Saturday, May 30, 2009

Quit Smoking - Bobby

Quit Smoking - Vice Adm. Adam M. Robinson (Navy Surgeon General)

Quit Smoking - Gen Robert Magnus USMC

Quit Smoking - Aaron

Adm Moulen on stress

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs told lawmakers May 14 he is deeply troubled by the long-term effects of combat stress on the nation's armed forces.

Mullen on Army Suicides

The Pentagon is seeking answers to the growing number of suicides in the military.

Fort Campbell Suicide Prevention

Fort Campbell, Kentucky is in the final day of a three-day standown to focus on the pressing issue of suicide prevention.

Healthy Military

This month, the Defense Commissary Agency has stepped up its effort to get military members and their families to be healthier.

Quit Smoking

New VA Website

The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new website to connect veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with their college mental health care professionals.

World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day is Sunday May 31, a time to remind smokers around the world, it's time to quit.

Army Investigates Misconduct Allegations

The Department of the Army announced today that the Army's Criminal Investigation Command and Multi-National Force – Iraq are investigating allegations of serious misconduct involving members of the 266th Military Police Company, Virginia Army National Guard, which allegedly took place during the unit's pre-deployment mobilization training at Fort Dix, N.J., in fall 2008.

The allegations state that several soldiers of the unit inappropriately photographed and filmed female soldiers while showering.

Commanders in Iraq learned of the allegations on May 21 and initiated an Army Regulation 15-6 investigation on May 22. The Criminal Investigation Command initiated a criminal investigation on May 23.

For more information regarding the investigation, please contact Army Public Affairs at (703) 697-2564. PR No. 372-09

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ride to Recovery

This weekend thousands of wounded veterans and their supporters are set to wrap up a week long journey.

Gates on North Korea

Defense Secretary Robert Gates is downplaying the rhetoric stirred up by this week's North Korean missile tests.

TRICARE Reserve Select Numbers Increase

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – The number of National Guard and Reserve members purchasing TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) coverage is growing. The premium-based healthcare plan is available for purchase by eligible members of the Selected Reserves. The latest information on TRS is available on the TRICARE Web site at

To view the entire news release visit:

About TRICARE Management Activity and the Military Health System TRICARE Management Activity, the Defense Department activity that administers the health care plan for the uniformed services, retirees and their families, serves more than 9.4 million eligible beneficiaries worldwide in the Military Health System (MHS). The mission of the MHS is to enhance Department of Defense and national security by providing health support for the full range of military operations. The MHS provides quality medical care through a network of providers, military treatment facilities, medical clinics and dental clinics worldwide. For more about the MHS go to

Hurricane Preps

The Florida National Guard is getting ready for the 2009 hurricane season.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Night Vision Goggles

Hundreds of Soldiers are heading downrange with new top-of-the-line equipment they say helps them own the night.

North Korea Threat

The international response to recent events in North Korea will have a far reaching impact.

Hats Off to Academy Grads

Mitigation Workshop for Homeowners Scheduled On June 3 in Center

Wed, 27 May 2009 11:13:38 -0500

You are subscribed to Region 8 News for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). This information has recently been updated, and is now available.

FEMA advisory for Atlanta, Ga.

Baker, Early Counties In Georgia Now Eligible For FEMA Disaster Assistance
Wed, 27 May 2009 09:24:26 -0500

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Two additional Georgia counties - Baker and Early - are now eligible for additional federal disaster assistance to help individuals cope with damage from the March 26-April 13 severe storms and flooding, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials said today. Baker and Early counties were already eligible for reimbursement under another FEMA program that provides infrastructure assistance.

Tell Your Neighbor About Disaster Assistance
Wed, 27 May 2009 09:27:12 -0500

ATLANTA, Ga. -- More than 1,300 Georgia residents have applied for disaster assistance to date and more than $4.7 million has been approved for eligible applicants. Officials want to make sure no one is overlooked.

Non-Citizens May Be Eligible For Disaster Recovery Aid
Wed, 27 May 2009 09:20:02 -0500

ATLANTA, Ga. -- People who are not U.S. citizens but who are in the United States legally may be eligible for state/federal disaster aid according to officials from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Mobile Disaster Recovery Center Opens In Early County
Wed, 27 May 2009 08:35:39 -0500

ATLANTA, Ga. -- A Mobile Disaster Recovery Center (Mobile DRC) operated by the State of Georgia and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is open in Early County through Thursday, May 28, to assist people affected by the March 26-April 13 storms and flooding.

One Month Left To Register For Disaster Assistance
Wed, 27 May 2009 09:21:55 -0500

ATLANTA, Ga. -- Georgia families, individuals and businesses are reminded today that they have one month left - until June 22 - to apply for disaster assistance for damages suffered from the March 26 through April 13 storms and floods. The reminder was made by officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Another Day by Paul McCartney

Every day she takes a morning baths e wets her hair,
Wraps a towel around her
As shes heading for the bedroom chair,
Its just another day.
Slipping into stockings,
Stepping into shoes,
Dipping in the pocket of her raincoat.

