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Archive for May, 2011

It was hot and sticky as we moved from grave to grave in the overgrown, town cemetery. It was obvious no one had been here in weeks, if not months. My group of 6-year-old Girl Scouts had given up soccer games and birthday parties to spend three hours walking from stone to stone in search of heroes. Every time they found a grave marked with the words Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines they called out in glee and planted a flag by its side.

The bright red, white and blue of the fabric was vibrant next to the dull, overgrown weeds. The girls grew giddy as they watched the field fill up with the patriotic colors. Memorial Day was coming and the cemetery was officially ready.

Then, a bystander broke his silence. “You’re putting them on the wrong graves,” he told them. “Memorial Day is only for those who died in service.” The man proceeded to give me a tongue lashing as to how horrible I was for improperly teaching my scouts the meaning of the day. “You don’t honor just any soldier,” he told me.

I was embarrassed and hurt. It is true, Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. It is also true that traditional observances have dwindled over the years. And most of my non-military friends see the three-day weekend as a time for road trips or barbecues, not graveside ceremonies.

He was right. We weren’t celebrating the precise meaning of the day. But as much as he was right, he was wrong.

Lessons in history and national pride can easily be lost in the lure to beach parties and sleeping in. But these little girls, just barely out of kindergarten, were excited and happy to trudge around in the North Carolina heat. They grew up in a military town just outside of Fort Bragg. Many of them had endured months of separation from their moms or dads due to deployments. Those who were not military were inspired by the others. They understood that these men and women, whether they died by the enemy’s hand or simply from old age, were heroes.

I was proud of my scouts, regardless of where they placed those flags. I was proud that they and their parents chose to be there, in this destitute graveyard on a sunny afternoon, honoring the nation’s military.

The sacrifices of the fallen should be honored and remembered. Their sacrifice is greater than most Americans can ever comprehend. But I will not extinguish the excitement and the joy a young child feels when they honor our veterans too.

The call to indifference is too strong. The draw to the parties and the beach is tempting. I applaud all who spend their day honoring our military, even if they place a few flags on the so-called “wrong” graves. Their heart is where it should be and that is what matters.

(This year, you may not be able to place flags, but you can give a few moments and join the National Moment of Remembrance wherever you are. On Memorial Day, May 30 at 3 p.m., your local time, gather your family and friends, stop for a moment of silence, bow your head and pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.)

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If you’re like me, there’s nothing like the end of the age to motivate you to turn over a new leaf. Frankly, I don’t have time for the end of the world to arrive. But Mr. Camping of Family Radio says he’s positive the end of the world will begin at 8 pm tomorrow. And the CDC is giving tips in case the zombies invade. So I guess change is in order.

I’ve always wanted to be one of those super cute organized moms. Since it’s my last chance, I’m gonna do it. Well, super cute is already out of the question…there’s not enough time…or lipo! So, let’s focus on getting organized.

I went to REAL SIMPLE’s web site because their motto is “life made easier, everyday.” Well, it would be easier if the apocalypse would hold off, but maybe their 18 time-saving tips can help me in my quest to become Super Woman of the Year for at least 24 hours. Let’s go through them:

  • Designate a space for “in use” cups. I’m pretty sure we’ll be happy just to have cups to drink from and should probably stockpile water in that designated space as well. Okay, I’m off to a good start.
  • Presort the family laundry. I’ll just make sure I have the family dressed in clean underwear and nothing that will fall off easily in a strong wind.
  • Minimize trips to the garbage can. Ummmmm…think we might need a bigger garbage can, errr dumpster…my own landfill?
  • Make a quick breakfast. If it’s my last breakfast, I don’t really want it to be quick or healthy. I’m going for thick bacon, big cinnamon rolls, fried eggs and fresh-squeezed orange juice.
  • Put the kids to work. Now there’s one I can utilize. “Kids start digging a bunker!”
  • Prepare sandwiches for dinner. Well, I guess you can’t cook a gourmet meal in a bunker, so this makes sense. But my kids are gonna hate me if I force them to eat PBJs. I think I made it for one too many school lunches this year.
  • Keep an everything datebook. Okay….hmmm….”honey we have an appointment with destruction tomorrow night. We can dress casually.” Maybe I should call it my “one-date” book.
  • Never miss another birthday. Hey, I’m gonna get four stars on this one. I just sent the obligatory “Happy Birthday. Have an awesome day!” to all my Facebook friends and after that, no one will be around to hate me for forgetting.
  • Have a shredder ready. I think the zombies and the earthquakes will pretty much eliminate the need to protect my personal information. But I can go out and charge the flashiest, sharpest, gold-plated shredder to my credit card because hey, I’ll never have to pay that bill, right?
  • Try a double-duty dustbin. What?!?! I can use that disgusting can for trash and…..salad? Nope, I’m thinking this one won’t work for me.
  • Try a recipe chain-letter. This one is great! Send me the ingredients to that secret family recipe for liver pate’ now! And you better share it with 10 friends within 15 minutes or the world will come to an end! Hey, a chain letter that actually has some teeth…
  • Squeeze now, use later. Well, life may be handing me some meteor-sized lemons so I might as well make lemonade.
  • Keep an ongoing shopping list. That’s one tip that is easy to keep up with for about 2000 more minutes.
  • Time stamp your photos. Why? So the aliens and zombies know when they were taken?
  • Get ready for morning the night before. I believe I could side-step responsibility altogether on this one and translate it into “party like there’s no tomorrow.”
  • Create a beauty station. Well, I might want to look good for my last minutes on earth. Time to head to Sephora! Do I have time to paint my toenails?
  • Start a day-by-day shelf system. One day. One shelf. That’s easy. If I have to put one thing on it for the zombies to find, I’d probably choose a hand grenade or the lemons I squeezed earlier. That would put a pucker on their palate.
  • Organize your hand-me-downs. I think for this purpose, we’ll call them hand-me-overs. It could distract the zombies just long enough for me to make a getaway.

In the off chance we don’t meet our maker this weekend, these are actually very good tips from both the CDC and REAL SIMPLE. You can use them to get organized for the day-to-day tasks AND preparing for the unexpected. Please visit their Web sites and make your life easier, everyday.

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