Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) @JCC Rockville

Memorial for the 23,741 fallen soldiers and 3,150 victims of terror. 


Brave, strong, and dedicated to the survival of Israel. 


May their memory be a blessing!


Also a beautiful video my daughter, Minna sent to me. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Memorial Day Stars and Stripes

 

Flag.jpeg

Loved this lady’s sweater of the American Flag.


So cool with the stars on the sleeve like that. 


I thought this was especially nice for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.


As we remember those that have sacrificed so much, and the many that have fallen making the ultimate sacrifice, so that all we could be free. 


“In the olden days,” they used to say America was the “goldene medina”–the golden country–the land of opportunity!


But really, the gold itself is just fools gold, the real greatness of being here is the freedom to be who you are and to have the human rights and protections to pursue whatever your dreams are. 


Maybe that’s what the stars on the flag are really all about–we can all reach for the stars–whatever stars we want–and many will actually be able to achieve the impossible. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Success Iceberg

Success Iceberg.jpeg

Thought this was really so true.


Under the tip of the iceberg of success lay all the factors that most people don’t see.


The vast mass of persistence, failures, sacrifices, disappointments, good habits, hard work, and dedication. 


Success really is an iceberg!


Don’t be jealous of the success at the tip of the iceberg of others unless you put in all the ingredients beneath–plus a prayer to the Almighty Above for his blessings.


Have a Shabbat Shalom!


(Source Photo: Michelle Blumenthal)

Thank You To Our Warfighters

Armed Forces

I took a photo of this wonderful sign on this construction truck. 


It says:


“To All The Men And Women Of Our Armed Forces


Thank You!


United We Stand.”


Next week on Wednesday is Veterans Day, but feeling gratitude to those who stand and fight for our freedom is not just a one day a year message. 


Let’s always remember that freedom is not free! 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Everything Else Is Anticlimactic

VeteransDay
We went to a Veterans Day Concert yesterday, and it was quite moving.



Before the music–60’s and 70’s (and some dancing)–started, there were a number of heartfelt speeches by distinguished veterans of the Vietnam War.



One lady was a nurse in Saigon working 16 hour days tending to the wounded and dying from the battlefield. She joined the army after 8 of her high school friends from her small hometown were killed in the war. The nurse told us how on the flight to Nam, they were told to look to the person on the immediate right and left of you, becuase one of you will not be coming home.



Another speaker was a special forces Army Ranger who was fighting in North Vietnam on very dangerous covert missions. He led many draftees, who he said had only minimal training, yet fought bravely on missions with bullets flying overhead and mortars and rockets pounding their positions. He described one situation where he knelt down to look at a map with one of his troops, and as they were in that psition half a dozen bullets hit into the tree right above their heads–if they had not been crouched down looking at the map, they would’ve both been dead. 



A third speaker was a veteran who had been been hit by a “million dollar shot” from the enemy–one that didn’t kill or cripple him, but that had him sent him to a hospital for 4-6 weeks and then ultimately home from the war zone. He told of his ongoing activities in the veterans community all these years, and even routinely washing the Veteran’s Wall Memorial in Washington D.C. 



Aside from the bravery and fortitude of all these veterans, what was fascinating was how, as the veterans reflected, EVERYTHING else in their lives was anticlimactic after fighting in the war. The nurse for example read us a poem about the ladies in hell (referring to the nurses caring for the wounded) and how they never talked about the patients in Nam because it was too painful, and when they returned home, they had the classic symptoms of PTSD including the hellish nightmares of being back there. 



Indeed, these veterans went through hell, and it seems that it was the defining moment in (many if not most of) their lives, and they are reliving it in one way or another every moment of every day. 



Frankly, I don’t know how they did it being dropped on the other side of the world with, as the special forces Vet explained, maps that only told you in very general terms wherer you even where, and carrying supplies for at least 3 days at a time of C-rations, water, ammo, and more–and with the enemy all around you (“there were no enemy lines in this war; if you stepped out of your units area, it was almost all ‘unfriendly.'”). One Vet said that if you were a 2nd Lt., like she was, your average lifespan over there was 20 minutes. 



The big question before we go to war and put our troops in harms way is what are we fighting for and is it absolutely necessary. For the troops being sent to the battlezone, everything else is just anticlimactic–they have been to hell. 



(Source Photo: Dannielle Blumenthal)

We Need More Rabbit

Rabbit
This was a funny scene down at Foggy Bottom today.



The Nesquik rabbit was giving out chocolate milk bottle samples.



On a warm August day today, this was nice. 



But also, it was refreshing to see a little light-heartedness downtown. 



We all–adults and kids–need more of this–to enjoy life.



It was interesting how we are so going in the opposite direction these days.



Not only with all the bad news around the world…



But even with how hard we have to work just to keep up (24/7) and with a world where our kids are having to work and miss out on what is supposed to be some more or less carefree exploratory years to find themselves. 



Now it’s SAT prep, AP classes, internships, volunteer opportunities, and extracurricular activities–all the time. 



In this regard, in the Wall Street Journal today, there was a review of a book called Excellent Sheep.



The book’s author explains how “For many students, rising to the absolute top means being consumed by the system…[where they] sacrifice health, relationships, exploration, [and] activities…[those things] essential for developing souls and hearts.”



The kids are often working so hard that they are anxious, depressed, and often miserable. 



When getting ahead and becoming wealthy (a priority for 80%!) becomes the prime reason for our young adults’ existence, maybe we have missed the boat in terms of finding true meaning and joy in life. 



Hard work and striving for success is a good thing, but worshipping the proverbial “golden calf” is not productive. 



Like the rabbit, I would give a thumbs up to those for whom a more well-balanced life rules the day–where success, meaning, and joy all play an important part, and we can drink some chocolate milk and not take everything so darn serious. 😉



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)