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!


Armed Forces Day

May 15, 2015

Armed ForcesSaturday, May 16, 2015 is Armed Forces Day. According to the Department of Defense website, Harry Truman established this as a national holiday, to thank our military for their service to this great country. Instead of individual Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps holidays, President Truman promoted the unity of our armed forces under the Department of Defense.

According to the DoD website, on Feb 27, 1950, President Truman stated, “Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration by America’s defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, towards the goal of readiness for any eventuality. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea, and air defense.”

One of the main purposes for setting aside one day for all branches was to educate the public and promote patriotism. Parades, air shows and parties marked this first holiday, with over 40,000 US Troops marching worldwide, and tens of thousands of citizens participating in parades.

In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “It is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to paying special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the bulwarks guarding the freedom of this nation and the peace of the free world.”

JointcolorsOur Servicemen and women are serving throughout the world as guardians of peace – many of them away from their homes, their friends and their families. They are visible evidence of our determination to meet any threat to the peace with measured strength and high resolve. They are also evidence of a harsh but inescapable truth – that the survival of freedom requires great cost and commitment, and great personal sacrifice.”

On that day in history, many other notable events occurred: The Red Cross celebrated 69 years, Britain stopped most of its rationing, and the Soviets returned 23 East German industrial plants to East German authorities.

What will you do this year to honor our military?


State Flags – Virginia

April 27, 2015

VA FlagWe are almost done with the original thirteen colony states! Virginia marks the tenth state to be added into the Union. Becoming a state on June 25, 1788, Virginia was named after Queen Elizabeth I, The Virgin Queen. The state is bordered by two bodies of water, Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean while being surrounded by five other states (Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina, and West Virginia). It is also near Washington DC.

Virginia’s state flag is bright blue with a white circle in the center. Inside the center are the words Virginia on top along with the words “Sic Semper Tyrannis,” which means “Thus always to tyrants” in Latin. Also inside the circle are two people. One is the goddess Virtue, who is holding a sword and a spear. Her foot is on a man, who turns out to be the tyrant that she defeated. He has a chain and a whip in his hand while his crown lies fallen nearby.

Governor's Palace Garden

Colonial Williamsburg

Virginia has more presidents born in this state than any other. Eight presidents-George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison (who sadly had a very short presidency of 32 days and was the first U.S. president to die in office), John Tyler, Zachary Taylor, and Woodrow Wilson (in beautiful Staunton, to which I have had the honor of visiting a few years back. They have a brilliant Shakespeare house). George Washington’s birthplace in Westmoreland County, Virginia (in Colonial Beach) is marked as a National Monument. There is so much presidential history in this state that it would take a while to get through it all!

peanuts

(c) Josh Westrich—zefa/Corbis

Food Fact! Virginia is also known for its delicious Virginia Peanuts. They are longer than the standard peanut you find in the grocery store.

State Nickname: Old Dominion

~CD


United States Flag Store Supports Community Clothes Closet

April 27, 2015

Jenny R. in Wisconsin included one of ourIMG_1403 flags in a raffled basket for her cause, Community Clothes Closet. United States Flag Store’s garden flag and holder were tucked in an adorable garden basket to be auctioned off at the fashion show on May 17th in Appleton Wisconsin. The Fox Cities Fashion Show is a community-wide event where volunteers model vintage clothing for a fun-filled afternoon. The Community Clothes Closet will use the proceeds from this fundraiser to keep its doors open to those in need. Jenny says, “Thank you for helping us continue our mission of providing free clothing to people in need while maintaining their dignity and offering opportunities to improve their lives.”

If you would like more information about the Community Clothes Closet or our fashion show please visit them here.


State Flags – New Hampshire

April 24, 2015

NHNew Hampshire, tucked away in the very upper right hand corner of the US, is the ninth state in the United States. Becoming a state on June 21, 1788, it is the 46th largest state in the United States.This state is near Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont, plus it is also nearby to Canada.Portsmouth

Although the state flag for New Hampshire was designed in 1784, it was not adopted until 1909. The state flag of New Hampshire consists of a blue background and it features the state seal. Inside the seal has a ship sailing towards a large granite rock on clear blue waters. Behind the ship is a rising sun just below the horizon. Surrounding the seal is the words “Seal of the State of New Hampshire, 1776” along with yellow stars and laurel leaves circling outside.

