National POW/MIA Recognition Day

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

National POW/MIA Recognition Day falls on Friday, September 17 this year. Established in 1979 by then-President Jimmy Carter, the day was first recognized in June but is now held annually on the third Friday in September (Time.com). In 1997, this became one of six days when the POW/MIA flag is displayed in specific locations as required by Congress (Time.com).

The flag that has become a symbol for prisoners of war and service members missing in action was designed by World War II pilot Newt Heisley at the request of Mrs. Mary Hoff, wife of MIA Lieutenant Commander Michael Hoff, in 1971 (militarybenefits.info). It remains the only flag, other than the American flag, to fly above the White House. 

Historically, World War II saw the largest number of POWs at 130,201 captured and 116,129 returned (Americanhistory.si.edu). World War I recorded 4,120 captured and 3,973 returned, with Korea at 7,140 and 4,418, respectively (Americanhistory.si.edu). While Vietnam’s numbers were smaller (726 captured and 661 returned), the American public became much more aware of the plight of captured service members as a result of North Vietnamese propaganda campaigns (Americanhistory.si.edu). Over 1500 who served in Vietnam are still missing in action, and investigation efforts continue (Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency).

Many states will mark National POW/MIA Recognition Day with veterans rallies. The day will also be recognized with ceremonies, and other events at the Pentagon, war memorials, museums, and communities will show support as they gather for organized walks, candlelight vigils, and other events (timeanddate.com; nationaldaycalendar.com). 

As we approach ≈, consider contacting a local veterans organization to ask how you can show honor and support for the sacrifices of those who have served, and recall the mantra of the POW/MIA remembrance movement honoring our nation’s prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action: “You Are Not Forgotten.”

Americanhistory.si.edu 

Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency

Militarybenefits.info

Military.com

Nationaldaycalendar.com

Pow-mia families.org

Timeanddate.com

Time.com

Empty Nesters

Empty Nesters

Your kids have been a focal point in your home life and schedule for the past two decades or more. For many of us, however, the physical presence of a child in the home will no longer be part of the equation as the youngest (or in some cases only) child moves on to college, work, or another form of adult independence. 

While empty nest syndrome is not a clinical disorder or diagnosis, the sadness, depression, and loss of purpose that may coincide with the child's departure are very real for many parents (Psychology Today). While we are proud of our children for their increasing independence, the pain felt by parents can be substantial enough that they become “vulnerable to depression, alcoholism, identity crisis, and marital conflicts” (Mayo Clinic). 

Some of the sense of loss can be mitigated by frequent contact with a child through texting, email, or phone calls, though too much “helicopter” parenting can backfire and result in a lower sense of well-being for young adults transitioning to independence (VeryWellFamily.com). “Even if they welcome your guidance and attention, too much checking in and giving direction will hinder your young adult from learning to make good decisions and handle life on their own” (VeryWellFamily.com).

Recommendations for parents include limiting texts, emails, or phone calls to children to once or twice a week and engaging in some self-care. Give some attention to your own diet, sleep habits, exercise, and leisure activities. Now might be a great time to reconnect with old friends or plan a trip with your spouse. Consider taking a class or picking up a new hobby or resume an old activity that you didn’t have time for when your kids dominated your schedule.

Keep in mind that it will get easier. Consider seeking support from friends or colleagues who are going through the same thing or who became empty-nesters within the last few years. Like many big life transitions, you may experience some ups and downs. Still, with time, you may be surprised to enjoy your new role as an advisor rather than a direct caretaker of the wonderful person you have coached into adulthood. “You’ll get used to your child being in charge of their own life, and you can begin to develop a new sense of normal in your life” (VeryWellFamily.com).

At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we want you to have a smooth transition into this new phase of life. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

 

Mayo Clinic

Psychology Today

VeryWellFamily.com

History of Labor Day and some Sobering Statistics

History of Labor Day and Some Sobering Statistics

In the late 19th century, labor activists fought for and won their battle for a national holiday recognizing the myriad contributions workers have made to the “strength, prosperity, and well-being” of our great nation (U.S. Department of Labor). Every year since 1894, Americans have celebrated the contributions of our laborers. 

