Today is the International Day of Peace, an annual observance created by the United Nations and first celebrated in 1982. To recognize this noble effort, we bring you to Viðey Island, just north of Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik. The island is home to the Imagine Peace Tower, a ring of lights and mirrors that beams up nearly 2.5 miles into the night sky. It was created by Yoko Ono as an extension of the peace campaign started by the artist and her late husband, John Lennon. The base features the phrase ‘Imagine Peace’ in 24 different languages. When speaking of today’s observance, the UN defines ‘peace’ in the broadest terms–ceasefires and truces, however temporary, are all lauded as efforts to create a world free of violence.
Dancers have been waltzing across the mahogany floors at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, in Lancashire, England, for more than a century. For those on this side of the pond, Blackpool is a popular seaside resort in the UK, home to the 518-foot-tall Blackpool Tower, a tourist destination built in 1894 and inspired by the Eiffel Tower. These days, when people talk about the tower, they may be referring to the building’s many associated venues–a circus, theater, and the ornate ballroom shown here.
Blimey! Feast your eyes on the battered pirate ship that seems to have washed up on the shore here at New Brighton Beach, in Wallasey, England. The ship, built of driftwood by artist Frank Lund, is nicknamed the Black Pearl. It puts us in mind of the so-called Golden Age of Piracy, in the 17th and 18th centuries, which has long captured our imaginations, and inspired books and movies about swashbucklers on the high seas.
So much do Americans love pirates, that they created a holiday dedicated to blabberin’ like one. Talk Like a Pirate Day was first imagined in 1995 by two Oregon residents who pitched the idea to columnist Dave Barry. From there, it went viral. These days, September 19 is celebrated internationally, with major brands and media personalities joining in the silliness. We’re fans, too. Just picture us typin’ this here with an eye patch, peg leg, an’ pocket full o’ swag doubloons. Arrrrr!
This little bird with its 20-inch wingspan weighs about as much as a stick of butter, but it has the stamina of an Olympian. Each fall, red knots in the Americas are known to fly more than 9,000 miles from the Arctic to South America–and in the spring, they do the journey in reverse, for a round trip of around 20,000 miles. The most famous red knot, known as ‘Moonbird,’ is so named because the total of its known migrations has exceeded the distance to the moon. Moonbird was first banded in Rio Grande, Argentina, in 1995 and has been sighted many times in the years after–amazing scientists and birders alike.
We’re here at Ellis Island in honor of Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, an annual observance that recognizes both the adoption of the US Constitution and those who have become US citizens. For more than 60 years, Ellis Island served as a gateway for millions of immigrants arriving in the United States—and it’s easy to imagine them gazing at the Statue of Liberty from this very window, while contemplating their new lives in the United States. These days, Citizenship Day is a popular time for federal courts to hold naturalization ceremonies, when new American citizens are sworn in. These free, often celebratory events are open to the public, and are often attended by students learning about citizenship.