MasonNew Hampshire got its name when it was named after the English county of Hampshire. It was named by a man named John Mason, who lived in Hampshire, England, as a child. He invested very heavily in this new land, clearing land and building houses in New Hampshire, but had died before he was able to even see his new land.

Nickname: The state’s nickname is “The Granite State” due to the fact that most of the mountains are made of granite.

Size Matters! This state is so small in size that there is only one area code for the entire state!

More Flag Fun: The largest American flag in the US was made in this state in 1914, measuring at 90 feet long and 50 feet high!


State Flags – South Carolina

April 21, 2015

southcarolina-nylonWhile South Carolina became the 8th state on May 23, 1788, a flag was not chosen until January 28, 1861. The flag is entirely blue with a white palmetto tree in the center while a white crescent is placed to the upper left hand corner. According to the official South Carolina website, the original version of the flag was designed by Colonel William Moultrie which consisted of only a white crescent on a blue field. Moultrie picked blue because it matched the uniforms his troops wore during the Revolutionary War while the crescent which resembled the silver emblem worn on their caps. Once the palmetto tree was added later on, it is explained that the tree represented Colonel Moultrie’s heroic defense of the palmetto log fort on Sullivan’s Island against the attack of the British fleet on June 28, 1776.

This flag also has a state pledge which was adopted by Act Number 910 of 1966 (approved April 22, 1966). Mrs. John Raymond Carson from Chester, SC, wrote the pledge for all South Carolinians: “I salute the flag of South Carolina and pledge to the Palmetto State love, loyalty, and faith.

In South Carolina, tea is the official hospitality beverage of the state. This was designated to the state in 1995 after a bill was passed. South Carolina is the first state in the United States to grow tea. One of the most popular beverageMyrtle_Beach,_SC,_photographed_from_9th_floor_of_hotel_IMG_4501s is the sweet tea, which is made by adding sugar to black tea while it is still hot, and is usually served iced.

How it got its name: South Carolina was named after King Charles I of England, the Latin version of his name being Carolus. He was the one who granted the land to Sir Robert Heath in 1629 in which to start his colony.

Popular places to go: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In the center of the Grand Strand, this coastal city gets over 14 million visitors every year. Beachgoers go swimming, walking on the boardwalk, and attend events.

~CD


State Flags – Maryland

April 10, 2015

maryland-nylonThe seventh state to enter the union is Maryland on April 28, 1788 when it ratified the federal constitution. The state was named after the queen consort Henrietta Maria, who was married to King Charles I of Britain. It is the 42nd biggest state in the nation but is the 19th most populous state.

The state flag of Maryland is a rather colorful one. This flag is the only state flag based on the British coats of arms. The flag’s design was inspired by the coat of arms adopted by George Calvert (1579-1632), who was the first Lord of Baltimore. The alternating gold and black squares and rectangles come from Calvert’s family shield while the red and white crosses are inspired by Calvert’s maternal family the Crosslands. This flag was first flown on October 11, 1880 in Baltimore at a parade marking the 150th anniversary of its founding. It was also flown at other historical events but the flag was not officially adopted until 1904.

Blue_crab-1024x729The state is a largely coastal state. Chesapeake Bay is the largest body of water in the state of Maryland. There are also nearly 50 rivers, lakes, ponds, streams, and creeks in addition to the Atlantic Ocean. Maryland is largely known for the crab due to it being the state crustacean (actually, the Maryland Blue Crab), one of three states who has a state crustacean. The blue crab is a treat for seafood lovers who live in and visit the state.

State Bird: Maryland’s State Bird is the Baltimore Oriole, which is the same name as its Major League Baseball Team.

Food: Try a crab cake once you’re in Maryland!


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