Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Value of a $1.00

My friend sent me this interesting piece and I thought to pass it along:

Take out a one dollar bill, and look at it. The one dollar bill you're looking at first came off the presses in 1957 in its present design. This so-called paper money is in fact a cotton and linen blend, with red and blue minute silk fibers running through it. It is actually material. We've all washed it without it falling apart. A special blend of ink is used, the contents we will never know. It is overprinted with symbols and then it is starched to make it water resistant and pressed to give it that nice crisp look.
If you look on the front of the bill, you will see the United States Treasury Seal. On the top you will see the scales for a balanced budget. In the center you have a carpenter's square, a tool used for an even cut. Underneath is the Key to the United States Treasury. That's all pretty easy to figure out, but what is on the back of that dollar bill is something we should all know. If you turn the bill over, you will see two circles. Both circles, together, comprise the Great Seal of the United States. The First Continental Congress requested that Benjamin Franklin and a group of men come up with a Seal. It took them four years to accomplish this task and another two years to get it approved.
If you look at the left-hand circle, you will see a Pyramid. Notice the face is lighted, and the western side is dark. This country was just beginning. We had not begun to explore the West or decided what we could do for Western Civilization. The Pyramid is uncapped, again signifying that we were not even close to being finished. Inside the capstone you have the all-seeing eye, an ancient symbol for divinity. It was Franklin's belief that one man couldn't do it alone, but a group of men, with the help of God, could do anything. "IN GOD WE TRUST" is on this currency. The Latin above the pyramid, ANNUIT COEPTIS, means, "God has favored our undertaking." The Latin below the pyramid, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, means, "a new order has begun."
At the base of the pyramid is the Roman Numeral for 1776. If you look at the right-hand circle, and check it carefully, you will learn that it is on every National Cemetery in the United States. It is also on the Parade of Flags Walkway at the Bushnell, Florida National Cemetery, and is the centerpiece of most hero's monuments. Slightly modified, it is the seal of the President of the United States, and it is always visible whenever he speaks, yet very few people know what the symbols mean.
The Bald Eagle was selected as a symbol for victory for two reasons: First, he is not afraid of a storm; he is strong, and he is smart enough to soar above it. Secondly, he wears no material crown. We had just broken from the King of England. Also, notice the shield is unsupported. This country can now stand on its own. At the top of that shield you have a white bar signifying congress, a unifying factor. We were coming together as one nation. In the Eagle's beak you will read, "E PLURIBUS UNUM", meaning, "one nation from many people". Above the Eagle, you have thirteen stars, representing the thirteen original colonies, and any clouds of misunderstanding rolling away. Again, we were coming together as one.. Notice what the Eagle holds in his talons. He holds an olive branch and arrows. This country wants peace, but we will never be afraid to fight to preserve peace. The Eagle always wants to face the olive branch, but in time of war, his gaze turns toward the arrows.
They say that the number 13 is an unlucky number. This is almost a worldwide belief. You will usually never see a room numbered 13, or any hotels or motels with a 13th floor. But think about this: 13 original colonies, 13 signers of the Declaration of Independence, 13 stripes on our flag, 13 steps on the Pyramid, 13 letters in the Latin above, 13 letters in "E Pluribus Unum", 13 stars above the Eagle, 13 bars on that shield, 13 leaves on the olive branch, 13 fruits, and if you look closely, 13 arrows. And, for minorities: the 13th Amendment.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Remember. . .

Edward Garvin, 19, MA
Philip Johnson, 19, CT
Scott Nisely, 48, IA
Brad Payne, 24, AL
Benjamin Rosales, 20, TX
Jeffrey Shaffer, 21, AK
Kampha Sourivong, 20, IA
Angelo Vaccaro, 23, FL

Friday, October 06, 2006

Remember. . .

