Many find deep meaning in flag’s folds

Day by Day: Many find deep meaning in flag’s folds

By LIZ THOMPSON

July 7, 2019
This Week News

The Declaration of Independence, signed 243 years ago, declares: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Many celebrated the Fourth of July this month with parades, picnics, watching fireworks and displaying our flag in various ways.

We celebrated freedom.

In June, we watched as more than 100 D-Day survivors journeyed to France on the 75th anniversary of the largest amphibious invasion in U.S. history.

These surviving men said the real heroes were the young soldiers, ages 18 to 22 in 1944, who gave their lives for freedom. One said he hoped they taught in history books about the sacrifices these soldiers made so young people would understand why they enjoy today’s freedoms.

Displaying our country’s flag is one way to honor those who have served our country, either in the military or in civilian services such as police or fire departments.

During a flag ceremony, as veterans fold the banner, another veteran reads the meaning of why we fold it 13 times. There are several theories about its origin and several versions.

Lori Watson, owner of the Flag Lady’s Flag Store in Clintonville, said the shop offers a copy of the following with each flag sale:

* The first fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

* The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.

* The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

* The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to him we turn in times of peace as well as in times of war for his divine guidance.

* The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our Country,” in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong.

* The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

* The seventh fold is a tribute to our armed forces, for it is through the armed forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they are found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

* The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

* The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood and mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

* The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for defense of our country since they were first born.

* The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies, in the Hebrews’ eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

* The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians’ eyes, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

* The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost, reminding us of our nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.”

* After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, reminding us of the soldiers who served under Gen. George Washington, and the sailors and marines who served under Capt. John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the armed forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.

Enough said.

 

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Grads found fulfilling paths, planned or not

Day by Day
Grads found fulfilling paths, planned or not

By Liz Thompson

Jun 16, 2019
This Week News

Fifty years ago this month, I was one of nearly 400 high school seniors from Westerville (South) High School (in Ohio) who marched to “Pomp and Circumstance” to receive our graduation certificates.

Looking back, my main regret is I did not ask for help in my studies. Instead, I relied on my music ability to get me through life and onto my goal to become a music teacher.

That never happened. Best-laid plans and all that. But I know I’m not alone.

My classmates have tried to keep track of each others’ whereabouts over the years, yet we have lost track of about 60. As far as we know, 81 live in 29 other states, one lives in Newfoundland, one in France and two in Japan.

In 50 years, we know 49 classmates have died.

Dee (Weaston) Standish was a classmate of mine from kindergarten on. She now lives in Marietta. Her best-laid plans worked for her.

“My career turned out just the way I hoped it would,” she said. “I became a teacher, allowing me to work with children every day. I was in education until I retired.

“My advice to graduating seniors is to follow your passion, and it will help you find fulfillment in your chosen career.”

Barbara (Ralston) Thurber and her husband have lived in Austin, Texas, for 30 years.

“I would tell a graduating senior that life is going to give them many challenges,” Thurber said.

Her life has been interesting as a nurse.

“I served in the Air Force and have worked at many different places,” she said. “I have used my knowledge to take care of myself, my mother with cancer and my three daughters.”

Now her health prevents her from traveling to Ohio for our 50-year reunion.

Classmate Jim Garvie, now in Oklahoma, said his high school days were riddled with poor grades and anonymity as an introvert.

“No one gave me an outlook into what I could be or what I could do in the future,” Garvie said. “The moment I graduated and went to Bowling Green State University, it all changed. Loved college life, less structure and a reason to enjoy life.”

As his grades improved, he became involved in sports for the first time and began a major in physical education and teaching.

He found coaching and teaching health, science and driver’s education fun.

“I cannot believe I ended up in a career where I was paid to have fun,” Garvie said. “It’s the last thing I ever thought I would do in life.”

He knew there were students in high school who were like him at that age – unmotivated and with no clear future ahead.

“In classes, I developed a reward system where kids that behaved and did their work could earn extra credit and get the grades they wanted,” he said. “In football, I was able to get them involved as a team manager or actually on the teams, even if they were not athletically gifted.”

As a result of his teaching and coaching, he was hired by the Department of Defense to teach and coach on military bases in Japan, South Korea and Italy.

Many of my classmates are grandparents and have life experiences we never thought possible 50 years ago.

We sent a reunion survey to learn what people wanted to happen at the event.

Most wanted time to casually visit and reconnect, see memorabilia of our high school days and walk through the school building. They would love to see teachers and let them know the impact they had on their lives.

Music of the 1960s will play; name badges will halt the awkward moments because we have all changed in appearance. Laughter and maybe tears will happen along with memories.

