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Memorial Day vs. Veteran’s Day

Many people confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. While those who died are also remembered on Veterans Day, Veterans Day is the day set aside to thank and honor ALL those who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime.

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.

The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

Local Observances Claim To Be First

Local springtime tributes to the Civil War dead already had been held in various places. One of the first occurred in Columbus, Miss., April 25, 1866, when a group of women visited a cemetery to decorate the graves of Confederate soldiers who had fallen in battle at Shiloh. Nearby were the graves of Union soldiers, neglected because they were the enemy. Disturbed at the sight of the bare graves, the women placed some of their flowers on those graves, as well.

Today, cities in the North and the South claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866. Both Macon and Columbus, Ga., claim the title, as well as Richmond, Va. The village of Boalsburg, Pa., claims it began there two years earlier. A stone in a Carbondale, Ill., cemetery carries the statement that the first Decoration Day ceremony took place there on April 29, 1866. Carbondale was the wartime home of Gen. Logan. Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South where most of the war dead were buried.

 

Official Birthplace Declared

In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.

It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.

Some States Have Confederate Observances

Many Southern states also have their own days for honoring the Confederate dead. Mississippi celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the last Monday of April, Alabama on the fourth Monday of April, and Georgia on April 26. North and South Carolina observe it on May 10, Louisiana on June 3 and Tennessee calls that date Confederate Decoration Day. Texas celebrates Confederate Heroes Day January 19 and Virginia calls the last Monday in May Confederate Memorial Day.

Gen. Logan’s order for his posts to decorate graves in 1868 “with the choicest flowers of springtime” urged: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. … Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”

The crowd attending the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery was approximately the same size as those that attend today’s observance, about 5,000 people. Then, as now, small American flags were placed on each grave — a tradition followed at many national cemeteries today. In recent years, the custom has grown in many families to decorate the graves of all departed loved ones.

The origins of special services to honor those who die in war can be found in antiquity. The Athenian leader Pericles offered a tribute to the fallen heroes of the Peloponnesian War over 24 centuries ago that could be applied today to the 1.1 million Americans who have died in the nation’s wars: “Not only are they commemorated by columns and inscriptions, but there dwells also an unwritten memorial of them, graven not on stone but in the hearts of men.”

National Moment of Remembrance

To ensure the sacrifices of America ’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day.”

Much of the above article courtesy of the Veterans Administration (VA)

By Rod Powers, About.com

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June 26, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Various | Leave a comment

Alphabets of Happiness

A–Accept

Accept others for who they are and for the choices they’ve made even if you have difficulty understanding their beliefs, motives, or actions.

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B–Break Away

Break away from everything that stands in the way of what you hope to accomplish with your life.

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C–Create

Create a family of friends whom you can share your hopes, dreams, sorrows, and happiness with.

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D–Decide

Decide that you’ll be successful and happy come what may, and good things will find you. The roadblocks are only minor obstacles along the way.

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E–Explore

Explore and experiment. The world has much to offer, and you have much to give. And every time you try something new, you’ll learn more about yourself.

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F–Forgive

Forgive and forget. Grudges only weigh you down and inspire unhappiness and grief. Soar above it, and remember that everyone makes mistakes.

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G–Grow

Leave the childhood monsters behind. They can no longer hurt you or stand in your way.

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H–Hope

Hope for the best and never forget that anything is possible as long as you remain dedicated to the task.

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I–Ignore

Ignore the negative voice inside your head.. Focus instead on your goals and remember your accomplishments. Your past success is only a small inkling of what the future holds.

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J–Journey

Journey to new worlds, new possibilities, by remaining open-minded. Try to learn something new every day, and you’ll grow.

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K–Know

Know that no matter how bad things seem, they’ll always get better. The warmth of spring always follows the harshest winter.

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L–Love

Let love fill your heart instead of hate. When hate is in your heart, there’s room for nothing else, but when love is in your heart, there’s room for endless happiness.

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M–Manage

Manage your time and your expenses wisely, and you’ll suffer less stress and worry. Then you’ll be able to focus on the important things in life.

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N–Notice

Never ignore the poor, infirm, helpless, weak, or suffering. Offer your assistance when possible, and always your kindness and understanding.

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O–Open

Open your eyes and take in all the beauty around you. Even during the worst  of times, there’s still much to be thankful for.

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P–Play

Never forget to have fun along the way. Success means nothing without happiness.

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Q–Question

Ask many questions, because you’re here to learn.

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R–Relax

Refuse to let worry and stress rule your life, and remember that things always have a way of working out in the end.

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S–Share

Share your talent, skills, knowledge, and time with others. Everything that you invest in others will return to you many times over.

