15th October - White Cane Day (Guiding The Blind) 2019
White Cane Safety Day annually observed on 15 October to celebrate the achievements of blind or visually impaired people
The White Cane Safety Day is a national observance in the United States, which is celebrated every year annually on October 15, since 1964. This particular day is to commemorate the achievements of blind or visually impaired people and the significant symbol of blindness and tool of independence, the white cane.
‘On October 6, 1964, a joint decision of the U.S. Congress, H.R. 753, was marked into law as Pub.L. 88–628 and codified at 36 U.S.C. § 142. This resolution authorized the President of the United States to state publicly October 15 of every year as “White Cane Safety Day”.’
American President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the first White Cane Safety Day declaration soon after the authorization of the joint resolution.
‘In 1931 in France, Guilly d’Herbemont propelled a national white stick movement for visually impaired individuals and in the USA, President Lyndon Johnson was the first to make this announcement.’
In the year 2011, President Barack Obama named the White Cane Safety Day as Blind Americans Equality Day.
Origin of the White Cane
In 1930, George Bonham watched a man who was blind attempting to cross a street. The man's cane was black and motorists could not see it. So, George Bonham proposed painting the cane white with a red stripe to make it more noticeable.
Standard Technique - the Hoover Method
The standard technique for using a white cane was pioneered in 1922 by Richard E. Hoover, a World War II veteran rehabilitation specialist. His technique of holding a cane in the center of the body and swinging it back and forth before each step to detect obstacles is still called the "Hoover Method".
Why celebrate White Cane Day
The prime goal to celebrate the White Cane Day is to spread awareness and educate the world about blindness along with how the blind and visually impaired people can live and work independently while giving back to their societies, to commemorate the successes and abilities achieved by blind people in a sighted world and to honor the numerous contributions being made by the blind and visually impaired people in various different field across the world.
High-tech canes of the future
There are various inventors across the world including India, Great Britain, and France, who equipped white canes with ultrasonic devices, which detect obstacles up to nine feet away. Vibrations in the cane's handle warn users of potential hazards in their path.