Classmates from Massachusetts, Nevada, Kentucky, Wisconsin and all around Ohio will gather Aug. 3 to celebrate the 50-year mark in our lives. More than once, we will say, “Has it really been 50 years?”

We learned from our experiences and are wiser for them.

Take heed, graduates. Time passes quickly.

Why we fold the flag 13 times

In honor of all our veterans on this Memorial Day

Why we fold the flag 13 times
https://www.americanflags.com/whywefofl13t

Have you ever noticed how the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the American flag 13 times? Here’s what each of those 13 folds mean:

The 1st fold of our flag is a symbol of life.

The 2nd fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life.

The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world.

The 4th fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The 5th fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, “Our Country”, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country right or wrong.

The 6th fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that We pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our republic.

The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for defense of our country since they were first born.

The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews’ eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians’ eyes, God the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding us of our nation’s motto, “In God We Trust.”

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges and freedoms we enjoy today.

Now hear this — take action to protect ears

Day by Day:
Now hear this — take action to protect ears

By LIZ THOMPSON
May 19, 2019
This Week Community News

My brother-in-law offered me ear protection before I aimed the pistol at the target.

“I don’t think I can get any deafer, Richard,” I said.

People forget that I can hear because of my miraculous cochlear implants. The deafness part is hard for most to grasp. But Richard laughed and said, “I guess not!”

How does anyone become deaf or lose any degree of hearing?

I likely was born with hearing loss. It was discovered at age 9, and by 50 I was deaf.

The Hearing Health Foundation says I’m not alone.

In the U.S., 48 million people have hearing loss; that number is 360 million worldwide, according to the foundation.

Three in five are returning military service members. Hearing loss and tinnitus – ringing or buzzing in the ears – are the top two reported health concerns among service members, both active and veterans.

Hearing loss is the second-most prevalent health issue globally. The number of people with hearing loss is more than those living with Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes combined.

Hearing loss has been associated with cognitive decline, dementia, depression, hospitalization and heart disease.

From 2000 to 2015, the number of Americans with hearing loss has doubled. Globally, the number is up by 44 percent.

I guessed correctly the reason for the increase in hearing loss. The Hearing Health Foundation said hearing loss is on the rise because of increased noise – which is preventable – and our aging population.

Noise-induced hearing loss happens when people are exposed to dangerous noise levels at work or leisure activities.

Sound is measured in decibels. Sounds at or above 85 dBA can cause hearing loss. Decibel levels in everyday situations include movie theaters (74-104 dBA); lawn mowers (80-100 dBA); sporting events, concerts or music through headphones (90-100 dBA); sirens (110-129 dBA); and fireworks (140-160 dBA).

Unfortunately, we don’t always have control of noise. It seems everywhere I go, a television or music is blaring. Overhead speaker announcements in stores make me jump because they are so loud.

Add general noise and voices – often shouting over noise – and the decibels rise to dangerous levels.

Robert Kambic, a retired health professional who worked at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, told the HHF, “By 2022, live music-industry revenue is projected to be worth $31 billion worldwide, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. Like other industries, the money is the driver.”

“This means the live music industry will continue to use larger and louder electronic amplification,” Kambic said.

One loud concert with volume up to 120 decibels can cause permanent damage.

Hearing loss among musicians is common. Constant exposure to noise – even if it’s beautiful music – can permanently damage ears.

Cochlear implants restore hearing, but I can attest to the fact that music does not always return as it once was. Music is complicated, and implants are designed to understand speech. I have a music program on my voice processors that helps me appreciate music better, but I no longer have the ability to comprehend if I sing on pitch.

Performing is in my past. I enjoy instrumental music, play my keyboard and love to watch closed-captioned performances on television – especially songs I knew before deafness.

Other causes of hearing loss including genetic factors, trauma, ototoxic medications (medicine-induced hearing loss), and viral or bacterial infections.

Is it a hopeless fight? No.

Will the numbers keep increasing? Yes – if we don’t take action.

Buy and use earplugs and earmuffs. They come in all shapes, colors and sizes. They are available at music stores, online and at hardware and other retail stores. Search “earplugs” at hhf.org for recommendations.

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month to encourage people to take protective action.

I urge each reader to turn down the noise and enjoy the quiet before that is all you hear. Treasure and protect the gift of hearing.

 

Best marriages are built on respect, care, friendship

Day by Day
Best marriages are built on respect, care, friendship

By Liz Thompson

Apr 21, 2019
This Week News

He walked into a classroom at Ohio State University and saw the woman who – just two weeks later – would become his wife.

I don’t know his name. We met at an optometrist’s office, and he started talking tenderly about his wife of 61 years, who had died last April.

“What do you think makes a good marriage?” I asked.