Ah, its just another day.

At the office where the papers grow she takes a break,
Drinks another coffee
And she finds it hard to stay awake,

Its just another day. du du du du du
Its just another day. du du du du du
Its just another day.

So sad, so sad,
Sometimes she feels so sad.
Alone in her apartment shed dwell,
Till the man of her dreams comes to break the spell.

Ah, stay, don't stand around
And he comes and he stays
But he leaves the next day,
So sad.
Sometimes she feels so sad.

As she posts another letter to the sound of five,
People gather round her
And she finds it hard to stay alive,

Its just another day. du du du du du
Its just another day. du du du du du
Its just another day.

So sad, so sad,
Sometimes she feels so sad.
Alone in her apartment she dwell,
Till the man of her dreams comes to break the spell.

Ah, stay, don't stand around
And he comes and he stays
But he leaves the next day,
So sad.
Sometimes she feels so sad.

Every day she takes a morning bath she wets her hair,
Wraps a towel around her
As shes heading for the bedroom chair,
Its just another day.

Slipping into stockings,
Stepping into shoes,
Dipping in the pockets of her raincoat.

Ah, its just another day. du du du du du
Its just another day. du du du du du
Its just another day.

Troops Deploy

The 844th Engineer Battalion furled their colors May 25 in preparation for their latest deployment to Iraq.

Guantanamo Detainee Trends

A look at the tendencises for detainees released from Guantanamo Bay to return to terrorist activities.

North Korea Missile Test

A report from Pentagon Bureau on North Korea's missile test.

Citizen Corps News: FEMA, NEMA, and IAEM Leadership to Present National Citizen Corps Achievement Awards at 2009 NCCP

FEMA's Community Preparedness Division is excited to announce that FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate, NEMA Incoming President Dave Maxwell, and IAEM President Russ Decker will announce the winners of the National Citizen Corps Achievement Awards- Celebrating Resilient Communities during a ceremony at the 2009 National Conference on Community Preparedness (NCCP).

Two representatives from the winning Council in each award category will be FEMA’s honored guests during the 2009 NCCP, August 9-12, 2009, in the Washington, DC area. Each award recipient will be recognized by FEMA, NEMA, and IAEM in the awards ceremony and highlighted during a breakout session at the NCCP. In addition, each award recipient will be featured in national outreach activities and on the national Citizen Corps website.

The National Citizen Corps Achievement Awards- Celebrating Resilient Communities will recognize innovative practices and achievements of Citizen Corps Councils across the nation that are making our communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to manage any emergency situation. Winning Citizen Corps Councils will exemplify excellence in community emergency planning, foster successful public-private partnerships, prioritize collaboration, demonstrate creative and innovative local problem solving, and implement sound programs that can be modeled for use by other communities. There is one award for State/Territory Councils and five award categories for tribal, regional, and local Councils who may submit applications for multiple categories. The categories are:

  • Outstanding State/Territory Citizen Corps Initiatives Award
  • Outstanding Citizen Corps Council Award
  • Collaborative Preparedness Planning Award
  • Preparing the Public Award
  • Preparing Community Organizations Award
  • Volunteer Integration Award

To be eligible for consideration, entries must be received no later than June 12, 2009. For more information, including the application kit and FAQs, visit

This news story and other Community Preparedness news, including Citizen Corps Bulletins, can be found on our website at


The National Office of Citizen Corps

FEMA Community Preparedness Division

FEMA advisory

President Declares Major Disaster For Florida
Wed, 27 May 2009 17:28:42 -0500

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today announced that federal disaster aid has been made available for Florida to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area struck by severe storms, flooding, tornadoes, and straight-line winds beginning on May 17, 2009, and continuing.

Federal Aid Programs For Florida Disaster Recovery
Wed, 27 May 2009 17:39:54 -0500

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's major disaster declaration issued for Florida.

Florida Severe Storms, Flooding, Tornadoes, and Straight-line Winds
Wed, 27 May 2009 16:56:48 -0500

Major Disaster Declaration number 1840 declared on May 27, 2009.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With the beginning of the 2009 Atlantic Hurricane Season upon us, hurricane prone states across the country are doing their part to help prepare their citizens and communities. From sales tax holidays on hurricane and emergency preparedness equipment in Virginia and Louisiana, to a major hurricane exercise in Florida, states are taking actions to ensure that citizens and the emergency response community are prepared for the 2009 hurricane season.

FEMA Public Assistance Funds Awarded To Jefferson County Drainage District
Wed, 27 May 2009 13:45:30 -0500

TEXAS CITY, Texas -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded more than $1 million to Jefferson County Drainage District No. 6 to repair cranes damaged in Hurricane Ike's storm surge.

