Thursday, May 27, 2010

Health Care and Memorial Day

Hundreds of people in the U.S. suffer serious, even life-threatening burns in grilling accidents each year, according to the University of North Carolina Medical Center. With the Memorial Day weekend at hand, it’s time to fire up the grill. However, before you put on that first piece of meat there are a few precautions you need to be aware of. With life-threatening burns that result from the careless use of outdoor grills, these injuries result primarily from the use of unapproved lighter/starter fluids, such as gasoline, and the misuse of approved fluids. In addition, many injuries occur when gas grills are improperly used. A fire or explosion can occur when a grill is used the first time after it has been left idle.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in 2005, U. S. fire departments responded to an estimated 8,300 home fires involving grills, hibachis or barbeques, including 3,400 structure fires and 4,900 outside fires. These 8,300 fires caused 10 civilian deaths (to the nearest ten), 110 reported injuries and $137 million in direct property damage.1 Also in that same year, an estimated 8,610 people were see at hospital emergency rooms for thermal burns caused by grills. However, all of these grill–related injuries are easily preventable by following the safety tips outlined below:
--When lighting a gas grill, keep the top open. If the grill does not light in the first several attempts, wait five minutes to allow gas to dissipate.
--Check grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes, and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends, holes and leaks.
--Check the gas grill for leaks every time the cylinder is replaced.
--Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the grill and use caution when storing LP gas containers.
--Never store a spare gas container under or near the grill or indoors.
--You should take just as much care when using a charcoal grill. Charcoal produces carbon monoxide (CO) when it is burned. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can accumulate to toxic levels in closed environments.

More info about this topic can be found at

On a more serious note, Americans have a variety of feelings about Memorial Day. The speaking of it brings different meanings to people. Some see it as a time to have a free day off from work; others view the day as a way to connect with family and friends at a picnic or backyard cookout, taking advantage of big sales at all the malls, and others know the time set aside to honor those who serve and have served to defend our nation's freedoms. Regardless of your thoughts about what this day represents, know and understand that the health of America depends upon the ability to live according to the rights and privileges afforded to all residents--made available by the sacrifices of those in uniform over the past two centuries and more. Here are words to help everyone remember:

Freedom is not Free:
I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform,
So young, so tall, so proud,
He'd stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him,
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves?
No, freedom isn't free.

I heard the sound of TAPS one night,
When everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play,
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That TAPS had meant "Amen,"
When a flag had draped a coffin,
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands,
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard,
At the bottom of the sea,
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn't free.
--by Kelly Strong

The "Memorial" in Memorial Day has been many times ignored by too many Americans who are beneficiaries of freedoms, paid for by those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, according to Often, people do not observe the day as it should be--a day where you actively remember your ancestors, your family members, your loved ones, your neighbors, and your friends who have given the ultimate sacrifice:
--By visiting cemeteries and placing flags or flowers on the graves of our fallen heroes.
--By visiting memorials.
--By flying the U.S. Flag at half-staff until noon.
--By flying the 'POW/MIA Flag' as well (Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act).
--By participating in a "National Moment of Remembrance": at 3 p.m. to pause and think upon the true meaning of the day, and for Taps to be played.
--By renewing a pledge to aid the widows, widowers, and orphans of our falled dead, and to aid the disabled veterans.

A truth that does not receive enough attention is that killing in combat is the beginning of a long journey for most soldiers. At the moment of killing, a soldier may experience relief, excitement, rage, sickness, sadness, exuberance, numbness, or even satisfaction. The returning soldier often, though not always, feels a sense of estrangement, of being different, even when welcomed home. Medals and speeches about duty, honor, country, courage, and heroism all ring hollow and feel disconnected from the images of death, both of friends and foes, that are the reality of combat. No justification ultimately satisfies the soldier who has killed or witnessed killing. Do not be naive about what they have seen and done. Many are committed Christians who will spend the remainder of their lives trying to make sense of the events they have endured. It is work they must labor on with God.

Memorial Day has traditionally been a day of remembering the many heroes who lost their lives during wars in which the United States has been involved, according to This weekend pause to pray for those currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other posts worldwide. Show honor to those who have served, and consider where America would be without those who have given the ultimate price to keep our nation "the land of the free, and the home of the brave." Then, thank God for all the blessings He has provided to you on this Memorial Day.

Until next time. Let me know what you think.

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