Memorial Day

May 27, 2016

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May is a very important month for American service men and women. There is Armed Forces Day, which is celebrated annually on the third Saturday in May. Then there is also Memorial Day, a day in which to remember service men and women who have died in combat or while in service to their country.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. The reason why it was first known as Decoration Day was because service members’ graves were decorated with flowers and flags. This day was created as a reaction to all the deaths of over 600,000 soldiers in the Civil War. These were from both sides of the war. Something had to be done to remember the dead. And so, on May 5, 1868, Memorial Day was created. On the inaugural Decoration Day, General James Garfield appeared at the Arlington National Cemetery and made a speech while participants decorated the graves of thousands of Civil War soldiers, both Union and Confederate.

New York was the first state to officially recognize Memorial Day in 1873 and was recognized by all Northern states just seven years later. The South opposed this day to memorialize the soldiers, so they celebrated on their own day until after World War I. The day is spent memorializing all members of the military who have died in combat after the Civil War

Thanks to the passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 by Congress, Memorial Day is now observed in nearly every state on the last Monday in May. Several states consider it a Federal holiday which allows for it to be a three day weekend for many. It is also considered to be the official start of the summer season in the United States.

Trivia: At Arlington National Cemetery, each grave interred there has one American flag to mark it on Memorial Day? This has been done since 1948.

-CD


Military Widows

May 22, 2015

Tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery, July 2006Memorial Day weekend has become a time for the first barbeques, outdoor pool celebrations, and huge sales at nearly every department store. For those who have lost a loved one in the armed forces, however, Memorial Day can be a difficult time.  And with thousands of young men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are, in turn, thousands of young widows and widowers looking for support and resources.

Losing a loved one in combat is probably the most difficult and painful time in your life. When facing this crisis, it’s important to remember to give yourself time to grieve your loss and accept any feelings that may arise, including sadness, guilt, anger, isolation, loneliness, or depression.  All these feelings, and any others, are OK: you’ll have good days and bad days, days when your grief is more triggered than others, days when you laugh, and days when you cry.  But if you give yourself time to grieve, life will eventually stabilize.

If you have children, it’s important to be honest with them about your spouse’s death.  Children know when adults are skewing the truth, so explain to them what it means for someone to be physically dead; don’t use euphemisms such as “lost,” “gone away,” or “sleeping.”  Give your children permission—just like you gave yourself—to feel grief or any other feelings, and don’t hide your own feelings from them.  Explain your family’s and the army’s death rituals to your children, and prepare them for all activities including the funeral itself, any viewings, the burial, and any post-funeral gatherings.  If the children are willing, let them be active participants in the funeral and surrounding activities, such as picking out the casket, writing a note to your spouse, selecting what clothes they will wear.

When you are ready, it’s extremely important to evaluate your finances after the death of a spouse.  As a military widow, you will receive a $100,000 death benefit from the government and professional financial advice to help you manage this money and your other funds.  You’ll need to use your death benefit and your other money wisely, to be sure you can pay your mortgage or rent, have health and life insurance as well as any other insurance, and provide for your children.  Be organized about your finances, know where everything is, and have a plan for surviving the worst possible financial situations.

Finally, many of your family and friends may encourage you to start dating.  Don’t let anyone push you into a relationship or dating; only do so when you are ready and feel confident about yourself.  If you feel ready to date, many military widows have a hard time dating because they feel that men are trying to take advantage of them or compare themselves to your late husband.  So when you’re ready to get back into the dating scene, don’t go searching immediately for your life partner (after all, were you searching for your husband before you were married?), have fun, and be confident about your self worth.

There is a great resource for military widows, The American Widow Project, with links to blogs, books, and podcasts.  Be sure to take a look at this website for fantastic online support!


Flag Holidays

January 12, 2015

Some of you have asked when we should be flying our flags this year. According to USFlag.org, the following are 2015’s flag holidays*:

New Year’s Day, January 1st

Inauguration Day, January 20th, every time a new President is elected

Martin Luther King’s Birthday

Lincoln’s Birthday

Washington’s Birthday

Easter Sunday

Patriots Day, April 19 (not to be confused with Patriot Day, which is September 11th, another day in which to proudly display the stars and stripes)

National Day of Prayer, the 1st Thursday of May

Mother’s Day

Armed Forces Day, Every third Saturday in May to celebrate and thank the US Military in all five branches, Army, Navy, Air Force, US Marine Corps, and the US Coast Guard.

Memorial Day (half-staff until noon)

Flag Day, June 14th

Independence Day, July 4th.

Labor Day, (First Monday of September)

Patriot Day, September 11th. This day is observed to honor the victims of the September 11, 2001 tragedy. You may see flags raised at half staff on this day.

