Veterans Day

Essex Concrete would like to thank all of our service men and women, past and present for your loyalty and dedication to our country’s freedom and independence!

Veterans Day 2015

History of Veterans Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France.

Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France, wait for the end of hostilities.  This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on November 11, 1918, two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day.

President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. From left: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts

On that same day, President Eisenhower sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.

In 1958, the White House advised VA’s General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee’s chairman.

The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp

United Nations Day

World War II

Oct 24, 1945:

The United Nations is born

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On this day in 1945, the United Nations Charter, which was adopted and signed on June 26, 1945, is now effective and ready to be enforced.

The United Nations was born of perceived necessity, as a means of better arbitrating international conflict and negotiating peace than was provided for by the old League of Nations. The growing Second World War became the real impetus for the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union to begin formulating the original U.N. Declaration, signed by 26 nations in January 1942, as a formal act of opposition to Germany, Italy, and Japan, the Axis Powers.

The principles of the U.N. Charter were first formulated at the San Francisco Conference, which convened on April 25, 1945. It was presided over by President Franklin Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, and attended by representatives of 50 nations, including 9 continental European states, 21 North, Central, and South American republics, 7 Middle Eastern states, 5 British Commonwealth nations, 2 Soviet republics (in addition to the USSR itself), 2 East Asian nations, and 3 African states. The conference laid out a structure for a new international organization that was to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,…to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights,…to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”

Two other important objectives described in the Charter were respecting the principles of equal rights and self-determination of all peoples (originally directed at smaller nations now vulnerable to being swallowed up by the Communist behemoths emerging from the war) and international cooperation in solving economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian problems around the world.

Now that the war was over, negotiating and maintaining the peace was the practical responsibility of the new U.N. Security Council, made up of the United States, Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and China. Each would have veto power over the other. Winston Churchill called for the United Nations to employ its charter in the service of creating a new, united Europe-united in its opposition to communist expansion-East and West. Given the composition of the Security Council, this would prove easier said than done.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/the-united-nations-is-born

Columbus Day

Columbus Day

Many countries in the New World and elsewhere officially celebrate as a holiday the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas, which happened on October 12, 1492. The landing is celebrated as Columbus Day in the United States, as Discovery Day in the Bahamas, as Día de la Raza in many countries in Latin America, as Día de las Américas in Belize and Uruguay, as Día del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural in Argentina, as Día de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacional in Spain, and as Giornata Nazionale di Cristopher Columbus or Festa Nazionale di Cristoforo Colombo in Italy and in the Little Italys around the world. These holidays have been celebrated unofficially since the late 18th century and officially in various areas since the early 20th century. This holiday has also met with a long history of opposition: several regions in the United States either refuse to observe it or celebrate on that date a different event entirely.

en.wikipedia.org

 

POW/MIA Recognition Day

National POW/MIA Recognition Day in United States

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The United States’ National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed across the nation on the third Friday of September each year. Many Americans take the time to remember those who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who are missing in action (MIA), as well as their families.

National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag is displayed with the United States flag.
National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag is displayed with the United States flag.
©iStockphoto.com/Joseph C. Justice Jr.

What do people do?

Many Americans across the United States pause to remember the sacrifices and service of those who were prisoners of war (POW), as well as those who are missing in action (MIA), and their families. All military installations fly the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag, which symbolizes the nation’s remembrance of those who were imprisoned while serving in conflicts and those who remain missing.

Veteran rallies take place in many states, such as Wisconsin, in the United States on National POW/MIA Recognition Day. United States flags and POW/MIA flags are flown on this day and joint prayers are made for POWs and those missing in action. National POW/MIA Recognition Day posters are also displayed at college or university campuses and public buildings to promote the day. Remembrance ceremonies and other events to observe the day are also held in places such as the Pentagon, war memorials and museums.

Public life

National POW/MIA Recognition Day is not a federal public holiday in the United States but it is a national observance.

