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Holiday Greetings

Some of the stuff we looked into while you were reading last month’s issue

Hallmark of the Holidays

Because of Henry Cole, we have Christmas Card Day, which falls on December 9.

Cole, an Englishman, sent the first Christmas card—in 1843.

He fretted over the new custom of sending personalized letters to all his friends. He simply didn’t have the time.

So he printed up 1,000 postcards with the greeting “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You.”

 

Air Force Junior ROTC member Luis Barron during the 2017 Wreaths Across America ceremony at the Aggie Field of Honor in College Station.

Wyatt McSpadden

Wreaths for the Fallen

Thousands of volunteers across the country will honor veterans December 17 by laying wreaths at graves on National Wreaths Across America Day. In Texas, 210,000 wreaths are expected to be placed at 300 locations. We featured Texans’ involvement in this endeavor in Circle of Life in November 2018.

Wreaths Across America grew out of an effort that began in 1992, when Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington, Maine, had extra wreaths near the end of its busy holiday season. The business arranged for the surplus wreaths to be delivered to Arlington National Cemetery and placed on headstones.

 

75 Years of Saving Lives

A defibrillator was used successfully on a human for the first time 75 years ago this month, saving the life of a 14-year-old boy in Cleveland. Dr. Claude Beck, using an experimental defibrillator he had been developing, shocked the boy’s heart back into rhythm during heart surgery in December 1947.

The modern automated external defibrillator, invented in 1978 and intended to be used by bystanders in response to cardiac arrest, is believed to save 1,700 lives every year.

 

December 6 is National Microwave Oven Day

Your electric cooperative, your trusted energy adviser that strives to help you save money on electric bills, reminds you: Microwaves use about 60% as much energy as full-size ovens.

 

For the Rest of Us

Festivus, the TV holiday that isn’t really a holiday, came into the vernacular 25 years ago.

The December 18, 1997, Seinfeld episode included a storyline about Festivus, a supposed alternative to the pressures and commercialization of the Christmas season.

 

Worth Repeating

“Nothing smoothes out the past like a present.”
—Gladys Parker

 

Bellwether Technology

The transistor was invented 75 years ago this month, making possible a host of modern appliances and electronics.

Researchers at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey successfully demonstrated the new technology, semiconductor replacements for unreliable vacuum tubes and electromechanical switches, December 23, 1947.

Further developments in this solid-state technology went on to revolutionize the electronics industry.