Constitution Day, September 17th

Columbus Day, October 12th

Navy Day, October 27th

Veterans Day, November 11th (Easy for me to remember because my nephew was born on this day and my older brother himself is a veteran)

Thanksgiving Day (last Thursday of every November)

Christmas Day

Election Days

And of course, on your state birthday! Click here to find your state’s birthday. Usually the flag is to be risen at sunrise and taken down at sunset, on days when weather permits.

Note: In addition to all of this, the flag can also be flown as directed by the President of the United States.

*These dates are to the best of my knowledge.

~CD


Spirit of America

November 14, 2014

Heroes!? Are they real outside the comics? Absolutely! In our frenzied world we are growing a whole generation and more who have a very minimal understanding of who a real hero is. More and more as the Greatest Generation fades away there is a compelling need to define HERO! Dale Hemphill has done a wonderful job with his Spirit of America flag. He has produced a symbol that defines both hero and gratitude. It intends to plant a picture and vision of who a real hero is on the hearts and minds of the American public and beyond!

A US Navy veteran himself, Dale Hemphill designed Spirit of America as the emblem for his Spirit of America Foundation/Forgotten Heroes USA. The Spirit of America Flag is the only flag of its kind. It honors the veterans and heroes of wars past and our current soldiers who are fighting for our freedom. This flag also pays tribute to the many heroes and civilians who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001. Made in the U.S.A. Made out of nylon known for its weather resistance. Measures: 3′ x 5′.

According to Mr. Hemphill, “the nice thing about this flag is that it covers everything – 911, men and women, the cold war, you name it.” It has a rich history itself. “20141106_111017I started designing this in 1979 with the hostages in Iraq situation, when they were in captivity for 444 days. I’ve had my design stolen and even had the copyright cut out of the flag.”

The “Spirit of America” insignia was designed to recognize our men and women of the military forces and the battles they fought. “I recently updated it to include the eagles,” Dale told us. The insignia is graphic and intentional to remind us of many events and qualities of the Spirit of America:

  • Spirit of America – Uniting Together
  • Eagle – Freedom
  • Red – Bloodshed
  • Blue – Valor and Bravery
  • 50 Stars – 50 States
  • POW/MIA – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
  • 8 Stars – 8 Men who died in Iran rescue attempt
  • Beirut – 241 American troops who lost their lives in barracks explosion
  • Red/White/Blue ribbon between flag staffs – Firefighters, Policemen, Port Authority, Paramedics and EMT’s who died
  • Yellow Ribbon – All the Heroes and civilians who gave or lost their lives on 9/11
  • 2 red/white/blue stars bordering the insignia – represents the Twin Towers
  • Wars – Revolutionary War, War of 1812, U.S. Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Persian Gulf, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Unfortunately after the parades are over and the flags cased, the gratitude we owe our veteran heroes – of whatever war or incident of national consequence like the brave men, women, and first responders of 9/11 – is often tucked away for another day as well. We must not, we cannot forget!  These heroes are the bedrock of American patriotism and exceptionalism! They are the Spirit of America!

Due to his passion that we not forget, Dale Hemphill has founded the Spirit of America USA Foundation. The Spirit of America Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 by a naval veteran realizing the need for historical recognition of American’s heroes and the sacrifices they made for our country. Its stated mission:

  • To identify and prioritize veteran’s health issues; to coordinate a unified agenda, strategies, and action for effective legislative public health policies for homeless veterans and their families, and educational campaigns.
  • To provide information on educational resources, research, and timely legislative activities; to develop educational and outreach program training materials for the homeless and destitute.
  • To encourage the establishments of support groups and self-reliant employment, promote self-respect and dignity.
  • To improve communications among local, regional, national, and international support advocacy organizations and individuals by providing expertise, assistance, and networking information; to establish a network linking support groups or veterans organizations by fax or computer.
  • To network with other veterans organizations or individuals with regulatory, legislative, public health, social welfare, and disability organizations; to establish relationships with environmental labor, consumer, minority, children’s advocacy and other veteran’s support groups with common agendas; to insert veteran’s health issues into the mainstream of total health issues; to promote veteran’s justice.
  • To promote health issue research; to promote fund raising events for funding of health issue research.
  • To coordinate a research data base project in conjunction with established support and advocacy organizations to access the prevalence of service-connected disabilities; to provide data for lobbyist and researchers.
  • To establish both standing and special committees to focus on veteran’s health issues and veteran’s issues in general that coordinates national campaigns for veterans and their families.
  • To coordinate fund raising, donor development, grant writing, and customer active programs which will accomplish coalition goals and ensure financial stability and growth; to hire staff members to ensure schooling for the less privileged children of veterans; to provide shelter for the homeless and their families; to provide proper health care for the uninsured; to promote self-employment which establishes self-respect, dignity, and income to those less fortunate.

