Monday, May 25, 2009

In Remembrance...

This is a repost from my blog from Memorial Day last year.

Today is Memorial Day. Although most of us "celebrate" with a day off work highlighted by a grill, a pool, and friends, this day really should (in my opinion) be held as a much more reverent occasion. Maybe it's because I am married to a veteran. Maybe it is because said veteran is an Army bugler who has provided the rite of TAPS at more funerals than either of us care to count. Maybe it is because many family members of mine have been in the military. Maybe because I live in a military town and am surrounded by families who are short a member currently because of current deployments.

It really does not matter whether you have a family member who is currently serving or if you've never even met a service man/woman (although, I'd love to meet you because I don't think that exists!). Either way, we are all free due to many, many people sacrificing what is most sacred (their very lives) for the greater cause of freedom and liberty. Not only have those who have been lost to the conflicts made the sacrifice, however, but also those they left behind.

In honor of all of the men and women who have made it possible for us to be allowed to sit here and type whatever we want (yes, even those people who insult them and trample on their efforts), I wanted to post a notes in honor of this holiday and those whom it represents:

In Flanders Fields
--Major John McCrae
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw T
he torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Memorial Day
- C W Johnson
We walked among the crosses
Where our fallen soldiers lay.
And listened to the bugle
As TAPS began to play.
The Chaplin led a prayer
We stood with heads bowed low.
And I thought of fallen comrades
I had known so long ago.
They came from every city
Across this fertile land.
That we might live in freedom.
They lie here 'neath the sand.
I felt a little guilty
My sacrifice was small.
I only lost a little time
But these men lost their all.
Now the services are over
For this Memorial Day.
To the names upon these crosses
I just want to say,
Thanks for what you've given
No one could ask for more.
May you rest with God in heaven
From now through evermore.

Some Rules of Etiquette for the Flag

*The flag should be displayed from sunrise to sunset.*Exception: the flag may be displayed at all times if it is illuminated during darkness.

*The flag should be protected from weather damage, so only an all-weather flag should be displayed during rain, snow, winds and other detriment weather.

*When a number of flags are grouped together, the U.S. flag should be at the center and at the highest point of the group.

*When a U.S. flag is displayed other than from a staff, it should be displayed flat, or suspended in such a way that its folds fall free.

*When displayed over a street, the flag should be placed so it faces north or east.

*When displayed from a staff projecting from a building, the union of the flag should be placed at the peak of the staff, unless the flag is at half staff.

*When displayed on a speaker’s platform against a wall, the flag should be placed above and behind the speaker with the union of the flag in the upper left-hand corner (as the audience faces the flag).

*When used to cover a casket, it should be placed so that the union is at the head and over the left shoulder. The flag should never be lowered into the grave and should not be allowed to touch the ground.

*During any ceremony when the U.S. flag is passing in parade, all persons should face the flag, stand at attention and salute. This means that a man should remove his hat and hold it with the right hand over the heart. Men without hats, and ladies should salute by placing the right hand over the heart. This salute should take place while the flag passes.

*When a U.S. flag is flown at half-staff, it should always be hoisted to the peak then lowered to half staff position. When taking it down for the evening, raise it to the peak again then lower.

Freedom Is Not Free
-Kelly Strong
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
With hair cut square and eyes alert
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.
I heard the sound of TAPS one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That TAPS had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.

-Major General Daniel Butterfield
Day is done...
Gone the sun
From the lake...
From the hills...
From the sky.
All is well...
Safely rest
God is nigh.
Fading light...
Dims the sight
And a star...
Gems the sky...
Gleaming bright
From afar...
Drawing nigh
Falls the night.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:

Throughout history, there are many armed forces members who have died in numerous wars without their remains being identified. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is symbolic and represents the war grave for unidentified soldiers. The tomb in Washington DC houses the remains of an unknown soldier from WWI, WWII, and Korea. The soldier representing Vietnam was exhumed after identification was made via DNA. Due to DNA records, it is not expected that any further soldiers will be unidentified in future conflicts and therefore there are no plans to add additional soldiers in the future. The inscription on the tomb often says that they are “known but to God.” The Tomb Guards are an elict group of soldiers who dedicate not only their military career, but some aspects of their entire lives, to honoring the fallen. To further understand their level of commitment, please read this description and these FAQs regarding their duties.

Information acquired from Roswell Remembers, Memorial Day Tribute, and

Photo credit: mordoc, rfirman, tomlara

Monday, May 11, 2009

You Wouldn't Willingly Risk Your Child's Life, Would You?

I learned something not long ago that I feel is vitally important information and definitely worth sharing in my little corner of Blogland where maybe someone can benefit from learning it too.

Did you know that car seats expire? Yep.

So if you think you are saving money by buying used, you might not be as smart as you assumed.

It seems that the shell of the car seat, made with a plastic material, will break down over time, especially considering the heat it is exposed to while sitting in your sweltering vehicle day in and day out.

How do you know if yours is expired?

Well, some manufacturers are helpful enough to put an expiration date on a label on the seat itself. My first recommendation would be for you to look all over the bottom and sides of your seat and try to find an expiration date. If you cannot find one, you can call the manufacturer for this information, being sure to have the model of seat that you have. You can find the date of manufacture on any seat and this will assist the manufacturer in telling you whether of not your seat is safe.

If you cannot do this, a safe assumption is 6 years after the date of manufacture. Note--not 6 years after you bought it, as it may have sat on a shelf in a store or in a warehouse for a year or so before it came into your household. Always use the date of manufacture.

And if the manufacturer tells you something other than 6 years, it is okay to trust them. Some (very few) will last up to 10 years safely after the DOM, but this MUST be acknowledged by the manufacturer.

So what do you do if your seat is expired? Certainly you must go out and get another that is not expired. Almost as importantly though, you must destroy yours. How? Cut up the harness straps to render them completely unusable, hammer or saw the base in half, or make sure you watch the trash truck crush it.

Is this a ploy to make us buy more car seats? If you think that, just watch this video of a 10-year old Britax car seat. Enough said.

So although you buy those convertible seats and think, "I'll never have to buy another seat again, " you can now reconsider that. You can assume that your child will most likely be 5 years old by the time you reach the expiration date on the seat he/she is riding in if they have been it from infancy.

Also, this is a good reason not to register for larger car seats at a baby shower thinking that this will save you from buying it 4 years down the road.

The fact is, your child's life is more important than any money you can save by reusing an old seat. Keep this in mind the next time you shop for your deals. If you find one that will last long enough to get good use out of it, by all means grab it up, but know that not every deal is as good as it appears.