Picnics, parties, parades, and other gatherings are common ways to recognize Labor Day, and for some, unfortunately, drinking and driving has become a part of the ritual. 

Only two days rank higher than Labor Day for the number of fatal automobile accidents (Thanksgiving and Independence Day), and the National Safety Council predicts nearly 400 fatalities of this nature.  The fact that drinking and driving account for roughly one-third of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. indicates that many if not all of these deaths are preventable (Trafficsefetymarketing.gov). 

In addition to fatalities, an estimated 44,000 individuals will incur injuries serious enough to require medical assistance (National Safety Council). 

What can you do to stay safe? There are some options you can exercise to avoid becoming one of the grim statistics. 

  • If you are planning to drink, even if it’s just one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver. If a friend who has been drinking is planning to drive, take away the keys and/or find a sober driver for your friend.
  • Stay off the road if possible after dark. The rate of alcohol-impaired drivers more than triples at night compared to daylight hours (Trafficsafetymarketing.gov). 
  • Wear your seatbelt and insist that others in your car do the same. Research indicates that seat belts are 45% effective in preventing fatalities for front-seat car passengers (National Safety Council). If you are in the back seat, buckle up there too. Though some believe that the back seat is safe without a seat belt, the reality is that an unbuckled rider in the rear seat is eight times more likely to be killed or injured in a crash than one who is buckled (Washington Post).

At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we wish you a happy and safe Labor Day. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs. 

National Safety Council
Trafficsafetymarketing.gov
U.S. Department of Labor
United States Department of Transportation "Alcohol-Impaired Driving"
United States Department of Transportation "Safety Facts"
Washington Post

A History of Independence Day Celebrations

A History of Independence Day Celebrations

On July 4, citizens of our great nation celebrate Independence Day as they have since 1776. 

Surprisingly, as late as the spring of 1775, most colonists did not favor complete independence from Great Britain (History.com). However, by 1776, their attitudes had shifted. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence (History.com). John Adams, who assisted in drafting the Declaration of Independence, was ready to celebrate that day and wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 would be celebrated with parades, games, sports, and other festivities “from one end of this Continent to the other” for generations to come (History.com). 

Though Adams was correct about the zeal of the celebrations, his date was a bit off. Two more days passed before the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was complete and formally adopted (History.com). 

That first year, festivities were modeled on celebrations of the king’s birthday, “which had been marked annually by bell ringing, bonfires, solemn processions, and oratory,” though in many towns they also  “included a mock funeral for the king, whose ‘death’ symbolized the end of monarchy and tyranny” for the colonists (Britannica.com).

John Adams and lead author of the Declaration of Independence Thomas Jefferson enjoyed fifty years of Independence Day celebrations before they both passed away on July 4, 1826 (New England Historical Society).

The first organized celebrations of Independence Day took place on July 4, 1777, and in several cities included firework displays. Philadelphia’s celebration also included a 13-gun salute fired from a ship’s cannon to honor the 13 colonies (History.com). There were also 13 rockets fired before and after the firework show (History.com). 

In 1941, Independence Day became an official federal holiday that is celebrated in many of the same ways it has always been throughout history, though the cannons and rockets set off in Philadelphia had been subtracted from the festivities due to safety concerns.

This year we will enjoy the parades, carnivals, barbeques, and fireworks for Independence Day on Sunday, which means most businesses will be closed and workers will have a day off on July 5. The staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency are wishing you a happy and safe holiday! Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs. 

Britannica.com

History.com

New England Historical Society

Happy Father’s Day!

Father hugging two children all smiling and enjoying each other's company

In an effort to recognize fathers similar to the ways Mother’s Day honors moms, the nation’s first Father’s Day was celebrated in 1910. However, it took well over half a century to establish it as a federal holiday. 

Mother’s Day was born of an effort to bring together mothers of Confederate and Union soldiers in the 1860s. Though not an official federal holiday until 1914, Mother’s Day was the inspiration for Sonora Smart Dodd who felt there ought to be an official equivalent for male parents. Dodd, whose mother had died in childbirth, was raised with her five brothers by her widowed father (ABC News). 