North Dakota Disaster Recovery Centers Hours Change
Wed, 27 May 2009 14:05:10 -0500

BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota Disaster Recovery Centers will be closing one hour earlier on Monday - Saturday, effective Thursday, May 28. The new operational hours will be 9 a.m. - 6 p.m., local time and closed on Sundays.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Just for Fun

Register Now For Disaster Assistance

Tue, 26 May 2009 08:06:36 -0500

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W. Va. -- West Virginia residents and business owners in Mingo and Wyoming Counties who suffered property damage or losses from the severe storms, flooding, mudslides, and landslides that began on May 3 may register for disaster assistance.

Preparing Mentally for Deployments

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 - The Military Health System Blog
Posted by: Guest Blogger

Today we hear from USPHS Cmdr. Guy Mahoney.

One of the hardest things about deployment is being separated from your family and friends. During deployment, we often think about our loved ones and their welfare, and, when problems arise at home, it can become especially distressful for us. At times we feel powerless because we are not physically there to help.

As a clinician, I know these home-front difficulties often negatively impact mission performance and our own health. So what can we do to head off these problems? Put simply, I’ve learned that the more we prepare for difficulties before deployment, the better we cope once we’re apart. I recommend taking these few steps before you deploy.

1. Have your contact information and your family’s contact information updated regularly.

Maintaining contact is essential when you are apart. Keep a running list of things you want to discuss, remembering to share the good things, too. Additional opportunities for communicating might crop up unexpectedly. This way you’ll be prepared.

2. Accomplish as much as you can together before the deployment.

Taking care of standing issues or setting plans in motion that will resolve such issues well before your deployment will ease everyone’s mind and allow you to maintain some control. For example, use the pre-deployment period to have family discussions about legal concerns or medical issues; create budget and financial plans; and think realistically about housing, utilities, transportation, school, and childcare needs.

3. Create a list of local community and base resources.

Especially for those situations you can not anticipate, it is vital that your family can quickly and easily find assistance in their local communities and through support organizations. Good planning and networking here will lessen the edge on home problems when they arise (and they will!).

4. Actively prepare for your family’s and your own deployment stress

You and your family should resolve to stay positive and flexible before, during, and after deployment. Communication by phone or by text should be regular. Keep connected within your social circles, and identify “personal sanctuaries” where you and your family can refresh yourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Make sure everyone is balancing sleep, rest, play, diet and exercise. Encourage seeking assistance when it is needed.

5. Have a trusted family member or friend who’ll check in with your family from time to time.

One of the most important things you can do is to identify a resourceful family member or trusted friend (or a few of them) who will check in with your family from time to time.

These are some easy and practical steps to take to help you with deployment. Preparation and planning together with your loved ones will go a long way in lessening the impact of any issues should they arise.

The President of USA

I am proud to announce my nominee for the next Justice of the United States Supreme Court: Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

This decision affects us all -- and so it must involve us all. I've recorded a special message to personally introduce Judge Sotomayor and explain why I'm so confident she will make an excellent Justice.

Please watch the video, and then pass this note on to friends and family to include them in this historic moment.

Watch a special message from the President

Judge Sotomayor has lived the America Dream. Born and raised in a South Bronx housing project, she distinguished herself in academia and then as a hard-charging New York District Attorney.

Judge Sotomayor has gone on to earn bipartisan acclaim as one of America's finest legal minds. As a Supreme Court Justice, she would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any Justice in 100 years. Judge Sotomayor would show fidelity to our Constitution and draw on a common-sense understanding of how the law affects our day-to-day lives.

A nomination for a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land is one of the most important decisions a President can make. And the discussions that follow will be among the most important we have as a nation. You can begin the conversation today by watching this special message and then passing it on:

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

Wikipedia on Sotomayor

Nomination to the Supreme Court

Sotomayor had been regarded as a potential Supreme Court nominee by several Presidents, both Republican and Democratic.[7][27] In July 2005, a number of Senate Democrats suggested Sotomayor, among others, to President George W. Bush as a nominee acceptable to them to fill the seat of retiring Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. The suggestion was criticized by John Lott and Sonia D. Jones on the conservative blog National Review Online as being in bad faith, because, they argued, it reflected insufficient effort on the part of the Democrats to suggest conservative nominees acceptable to Bush. Lott and Jones noted that Sotomayor was rated only "moderate" or "neutral," rather than "conservative," in a survey by the Almanac of the Federal Judiciary of courtroom lawyers regarding the political views of the judges they encounter in their litigation.[28] John G. Roberts was nominated for the seat initially, but instead was nominated and later confirmed as Chief Justice following the death of William H. Rehnquist. The seat was eventually filled by Judge Samuel A. Alito, Jr. of the Third Circuit.

