Memorial Day

The time has come around to celebrate Memorial day, a day set aside to honor those who have died in the armed services of the United States.  Last year I covered some of the history about the holiday on this post. This year I figured I would revisit some of the wars in which the US has participated.  In researching this, I found that we have been in more armed conflicts then I had thought we had.  Whether this was an oversight of my history education in school, or just something I forgot, I don’t know.   I was even going to type up a list, but if the wikipedia list is anything to go by, it would have been too long for a simple blog post.

Some of the conflicts and wars were Americans against ourselves or our neighbors such as the Native Americans, Mexico and once Canada (on behalf of Britain). Others were American forces helping out in other conflicts or outright war with another country.  Either way, Memorial Day is a day to celebrate the Men and Women who put their life on the line for our country and lost it.   We might not remember why they fought or disagreed with the leadership that sent them to fight, but we should remember their sacrifice for our country.

The US of course isn’t the only country to have a day set aside to memorialize those who have died while in the service of their country, as shown in this Time.com Article.  Some take place in spring, like the US holiday, but others take place at other times of the year.  For example, in Great Britain, they celebrate Remembrance Day on November 11, the day World War II ended.

Memorial Day is sometimes confused with Veterans Day, but they have separate purposes.  Veterans Day in the US is held on November 11, and is there to honor all those who served.  Memorial day is for the sole purpose of honoring the memory of those who served and lost their lives.

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Source: Pixabay

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Today, April 14, is Mother’s Day in the United States.  Its a day to remember and celebrate our Mothers and grandmothers – or any mother in our lives.   For some its a day to spend with their loved ones, and some its a day to remember the mothers we have lossed.  Its celebrated outside the US as well, on various dates.

The American Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in the early 1900s.  She did it as a way to remember her own mother, who had served as a nurse during the civil War. She wanted a day where people would show their mothers their appreciation, by visiting or writing their mothers letters expressing it.  She promoted it, campaigned for it, and saw it become a reality nationally in 1914.  She was later against it because it became too commercialized in her opinon.  I wrote about this before for last year’s Mother’s Day Post

However, it was not the first time motherhood was celebrated.  Even in Ancient times, there were festivals to mother goddesses, and in early Christianity there was Mothering Sunday.

Ann Reeves Jarvis, Anna Jarvis’ mother, actually had a Mother’s Day of her own.  It was a group of mothers who would work towards peace as well as help improve things.  It fought to improve sanitary conditions, infant mortality rates and tended to wounded during the war.  Julia Ward Howe had  a “Mother’s Day Proclamation” in 1870 asking mothers to join together to be politically active in the fight for peace. What we consider Mother’s day wasn’t celebrated until 1908 in Virginia and Pennsylvania.

It is celebrated in various countries around the world at different times of the year and in different ways.  Some have special days chosen so Mother’s Day is associated with another event.  In Thailand, the date of Mother’s Day falls on the birthday of their Queen who is seen as a mother to her citizens.  Some countries associate it with Christian celebrations such as Mothering Sunday (a day originally meant to visit your “mother” church) or days that celebrate Mary, the mother of Jesus.    In the end, the sentiment behind the holiday is usually the same – to celebrate the women who are our Mothers, or took on the role in some way.

I wish all the mothers out there a happy Mother’s day.  Including my own, who like Ann Reeves Jarvis is a nurse and will be taking care of people today.

History.com – Mother’s Day

National Geographic : “Mother’s Day Turns 100”

 

May is…

May has a lot of observances and awareness connections.  I decided to write about some of them.  There are of course many other observances during May, so here is the list from Wiki if you want to explore more.  I am by no means an expert on any of these, so please research more on your own if you find yourself interested.

Awareness Month

May is set aside for the awareness of several diseases and causes.

Celiac Disease

Celiac (or Coeliac) disease is a autoimmune disease where the small intestine can not properly digest gluten.  It causes damage to the lining of villi, which help digest nutrients.  It can range from discomfort to great pain and other health problems.  This disease is probably getting more known due to gluten-free diet trends.  Gluten can be found in wheat, Rye and Barley.  It is a genetic disorder as well, so it runs in families.

More information:

Celiac.Org

Beyond Celiac.Org

Cystic Fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis is a serious genetic disorder that effects the major organs, particularly the lungs.  It is caused by a recessive gene mutation, which causes secretions like sweat, digestive fluids and particularly mucus to become thicker.  There is no cure for Cystic Fibrosis, just treatments to treat the symptoms.

More information

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Cystic Fibrosis – Mayo Clinic

Cystic Fibrosis (Wiki)

Mental Health Awareness Month

Awareness of Mental Heath issues is very important.  Misinformation, ignorance of treatment and other factors have led to people not getting the treatment they need, or choosing to refuse treatment because they don’t’ want to be treated poorly for having a mental health issue.  While societal views on mental illness have improved over the last few decades,we have far to go till its treated like any physical illness.