In 1910, Dodd brought her idea to the YMCA of Spokane, Washington, as well as local churches, businesses, and other establishments, where she received support. Her intention was to celebrate the holiday on her father’s birthday in early June, though her supporters convinced her to delay by a couple of weeks to allow them time to prepare (NationalGeographic.com).

A successful statewide celebration was held on June 19, 1910. However, it was many years before the holiday was officially ratified. Joint resolution 187 was passed by Congress in 1970, calling on citizens to “offer public and private expressions of such day to the abiding love and gratitude which they bear for their fathers” (NationalGeographic.com). Finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a resolution making Father’s Day an official federal holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday in June.

This year, consumers are expected to spend approximately $17 billion on gifts for dads and other male role models (NationalGeographic.com). And while some may opt for the typical T-shirt or necktie as a Father’s Day gift, you might also consider spending time with the male role model in your life as a way to celebrate your relationship. Consider kite flying, hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, or even ziplining. Not the outdoorsy type? You could cook something together, watch a movie, play board games or cards, or put together a puzzle. 

Whatever you do, the staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you and all dads and father figures a happy Father’s Day!

ABC News
History.com
NationalGeographic.com

You deserve a vacation!

two people sitting in beach chairs at luxury tropical resort in front of sunset

After an extended period of restrictions, many of us are looking to get out and go somewhere this summer! While we may feel a sense of hesitation, we also need to recognize that travel is good for our health. According to Allina Health, time off work for a vacation improves both mental and physical health. “People who take vacations have lower stress, less risk of heart disease, a better outlook on life, and more motivation to achieve goals” (Allina Health).

If you are not ready to head out the door quite yet, you can benefit just from making plans. Research subjects show that the positive effects of planning a trip can boost a person’s happiness up to eight weeks before departing on an adventure (Allina Health).

If it has been a while since you took a break, you might not realize the toll work stress is taking on your body. The adrenal system often responds to extended hard work by releasing “hormones that may weaken your immunity,” resulting in a greater likelihood of colds, cases of flu, and other ailments, some of which are quite serious (WebMD). 

Taking a vacation can improve your health and lower the stress that wears down your body. “Vacations let you take your foot off the gas pedal for a bit and allow your immune system to bounce back” (WebMD). 

If you are worried about safety, keep in mind that not all trips involve frivolous risk, and there are lots of things you can do to mitigate exposure. If you travel by air, aim for a flight with few or no layovers which limits the number of people you will be exposed to. Continue to mask in the airport and on the plane. 

Seek out a house or cabin for lodging rather than a hotel with large areas for congregating. Travel with and stay with other vaccinated people when possible. If you are camping, camp with people from your household and visit with others outside--something you probably do already. 

Bring your own food, get takeout, or opt for restaurants with outdoor seating when possible. This will allow you to enjoy the warm weather and the surroundings that you traveled to enjoy. 

If you are still hesitant about missing work, it might help to know that time off can actually improve your productivity when you return to your job. “Workers who take regular time to relax are less likely to experience burnout, making them more creative and productive than their overworked, under-rested counterparts” (Allina Health). Studies noted by Allina Health indicate that even five weeks after a vacation, subjects were still experiencing improved physical health, sleep quality, and elevated mood. 

So what are you waiting for? This is your time to get out and go!

 

Allina Health "Importance of Taking a Vacation"
CDC "Safer Travel Ideas"
WebMD "How a Vacation Affects Your Body"

Memorial Day

Memorial Day

For thousands of years, it has been a custom of humans across cultures to honor those who have fallen in battle. “The ancient Greeks and Romans held annual days of remembrance for loved ones (including soldiers) each year, festooning their graves with flowers and holding public festivals and feasts in their honor” (History.com). This tradition evolved into a national holiday in the United States following the Civil War, though it was not always known as Memorial Day. 

On May 5, 1868, three years after the Civil War had ended, Major General John A. Logan, head of an organization of Union Veterans, “established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers'' (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). The designated date to observe Decoration Day was May 30 for a variety of reasons, one of which was because across the country, flowers would be blooming at that time (U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs). 

Over time, the holiday changed and expanded, and by 1890 the practice of recognizing fallen heroes at the end of May became common across the nation. The holiday became more commonly referred to as “Memorial Day” rather than “Decoration Day,” and those honored were not only Civil War heroes but all fallen American troops (Military.com). The exact date to observe the holiday also changed when the U.S. government passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, moving Memorial Day to the last Monday in May (Military.com).

