Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

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Honor the Merchant Marine on Veterans Day

November 11, 2015

While observing this federal holiday today, please take time to remember ALL who have served in defense of this country.

Veterans Day: Honoring the U.S. Merchant Marine

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Month of Thankfulness

November 3, 2015

Somehow November snuck up on me. I saw a friend’s FB post about how she was changing things up this year from our usual tradition of posting daily who or what she was thankful for. Instead, as she posted, she was thankful for each of us but this year she would randomly pick someone from her friend list and spend the day in prayer for them–anonymously. I thought that was a refreshing idea.

I always have mixed feelings about the tradition to begin with. Last year I got through the month without losing steam or feeling guilty for being so thankful…not just of material things (out of 30 days those were just a fraction, things like my wonderful Chief or the house to keep us warm and dry) but of the everyday things not to be taken for granted (a beautiful sunset or even the music sung at church).

While I am still and always will be thankful for all the Lord’s blessings, I am choosing not to share them this year. Instead I looked up how many times the phrase “give thanks” is used in the Bible. 57 times. A few in Chronicles and Nehemiah are very specific to the situation or individuals, but the rest are to encourage us to remember to praise the one from whom all blessings flow.

Maybe by not focusing on me, this month will go better. Hopefully I will encourage others…I often felt my thankfulness reminded others of what they didn’t have even if bragging wasn’t the intention. After all, no one owns a sunset and everyone is capable of being thankful for it.

Will the daily dose of Jesus be an affront to my friends of different faiths or non faith? I had a friend I was rather surprised by post one of those “FB challenge to declare Jesus and if you don’t repost this Jesus will deny you too” memes. I never would have expected this friend to succumb to that because it is quite evident how strong her faith is…she declares him all the time in her words and actions. I guess I am hoping people see my “declaration” without such a blatant illogical meme. If some are offended (even you precious readers of this blog) then so be it. I have too much going on right now not to be spending this month really focusing on giving thanks where thanks is due.

At the end of the month I will post a list of the verses out of 57 that I use.

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Maritime Day 2015

May 21, 2015

Two days ago I started a long-term sub job for a middle school math teacher who took paternity leave to help his wife after her C-section. I will finish out the year for him. Let’s just say that this is in the middle of standardized testing and these students have already taken their respective math tests. AND THE INMATES ARE RESTLESS! Even with lesson plans (sadly many students mistakenly believed they were getting 17 days of free-for-all) I do have some time to fill … so I thought about my annual Maritime Day public service announcement. But this is a math class… how could I make it fit the subject? USMM.org and proponents of the merchant marine receiving veteran status have always touted that the MM had the highest casualty percentage of any service in World War II (though prior to 2006 this claim was always tempered with “2nd only to the Marine Corps”). In my search for casualty numbers and total in service I learned through usmm.org that recent research has found more data on the merchant vessels and crews lost. So I have amended my article and created a cross-multiply math problem (you could of course just simple divide the numerator by the denominator and move the decimal point over two to get the percentage…) and yes, T2 had to explain to me how it was done. (Why they thought it was a good idea to hire me, I don’t know!)

NATIONAL MARITIME DAY (May 22)

Our nation has a little-known national holiday this week: National Maritime Day—a day set aside to honor those civilians who gave their lives for freedom upon the high seas. Because members of the U.S.-flagged Merchant Marine are civilians, most Memorial Day celebrations only give cursory mention of these heroes. As a result, National Maritime Day is their day.

Established by a joint resolution of Congress on May 20, 1933, National Maritime Day is May 22 of each year. The day was selected to honor the first successful trans-Atlantic crossing by a steamship, S.S. Savannah, which set sail from the United States on May 22, 1819. The president of the United States issues a proclamation each year, calling for observance of the holiday. Each U.S.-flagged vessel is sent the proclamation, acknowledging the continued service of the men and women of the U.S. Merchant Marine. On April 4, 1945, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a proclamation adding that observances of National Maritime Day include flying the American flag on homes and all government buildings.

The U.S. Maritime Administration, a branch of the Department of Transportation, holds a memorial service—the only national memorial service that honors those American seafarers who lost their lives in service to their country. American seafarers have been involved in defense of the nation since 1776 to the present. In World War II alone, over 1,000* American vessels were sunk, and over 9,500** merchant seamen and officers were lost as a result of enemy action and war-related causes. Members of Congress, leaders from maritime labor and management, and government all participate in this memorial service.

*A Careless Word — a Needless Sinking: A History of the Staggering Losses Suffered by the U.S. Merchant Marine, both in Ships and Personnel, during World War II, American Merchant Marine Museum, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y., 1983 to 1998. Captain Moore’s book lists approx. 990 ships. http://www.usmm.org list includes 1,600 ships.

**Total killed at sea, POW killed, plus died from wounds ashore

The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point, N.Y., sends an honor guard and the academy’s Battle Standard to participate in the Memorial Service. USMMA lost 144 midshipmen in World War II. Since the academy’s founding in 1943, midshipmen have been involved in every major military action, including today’s war on terror. This makes the academy unique among the nation’s five service academies.

The U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command holds a wreath-laying ceremony also on National Maritime Day. The ceremony honors the civilian seafarers who gave their lives manning U.S. Navy vessels involved in the transport of vital supplies. It also honors the Navy Armed Guards who sailed on merchant vessels, an oft-overlooked group of servicemen.

