Friday / Weekend Open Lines


Friday, July 24th. Today is National Drive-Thru Day, following closely on National Junk Food Day. But rather than pass judgment, this occasion recognizes the popularity of restaurants that serve customers wanting to keep on the move. The first such service is believed to have been at Red’s Giant Hamburg on Route 66 in Springfield, Missouri, in 1947. The following year, the concept was expanded by the In N Out Burger restaurants in California. At the time, drive-in restaurants were very popular. The serving staff — some even on roller skates — brought food to stationary cars, with the meal set on a tray attached to the car. Today, drive-throughs are a feature of many of the more than 224,000 fast food restaurants in the U.S., which employ over 3.5 million people, and generate more than $185 billion in sales each year. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.

Saturday, July 25th. Tomorrow is Parents’ Day — an annual public observance similar to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but not an official holiday with gifts and greetings cards. And because it dates only from 1994, not as well known. Its goal is to honor the men and women whose devotion to children strengthens families and society in general, whether they are actual parents or parental figures. Among the activities of the day, “Parents of the Year” will be recognized at local, state, and national levels. As America changes demographically, the role of parents remains the same — to nurture children. Indicative of those demographic changes is the recent discovery that just over half of the nation’s children younger than one year are minorities, as are nearly half of America’s children under the age of 5. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at<www.census.gov>.

Sunday, July 26th. On this date 25 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act became law. First introduced in Congress in 1988, the goal of the legislation was to guarantee equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public and commercial facilities, employment, transportation, and services at all levels of government. Nearly 57 million Americans — or about 19 percent of the population — have at least one disability. Some 12 million over the age of 15 need assistance with one or more activities of daily living. More than 8 million Americans over age 15 have vision difficulties, and another 7.6 million have impaired hearing. There are 3.6 million Americans using wheelchairs, while another near 31 million have difficulty walking or climbing stairs. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online at <www.census.gov>.