Background

There are 1,741 American personnel listed by the Defense Department’s POW/MIA Office as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, as of April 2009. The number of United States personnel accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 is 841. About 90 percent of the 1,741 people still missing were lost in Vietnam or areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam’s wartime control, according to the National League of Families website (cited in the United States Army website).

The United States Congress passed a resolution authorizing National POW/MIA Recognition Day to be observed on July 18, 1979. It was observed on the same date in 1980 and was held on July 17 in 1981 and 1982. It was then observed on April 9 in 1983 and July 20 in 1984. The event was observed on July 19 in 1985, and then from 1986 onwards the date moved to the third Friday of September. The United States president each year proclaims National POW/MIA Recognition Day. Many states in the USA also proclaim POW/MIA Recognition Day together with the national effort.

Symbols

The National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag symbolizes the United States’ resolve to never forget POWs or those who served their country in conflicts and are still missing. Newt Heisley designed the flag. The flag’s design features a silhouette of a young man, which is based on Mr Heisley’s son, who was medically discharged from the military. As Mr Heisley looked at his returning son’s gaunt features, he imagined what life was for those behind barbed wire fences on foreign shores. He then sketched the profile of his son as the new flag’s design was created in his mind.

The flag features a white disk bearing in black silhouette a man’s bust, a watch tower with a guard on patrol, and a strand of barbed wire. White letters “POW” and “MIA”, with a white five-pointed star in between, are typed above the disk. Below the disk is a black and white wreath above the motto “You Are Not Forgotten” written in white, capital letters.

The flag can also be displayed on Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.  The flag can be displayed at the Capitol, the White House, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, national cemeteries, various government buildings, and major military installations.

http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/pow-mia-recognition-day

Fly Ash Forever – Concrete Industry

The use of fly ash as an ingredient in concrete steadily increased for many years, mostly due to the benefits fly ash imparts to the qualities of hardened concrete — higher strength, reduced permeability, lower heat of hydration, and lowered susceptibility to alkali-aggregate reactions. With the desire to make concrete more sustainable, fly ash found a new niche: since it reduces the quantity of portland cement in a mix, it also reduces the carbon footprint associated with that mix, making concrete more sustainable.

But in 2009, with the failure of a major fly ash disposal facility, the EPA was threatening to declare fly ash a hazardous waste, which would have thrown into question its use in concrete. The uncertainty created by this potential designation reduced the use of fly ash in concrete. But the concrete industry fought this designation with a unified approach and on December 19, the EPA released its final ruling, declaring fly ash non-hazardous and encouraging “beneficial use”, such as in concrete.

This is an important victory for our industry — and for the environment. There was never a logical reason for making fly ash a hazardous waste an with EPA’s agreement, fly ash use in concrete should come back to and surpass 2008 levels, reducing greenhouse gases and the quantity of fly ash being placed in landfills. Tom Adams, with the American Coal Ash Association, says, “Millions of tons of coal ash will continue to be generated in the U.S. every year. With disposal regulations finally settled, we can refocus energy on productively using those large volumes of materials rather than throwing them away.”

Visit go.hw.net/FlyAshRule to read the ACAA statement on EPA’s final rule or go.hw.net/TomAdams for a video interview with Tom Adams at World of Concrete 2015.

Taken from The Concrete Producer magazine March-April 2015 edition, page 13.

Earth Day

Our planet is truly a magnificent place. Known as the Blue Planet due to its abundance of water, the Earth is an incredibly complex and vibrant ecosystem, where living organisms interact with each other and their environment to create the ideal conditions for life. We have it all: it’s warm but not too warm, lots of water but again, not too much. It’s perfect. And it’s in trouble.

Which brings us to Earth Day.

In this day and age of instant information, we are finally beginning to understand the consequences of our actions and the impact they are having on our world and our survivability as a species. Wherever you look, nature is under assault and if we don’t take steps now to try and repair the damage, there might not be much of a world left for our children to pass onto theirs.