These are this past week's living legends soldiers:

Jerry Durbin Jr., 26, TX
Merideth Howard, 52, WI
Casey Mellen, 21, AZ
Clarence McSwain, 31, MS
Jared Raymond, 20, MA
Jonathan Rojas, 27, IN
Aaron Seal, 23, IN
Aaron Smith, 31, TX
Travis Zimmerman, 19, PA

May their service and sacrifice never be forgotten

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Elie Wiesel

I recently had the honor to attend one of Elie Wiesel's receptions and lectures hosted by Dor Chadash in NYC. He is a remarkable individual who has lived, learned, and lost in this life. Society needs to really listen to his words:

"Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. Never shall I forgot that smoke. Never shall I forget the little faces of the children, whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky. . . Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God himself. Never."

Sunday, October 01, 2006


A friend sent this e-mail to me and I thought it was a good one to share.

To realize the value of a sister: Ask someone who doesn't have one
To realize the value of ten years: Ask a newly divorced couple.
To realize the value of four years: Ask a graduate.
To realize the value of one year: Ask a student who has failed a final exam.
To realize the value of nine months: Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.
To realize the value of one month: Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of one week: Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of one minute: Ask a person who has missed the train, bus or plane.
To realize the value of one-second: Ask a person who has survived an accident.
Time waits for no one.
Treasure every moment you have.

Happy October 1!

Friday, September 29, 2006


This week's Living Legends team requests are:

Emily Perez, 23, TX
James Worster, 24, OH

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Holiday Project

I am helping my friend with her project, which is described in the following e-mail:

During this holiday season, let's show our troops we love and support them!!!! From September 30 to November 30, I will be collecting holiday cards for troops stationed in high-combat areas in Iraq and Afghanistan. Being away from home and living in harsh conditions during the holiday season is especially difficult ~ they need to know we have not forgotten them!!! Mail from home helps to keep our troops' morale strong, making a very real difference in their lives.
Send your signed, unsealed holiday cards to:

Mrs. Kathy Orr
P.O. Box 1660
Loganville, Georgia, 30052

The cards can be handmade or store-bought... for that matter, they don't even have to be cards; a hand-written or typed letter is just as wonderful! This is a great opportunity to get your Scout troop, school, church and other civic organizations involved in doing something to show support for our troops.
If you wish to send an email greeting (which will be printed off and mailed along with the holiday cards), please send an email to:**IMPORTANT GUIDELINES: This is not a "dating service" of any type. Please do not send suggestive or otherwise inappropriate cards or materials. Please also refrain from making political statements of any nature. I will be reading and screening every card received to ensure that the above guidelines are adhered to. Remember: This is strictly to let the troops know that we love them, we are proud of them and that we HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN them! If you have any questions, please contact me at

Friday, September 22, 2006


This week for SA's living legends team, I received the following soldiers:

Richard J. Henkes, II, 32, OR
Ryan A. Miller, 19, TX

Happy New Year to those in the Jewish faith!! The following is an e-mail forward my friend sent to me:

As 5767 Approaches.... This week we Jews will begin our 5767th year on this earth! Who would have believed this possible? If anyone had told Abraham that his people would be around this long he probably would have been astounded. Imagine, we did this without beheading anyone on TV, without a single suicide bomber, without kidnapping and murdering school children, without slaughtering Olympic athletes, and without flying airplanes into skyscrapers. We lasted this long despite 400 years as slaves in Egypt, 40 years of wandering in the desert, the mighty Roman army who nailed us to ten thousand crosses; despite the best efforts of fervent Crusaders, the Spanish Inquisition, Hitler's third Reich, Stalin's gulags, Arab wars of annihilation and 100 years of hateful terrorism, hundreds of hate-filled UN resolutions! How did we Jews do it? We survived by concentrating our efforts on education, love of family, faith, hard work, helping one another, and a passionate dedication to life no matter what evil befell us! We hung in there in hope the rest of the world would one day overcome its hatreds, jealousies, violence and join us in a life of cooperation and mutual respect. We're not there yet, but we're still hopeful. And when so many of us enter our places of worship this weekend, this is what we'll pray for with all the strength in our hearts. Best wishes for a New Year filled with health, happiness, laughter, success, joy, and kindness and may this coming year bring peace and security to Israel and to the Jewish communities in the Diaspora. 5767 and counting!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Living Life

