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CELEBRATING FREE COMIC BOOK DAY
Americans and introduce new readers to some truly heroic stories.
With the release of so many superhero movies and other films based on comic book adventures, comics and graphic novels have flown, punched, and clawed their way into our mainstream culture. Free Comic Book Day started in 2002, a day after the release of the first “Spider-Man” film, as a way to reignite popularity for the medium after a massive bust in the comic book industry in the 1990s. The idea was received positively by the public, and ever since then, it has been accompanied by the release of a comic book movie on the same weekend. Celebrating the day is simple; go to the Free Comic Book Day website and find out if there are stores participating near you. Then, get a comic (or two or three) free of charge. Browse the rest of the store while you’re there. Find a new series to enjoy and maybe watch your favorite superhero movie later that night with friends (or by yourself, no judgment here). It’s a great way to celebrate the hobby of millions of
CELEBRATING STAR WARS DAY
The scrolling introductions accompanied by John Williams’ soaring score; the hums and beeps of droids; the electric clash of lightsabers between Sith and Jedi; the Force — May 4 is the day to celebrate it all with the films, TV spinoffs, books, comics, and toys. The galaxy far, far away has invaded Earth, and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down. It all started with the pun “May the fourth be with you.” From then on, just as Luke Skywalker was destined to become a Jedi Master, this day was destined to be all about George Lucas’ beloved creation. You could just watch the movies on May 4, but anyone can do that. Really showcase your passion by getting a group together and dress up as your favorite characters. Make some themed drinks, like a “Hoth” toddy or Qui-Gon Jinn and tonic. Jam out
to that catchy Cantina bop. Debate your fan theories with friends and remember that you’re there to celebrate, even if the discussion about “The Last Jedi” gets a little heated. Whether you make it up as you go like Han Solo or carefully plan like Emperor Palpatine, there are enough festivities to fill a Star Destroyer. So, attention all space nerds, “Star Wars” fanatics, and comic book geeks: May 3–4 is your weekend. Get together with your friends and maybe make some new ones as you celebrate the passions that bring you all together.
Long before the invention of radios and cellphones, homing pigeons were used to send messages as early as the sixth century. DuringWorldWar I, war pigeons carried lifesaving messages past enemy lines for the American and French armies, often being wounded in the process. In 1918, Cher Ami, a black check hen used by the U.S. Signal Corps, became the most famous of them all. On Oct. 2, the United States 77th Division was trapped behind enemy lines in the Argonne Forest during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, a three- month push by the Allies during the final throes of WorldWar I to force the Germans to surrender. It became the bloodiest battle in U.S. history. For six days, the encircled division endured relentless attacks and suffered heavy casualties, but their orders were clear: don’t retreat and don’t surrender. The division dispatched two homing pigeons with requests for help, but both birds were shot down. When friendly fire began raining down on the 77th, Major Charles WhiteWhittlesey felt he had no choice but to send the last pigeon, Cher Ami. The pigeon’s desperate note read: Brave Little Cher Ami TheWar PigeonWho Saved the ‘Lost Battalion’
As Cher Ami rose from the brush, she was shot down, to the despair of the watching soldiers. However, after a few seconds, she fought her way back into the air, flew through a torrent of gunfire, and made it to division headquarters 25 miles away. She had been shot in the breast, the eye, and the leg. Because of Cher Ami’s brave flight, 194 of the original 554 men of the 77th Division survived the battle. One month later, WorldWar I came to an end. Cher Ami survived the war as well, thanks to the surgeons who performed emergency surgery on her. One soldier even carved her a little wooden leg. She became a well-known hero to both soldiers and children in the States. For her service in Verdun, the French Army awarded her the Croix de Guerre, and she was inducted into the Racing Pigeon Hall of Fame. Cher Ami finally succumbed to her wounds in June of 1919 and is now on display in the Smithsonian alongside Sergeant Stubby, a terrier who served 18 months on theWestern Front.
“We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake, stop it.”
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