Since Barack Obama's election, there had been speculation that Sotomayor could be a leading candidate for the Supreme Court seat of Justice David Souter, or for any opening on the Court during President Obama's term.[7][8][9][27][29][30][31][32][33] On April 9, 2009, New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand wrote a joint letter to President Obama urging him to appoint Sotomayor, or alternatively Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, to the Supreme Court if a vacancy should arise on the Court during his term.[34] On April 30, 2009 David Souter's retirement plans were leaked to the media, and Sonia Sotomayor received early attention as a possible nominee for the seat to be vacated in June 2009.[33] On May 13, 2009, the Associated Press reported that President Obama was considering Sotomayor, among others, for possible appointment to the United States Supreme Court.[35] If confirmed, Sotomayor would be the Supreme Court's first ever female [[Hispanic and Latino Americans|Hispanic] (Benjamin N. Cardozo being the first ever Hispanic on the bench). .[34][36][37][38] On May 26, 2009, ABC, CBS, NBC and all other major news outlets reported that President Obama has nominated Federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next United States Supreme Court Justice. [39] President Obama will be live on TV to make the official announcement at 10:15am EST.

Full article

CNN Breaking News

President Obama to nominate Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, sources tell CNN.

Hawaii Memorial

Fallen servicemembers from a unit in Hawaii were memorialized May 21 with a granite monument at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu.

Boating Safety Tips

Following these boating safety tips can keep a fun summer outing from turning into a tragedy. Visit U.S. Coast Guard's Boating Safety Division.

Monday, May 25, 2009

USS Lake Champlain Rescues More Than 50 Mariners in Distress

Story Number: NNS090525-04
Release Date: 5/25/2009 8:23:00 AM

From Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command Public Affairs

GULF OF ADEN (NNS) -- The San Diego based guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Champlain (CG 57) responded to a vessel in distress in the Gulf of Aden May 23, rescuing 52 men women and children who had been adrift in a small skiff for approximately seven days.

The crew of Lake Champlain's embarked SH-60B helicopter from Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 45 detachment Four, conducting a routine flight in the Gulf of Aden, spotted the skiff and upon seeing the mariners in distress, notified Lake Champlain. The ship, operating approximately 30 miles away, proceeded at maximum speed to assist the skiff.

Upon arrival, Lake Champlain's crew assessed the situation and began providing medical care to the mariners in distress. Seventeen personnel were immediately transferred to Lake Champlain and treated for severe dehydration and other critical medical issues. The remainder of the personnel initially remained aboard the skiff and were provided with food and water until they were later brought aboard Lake Champlain.

"U.S. Naval forces have a longstanding tradition of helping mariners in distress," said Capt. Kevin P. Campbell, Lake Champlain's commanding officer. "It's fortunate that our helicopter was flying over the right place at the right time. I'm glad we were able to be of assistance and rescue these men, women and children. Our Chief Hospital Corpsman stated that had we not found them at the time we did, the pregnant woman (who was in her third trimester) may not have survived."

The skiff experienced engine problems, due to a bad fuel mixture, leaving it unable to operate at sea. A determination regarding the final disposition of the 52 personnel has not yet been made.

"We were very fortunate to have come across these people in the state they were in," said the ship's Chaplain, Lt.j.g. Jarrod Johnson. "Seeing their condition really makes your heart go out to them. You can see the relief and hope in their eyes, and hear it in their conversation."

Lake Champlain, deployed as part of the USS Boxer Amphibious Ready Group, is operating as part of the Commander Task force (CTF) 51 and is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations to conduct maritime security operations (MSO). MSO helps develop security in the maritime environment. From security arises stability that results in global economic prosperity. MSO complements the counterterrorism and security efforts of regional nations and seek to disrupt violent extremists' use of the maritime environment as a venue for attack or to transport personnel, weapons or other material.

For more news from Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. 5th Fleet, visit

Dear Donna: A Pinup So Swell She Kept G.I. Mail

At New York Times By LARRY ROHTER

“It has been a long time since any of us boys have seen a woman, so we are writing to you in hopes that you’ll help us out of our situation,” Cpl. Frank J. Gizych lamented in a letter posted from the fog-shrouded Aleutian Islands. “Since we know that it’s impossible to see a woman in the flesh, we would appreciate it very much if you could send us a photo of yourself.”

It was July 1944, and America was at war. From bases and battlefields in Europe and on Pacific islands, soldiers, sailors and airmen were sending streams of letters to their favorite actresses in Hollywood, asking for pinup photos and commenting on life on the front lines.

Almost all of that mail, which studios usually answered with a glossy shot showing the star in a saucy pose, has been lost. But the actress Donna Reed, later famous for her roles as Mary Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and the middle-class housewife Donna Stone on “The Donna Reed Show” and who won an Oscar for “From Here to Eternity,” saved some of the correspondence. After nearly 65 years in a shoebox inside an old trunk long stored in the garage of her home in Beverly Hills, Calif., the letters have at last been read and made public by the actress’s children. Ms. Reed died in 1986 at age 64.

“Mom never mentioned them,” said Mary Owen, 52, the youngest of the four. She added, “I had no idea she was such an important symbol to these guys.”