Did You Know:

  • Rainforests once covered 14% of the earth’s land surface; now it’s only 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.
  • Experts estimate we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day.
  • Every year, U.S. factories release over 3 million tons of toxic chemicals into the land, air and water.

Earth Day is important. It educates us about what we have and what we are losing by acting in ways that aren’t environmentally friendly or energy efficient. Earth Day reminds us that we need to take action now to protect our environment before it’s too late.

How Did Earth Day Begin?

The first one took place on April 22, 1970 and was launched by the trio of U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (of Wisconsin), Harvard student Denis Hayes and a well-known Eco-activist named Paul Erlich, as a call to global environmental awareness. Although it started in the United States, Earth Day has since blossomed into an international celebration of our planet, observed by nearly 175 countries worldwide.

What Has Earth Day Accomplished?

Without it, some landmark accomplishments might never have happened, such as:

  • The establishment of Environmental Protection Agency in 1970
  • The Clean Air Act of 1970
  • The Clean Water Act of 1972
  • The Endangered Species Act of 1973
  • The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976
  • The Federal Occupational Health and Safety Act aimed at “in-plant pollution”

What’s Happened Since Then?

Quite a lot, actually. Thanks to succeeding Earth Days, people have become more aware of the role that the environment plays in helping sustain life in this fragile world of ours and that we need to take an active role in protecting it. For instance, since that very first Earth Day in 1970, we now:

These are just a few examples of what can be done and in 2010, the Earth Day Network, which is the organization responsible for holding the annual Earth Day events at the National Mall, began their campaign for A Billion Acts of Green®, whereby participants could register an Act of Green (Eco-friendly action), such as doing cold water laundry or riding a bike instead of driving. The goal was to register 1 billion of these actions by 2012.

This goal was achieved in 2012!

So why is Earth Day important? Watch your kids playing ball in the park; go for a walk in the woods with your dog. Or simply stand in the backyard and fill your lungs with fresh air until they’re fit to burst.

That’s why Earth Day is important.

http://www.resnet.us/library/earth-day-why-its-important/

Concrete Timeline

Timeline of Concrete & Cement History

From Egyptians to Engravers

This is an interactive timeline covering the history of cement and concrete. It spans over 5,000 years, from the time of the Egyptian Pyramids to present day decorative concrete developments. Concrete has been used for many amazing things throughout history, including architecture, infrastructure and more. Complete with photos and descriptions, this timeline is an informative and fun tool.

Click on an icon below to see the corresponding photograph and description:

Site Timeline of Concrete History

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Timeline of Concrete History
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3000 BC – Egyptian Pyramids

The Egyptians were using early forms of concrete over 5000 years ago to build pyramids. They mixed mud and straw to form bricks and used gypsum and lime to make mortars.

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Timeline of Concrete History
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300 BC – 476 AD-Roman Architecture

The ancient Romans used a material that is remarkably close to modern cement to build many of their architectural marvels, such as the Colosseum, and the Pantheon. The Romans also used animal products in their cement as an early form of admixtures. Admixtures, additions to the mix used to achieve certain goals, are still used today, read more about them here.

Was Concrete Stronger and Greener 2,000 Years Ago?

1824-Portland Cement Invented

Joseph Aspdin of England is credited with the invention of modern Portland cement. He named his cement Portland, after a rock quary that produced very strong stone. Read more in Portland Cement–What Is It.

1836-Strength Testing

In 1836, the first test of tensile and compressive strength took place in Germany. Tensile strength refers to concrete’s ability to resist tension, or pulling apart forces. Compressive strength refers to concrete’s ability to resist compression, or pushing together forces. Both tensile and compressive strength are expressed in pounds per square inch (psi).

Was Concrete Stronger and Greener 2,000 Years Ago?

1889- Alvord Lake Bridge

Alvord Lake Bridge was built in 1889 in San Francisco, CA. This bridge was the first reinforced concrete bridge, and it still exists today, over one hundred years after it was built!