In December 2000, the U.S. passed and ratified P.L. 106-579, the National Moment of Remembrance Act (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). “The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation” (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs). 

Join us as we remember America’s heroes on May 31.

 

Food Safety for Easter

Honey Sliced Ham For Easter

Dyeing eggs and egg hunts are two of the most popular Easter traditions for children. As we get older, the allure of egg decorating often lingers such that we branch out beyond the tablets and vinegar to fancy up our eggs with paint, silk tie designs, shaving cream, natural food dyes like beets, and berries, or other crafty methods. Since opportunities for food-related illness are as plentiful as design options, we have a few tips to pass along to help keep your holiday as bright and fun as your decorated eggs.

Tips for Handling Eggs:

  • Inspect your eggs before buying to be sure they are clean and crack-free, as bacteria can enter an egg through a crack (University of Nebraska).
  • Store your eggs in the carton in the body of the refrigerator rather than in the door. The door is the warmest part of the fridge, and if frequently opened may not maintain a cool enough temperature to keep eggs safe. 
  • Thoroughly wash and rinse hands before handling eggs for cooking or dyeing.
  • Thoroughly cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm to kill Salmonella and other harmful bacteria (Foodsafety.gov).
  • When preparing for a hunt, avoid hiding eggs anywhere they could “come into contact with pets, wild animals, birds, reptiles, insects, or lawn chemicals” (University of Nebraska).
  • Eat eggs or return them to the refrigerator within two hours as long as the shell is intact. Cracked eggs should be discarded, and saved eggs should be eaten within one week (University of Nebraska.)

Though the egg may be the focal point of the fun, it is less likely to be the focal point of the meal. The following are some tips for safely preparing popular Easter meats:

  • Pre-cooked ham that is vacuum packaged or canned from a federally inspected plant may be eaten without cooking or maybe warmed to an internal temperature of 145° F (Foodsafety.gov).
  • Uncooked ham or ham packaged in a plant that is not federally inspected must be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 145° F (Foodsafety.gov).
  • If you are unsure whether or not your ham is pre-cooked, look at the label. “Ham that is not ready-to-eat but has the appearance of ready-to-eat products will bear a statement on the label indicating the product needs cooking” (Foodsafety.gov).
  • If lamb is your tradition, you will still look for an internal temperature of 145° F regardless of the cut (University of Oklahoma”).
  • The US Department of Agriculture recommends an internal temperature of 145° F for various cuts of beef including roasts and steak, while ground beef (and any other ground meat) should be at least 160° F. 
  • Chicken and other poultry should be brought to an internal temperature of 165° F (US Department of Agriculture).

Whatever your Easter plans may be, our staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you a happy and healthy spring holiday! Stop by or give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs. 

"Egg Handling and Safety Tips" University of Nebraska Lincoln

"'Egg'cellent Food Safety Tips" University of Oklahoma

Foodsafety.gov

US Department of Agriculture

The History of Black History Month

Black History Month

In September of 1915, historian Carter G. Woodson and minister Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) (History.com). This organization was “dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent” (History.com).

In 1925 the group conceived the idea of Negro History Week, which was first celebrated in February 1926 during the week that included the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass (February 12 and 14 respectively) (Africanamericanhistorymonth.com). The occasion prompted celebrations and events recognizing contributions of African Americans in schools and communities across the nation.

By the time Woodson passed away on April 3, 1950, celebration of Negro History Week had grown. The Black Awakening of the 1960s and the Civil Rights Movement increased our nation’s appreciation of the contributions of African Americans, and in 1976, the celebration was expanded to include the full month of February (Africanamericanhistorymonth.com). At the nation’s bicentennial celebration, President Gerald Ford called on Americans “to seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history” (Africanamericanhistory.com).

In the spirit of celebrating the contributions of African Americans, we would like to recognize a few individuals and their accomplishments:

Elijah McCoy was born in 1844 and worked as a fireman and oiler for the Michigan Central Railroad. McCoy’s examinations of the inefficiencies of oiling axles led him to invent a “lubricating cup that distributed oil evenly over the engine’s moving parts” (U.S. Department of Transportation). This invention enabled trains to run for long periods without having to stop for maintenance. McCoy patented this invention in 1872--just one of the sixty patents McCoy received during his lifetime (U.S. Department of Transportation).