The United States military encouraged the pinup phenomenon as a way to maintain the morale of soldiers far from home. Most of the leading pinups were established stars known for their sex appeal, in particular Betty Grable, blond hair piled high, poured into a swimsuit and photographed from behind, her face turned toward the camera with a smile. There were others: images of Rita Hayworth, Ann Sheridan, Hedy Lamarr and Dorothy Lamour also adorned lockers, barracks walls and the noses of military aircraft.


"O bode e a cabra" by Rita Lee

CinC Addresses USNA Grads

In his first address to military graduates, Commander in Chief Barack Obama told members of the Naval Academy's Class of 2009 May 22 they have embraced the virtues the country needs the most right now.

Citizen Corps News: Upcoming Events of Interest for Citizen Corps Councils & Partners

  • Hurricane Preparedness Week: May 24-30, 2009
  • Home and National Safety Months: June 2009
  • Lightning Safety Week: June 21-27, 2009

Citizen Corps supports weekly and monthly outreach themes which encourage and promote civic engagement, public safety, preparedness, resilience, and volunteerism. The outreach themes are intended to be used as an opportunity to jumpstart work with additional Citizen Corps partners and affiliates on promoting awareness, planning events, and media outreach to strengthen community preparedness at the state and local level. Local Citizen Corps Councils and partners may contact local representatives from the organizations below to learn how the community can benefit from involvement, reach out to citizens about participation, and involve the local media in distributing information on these events. These events will help raise awareness for local Citizen Corps activities and ultimately increase community preparedness, training, and volunteer participation.

The following are the upcoming events for the end of May and June…

Hurricane Preparedness Week (May 24-30, 2009): Hurricane Preparedness Week can be utilized by local and state Citizen Corps Councils and partners to educate, train, and prepare the public prior to the official start of Hurricane Season on June 1st. The following NOAA and FEMA Hurricane Preparedness websites were created to inform the public about hurricane hazards and provide knowledge which can be used to take protective action. This information can be used to save lives at work, home, while on the road, or on the water. Visit and for more information and resources.

Home Safety Month (June 2009): Each year during June, the Home Safety Council, a National Citizen Corps Affiliate, works to educate and motivate families to take actions that will increase the safety of their homes. This year’s Home Safety Month campaign theme – Hands on Home Safety – asks the public to take some simple steps to create a safer home environment from the five leading causes of home injury – falls, poisonings, fires and burns, choking/suffocation and drowning. Visit the following website to obtain information and resources that Citizen Corps Councils and partners can share with community members to encourage them to take a hands-on approach to making their homes safer:

National Safety Month (June 2009): Every year the National Safety Council, a National Citizen Corps Affiliate, promotes National Safety Month, an initiative that focuses on heightening awareness of important safety issues. The National Safety Council asks employers to help prevent work place injuries and individuals to protect their loved ones from injury. Visit the National Safety Month website to learn about opportunities for Citizen Corps Councils to become National Safety Month Sponsors or to become Safety Ambassadors. Additionally, the site offers resources, in both Spanish and English, to support each of their June 2009 weekly themes. Visit to learn more.

Lightning Safety Week (June 21-27, 2009): Summer is the peak season for one of the nation's deadliest weather phenomena – lightning. In the U.S., an average of 62 people are killed each year by lightning; hundreds of others are injured. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a National Citizen Corps Affiliate, has recently posted new resources that Citizen Corps Councils and partners can use to increase lightning safety awareness, such as a brochure titled ‘Lightning Safety for You and Your Family’ and a lightning safety quiz for kids with Leon the Lightning Lion. Visit the NOAA Lightning Safety webpage at for more details.

A complete list of weekly and monthly outreach themes for 2009 is available on the Citizen Corps website at


The National Office of Citizen Corps
FEMA Community Preparedness Division

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day. It´s a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. At Wikipedia this is the history of MDay.


Following the end of the Civil War, many communities set aside a day to mark the end of the war or as a memorial to those who had died. Some of the places creating an early memorial day include Sharpsburg, Maryland, located near Antietam Battlefield; Charleston, South Carolina; Boalsburg, Pennsylvania; Petersburg, Virginia; Carbondale, Illinois; Columbus, Mississippi; many communities in Vermont; and some two dozen other cities and towns. These observances coalesced around Decoration Day, honoring the Union dead, and the several Confederate Memorial Days.

According to Professor David Blight of the Yale University History Department, the first memorial day was observed on May 1, 1865 by liberated slaves at the Washington Race Course (today the location of Hampton Park) in Charleston, South Carolina. The site had been used as a temporary Confederate prison camp as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who died in captivity. The freed slaves disinterred the dead Union soldiers from the mass grave to be inhumed properly reposed with individual graves, built a fence around the graveyard with an entry arch, declaring it a Union graveyard. On May 30, 1868, the freed slaves returned to the graveyard with flowers they had picked from the countryside and decorated the individual gravesites, thereby creating the first Decoration Day. Thousands of freed blacks and Union soldiers paraded from the area, followed by much patriotic singing and a picnic.[4]

The official birthplace of Memorial Day is Waterloo, New York. The village was credited with being the place of origin because it observed the day on May 5, 1866, and each year thereafter. The friendship between General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who helped bring attention to the event nationwide, likely was a factor in the holiday's growth.

