Memorial Day – Help Carry the Load

An American flag flaps in the wind.

I was watching the news with my mom last night and they had an interesting story on Memorial Day. Last year, I blogged about Memorial Day and talked about the history of the holiday and why it was created. I also talked about what it has become and how people celebrate it today. Originally created to honor veterans of the Armed Services who had died, Memorial Day has sort of become a holiday to honor any loved ones who have died. In our family, it is a tradition to visit the cemetery on Memorial Day and to put flowers on the graves of relatives we’ve lost.

There was an NBC news story about a veteran named Clint Bruce. He is a former Navy SEAL who has completed a ton of dangerous missions while he was in the military. He has also lost a large number of friends and fellow soldiers while in battle. Mr. Bruce believes that it is his duty to remind Americans of the real intention and meaning of Memorial Day, so he founded an organization called Carry the Load.

Carry the Load collects contributions that are distributed to the needy families of troops and first responders who have died in the line of duty.  Carry the Load also organized a charity event that I think is a pretty cool idea – a walk from West Point, NY (home of the United States Military Academy) all the way to Dallas, TX!  This year’s walk began on April 28th at the cemetery at West Point and ended May 24th (yesterday), the day before Memorial Day, in Dallas.  The total distance of the walk was 2,000 miles.  The walk is actually a relay, and works just like the march of the Olympic Torch every four years.  Most people walk just part of the long distance before passing the American flag off to another person who continues the relay.  The walk passes through several cities and towns between West Point and Dallas and serves as a reminder to people what the real meaning of Memorial Day is.

Today, my dad smoked pork spare ribs and country style ribs.  My mom made warm potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, and corn bread; and my dad said grace for our food before we ate.  And before we prayed, I reminded my dad to pray for the soldiers and their families who had died in service to our country.  It’s the very least we could do.

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Mother’s Day

Today is the day we celebrate Mother’s Day. I read about the origin of Mother’s Day on History.com.  What I found interesting is that a number of people promoted celebrating Mother’s in the late 1800’s.   In 1868 Ann Reeves Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation. It was actually her daughter, Anna Jarvis, who conceived Mother’s Day as a way to honor the sacrifices mothers made for their children.  In 1908, the first official Mother’s Day was held in West Virginia.  Anna did not get married or have any children of her own; yet she pushed for Mother’s Day to become a national holiday.  What’s strange is that once it did, she later fought to have it removed as a holiday because she thought it was too commercial. Much like today, both the floral and card companies were a part of Mother’s Day celebrations. According to Statista.com, in 2014,  jewelry and dinner/brunch were the two largest planned expenditure categories in the United States for Mother’s Day (more than $7 billion!). Flowers were $2.35 billion.  At my dad’s church, everyone whose mother is alive wears a red flower, usually a rose or carnation. For those whose mom is deceased, they wear a white rose or carnation. This tradition is meant to honor all mothers. We rarely go out for Mother’s Day. Instead, my dad, you know the master chef (at least that’s what he calls himself) always cooks dinner.  This year, we had baked salmon, lobster mac and cheese, and salad. I made the red velvet cupcakes (see the recipe below).

Duncan Hines Decadent Red Velvet Cupcake

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Cupcake Ingredients: 2 Eggs, 2/3 cup of water, and 1/4 cup of oil.
Frosting Ingredients: 2 teaspoons water and 8 tablespoons butter.

This recipe is so simple all you have to do is follow the instructions on the back of the box:

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Salt Dough Handprint

I also made a simple craft. My brother made one of these for my mom when he was in the second grade. I’ve always been a little jealous that she’s got one of his hands (and she keeps it on her dresser and puts her jewelry in it).  Now she has one of mine too (and mine is much bigger than his!).  Ha, take that, Jacob!  I found this recipe on Mommymoment.ca

Ingredients: 1 Cup Flour; 1 Cup Salt; 1/2 Cup Water

Instructions:
Mix the salt and flour in a large bowl.
Make a well in the salt/flour mixture and add the water.
Knead until smooth and shape into a bowl.
Place the mixture in a tin pan and imprint your hand.
I pressed my hand into the pan but it did not make a good imprint. So I wet my hand and tried it again. This time it worked.
Decorate with food coloring.
I baked it at 200 degrees F until dry.