Illinois Flag National Illinois Day is celebrated Dec. 7 each year to commemorate the Land of Lincoln and Prairie State. From the Windy City down to Southern Illinois, the state has a lot to offer.

Today, Illinois is the fifth most populous state in the U.S. Illinois became a state on Dec. 3, 1818 and was the 21st state to enter the Union. The General Assembly adopted the state slogan, "Land of Lincoln," in 1955.

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Walt Disney Today is Walt Disney’s birthday! He was born in Chicago’s Hermosa community in 1901. His name has since become synonymous with entertainment and enchantment.

Disney attended McKinley High School in Chicago, where he took drawing and photography classes and was a contributing cartoonist for the school paper. At night, he took courses at the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1919, after pursuing careers as a newspaper artist and an advertisement animator, Disney decided to open his own animation business. Disney was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1923, but soon moved to Hollywood with his brother Roy and began the Disney Brothers’ Cartoon Studio, which later became Walt Disney Studios.

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Thanksgiving These days, Thanksgiving traditions include football, family, turkey and pumpkin pie, but it started as a holiday simply to remind Americans to give thanks for one another.

In 1863—in the middle of the Civil War—Illinois’ very own Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving would be celebrated nationally on the final Thursday in November. Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote the nursery rhyme “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” is said to be the one who convinced President Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, after writing letters to him for 17 years.

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Dark KnightThe Dark Knight is a critically acclaimed superhero movie. It drew audiences from all over the world, making $1 billion at the box office. What you may not know is that large parts of the movie were filmed in Chicago. There are a few scenes worth highlighting.

The opening bank robbing scene, where Heath Ledger’s Joker is introduced , was filmed at the old Chicago Post Office on 404 West Harrison. However, there is an exterior shot during the scene that was filmed on West Van Buren Street and Canal Street. There was an extension of the set built onto an adjacent vacant lot. At the end of the scene, there is a convoy of school buses that the Joker escapes in, and they head down West Van Buren Street.

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international space station 67647 960 720Did you know, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket has launched Crew Dragon spacecraft “Resilience” to orbit, with a University of Illinois alumnus in tow: Mike Hopkins, the crew commander for the SpaceX mission, is leading a four-person team who will spend the next six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Hopkins is a graduate of UIUC, where he played defensive back on the football team and even served as a team captain in 1991. Hopkins, an Air Force Colonel, was selected as an astronaut in 2009. Now, as crew commander, Hopkins is joined by physicist Shannon Walker, Navy Commander and rookie astronaut Victor Glover, and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi, who is one of the few people that has rocketed into orbit aboard three different kinds of spacecraft.

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