Editorial: Flags lowered on Monday; remember to give a moment to honor those who served

May 28, 2011

Stone and cloth will make a firm statement on Monday.

The stone is a marble monument to be dedicated at Idlewilde Cemetery in honor of all the Japanese-American citizens who have served in our nation's armed forces. (See page A1 for details.)

The American Legion and Idlewilde Cemetery organizations, and Dennis Leonard and Bob Huskey in particular, deserve thanks for working hard with local families to pay a timely honor to a segment of our citizenry that, historically, has suffered discrimination and ill treatment because of its ethnicity.

The stone, to be unveiled Monday, honors the names of living and deceased the Japanese-American servicemen and women and, by extension, their family members, many of whom dealt with deportation and detention in 1942-46, and explicit or implicit discrimination here in Hood River before that and since.

The cloth is the American flag, which Gov. John Kitzhaber has ordered lowered to half-staff at public institutions from sunrise until noon on Monday, May 30, in memory of all Oregonians who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. This is Kitzhaber's statement:

"This Memorial Day, I urge all Oregonians to pause and reflect on the men and women currently serving our nation overseas. While we keep them in our thoughts and prayers, we also take this day to remember the courage and dedication of all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom."

The protocol for displaying the flag at half-staff on Memorial Day is to raise the flag in the morning briskly to the top of the flag pole, then slowly lower it to the mid-way point of the pole. At noon, the flag should be raised back up to the top of the flag pole.

Monday's "holiday" should be about more than camping trips, picnics and sleeping in. (Local students even get a four-day weekend, with no school on May 27.)

Even if you cannot make it to Monday's service at Idlewilde at 11 a.m., spend a few moments at that time reflecting on the "last measure of devotion" shown by those who have given their lives to defend our freedoms.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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