As the Spirit of America Foundation continues its mission to promote patriotism and the appreciation of our veterans, it has expanded its reach to help veterans in need in today’s tough economy.  FORGOTTEN HEROES USA, LTD, supports the mission of the Spirit of America Foundation by offering patriotic products honoring America’s hardships in history dating back to the Revolutionary War to present day Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. A percentage of each purchase is donated to the Spirit of America Foundation.

Forgotten Heroes

As we refresh our memories
Of all the wars gone by
Let each of us be grateful
For our “Heroes” you and I
They gave their all that we may live
In a country good and free,
“Lest We Forget” They did it all
For the likes of you and me.
Remember the “Heroes”
Who fought our wars
And kept “Old Glory” flying
Those who gave their utmost
And saved us all from dying.

Richard Hemphill – WWII

To all our veterans and heroes – the true Spirit of America – THANK YOU!

~AH


Veterans Day 2014

November 12, 2014

vet par I had a blog written about Veterans Day but we attended the Veterans Day Parade here in town. I changed my whole idea of what I wanted to write. I wanted to try to tell you how I felt to stand on the side of parade line next to my Marine Veteran and see Veterans from every generation.

There were Pearl Harbor survivors, WWII Veterans, Vietnam Veterans, Submarine Vets, Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines.

Along the parade route came a family representing 5 brothers that were in WWII that served in the 5 branches of military. vet par motoWe sat next to a young lady that just recently did 4 years in the Army as an Animal Specialist. My Honey’s co-worker came to the parade and he was in the Army Calvary.

This year’s theme was Women in Military-We Served. And they did, and were out in force, from Nurse’s Corp to pilots – it was amazing!

vet par womenI always tell a Veteran…Thank you for your service…but this year we talked to a widow of a Navy man. Her husband passed away last year and here she was 78 years old, drove an hour to pay her respects all by herself. But you know what? She wasn’t alone, she had us and we listened to her adventures of being a Navy wife.

Some of the best experiences are unexpected. I cried at seeing our Veterans. I was so full of pride for my fellow citizens. My chest hurt from being overwhelmed at the joy of everyone celebrating our Veterans.

vet par taps I took a lot of pictures that I would like share, I hope you enjoy. My advice to you, talk with a Veteran, not just on Veterans Day but any day, you might find out something in your heart that was missing.

**Jacquie


Civil War Memorial

November 11, 2014

imageOn November 8, 2014, the Mount Pleasant Area Historical Society (Pennsylvania) mpcemeteryheld a memorial for the men who fought in the Civil War. Held on Cannon Hill in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, attendees were given maps which detailed locations of all the Civil War veterans. The county society has financed printing and distribution of the maps.

In addition, members of the local society were on standby at a number of the graves to offer biographical information on the veterans’ lives. Guests listened as speakers briefly spoke about the history of the 142nd and 28th regimes and their battles during the Civil War. Guests were also told of the history of Mount Pleasant Cemetery and how the townspeople demanded that the local men who died have their final resting place in their hometown. A total of 130 Civil War veterans are buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.

As we honor our current military men and women, we should also remember those who served in wars past…whether it’s from 20, 40, 70, or 150 years ago.


Happy Birthday, US Navy!

October 13, 2014

Today marks 239 years for the United States Navy, starting with the Continental Navy, when the Continental Congress authorized the procurement of 2 armed vessels, on October 13, 1775. By the end of our War of Independence we had almost 50 ships with 20 warships in our fleet.

I live in Pensacola, Florida and we are a Navy town. Our Naval Air Base Pensacola is a longtime site for maritime vessels. This is called the “Cradle of Naval Aviation.”

navy aerialNAS Pensacola is the primary base for Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard Aviators. In 1825, President John Quincy Adams designated this area for the Pensacola Navy Yard. The Navy Appropriations Act of 1911 made the possibilities of Naval Aviation.

We are also home of the Untied States Navy Blue Angels. The Blue Angels were formed in 1946 for the morale of the Navy. We are real proud of “our” Blue Angels around here. We get two shows, one out on Pensacola Beach and then their Homecoming Show in November.

flag blue angel pcola beach signMy Grandbaby Lilly was here in July and we went out to the beach for the show. As you may imagine, it was a perfect day. The show in November will be held out on the base and we will be going out for that too.

Our Navy is rich in history. Their motto is “Not Self, But Country,” or “Non sibi sed patriae”. With that in mind, Honey and I took our pup to take a run out to the beach just last night. As we were unloading the truck, a polite young man came up to us to “borrow” a smoke, I asked: “Do you have a lighter?” Oh, yes ma’am. About 5 minutes later he came out to the water for that light. My Honey asked, “what you boys doing?” He said they were stationed out to the base. My Honey, being the Marine Vet he is,  reached around and gave that young man a twenty spot, “just to get through”.

navy flagI was standing in the water looking toward two different generations of Military men and thinking “Not Self, But Country”

**Jacquie