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Days to pay attention

April observances can open eyes to important issues

Each month of the year brings with it national observances, often as many as the days in that month.

Consider National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day in March or National Gumdrop Day in February. How about Lost Sock Memorial Day in May?

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Those may seem silly. But there are also serious observances that last all month and we know them well: Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March.

April has plenty of observances, too, including April 1. No foolin’. But the month also brings with it some heftier topics worth a look. They include Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month, Alcohol Awareness Month and Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

The emphasis on awareness is key: These observances are about opening some eyes to national concerns. But where do they come from?

Holidays like Memorial Day and Mother’s Day were declared by the federal government. But most of the observances and commemorations come from corporations, advocacy groups and trade associations, according to CNN, such as the National Watermelon Association Promotion Board’s National Watermelon Month in July.

The rest are ideas from the public filtered through Chase’s, a calendar of events started in 1957. It has a form on its website, rowman.com, where people can submit their own holiday ideas.

As for April’s daily observances, according to the National Day Calendar, they include National Rendering Day, which is focused on reducing and eliminating food waste through a process known as rendering. Never heard of it? You’re not alone.

We just passed National Play Outside Day on April 1, a time, maybe, to wake from social media and head outside to focus on the body and mind.

The SAA (Sexual Assault Awareness) Day of Action on the first Tuesday of the month shines a light on sexual violence prevention, something you can support by sharing social-media posts on the issue.

National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day on April 9 honors the men and women who have endured brutal treatment at the hands of captors. We can honor them by helping to organize events or making sure our local organizations fly the POW/MIA flag.

National Pet Day on April 11 is dedicated to showing concern not only for our own pets, but those who are orphaned. Adopt one of these animals or support a local animal orphanage by donating supplies and funds.

April’s National Day of Silence – the dates can vary – is a student-led movement to protest bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students and those who support them by maintaining a day-long vow of silence.

April 14 marks National Ex-Spouse Day, a time to encourage those who have dissolved a marriage to forgive their former spouses and move beyond anger or bitterness. That would be, in our opinion, a wonderful lesson for the children of divorce, too.

And did you know about National Ellis Island Family History Day on the 17th? The observance encourages families to explore their ancestry and discover members who emigrated through Ellis Island, mostly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

There are others by the time April ends, and we don’t have the space here to name them all. Find out about those and other monthly observances at nationaldaycalendar.com.

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