Logan had been the principal speaker in a citywide memorial observation on April 29, 1866, at a cemetery in Carbondale, Illinois, an event that likely gave him the idea to make it a national holiday. On May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans' organization, Logan issued a proclamation that "Decoration Day" be observed nationwide[5]. It was observed for the first time on May 30 of the same year; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle. The tombs of fallen Union soldiers were decorated in remembrance.

Many of the states of the U.S. South refused to celebrate Decoration Day, due to lingering hostility towards the Union Army and also because there were relatively few veterans of the Union Army who were buried in the South. A notable exception was Columbus, Mississippi, which on April 25, 1866 at its Decoration Day commemorated both the Union and Confederate casualties buried in its cemetery.[6]

The alternative name of "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882. It did not become more common until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967. On June 28, 1968, the United States Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved three holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The holidays included Washington's Birthday, now celebrated as Presidents' Day; Veterans Day, and Memorial Day. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971.

After some initial confusion and unwillingness to comply, all fifty states adopted the measure within a few years. Veterans Day was eventually changed back to its traditional date. Ironically, most corporate businesses no longer close on Veterans Day, Columbus Day, or President's Day, with the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and/or New Year's Eve often substituted as more convenient "holidays" for their employees. Memorial Day endures as a holiday which most businesses observe because it marks the beginning of the "summer vacation season." This role is filled in neighboring Canada by Victoria Day, which occurs either on May 24 or the last Monday before that date, placing it exactly one week before Memorial Day.

Waterloo's designation as the birthplace took place just in time for the village's centennial observance. The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously passed House Concurrent Resolution 587 on May 17 and May 19, 1966 respectively, which reads in part as follows: "Resolved that the Congress of the United States, in recognition of the patriotic tradition set in motion one hundred years ago in the Village of Waterloo, NY, does hereby officially recognize Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day..."

On May 26, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a Presidential Proclamation recognizing Waterloo, New York as the Birthplace of Memorial Day.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

VA Recognizes Military Sacrifices on Memorial Day

Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2009 - From parades to somber ceremonies and a moment of silence, Americans will recall the sacrifices of military members who paid the ultimate price for freedom on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25.

"From May 23 to May 30, commemorative events at VA national cemeteries will present a sacred responsibility for employees and volunteers to honor these greatest of American heroes," Steve Muro, VA's Acting Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs said. "Since the birth of Memorial Day in 1866, national cemeteries have been the most visible expression of our country's gratitude for their service."

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will continue its annual tradition of hosting services at most of its national cemeteries and many other facilities nationwide. The programs, which are the focus of Memorial Day events in many communities, honor the service of deceased Veterans and people who die on active duty.
For the dates and times of Memorial Day programs at VA national cemeteries, visit

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend activities at VA's national cemeteries, with color guards, readings, bands and choir performances. The events will honor about one million men and women who died in wartime periods, including about 655,000 battle deaths.

Some national cemetery observances are unique. At VA's most active cemetery, in Riverside, Calif., volunteers have been reading aloud -- since Armed Forces Day, May 17 -- the names of more than 150,000 veterans buried there, and are expected to continue at least until the Memorial Day program. In one-hour shifts around the clock, 500 volunteers – two to four at a time -- alternate reading the names.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Three Days of R & R

Sea Power - Bretagne

Be Brave

Accident in a Carrier

Real Warriors Campaign

The DoD announced a new program, the Real Warriors Campaign, for troops dealing with psychological stress.

DoD Launches Program to Fight Stigma of Seeking Psychological Health Care

The Department of Defense today launched the Real Warriors Campaign, a multimedia public education effort designed to combat the stigma keeping some service members veterans and their families from seeking needed psychological health care. The campaign will promote the processes of building resilience, facilitating recovery and supporting reintegration for those with psychological wounds via an interactive web site and through radio and television public service announcements.

"You're tough, and you go into the hospital when you receive a physical wound," said Dr. (Brig. Gen.) Loree K. Sutton, director, of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury. "That doesn't mean you're weak in some way. So why wouldn't you seek treatment when you've received a psychological wound?"

The launch is part of a larger effort by the Department of Defense to ensure service members and their families can access necessary treatment for the invisible wounds of war as well as the visible wound.

For more information, visit or call the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) Outreach Center at (866) 966-1020. Link

Memorial Day Roll Call

More than 500 volunteers are taking part in a roll call to honor veterans buried at Riverside National Cemetery in California.

Fleet Week Kicks Off

The 22nd commemoration of Fleet Week got underway May 20 in New York City Harbor.

Obama on National Security

President Barack Obama spoke at the National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C. May 21

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Make THIS Memorial Day a "special" one for a GI in harm’s way...

