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White Cane Safety Day - October 15
The white cane used by blind and visually impaired individuals is a symbol of independence by blind people. On October 6, 1964 a joint resolution of the Congress with HR 753 was signed into law authoring the President of the USA to proclaim October 15 of each year as White Cane Safety Day. The resolution read "Resolved by the Senate and HR 753 that the President is hereby authorized to issue annually a proclamation designating October 15 as White Cane Safety Day and calling upon the people of the United States to observe such a day with appropriate ceremonies and activites." Within hours President Lyndon Johnson went down in history as the first to proclaim October 15 as White Cane Day. A white cane has become a symbol of a blind person's ability to come and go on his / her own. President Clinton reminded us again on October 15, 2000 of the history of the white cane as a tool and its purpose as a symbol of blindness. Dating back to biblical times records show that a shepherd's staff was used as a tool for solitary travel. The blind used such tools to alert themselves to obstacles in their path. Moving forward in time, the white cane had its origin between the two World Wars beginning in Europe and spreading to North America. James Biggs in England is said to have claimed he invented the white cane in 1921. He supposedly painted his "walking stick" white to make him more visible. Ten years later the Rotary Clubs sponsored were promoting white canes in the UK. It was the Lion's Club International that began a national program in 1930 where the cane or sometimes called a stick was colored black. Lion's members quickly saw that a black cane was difficult to see and started a program promoting the use of a white cane for greater visibility. Returning blind veterans of World War II helped to further modify the form and use of the white cane which helped them to achieve further independence. It was a Doctor Richard Hoover that developed the "long cane" or sometimes called the "Hoover" method of cane travel. Today many members of the Blind Judo Foundation [URL="http://www.blindjudofoundation.org"]http://www.blindjudofoundation.org[/URL] not only use the white cane to achieve independence but without the cane have stepped onto the Judo mat to further increase indedendence and confidence in becoming all that they can become and achieving further independence. To learn more about these brave and couragious individuals check out the work and mission of the Foundation. Also follow us on Twitter [URL="http://twitter.com/blindjudo"]http://twitter.com/blindjudo[/URL] Please observe October 15 as White Cane Safety Day.
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