Civilian seafarers helped to build and defend the United States. Fredericksburg began as a colonial shipping port. Shipping commerce is vital to our country’s economy. In time of war gallant seafarers have come to the aid of our armed services—delivering troops, equipment, and food, often putting themselves in grave and mortal danger. As we celebrate Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day, please remember those who served along with our Soldiers, Pilots, Sailors, and Marines. And fly the flag proudly on May 22 each year in observance of National Maritime Day.

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Merchant Mariners do not automatically have veteran status. In fact the Secretary of the Air Force (not even its own branch of service until after WWII) blocked granting veteran status and rights four times!

From usmm.org:

The judge ordered the Board to reconsider their denial and the Board granted veteran status to most WWII mariners on January 19, 1988. Mariners who went to sea after August 15, 1945, serving in wartime in hazardous waters, got veteran status on November 11, 1998.

One of the arguments against granting status is the civilian nature of their job. “They get paid more.” One argument for veteran status is the hazardous conditions of war time seafaring and the disproportionate casualties the merchant marine suffered during WWI and between Aug. 1945 and Dec. 1946 (as well as other conflicts such as Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf Wars).

To support this reason for veteran status, compare casualty numbers to the total number of personnel per branch to determine the percentage lost during WWII.

Service Number serving   War Dead
 Merchant Marine 243,000* 9,521**
 Marines  669,108  19,733
 Army  11,268,000  234,874
 Navy  4,183,466  36,958
 Coast Guard  242,093  574
 Total  16,576,667  295,790

*Number varies by source and ranges from 215,000 to 285,000. War Shipping Administration Press Release 2514, January 1, 1946, lists 243,000 **Total killed at sea, POW killed, plus died from wounds ashore

THE ANSWERS:

Service Number serving   War Dead  Percent   Ratio
 Merchant Marine 243,000* 9,521** 3.90% 1 in 26
 Marines  669,108  19,733  2.94%  1 in 34
 Army  11,268,000  234,874  2.08%  1 in 48
 Navy  4,183,466  36,958  0.88%  1 in 114
 Coast Guard  242,093  574  0.24%  1 in 421
 Total  16,576,667  295,790  1.78%  1 in 56

*Number varies by source and ranges from 215,000 to 285,000. War Shipping Administration Press Release 2514, January 1, 1946, lists 243,000 **Total killed at sea, POW killed, plus died from wounds ashore

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Merry Christmas 2014

December 31, 2014

Christmas 2014
Dear Friends and Loved Ones,

As the year winds down and we’ve just given thanks for all our blessings, we hope this finds you enjoying each day with your loved ones. It has been a year of new experiences and milestones for our family and we have much to be thankful for. the Chief will be heading out to sea just before Christmas so we will make the most of the month before he leaves.

The Chief brought his ship through the Panama Canal Again and is now “tramping” the Gulf of Mexico and up and down the East Coast. For the first time I got to drive to the ship terminal and bring him home. Our dads took the day to drive round trip with me and we got to tour the Chief’s engine room. Now my dad finally knows what the Chief does for a living—seeing it up close puts things in perspective! Glad we had the opportunity as it may not come along again with no set schedule or ports of call. We hope though that the girls will have a chance before the Chief retires.

T1 finished Middle School a straight A student and third place winner of the Regional Science Fair for her project on Engineering—Materials. She applied for and was accepted as one of the 2018 class of the CGS. It is hard to believe she has started high school. She continues rec league soccer, viola, bridged to Senior Girl Scouts, and has joined the drama club. She made 2nd alternate for Junior Regional Orchestra and earned a spot in the high school All County Orchestra. T1 is maturing by leaps and bounds and rising to the challenge of a demanding course load. Try as she might she hasn’t passed me in height (only 5’5 ½”) but she now wears size 9 shoes!

T2 finished 6th grade making Honor Roll all year and with a community service award. She made her debut as Mistress Josie Walker at the faire with our greyhounds. (In case you are wondering, the Chief will never get in garb and join us. Never.) T2 continues playing tenor saxophone and just earned a spot in the middle school All County Band, rec league soccer, Cadette Girl Scouts, and teaching herself Latin putting herself ahead of her classmates. This school year started off rocky with scheduling conflicts but she’s making the most of it (even if she still asks every now and then if she can be home schooled). She has joined the Debate Club and is putting her “passionate persuasiveness” to use. T2 got braces in August, is now back in glasses, and she has finally made it to 5’1”.

Me? Still doing great with my psoriatic arthritis. Still training and will have run three 5Ks this year—the Marine Corps Historic, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (got my personal best time so far!) and will run the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run on Dec. 14th. I am subbing more than ever and have added Clarissa’s two high schools to my list. Seriously, it is still babysitting. I am enjoying running the older Girl Scouts and watching these girls stick with it. I also started teaching a new version of my girls’ Bible Study on becoming women of God to a group of 7th-12th graders. It has been a revitalizing experience.

We had the trip of a lifetime in July with the Chief’s family—a Hawaiian island cruise. We celebrated FIL & MIL’s 50th anniversary as well as many other family milestones (the Chief’s 45th and my 40th birthdays). We also started planning BIL and L’s upcoming nuptials in 2015. We got to see where they grew up and to visit our Hawaiian o’hana—the Cs and Ms. Truly it was the trip of a lifetime full of so many memories.

The lessons we learned this year are it pays to have “connections” on a cruise ship (wink!), drag your children kicking and screaming to the teen clubs for their own good—and you’ll barely see them on board, our part in God’s story is being written and rewritten all the time—trust Him!, and Mele Kalikimaka is the right way to say “Merry Christmas!”

All our love,

SnipeWife, the Chief, T1 & T2
Crookshanks & Hedwig

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