More information

Mental Health America.Net 

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Month Observances

National Pet Month  (US)

National Pet Month is basically a month to recognize the benefits that pets bring to our lives.  It is observed in April in the UK and in May in the US.  It also promotes pet adoption, and animal health.

National Pet Month.Org (UK)

Flores de Mayo

Flores de Mayo is a month long celebration in the Philippines.  It has its roots in Catholic devotions to Mary including daily offering of flowers.  On the last day of the month a pageant is held called the Santacruzan which honors events in Catholic history.  In particular, it celebrates the finding of the true cross by St. Helena.  Young women search for a hidden cross after attending a mass and the one who finds it is designated as Reyna Elena (St. Helena).

Flores de Mayo (Wiki)

Flores de Mayo & Santacruzan – Catholics & Cultures

Single Day/Week Observances

Cinco de Mayo (May 5)

Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican-American holiday.  In Mexico, it is a day of observance on a a military victory over French Occupation.  It is usually observed with military parades.  In the United States however it has become a day to celebrate Mexican-AMerican culture.  There is debate on the ethical points of Cinco de Mayo in the United States, however, due to the fact that it was originally a Mexican holiday and the US celebration has nothing to do with the original Mexican.  Also it has a tendency to promote stereotypes and racial issues.

International Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Day (May 12)

Chronic Fatigue affects many people, though many go undiagnosed.  Sometimes it is a side effect of another illness, but it can be an issue on its own.  It is often hard to diagnose as there is no blood or lab test that can detect it.  Awareness and research can bring more answers to the cause of Chronic Fatigue

CDC- Chronic Fatigue Awareness Day

Mother’s Day  (May 14 in US)

There are several countries that celebrate Mother’s Day, and its on several different days of the month.  However, since I live in the US I choose to note the date that the US is celebrating.  I’ll be posting a separate post about this one when the day arrives.

Endangered Species  Day (May 19)

Endangered Species day is a day to recognize the efforts that are out there to protect the wildlife on our planet.  Many species have been lost in the last few decades alone, and there are many organizations out there trying to prevent more species from going from endangered to extinct.

US National Fish and Wildlife Service

Ramadan (May 26-June 25)

Ramadan is a religious observance by Muslims, and this year will start May 26/27.   I am by far no expert on Islamic traditions, so I do recommend googling Ramadan and finding out more on your own.  Ramadan is a religious rite that occurs for a month.  It involves daily fasting and focusing on the Quran, their holy book.

Ramadan (wiki)

BBC Religions: Ramadan

Happy New Year

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Source: Pixalbay

So we have moved past the difficult year that is 2016.  A general sentiment is it was just a bad year, between divided elections,  several terrorist attacks, an uptick in reported hate, and people being generally unpleasant about politics.  There was also so many legends who died this year (and I’ll be doing a memorial post on Debbie Reynolds in the coming days).

Needless to say, many are glad we are at a new year.  It feels like a fresh start.  It even starts on the first day of the week so its a new year, new week, and new month.  Everything is new and maybe 2017 will be a more hopeful year.  Where in our focus will turn to the uplifting stories, and people who have been disappointing us this past year will somehow turn out to impress us by living above our expectations.

On a personal level, I’m hoping to bring my life under control.  I want to be able to start saving, as well as deal with some ongoing health issues.  I want to have a clean space that is not cluttered, I want to be able to more of the fun stuff I love to do.  I want to start making progress with the things I used to love before anxiety took over my life.

The good things about 2016 were that my health improved on the anxiety issue, I got a new job which had a pay increase, and I welcomed a nephew into my life.  I’m going to try and focus on those things then the not so good things that seemed to overfill 2016s borders.

I’m going to make 2017 the year I look at the bright side of things.  Both in myself and in world events.

As for this blog, I have a few things planned.  First is the schedule of posts as I discussed in December.  I’m hoping to post at least every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.    In the next couple of weeks you should see some of the following:

  • Debbie Reynolds Memorial post
  • Continuation of the Constitution series
  • Bookit 2017 Starter post  (and reviews!)
  • Review of Rogue One
  • Writing exercises and updates of the progress in writing my original novel

Here’s looking forward to a happy and uplifting 2017!

Christmas Movies

I have decided that its time for a list post.  This one is a list of my favorite Christmas movies.  Every year we are given more and more christmas movies to enjoy, and some are good, some are bad, and some are so bad they are good.

But I’ll just stick to my favorite five, in no particular order.

  • Borrowed Hearts

Borrowed Hearts is a 1997 CBS Christmas movie starring Roma Downey and Erik McCormick.  The premise of the movie is a bit cliche:  Sam Fields’ Buisness partner Dave lies to a potential investor that Sam has a family, so they need to hire one for a few days.  None of the actors work out, but in stumbles in Kathryn and her daughter Zoe, who seem to fit.  He convinces her to be his pretend wife for a few days, which due to Mr. Delcampo’s extended stay ends up staying over Christmas.  Its a cute movie, and has Hector Elizondo as DeCampo.

(I would put a clip here, but alas most of the clips on Youtube appear to be either the complete film or another film all together.