George Washington Carver is estimated to have been born in 1864, though no definitive date of his birth was ever established. The first African American to earn a Bachelor of Science degree, Carver also earned a Master of Agriculture degree in 1896 (History.com “George Washington Carver). As a scientist and inventor Carver developed hundreds of products using a variety of crops including peanuts, sweet potatoes, and soybeans (History.com “George Washington Carver). Carver also introduced the idea of crop rotation to the Rural South, allowing farmers to avoid depleting the soil of nutrients and increase yields over the long term (History.com “George Washington Carver).

Born in 1942, Patricia Bath became the first African American to complete a residency in ophthalmology. In 1986, Bath invented the Laserphaco Probe for cataract treatment, becoming the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent (Biograhpy.com “Patricia Bath”).

At Waitte’s Insurance Agency, we are proud to celebrate the wonderful diversity in our community and nation both past and present. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

Africanamericanhistorymonth.gov

Biography.com "Patricia Bath"

History.com "Black History Month"

History.com "George Washington Carver"

Library of Congress "African American History Month"

U.S. Department of Transportation

Winter Fun and Adventure

Winter Fun and Adventure

Winter Fun and Adventure

This year many of us were experiencing some degree of cabin fever before the winter season even began. Fortunately, here in Connecticut there are so many opportunities for outdoor fun that everyone should be able to try something new or rediscover an old pastime. 

The Connecticut Office of Tourism (see link below) offers information about a variety of activities that allow you the opportunity to be outdoors, active, and still maintain social distance. Downhill skiing and snowboarding are obvious go-to winter activities. If you want to add a new twist, try going at night. If you are ready to bring it up to another level, you can try freestyle skiing or snowboarding. This involves jumps, rail slides, tricks, rides on half-pipes, and/or switch riding.

Another option is ski jumping at Satre Hill in Salisbury. Not ready to make the leap yourself or want to watch the experts do it? Check out Jumpfest 2021 on February 12-14 (Jumpfest.com). 

Kids can build a snowman or a snow fort, and when they are ready to explore beyond the yard, they may want to try snow tubing. Snow tubing is a fun activity for all ages and levels of athletic ability and can be enjoyed at Powder Ridge Mountain Park and Resort.

Another option for the adventurous can be found ice climbing. Ascent Climbing and Ragged Mountain Guides can hook you up with the guides, advice, and training you need for your next adventure. Fat-tire biking, also known as snow biking or ski biking, is done with bikes built with frames to accommodate extra-wide tires that allow you to explore trails in the winter on dirt or snow. 

Adventurers who prefer more independence can cross country ski or snowshoe at a variety of scenic Connecticut locations including Winding Trails in Farmington, Gay City State Park in Hebron, Weir Farm National Historical Site in Wilton, White Memorial Foundation in Litchfield, or Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center in Mystic (Connecticut Office of Tourism).

One more option that may not yet have crossed your mind is ice fishing. Ice fishing can be done with one friend or a bunch, and as any veteran winter angler will tell you, you don’t even have to catch anything to have a great time, as typical ice fishing can have a lot in common with tailgating. If you do catch fish worth keeping, you may be surprised to realize how tasty they are. “The ‘muddy’ taste you sometimes hear about from fish can be caused by blue green algae, which can proliferate during warmer months. Blue green algae is gone, or greatly diminished, in cold and frigid water, so it no longer affects the fishes’ taste” (Associated Press “Ten Reasons to Go Ice Fishing”). If you decide to try ice fishing, check out the link below from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection for advice on how to know when the ice is thick enough to support ice fishing and other tips.

Whatever you are into this winter, the staff at Waitte’s Insurance Agency wish you health and happiness as we embark on a new year. Give us a call when you are ready to discuss your unique insurance needs.

 

Associated Press "Ten Reasons to Go Ice Fishing"

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection 

Connecticut Office of Tourism “8 Must-Try Winter Activities in Connecticut”

Jumpfest