Dear Friend of The USO:

A few days from now, Memorial Day celebrations will be held in small towns and big cities all across America. Bunting will be everywhere. Parades will feature bands, antique cars, kids on bikes, and veterans of many conflicts… all marching proudly to show their patriotism and love of country.

At the same time, half way around the world, 170,000 brave young men and women will demonstrate their patriotism in another way: by putting their lives at risk to defend everything America stands for.

As we gather in our backyards for cookouts and picnics, our troops overseas will grab an MRE and head out to patrol crowded streets and back alleys where insurgents continue to lurk.

As we play softball or watch a parade, they'll spend their afternoons in harm's way: a "place" where rounding any corner can mean a deadly ambush… where stopping any car or passerby can trigger an explosion and sudden death.

As we "ooh" and "aah" at fireworks displays, they'll duck live rounds and remain alert for the sudden rush of an incoming rocket-propelled grenade.

Today, the nation's economic crisis continues to push the ongoing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan off the front pages; some Americans may even have forgotten about the brave men and women who are doing their job overseas, but counting the days till it's their turn to share the home-town celebrations with their loved ones and friends.

However, the USO hasn't forgotten; we've already geared up to provide extra services to our troops… not just for Memorial Day, but throughout the weeks and months ahead. With American troops spread all over the globe…
  • We must recruit more stars to man our Celebrity Entertainment Tours to combat zones… not just to entertain, but also to shake hands with our GIs and say face-to-face, "Thanks! We're here for you. You're the real star!"

  • We need to buy more pre-paid phone cards, so our troops can call home for free whenever they get a chance, even from a pay phone in Baghdad.

  • We must staff up and supply our overseas Centers and Mobile Canteens; with the War in Iraq now in its sixth long year, they'll have to stay open extra hours to provide our guys and gals in uniform with a cold Coke, a warm smile, and a chance … even if just for a few moments … to escape from the War and enjoy a taste of home.

Meeting these special challenges, on top of all the everyday services we provide to our troops and their families, will take a huge effort, cost a lot of money, and stretch our resources to the limit. Many people are surprised to learn that the USO is not a government agency; in fact, we rely on individual citizens who want to support the troops, and who always seem to stand behind us at the times we need them most.

Now is one of those times. Please send your tax-deductible donation today, to help the USO make certain that every Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, and Coast Guardsman around the world knows that the folks back home are thinking of them, and that we honor their dedication, their heroism, and their sacrifice.

As Americans, we count on them. They count on us. I hope we can count on you.

On behalf of those we serve,

Sloan D. Gibson
USO President

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Beautiful Photo

A Sailor aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19) prepares to man the rail on the flight deck as multi-national ships sail in formation for the UNITAS Gold parade of ships. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer Seth Johnson/Released)

Just for Fun: Rapping Flight Attendant

Children of Valor

A new book is dedicated to the children of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Joint Warfighting Conference

The Virginia Beach Convention Center hosts the 2009 Joint Warfighting Conference. DNU Flash - 5/20/2009.

Sailors Living Aboard USS Florida

Sailors cope with living aboard USS Florida (SSBN 728). DNU Flash - 5/20/2009

Naval Base San Diego Post Office

Naval Base San Diego Military Post Office provides wide support to Department of Defense Personnel and their families. DNU Flash - 5/19/2009

USS Eisenhower Makes Historic Visit

USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) makes historic port visit to Bahrain. DNU Flash - 5/19/2009

America's Summer Vacation: the Smithsonian

Dear Friend,

Summer is always the Smithsonian’s busiest season…and this year we anticipate more visitors than ever as families stay closer to home because of the economic climate.

As the suffering economy brings more visitors to the Smithsonian this summer, it has also forced us to cut our budget. We’re proud to be America’s Summer Vacation, so much so that we’ve extended visiting hours for the next few months to welcome even more people into our museums. But the influx of visitors pushes our resources to the limit.

As summer approaches, we need your support to offset the demand on our buildings and programs: please make a special gift today and help provide vital funding to support the Smithsonian.

The gap between federal government funds and what we need to open our doors continues to widen, to the detriment of some of our most important programs. Where else but the Smithsonian can a family stroll alongside rare giant pandas…stand in front of the very flag that inspired our national anthem…and touch a piece of the moon? The Smithsonian is a place where families can travel the world together for free but many of our educational programs are being eliminated, fewer traveling exhibitions will be available, and visitor services are being reduced as the result of the budget shortfall.

With your additional support, we can continue to provide the very best for visitors as they explore, learn, and discover at the Smithsonian.

This summer, the Smithsonian will give millions of people a chance to witness the rich fabric of our nation’s history, the future of scientific discovery, and the beauty of cultural heritage from every corner of the globe. There is no question that an anticipated increase in visitors is exciting news… but it also means an increase in our costs and the resources needed to accommodate more people.

As we anticipate more visitors this summer than ever before, the Smithsonian needs your help today.