  • White Christmas

So here’s my traditional movie on the list.  I grew up watching this movie.  Even though its a little oddball (Its a part musical, so its not suprising) its a fun movie to watch.  Plus I love Danny Kaye, and Rosemary Clooney has a wonderful voice to listen to.  There are two main plots to this story. Phil and Judy want to live their own lives, so they push Bob and Betty together an in attempt to get the two to focus on something else for awhile.  Except it backfires when Betty gets some misunderstood gossip from the General’s personal assistant about Plot #2.  That plot involves Bob and Phil trying to pull together a show and a special reunion of their war buddies to aid their favorite commanding officer whose hotel in Vermont is not doing as well as he would hope.

Its also Irving Berlin Music which shows up in a lot of musicals of the time.   And then there is this scene:

  • Love Actually

This is a lovely assembly movie. It begot a bunch of less awesome assembly holiday based movies, but I can forgive it.  For one it has an awesome cast including Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Andrew Lincoln, Martin Freeman, Emma Thompson, Laura Linney and many many more.  Although some of the various plots are a bit annoying (Poor Andrew Lincoln for example plays a creepy best friend in love with Best friend’s wife) the overall film is cute and the various examples of love and relationships are splendid.

  • Nightmare before Christmas

This is a Christmas movie AND a Halloween movie.  The premise of the movie is that Jack, the king of Halloweentown, finds himself bored with his life.  It never seems to change.  One day while walking his ghost-dog, he stumbles into Christmas Town and Suddenly is awash with new things to do.  He’s going to do christmas up in style.

Except things don’t go as planned, because its hard to explain Christmas to citizens who live Halloween.  This is my favorite Tim Burton film.

  • The Holiday

Another cute movie (my big requirement for a christmas movie is it be cute) where two woman switch places for a vacation before Christmas to Take a break from some crappy life happenings.  My favorite plot line of the move is the one for Kate Winslet, who not only finds happiness, but also finds her own personal strength and ‘gumption’ through friendship with her temporary neighbors.  Sure, its ultimately a romance, but the friendship is one of the highlights of the movie.

Happy Canada Day

This is a week for National birthdays, apparently.  Today is Canada’s “birthday”.

Canada was originally a bunch of seperate colonies, but on July 1, 1867, the Consitiution Act/British North America Act united three of them into a single country within the British Empire.  It was called Dominion Day until 1982, when it was officially renamed Canada Day.

The three colonies joined together were Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Providence of Canada.  The Providece of Canada was then divided up into more providences (Ontario and Quebec). Since then the country has changed both in shape of the providence (there are now 10), and their governmental relations with the British Empire (They still are under the Queen, but the UK parliment has no say in their government anymore)

The actual day as a holiday was not started until 1879, but only as a day for local communities to celebrate.  Official celebrations started in 1958, although not popularized till the 1980s.  It is held on July 1, unless it is a sunday then the legal holiday will be held the following Monday.

So here’s wishing all my Canadian friends a happy Canada Day.   Thank you for being a good neighbor.

Canadian Flag

National Flag of Canada (of sorts)

Memorial Day

This weekend is Memorial day weekend.  I wanted to stop for a moment and thank all the men and women who have served this country in its armed forces or diplomatic corp who have worked hard to keep our country free and safe. Thank you for all you have done.

graves-1277181_1280

Memorial Day has been celebrated for over a hundred years, developing in the years following the Civil War as a day to pause in remembrance of the men who died during the War. At the time it was called Decoration Day, in reference to the fact that it involved people deocrating the graves of deceased soldiers.

It is not clear where the celebration started (Although Waterloo, NY likes to claim it was them, and others say Charleston, NC) but it soon became something celebrated across the nation.  However,the first purposeful celebration of it happened in Columbus, Georgia, where a group of women decided that on the anniversy of the final surrender of the confederate army, April 26, they should make sure to go out and decorate the graves of vetrans with flowers.  They mailed letters out to various newspapers across the country, and it became a national, abit southern, effort in 1866.

It soon was reported in Northern Papers after the southern women made a point to also decorate the graves of Union soldiers burried in the south and people began to join in on the activities.

On May 5, 1868 General John Logan, who was national Commander of the Grand Army at the time, declared that May 30th would be dedicated to the decoration of graves of those who died for their country.  He choose that day to avoid choosing a date of a battle.   However it wasn’t till 1873 that states started to recognize the day (starting with New York) and it was largely only celebrated on Logan’s date by the North.  Southern States continued to celebrate on dates of their own choosing.

After WWI, the day went from celebrating simply those who died in the civil war to those Americans who died in any war.  In 1971, Congress passed the National Holiday Act and set Memorial Day as a three day weekend, making Memorial Day the last Monday in May as well as making it an offical Federal holiday .  Southern States started to observe Memorial Day after WWI, but also kept seperate days to celebrate those who died as Confederate soldiers.

 

The Story Behind The First Memorial Day 

Memorial Day History

History.Com Memorial Day

US Department of Veteran’s Affairs:  Memorial Day History