Without much hesitation, he said, “Companionship. Caring for each other.”

“The for-better-or-for-worse part of the wedding vows, you mean?” I asked.

He scowled and said, “I don’t remember much ‘worse’ part.”

I rephrased: “You were there for each other, no matter what was happening?”

“Yes,” he said with a smile.

We agreed friendship is important for a long-lasting marital relationship.

This month, my husband and I celebrate 41 years of marriage. I’m thankful Bob and I are good friends and have been from the start.

We didn’t marry two weeks after meeting, but one year later.

My soon-to-be father-in-law told us before we married, “Remember you are getting married because you love each other.” Plain and simple.

He likely was thinking of 1 Corinthians 13, also known as the Bible’s “love chapter”:

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

“Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

These words often are spoken at weddings. I sang them at a cousin’s wedding many years ago.

My parents, Jim and Mary Day of Westerville, were married from 1945 until my father died in 2011. My mother says marriage has a lot to do with forgiveness.

“You have to really listen to each other,” she said. “You have to talk it out and get over it – really care for the other person.”

Carol McClellan of Grove City, married 57 years, agrees with my mother and the unnamed gentleman in the first paragraph.

“Caring for each other and thinking more about the other person’s well-being” is crucial, she said.

Bob and Ann Gray of Westerville recently downsized after being in the same house for more than 40 years. What to do with all the things they acquired was a true dilemma.

Bob and I moved 15 times in about the same timeframe. When you have to pack, move, unpack and find a place for all the things at the new residence, the boxes become fewer.

We let go of a lot of things that truly didn’t matter and kept the things that did – a good analogy for marriage.

Bob and Ann met in Texas in 1966 at an A&W Root Beer drive-in. He was stationed at Webb Air Force base, and after they dated for a year and a half, he was shipped to Vietnam on April 1, 1968.

After corresponding for nine or 10 months, Bob decided that Ann was the one he wanted to marry. He wrote:

“January 1969 I sent a letter of proposal and awaited her reply. The answer soon came, it was positive and things were set in motion for a wedding as soon as I got back. I arrived in San Francisco on April 1st, 1969 and I flew directly to Midland (Texas) for the April 3 event.”

Throughout their now-50 years of marriage, their relationship matured, and so did their faith. They learned their marriage is a triangle “with the Lord at the apex.”

“We take our wedding vows seriously, Bob said.

He said that involves respect, resolving differences, making wise decisions for the family as a whole and relying on God – especially when there are bumps in the road.

Marriage shouldn’t be a race to see how long you can stay together. To me, it’s how you live day by day, learning and growing together and leaning on one another.

I thank God every day that Bob and I have each other as we travel through each new day.

 

Local litterbugs’ cost to society piles up quickly

Day by Day
Local litterbugs’ cost to society piles up quickly

LIZ THOMPSON

Mar 24, 2019
This Week News

Litter can be found most places where humans have been. Plastic bottles, food, beverage cans and bags filled with who knows what can be seen while driving, walking or biking just about anywhere.

Plastic bags trapped on tree branches and bushes whirl in the wind and flap back and forth like ugly flags.

Synonyms for the word litter include clutter, mess, disorder, jumble and confusion.

The last synonym — confusion — is what I feel when I see discarded trash. It is so easy to carry our rubbish home with us in our vehicles and throw it away in our trash cans. If we are walking, we can hold onto it or stash it in a pocket or purse to discard later.

Litter not only is unsightly, but it potentially is dangerous to wildlife and to humans.

A recent segment of WOSU-TV’s “Our Ohio” demonstrated how harmful discarded food and trash can be to birds — in particular, such birds of prey as falcons, hawks, owls and vultures.

They swoop on the edge of or in the middle of roadways to capture human trash and can get hit by vehicles. Often, too, what they thought was food is not, and they’re injured by sharp or contaminated products.

Without much effort, an internet search shows many websites teaching the harmful effects of litter on wildlife. They all agree wildlife and domesticated animals of all kinds often mistake trash for food or shelter.

As a result, they can become trapped inside plastic bags, get tangled in kite string, fishing line, ribbon or wire, and get their heads trapped inside jars or cans. A piece of chewing gum can become matted in the feathers of a bird, making it impossible to fly.

Oil and grease can cause the same problems for birds.

Some food and cleaning agents discarded are toxic to animals. If they ingest such objects as deflated balloons, their digestive tracts can be blocked and they eventually cannot eat.

Animals can cut themselves on cans and broken glass — injuries that could be fatal or lead to infection.

Your own pets could fall victim to these dangers if they come across litter on walks or even in your backyard.

What can we do? Besides the obvious solutions with our own trash and recyclables, we can cut up plastic six-pack rings before recycling them, wash recyclables, tie a knot in the middle of plastic bags to be recycled and make sure garbage-can lids fits securely.