This list contains some of my definitions on how to really live life:

Take time to listen to snow as it falls freely from the sky and laugh when a snowflake lands on your nose
Grab your sweetheart’s hand and tightly hold it for there will be a day when the opportunity no longer exists
Be nice to hotel maids, public bathroom attendants, and waitresses
Listen to older adults’ stories with interests regardless of how many times you may already have heard them
Don’t stand too close to bonfires
Watch squirrels and chipmunks chase each other
Look an individual square in the eye when shaking his hand
Roll around in a fit of laughter at least twice a day
Write letters
Sing in the shower, sing in the vehicle, and sing in bed
Never take yourself too seriously
Stare at a rainbow, imagine where it ends, and think of who is doing the same thing at the exact moment
Donate to charities
Clean out your closets every six months and donate the clothes/items you haven’t wore in months, the ones with the price tags still attached, and the ones you hold on to for sentimental reasons
Smile at people and really mean it
Don’t judge people; rather, look at each one and see his true potential
Money is a piece of paper
Wash your hands quite often
There is no room in a grave for luggage
Plant flowers
Lay in the fresh cut grass on a summer’s eve and just be
Let a child run her sticky fingers thru your hair
Adopt animals and love them to death
Adopt children and love them to death
Set goals and achieve them
Remove all mirrors from place of residence except for one
Talk to people in elevators, on planes, in checkout lines, and at the doctor’s office
Go apple picking
Flip your mattress every six months and buy a new toothbrush every three months
Pay attention to a dog’s reaction to a person
Cry and laugh at the same time
Watch a sunset with someone special
Behave honestly and respectively because one never knows who is watching
Open the door for your mother
Be the type of friend you’d want in your corner or in the bleachers
Hug people
Help the person at the grocery store who can’t reach an item
Never stop hoping

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


These are the fallen soldiers I received this week from SA:

Johnathan Benson, 21, MI
George Draughn Jr, 29, GA
John Fralish, PA
Hannah Gunterman, 20, CA
Joshua Hanson, 27, MI
Robert Hollar Jr, 35, GA
Jordan Pierson, 21, CT

Thank you for your service and sacrifices. Thank you to your families for sharing you with the rest of our nation.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

That September Morning

"America has its faults as a society, as we have ours. But I think of the Union of America born out of the defeat of slavery. I think of its Constitution, with its inalienable rights granted to every citizen still a model for the world. I think of a black man, born in poverty, who became chief of their armed forces and is now secretary of state Colin Powell and I wonder frankly whether such a thing could have happened here. I think of the Statue of Liberty and how many refugees, migrants and the impoverished passed its light and felt that if not for them, for their children, a new world could indeed be theirs. I think of a country where people who do well, don't have questions asked about their accent, their class, their beginnings but have admiration for what they have done and the success they've achieved. I think of those New Yorkers I met, still in shock, but resolute; the fire fighters and police, mourning their comrades but still head held high." --British Prime Minister Tony Blair

Friday, September 08, 2006


I am a member of Soldiers Angels and one of the teams I am involved with is called Living Legends. This team honors our fallen soldiers from either OIF or OEF. Some weeks I receive many names whereas other weeks are quiet. Each team member receives an e-mail with the soldier's name in addition to a picture and/or cause of death. The e-mail also contains the family's mailing address so they can receive our cards/notes of sympathy, support, and strength. Since most people do not check the DOD's casualty name list, I've decided that every Friday's post will be dedicated to those fallen soldiers who entered my life during the week. They are more than just a brief blurb mentioned on the nightly news or in the back of the newspaper. They are each an individual.

