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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

5 Things You May Not Know About Memorial Day

Memorial Day is less than a week away now and many people are looking forward to a 3 day weekend. It's a weekend where many people will have backyard barbecues surrounded by family and friends. Too easily, we forget the real meaning behind Memorial Day which is to remember and honor those who have sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. This is not to say that there is anything wrong with spending Memorial Day with your family and friends but it's important to remember that on this day off we should all be mindful and grateful for the sacrifices some have made in the name of our great nation. Here are a few other things people may not know about Memorial Day:

1. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day in the years following the Civil War. The term "Memorial Day" didn't become common until after WWII.

2. Although the holiday has been observed since the late 1860's it wasn't declared a federal holiday until 1971.

3. On Memorial Day, the United States flag is raised to the top of the staff but then lowered to half-staff until noon in remembrance of the men and women who gave their lives in service to our country but at noon the flag is raised to full-staff as a way of saying that their sacrifice will not be in vain and that others will take up the fight in their place.

4. Waterloo, New York is considered the birthplace of Memorial Day.

5. In October of 2000, the United States Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act stating that at 3:00 PM local time, on Memorial Day, American Citizens should pause in an act of national unity to honor the heroes who've lost their life fighting for our freedom.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Invictus Games: A Reminder We Shouldn't Take for Granted

Today marks the close of The Invictus Games, a series of several athletic competitions in which wounded or injured armed service men and women compete. Started by Prince Harry of England, the first games were held in London in 2014 and the second games are wrapping up today in Orlando, Florida.

These games aren't just about friendly competition; competitions like the Invictus Games aid in holistic healing throughout the recovery and rehabilitation process: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically & socially. The Invictus Games serve as a reminder that there are Service men and women who adapt to a "new normal", long after the Games are over. (source)

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, studies show that adaptive sports provide clear benefits for disabled veterans including less stress, reduced dependency on pain and depression medication, fewer secondary medical conditions (e.g., diabetes, hypertension), higher achievement in education and employment and more independence. In the United States alone, there are over 50,000 wounded Service members – which does not include the invisible wounds: PTS, PTSD, and TBIs. The wounded, ill, and injured men and women in uniform around the world will need to live a lifetime of recovery and rehabilitation. But they do not go through the recovery and rehabilitation processes alone; their families are greatly impacted and everyone must adjust to a “new normal” in their daily activities and lifestyle. (source)

It's easy to take for granted the freedom we all enjoy and, perhaps for some, even easier to forget that there are men and women out there every day fighting to maintain that freedom for us. The Invictus Games bring to light the reminder that the heroes who come back from fighting for our country, and those of our allies, may need our support and help to return to civilian life. For some the sacrifice literally may have been an arm and a leg, for others their alignment isn't as visible but is just as real. May we never take for granted the sacrifices these men and women make for us and our country.



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