Before recycling, rinse and crush soda cans, and dispose of any leftover household cleaning products and other toxic chemicals properly.

The simplest solution is to avoid littering purposefully.

Matt Bruning, press secretary with the Ohio Department of Transportation, quickly answered my query about litter hazards to motorists and the cost of cleanup.

He said litter on roadways is a serious issue that ODOT deals with year-round, but especially in the spring.

“Unsecured loads and carelessly tossed trash can be big problems for motorists,” Bruning said. “Litter can get into storm drains and cause flooding issues on our highways.

“Items falling off vehicles can obviously present a serious hazard to other motorists, either as they fall or before ODOT crews are able to respond and pick them up.”

Bruning said ODOT uses its own employees, as well as volunteers through the Adopt-A-Highway program and inmates from local county jails and state facilities to clean roadways.

“While the inmates aren’t paid for their work, we do have to pay the guards,” he said. “The only ‘free’ litter-pickup labor is the volunteers of Adopt-A-Highway.”

Bruning said ODOT spends about $4 million annually collecting 400,000 bags of trash from along Ohio roadways.

“The costs for picking up litter represent money that could be better spent,” he said. “All of these costs are avoidable if everyone would simply do the right thing and dispose of their trash in the appropriate place. It’s also important to secure your load if you’re hauling things.”

Road hazards, risks to wildlife and domesticated animals, unsightly messes, a gargantuan cost to clean up — all are avoidable.

One by one, we can do the right thing.

 

Enjoyment of life trumps fear of falling

Day by Day: Enjoyment of life trumps fear of falling

By LIZ THOMPSON
Feb 24, 2019
This Week News

It’s all relative.

As I listen to my daughter Mary’s busy schedule with her children, who are now young adults, I could see my own life as dull in comparison. But I do not.

I love that she is taking on new ventures in music and volunteering. She always has had a generous spirit — one of the many things I love about her.

Her challenges are different than mine. Each of us has things that push our limits in various ways — sometimes to the point we just want to crawl back under the covers and sleep a little longer.

I have lived with multiple sclerosis my entire adult life. Fourteen years ago, walking outside without a cane or walker became too risky. Falls have become my unwanted companion.

When I walk our dog, I use one of my scooters. Some people say it almost looks like he is pulling me, like a sled dog. That’s extra funny when you know my dog is a dachshund. I’m glad the sight makes people smile.

But one of my MS challenges is to stay upright and keep my legs strong. When I bought my first walker, the owner of the Arizona store had MS. She said she started using a scooter too early. I didn’t understand completely at the time, but I do now.

She told me that she should have kept walking, no matter how difficult, and used a scooter only when needed.

What I truly miss is walking easily for the sake of enjoying the outdoors or for exercise.

If I walk far, or on uneven surfaces, the risk of tripping gains momentum. When I shop, it helps to use a scooter if I’m going far.

Last year, I challenged myself to walk holding onto a cart in large stores, such as Sam’s Club. I wanted the exercise, and I wanted to walk. In smaller stores I am familiar with, I started taking my walker.

When my husband walked along with our dachshund and me last year, instead of using my scooter, I started using my walker. I had to let go of the worry that I looked older than my years.

I know all our street’s sidewalk bumps and anticipate, slow down, lift my walker and keep going.

Soon, I realized that if I held my husband’s arm and had a cane in the other hand in case I needed it, I could just walk. Our dog actually seemed to notice the difference, and his step was a little perkier when he wasn’t stopping to sniff every blade of grass.

The scooter provides a safe way to move about. That’s smart. But I, too, may have stayed in that scooter a little too long without alternating to my walking options.

For those of us who have fallen, after each incident, the fear of falling again can almost incapacitate us. I struggle to release my fear and keep moving.

With each fall, I evaluate why it happened and what, if anything, I can do to prevent another similar incident.

Falling, like MS, is unpredictable.

March is MS Awareness Month. Like the hundreds of thousands living with MS, we crave understanding without making it the focus of what others see in us.

My daughter’s challenges seemed so much more interesting when compared to me walking to the corner and back holding my husband’s arm.

But, as I said, it’s all relative.

Our grandson, Andrew, joined the Ohio Army National Guard and is at boot camp as I write. When he came home for Christmas and New Year’s break, many of us greeted him at the airport.

I took my walker. It was worth it to walk safely and have some modicum of control.

Andrew told me he was outside for drill when the first snow came. He thought, “The first snow! I should call Nana!”

Since he was young, every year, we call each other when the first snow appears. When he said this, standing there in his fatigues, I looked up and smiled.

My life is not boring.