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15 Family Summer Memories that will Last a Lifetime

The summer months go by fast, too fast. Although family vacations can be a great way to create memories and have some much-needed family time, there are many simple (and free) ways you can “LIVE” life and enjoy time with your family all summer long. Here are 15 of our favorites:

· Make home-made popsicles
· Blow bubbles
· Paint
· Play in a sprinkler
· Tie-dye t-shirts
· Swing/go to a park
· Have a picnic
· Watch fireworks
· Go swimming in a river.
· Go for a walk
· Pick berries

And on rainy days…
· Catch frogs
· Jump in puddles
· Snuggle up to a good movie
· Make Crafts

Life is precious, and time with family is important and often scarce. Take a step back and focus on activities that will have everyone in your family interacting in a fun way. Life is too short to overlook the simple things that will most likely create life-long memories for your children.

The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is the second-largest Cemetery in the United States, with over 300,00 people interred there. Among the most visited sites at Arlington National Cemetery is The Tomb of the Unknowns, which is the resting place of three unknown servicemen.

There have been four soldiers interred in the Tomb of the Unknowns, with three remaining there. The first Unknown Soldier was from World War I, the second from World War II and the third from the Korean Conflict.

The fourth Unknown Soldier was from the Vietnam Conflict, but was later identified as First Lt. Michael Blassie of the Air Force. After being identified through DNA testing, his family had his body reinterred near their home.

The Tomb of the Unknowns has been continuously guarded since April 1948. According to the Society of the Honor Guard, “The soldiers who stand guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier are hand picked and rigorously trained. They have come from every state in the union, every walk of life. There are men and women. For some this is their first unit in the Army, others are veterans of many years. Over the years there have been Regular Army and Draftees.

Each soldier must have strong military bearing, discipline, stamina and present an outstanding soldierly appearance. Each Sentinel must be able to flawlessly perform seven different types of walks, honors and ceremonies. They must retain vast amounts of knowledge concerning the Tomb, Arlington National Cemetery, the United States Army and their unit.”

The Tomb Guards must learn about over 150 different grave sites, 12 poems and detailed history of Arlington National Cemetery, the Tomb and its guards, as well as the US Army and the Regiment. Being selected to stand watch over the graves of the Unknown Soldiers is one of the highest honors a soldier in the United States Army can be granted. Selection is very rigorous, with only 20% of soldiers applying, being selected.

Have you had the opportunity to visit Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknowns? We’d love to hear your comments on your visit.

Military Funeral Planning Elements

A military funeral is a memorial service for veterans, soldiers, marines, and other military notables. The military funeral is made up of elements, “funeral honors” that can be incorporated into the fallen soldier’s funeral service, if his/her family should choose to.

Possibly the most commonly incorporated funeral honor incorporates the American Flag. The draping of the American Flag on the casket is done by placing the blue section of the flag at the head of the casket, over the left shoulder of the deceased.

The flag folding ceremony is a military funeral honor representing the principles of which our country was originally founded, with every fold symbolizing a different aspect, starting with the symbol of life.

The performance of Taps is also often played to conclude a military funeral. If TAPS is played, it is done by using a single bugle, performed by a buglar or a recording of one.

Other funeral honors that have been incorporated into military funeral ceremonies, include the presence of a rider-less horse, an escort military band and platoon, an aerial flyover or a horse-drawn caisson. These traditions have evolved and depending on officer rank are more appropriate.

Military funeral service are governed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Soldiers and veterans with honorable discharge are eligible to receive this honor, with the exception of those who have been indicted for a capital.

Our funeral directors are experienced and knowledgeable with military funeral services and honors, and would be more than willing to help make arrangements for honor guards, funeral honors, military cemetary burials, and other elements of a military funeral.

Independence Day Poem

Hoping you and your family enjoy this fourth of July. Here’s a poem we found online regarding independence day:

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.

I looked at him in uniform;
so young, so tall, so proud.
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
he’d stand out in any crowd.

I thought how many men like him
had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil;
how many mothers’ tears?

How many pilots’ planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
NO, FREEDOM ISN’T FREE !

I heard the sound of Taps one night,
when everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.

I wondered just how many times
That Taps had meant ‘Amen.’
When a flag had draped a coffin
of a brother or a friend.

I thought of all the children,
of the mothers and the wives,
of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.

I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea.
Of unmarked graves in Arlington ..
NO FREEDOM ISN’T FREE.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO MEETING YOU

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