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T–Try

Even when your dreams seem impossible to reach, try anyway. You’ll be amazed by what you can accomplish.

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U–Use

Use your gifts to your best ability. Talent that’s wasted has no value. Talent that’s used will bring unexpected rewards.

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V–Value

Value the friends and family members who’ve supported and encouraged you, and be there for them as well.

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W–Work

Work hard every day to be the best person you can be, but never feel guilty if you fall short of your goals. Every sunrise offers a second chance.

X–X-Ray

Look deep inside the hearts of those around you and you’ll see the goodness and beauty within.

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Y–Yield

Yield to commitment. If you stay on track and remain dedicated, you’ll find success at the end of the road.

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Z–Zoom

Zoom to a happy place when bad memories or sorrow rears its ugly head. Let nothing interfere with your goals. Instead, focus on your abilities, your dreams, and a brighter tomorrow.

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“Elle Est Belle” pearl.east15@yahoo.com  

June 21, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Various, Soul's Medicine | Leave a comment

English4Today

I discovered another good Learning English Online Website. It’s English4Today.com.

You can visit the site from the LINK menu on the right side of this blog. Try it.

June 13, 2008 Posted by | Info and Events, Learn English - Various | 1 Comment

So You think you Know everything?. …….

So You think you Know everything?. …….

A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.

A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

A crocodile cannot stick out its tongue.

A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours!

A goldfish has a memory span of three seconds.

A “jiffy” is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second.

A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.

A snail can sleep for three years.

Al Capone’s business card said he was a used furniture dealer.

All 50 states are listed across the top of the Lincoln Memorial on the back
of the $5 bill.

Almonds are a member of the peach family.

An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.

Babies are born without kneecaps. They don’t appear until the child reaches
2 to 6 years of age.

Butterflies taste with their feet.

Cats have over one hundred vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10.
“Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt”.

February 1865 is the only month in recorded history not to have a full moon.
In the last 4,000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.

If the population of China walked past you, in single file, the line would
never end because of the rate of reproduction.

If you are an average American, in your whole life, you will spend an
average of 6 months waiting at red lights.

It’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.

Leonardo Da Vinci invented the scissors.

Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or
purple.

On a Canadian two dollar bill, the flag flying over the Parliament building
is an American flag.

Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never
stop growing.

Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite.

Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated.

“Stewardesses” is the longest word typed with only the left hand and
“lollipop” with your right.

The average person’s left hand does 56% of the typing.

The cruise liner, QE2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that
it burns.

The microwave was invented after a researcher walked by a radar tube and a
chocolate bar melted in his pocket.

The sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” uses every
letter of the alphabet.

The winter of 1932 was so cold that Niagara Falls froze completely solid.

The words ‘racecar,’ ‘kayak’ and ‘level’ are the same whether they are read
left to right or right to left (palindromes) .

There are 293 ways to make change for a dollar.

There are more chickens than people in the world.

There are only four words in the English language which end in “dous”:
tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous.

There are two words in the English language that have all five vowels in
order: “abstemious” and “facetious.”

There’s no Betty Rubble in the Flintstones Chewables Vitamins.

Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.

TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on
one row of the keyboard.

Winston Churchill was born in a ladies’ room during a dance.

Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks; otherwise
it will digest itself.

………… .Now you know everything.. ……… .

June 6, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Various | Leave a comment

Do You Know … Alphabet…

 

This is awesome – I bet you didn’t know this…

Letters ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’ & ‘d’  do not appear anywhere in the spellings of 1 to 99

(Letter ‘d’ comes for the first time in Hundred)

Letters ‘a’, ‘b’ & ‘c’ do not appear anywhere in the spellings of 1 to 999

(Letter ‘a’ comes for the first time in Thousand)

Letters ‘b’ & ‘c’ do not appear anywhere in the spellings of 1 to 999,999,999

(Letter ‘b’ comes for the first time in Billion)

And

Letter ‘c’ does not appear anywhere in in the spellings of entire English Counting

May 28, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Various | Leave a comment

Englisch-hilfen.de

For those who likes to learn English online, here is one of the English Learning Online websites, Englisch-hilfen.de. From its name, I think you can guess which country it is from. Yes, it’s a Germany websites.

You can find the most frequently used materials about English language in this site. Although it’s not too complete, but I think it’s getting better day after day, I see that they keep updating the materials in the site. So, if you are interested to learn English Online, then this is one of the site to visit.

You can see the link to this site on the LINKS menu.

I’ll add the other link soon.

May 23, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Various | 1 Comment

Five-Vowels Words

facetious,abstemious,annelidous,arsenious are english words which contains all five vowels in alphabetical order

May 22, 2008 Posted by | Learn English - Various, Learn English - Vocabulary | Leave a comment