Thank you,
Virginia B. Clark

Virginia B. Clark
Director, External Affairs

PS: We know how much the Smithsonian means to America…and to families on a tight budget, who count on us being free to the public. As always and with your support there are no admission fees for this incredible experience. Please make your gift today to help close our budget gap.

FEMA advisory

Disaster Recovery Centers Closing, SBA Opening Disaster Loan Outreach Centers in Pulaski and White Counties
Tue, 19 May 2009 12:12:48 -0500

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The state/federal Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in White and Pulaski Counties will close on Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m., reopening Tuesday, May 26 as U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Outreach Centers (DLOCs) in the same locations. The DLOCs will be open until further notice: Monday - Friday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays from 9 am. to 1 p.m.; closed on Sundays.

Salvaging Disaster-Damaged Belongings
Wed, 20 May 2009 10:18:40 -0500

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Following the severe storms and tornadoes of April 9, the immediate focus was on the life-sustaining needs of those affected. As clean-up efforts progress, the focus shifts to recovery operations that may include salvaging personal belongings damaged as a result of the disaster.

Mobile Disaster Recovery Center Moving To Lawrence County
Wed, 20 May 2009 10:22:12 -0500

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A mobile Disaster Recovery Center (MDRC) will open for three days, Tuesday, May 26 through Thursday, May 28 in Bedford to serve residents and business owners who sustained losses or damage as a result of the severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding March 8 - 14, according to state and federal disaster officials.

Levy County Disaster Recovery Center To Close Thursday
Wed, 20 May 2009 15:01:36 -0500

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) in Levy County will permanently close at 6 p.m. Thursday, May 21, but those who suffered damages due to the storms and flooding between March 26 and May 5 can still get the help they need.

New Army Air Defense Unit

Monday the Department of the Army announced the creation of a new Army Air Defense Artillery Unit.

Senate Strips Funds to Close Guantánamo Detention Center

May 20, 2009 – 12:54 p.m.
By Josh Rogin, CQ Staff

The Senate voted Wednesday to strip funding to close the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, from a supplemental spending bill and bar funding for the transfer of prisoners to the United States.

The 90-6 vote on a Democratic amendment to the bill (HR 2346) takes $80 million from the legislation, but does not end the debate over how to handle the prison or its inmates.

The amendment by Appropriations Chairman Daniel K. Inouye , D-Hawaii, represented an attempt by Democratic leaders to defuse Republican attacks over the possibility of detainees entering the United States from the prison at the U.S. Navy base.

But even as he worked to remove the funding from the bill, Inouye maintained that the prison must be closed.

“This amendment is not a referendum on closing Guantánamo,” he said. “Let me be very clear: we need to close the Guantánamo prison.”

Republicans have offered several amendments aimed at keeping discussion over the Guantánamo detainees and their treatment while in U.S. custody at the fore of the debate over the bill to fund war operations through the end of fiscal 2009.

An amendment by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell , R-Ky., would require the Obama administration to give Congress a threat assessment of each of the prisoners now held at Guantánamo and justify any detainee transfers that might come ahead of the assessments. About 240 detainees remain in the prison.

Sam Brownback , R-Kan., offered an amendment expressing the sense of the Senate that state and local governments should be consulted before the administration moves to place any Guantánamo detainees within their jurisdictions.

And John Cornyn , R-Texas, introduced a “sense of the Senate” amendment saying there should be no criminal prosecutions or sanctions for any officials who wrote legal opinions regarding interrogation techniques, any interrogators who relied on those opinions, or any member of Congress briefed on the techniques.

“Accusations, investigations and so-called truth commissions are a waste of our time, resources and taxpayer money,” Cornyn said.

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin , D-Ill., opposed the Cornyn amendment in a floor speech.

“I don’t know where these investigations and the Department of Justice or the intelligence will lead, but if we are truly sworn to uphold the constitution and the laws of our land, we should allow them to run their course,” he said.

More Amendments to Come

Senators planned to debate several other amendments before moving toward an expected Thursday vote to limit debate on the bill.

Jim DeMint , R-S.C., was to propose stripping $5 billion for the International Monetary Fund, an aide said. The House supplemental bill includes no such funding.

Durbin urged rejection of DeMint’s amendment but said he was not sure Democrats had the votes to defeat it.

“I support the IMF provision because I think the president understands when he met with world leaders that the IMF is going to be a critical tool in providing stability to many countries around the world struggling with this recession,” Durbin said.

Lindsey Graham , R-S.C., said he will join Joseph I. Lieberman , I-Conn., to offer an amendment to bar the release of photographs allegedly portraying prisoner abuse by U.S. military personnel. Obama has announced that he will fight the effort to release the photos in the courts.

John McCain , R-Ariz., said he will offer an amendment to include about $40 million in requested funds for aid to the country of Georgia. The amendment would include offsets for the money, he said.

President Obama is expected to call for quick passage of the bill during a speech Thursday regarding his plans for Guantánamo.

The House passed its $96.7 billion version May 14.

Kathleen Hunter contributed to this story.

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