JULY 2019 BLOG
Volume 1, Edition 9
A word from the
First Lady of Louisiana
Happy Fourth of July!
On May 21, 2019 we attended a beautiful and moving Louisiana National Guard ceremony featuring the dedication of a Minuteman Statue erected in the Veteran’s Memorial Park on the grounds of the State Capitol.
The ceremony included a cannon salute, F-15 flyover, UH-60 flyover and music provided by the 156th Army Band. The 156th music included “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Taps. The LANG Military Funeral Honors Program conducted a rifle salute.
The monument, a pedestal with the National Guard Minuteman on top, is surrounded by bricks engraved with the names of the Louisiana National Guardsmen who have been killed in service in the Global War on Terrorism. It faces the nearby monument dedicated to Gold Star Families in a symbolic gesture that LANG Guardsmen are watching over those families.
Hundreds of people turned out for the dedication. As I sat next to Jill Curtis, wife of Major General Glenn Curtis, a flood of memories came back to me. Memories of attending military parades at West Point watching Cadet John Bel march. Memories of serving as a military wife for 8 years alongside my husband.
I listened to the powerful and sincere words spoken that day. Major General Curtis, “They run towards harm, not away from it, so it’s important to show them honor and pay homage to them. It’s great that we live in a country and a state that will stop for a moment like this to recognize what your soldiers did in service to our nation,” said Curtis. “No family should have to go through what you went through and what you continue to go through.”
Then my husband spoke. “No family member should ever have to make the sacrifice that you made, and words don’t do the job to convey how much we appreciate you, that we honor your sacrifice, that we honor the fallen, but we do,” said Governor Edwards. “This park, this monument and the Gold Star monument that we put up last September all serve to remind everybody who visits this park of the sacrifice being made today by so many people who are serving us and that have been made by those who were killed in the line of duty.”
As I heard the sounds of the cannons, my heart jumped. After each howitzer fired, I thought of the many men and women that had given their lives for all of us. Their very lives safeguarded and preserved our freedom. As I looked around in the crowd I saw families of the fallen soldiers, soldiers, veterans and civilians. They had all come to pay homage to the true heroes being honored.
Later that week, on May 23, we attended the American Spirit Awards at the National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Awards were given to former Vice President Dick Cheney and former United States Senator Joe Lieberman.
Across four decades of public life, Dick Cheney has served at the highest levels of government during some of the most critical times in modern American history.
Lieberman was for 24 years a member of the US Senate from Connecticut. At the end of his service in January 2013, he was chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. Through both committee positions, he became a leader in protecting the security of the American people, supporting American international leadership, and advocating for America’s Veterans.
Listening to each of these men tell of their stories was extraordinary. Both told personal stories of family connections during WWII.
As the week ended and I looked back at both of these events I was proud but yet sad. Sad, for the loss of lives. Sad because I knew that so many other citizens of our state had never experienced this type of reverence and respect for their country and for the flag. As a teacher, I know we teach our children the Pledge of Allegiance, patriotic songs and respect of the flag. Children are taught about American history, Louisiana history, World history. They are taught about wars. Wars that were won and lost in our country. They are taught about the men and women who serve our country. But, do they really understand? Do they understand the respect that these men and women deserve from each of us? Have they experienced or heard the sounds of taps, seen the way our military responds with respect to all and have they seen and heard a Military marching band? I would say many have not.
One percent of our nation’s population serves in the military. Less and less families are personally connected to someone who serves. It is up to us as parents and adults to make sure our children know, understand and respect those who serve in the military. It is up to us as citizens to make sure we do our part and helping those families of a Veteran or an active duty Military person.
As we celebrate the Fourth of July let us not forget the words of The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag—”I 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.”
Secretary Joey Strickland
Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs
“All through our history, our Presidents and leaders have spoken of national unity and warned us that the real obstacle to moving forward the boundaries of freedom, the only permanent danger to the hope that is America, comes from within,” President Ronald Reagan once said. “My fellow Americans, it falls to us to keep faith with them and all the great Americans of our past.”
Happy 243rd Birthday, America! On July 4th, we will host massive celebrations across our great state and nation honoring the day we signed our Declaration of Independence. While we are fairly young as a country, no one can question the impact that the United States of America has made and will continue to make in the world.
From 1776 to the present day, July 4th has been celebrated as the birth of the American spirit and its independence. We do so with festivities often involving fireworks, parades, concerts, and outdoor barbeques. But, we also do so because of the blood, sweat, and sacrifice of patriots that have served in our U.S. Armed Forces.
In 1870, the U.S. Congress made July 4th a federal holiday. Our Independence Day has remained an important national holiday and a symbol of our patriotism.
Today, the original copy of the Declaration is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and we continue to commemorate the day we laid down our claim to be a free and independent nation.
Louisiana First Foundation
Yes Mam, No Mam, Thank you Mam = Teach MAM!
CHRISTMAS IN JULY
at the Governor’s Mansion Preservation Foundation
It’s Christmas in July at the Governor’s Mansion Preservation Foundation! Buy any ornament and get 10% off your total purchase in July. Your discount will be automatic at checkout. The 2019 ornament is in stock now. Get ahead of your Christmas shopping! Click here and get yours now.
During the period of 2011-2016, the Louisiana Maternal Mortality Review documents that there were 12.4 deaths per 100,000 births in Louisiana. This distressing fact urges the community to advocate for increased awareness regarding these poor maternal outcomes. Expecting mothers, their families, and the medical community should remain abreast regarding the risk factors related to poor maternal outcomes. Moreover, resources need to be available for high risk expecting moms to improve the overall health of our community.
I remember the evening so vividly. It was a fairly clear Friday night. I was in the football stadium with my husband enjoying my sons’ high school football game. The band was playing. The fans were cheering so I couldn’t hear my text message alert. I happened to look down at my phone and noticed that I received a text message from a friend who had a medical question about her nine-month-old daughter. We texted back and forth about the issue and the closing text read, “We are expecting.” I was very happy for her and her husband. This would be her third child. Her pregnancy was uneventful and her baby boy was born full term. However, two days after the delivery she was found unresponsive in her hospital room. Despite around the clock medical care and many prayers, she did not make it home to care for her new baby boy and her other children. We still don’t have any answers about the cause of her death.
Ladies of Louisiana Making a Difference
New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute
The South is celebrated the world over for its hospitality. Here in Louisiana, we have hospitality down to a fine art form. From the crawfish boils of springtime to the deep gumbo pots of football season, we’re always finding a way to gather together and welcome communities old and new. We’re lucky to live in a state with a rich heritage that gives us some of the world’s greatest food, surrounded by neighbors who are devoted to carrying on that legacy.
This spring, John Bel and I were thrilled to celebrate the grand opening of New Orleans Culinary & Hospitality Institute. (The last time we saw it was in late 2018, when all visitors had to wear hard hats!) Two of the school’s founders, Ti Martin and Dickie Brennan, were born and raised in New Orleans dining institutions like Commander’s Palace and Brennan’s; their co-founder, George Brower, is a seasoned local developer. These three know better than anyone that the hospitality industry is the heartbeat of our state. They recognized a real need to develop a pipeline of skilled hospitality workers and an opportunity to give back to the industry that has given so generously to their hometown. This January, after years of hard work and preparation, they saw their dream come to reality.
The First Dogs
The First Dogs wish you a
safe and happy 4th of July!
Something to Discern
WE ARE OPEN
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