1891- Concrete Street

In 1891, the first concrete street in American was built in Bellefontaine, Ohio. This is a modern photo of the historic street. Today, pervious concrete is being advocated as the best, and most environmentally friendly, surface for streets.

1903-The Ingalls Building

The first concrete high rise was built in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1903. The Ingalls Building, as it is called, has sixteen stories, making it one of the great engineering feats of its time.

1908-Concrete Homes

In 1908, Thomas Edison designed and built the first concrete homes in Union, New Jersey. These homes still exist today. Edison envisioned that his design would meet great success, and that before no time everyone in America would be living in a concrete home. However, his vision did not become a reality as soon as he expected; in fact, concrete homes are just starting to gain popularity now, one hundred years later. Read about the benefits of concrete homes in Building a Home with Concrete.

1913-Ready Mix

The first load of ready mix was delivered in Baltimore, Maryland in 1913. The idea that concrete could be mixed at a central plant, then delivered by truck to the job site for placement, revolutionized the concrete industry.

1915-Colored Concrete

Lynn Mason Scofield founded L.M. Scofield, the first company to produce color for concrete. Their products included color hardeners, colorwax, integral color, sealers, and chemical stains. Colored concrete has done nothing but grow in popularity since. Read more about modern colored concrete in Coloring Concrete.

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Timeline of Concrete History
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1930-Air Entraining Agents

In 1930, air entraining agents were used for the first time in concrete to resist against damage from freezing and thawing. Find out more about air entrainment in Protect Against Freeze Thaw Cycles – Improve Durability.

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Timeline of Concrete History
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1936-Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam, completed in 1936, is located on the Colorado River, bordering Arizona and Nevada. Up to this time, the dam was the largest scale concrete project ever completed.

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Timeline of Concrete History
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1938-Concrete Overlay

John Crossfield was the first to receive a patent for a concrete overlay. He add latex to portland cement, aggregate, and other materials to make a covering for ship decks. Today, concrete overlays are made by blending polymer resins with cement, and widely used for their decorative appeal. Photo on right of modern concrete overlay, courtesy of Milagro Custom Flooring Solutions, LLC.

1950’s-Decorative Concrete Developed

Brad Bowman developed the Bomanite process, the original cast-in-place, colored, textured and imprinted architectural concrete paving, in the middle 1950’s in Monterey, California. The fifty years since Bowman’s development have seen huge growths in the popularity of decorative concrete, changing it from plain and boring to a beautiful decorative element that can enhance the decor of any home or office.

1963-Concrete Sports Dome

The first concrete domed sports arena, known as the Assembly Hall, was built at the University of Illinois in 1963.

1970’s-Fiber Reinforcement

Fiber reinforcement was introduced as a way to strengthen concrete.

1980’s-Concrete Countertops

Buddy Rhodes, the father of the concrete countertop, cast his first countertop in the mid ’80s. Around the same time, Fu-Tung Cheng also cast his first concrete countertop. In the twenty years since, concrete countertops have become incredibly popular due to their durability, beauty and range of customization.

1990-Concrete Engraving

Darrel Adamson designed the Engrave-A-Crete ® System in 1990. Learn more in, What is Concrete Engraving?. Or watch a video of Darrel Adamson talking about his business and how he came up with the idea of concrete engraving.

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Timeline of Concrete History
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1992-Tallest Concrete Building

The tallest reinforced concrete building was built in Chicago, Illinois. The 65-story building is known only by its street address, 311 South Wacker Drive.

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HTC Professional Floor Systems
Knoxville, TN

1999-Polished Concrete

HTC, originally a Swedish company, introduced concrete polishing to the United States. The first installation in the US was a 40,000-square-foot warehouse floor for the Bellagio in Las Vegas. The popularity of polished concrete has soared in just the few short years it has been around, it is now being used in retail locations and even residential homes. Find out why it is so popular in our Concrete Polishing section.

http://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete-history/