Larry Benson, 46, NC
Kenneth Cross, 21, WI
Daniel Dolan, 19, UT
Rodney Jones, 21, PA
David Mahlenbrock, 20, NJ
Shaun Novak, 21, WI
Matthew Schneider, 23, NH
Shannon Squires, VA
Matthew Vosbein, 30, LA

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Happy Birthday, BBJ!

Today is my big brother's birthday: 32 years young. We have always gotten along just fine and have always been close, especially in elementary school. He protected my sister and I from the school bus bullies, which made me feel so safe to have him as a brother. Some have brothers who are the bullies, but not me. He left for college the year I started middle school and although he was only an hour away, his absence seemed to be beyond measure. I would sneak into his bedroom after school and cry as I buried my face in his cold pillow. This behavior eventually ceased after a couple of months and didn't present itself again until the night before his college graduation. Instead of a 13 year old crying in the room, a 17 year old stood there. Although he no longer used the bedroom on a regular basis, the room still spoke him. The vacant room still spoke him three years later when he prepared to become a husband. This time, instead of a 17 year old standing in the room, a 21 year old buried her face in his cold tear soaked pillow. Although we have grown into adults, we are still the same kids who rode the school bus together. Be true to yourself, BBJ, and follow your dreams. If they are dusty, wipe them off. If they are forgotten, remember them. If they are lost, find them. If they are non-existent, create them. If they are dormant, give them life. Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Welcome Back

I started this blog with the hopes of writing a daily entry. However, due to some unexpected twists and turns, I fell short of this goal. During the past couple of months, my grandfather has become lost in the dark shadows called Alzheimer's disease. Most of my thoughts and actions have been directed towards/ for him, which has caused me to become lost at sea. Today is the first time in months where I actually feel as though things will be ok. The title of today's entry comes from a comment my grandfather said during one of our visits. He thought he had just returned to the naval shipyard from the Pacific and as we talked, he informed me of the incredible welcome back party they had for them. In a way, I feel as though I myself have just returned from a long trip and am ready to return to life. Many people have often said that this disease takes away one's breath. I agree, but would also add that in order to cope with this disease, one has to take an enormous gulp of air so she is not caught gasping in the final chapter.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Old Glory

One of my favorite sights to see first thing in the morning is something beautifully sacred. This sight also greets me each time I look out the window. I am referring to the enormous American flag that flies above one of the condos across the channel from my home. The condo is situated on a hill, but is not visible because of all the trees. However, the flag is the only thing one can see since the owners cleared the whole area around the pole. They also have a spotlight that shines upon it at night, which makes for a magnificent display. The illuminated flag stands out like a beacon of hope. Sometimes I just stare out the windows watching it wave in the summer wind or sparkle in a winter snowstorm because it is just so breathtaking.
As I look at this particular flag or any American flag, my mind instantly becomes filled with thoughts of citizens who have ever gazed upon the stars and stripes. I think of the soldiers who fought and are fighting to defend what it represents. I think of the newly sworn in citizen and what emotions he must be experiencing as he looks at the colors of the country he now calls home. I think of people who desecrate it and wonder why they believe this is a correct manifestation of their opinions. I think about the lawmakers and wonder how their decisions will impact my future children. I think about Betsy Ross and Francis Scott Key. I think about the soldier who is draped in it and wonder if he can feel those who have fallen before him in the threads. I think about when I arrived at JFK after my adventure to Russia and feeling such a surge of relief, comfort, and pride when my eyes saw it swaying in the wind. I think about battles and what the enemy thought as well as felt as he saw it approach him. I think about the work and the social rights progress that still needs to happen as well as the successes that have already occured. I think about how fortunate I am to be a female citizen of this nation along with how my daughters will one day look at the flag and feel pride in the colors that represent courage, purity, and loyalty.