Mach 1.06 (800 mph), traveling faster than the speed of sound on October 14, 1947.
The impact of breaking the sound barrier has reached much farther than the sonic boom heard on the ground. This even broke the psychological barrier in researchers they realized the possibilities that humans could actually reach. Researchers began developing air crafts that could reach higher speeds and altitudes, developing the X-15 which traveled 5x the speed of sound just 12 years later. In fact, the X-15 research helped make human space flight possible!
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