Monday, May 25, 2015

10 historical facts about Memorial Day


 ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Here are 10 fast facts about Memorial Day, a holiday honoring American soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country:
• Even though numerous communities had been independently celebrating Memorial Day for years,the federal government declared Waterloo, N.Y. the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo first celebrated the holiday on May 5, 1866.
• Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30 for decades, but in 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May and a federal holiday.
• Memorial Day originally honored military personnel who died in the Civil War (1861-1865).
• Roughly 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War — making it the deadliest war in American history. About 644,000 Americans have died in all other conflicts combined.
• President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act on Dec. 28, 2000, designating 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day as a National Moment of Remembrance.
• It wasn't always Memorial Day — it used to be known as Decoration Day.
• Red poppies are known as a symbol of remembrance, and it's a tradition to wear them to honor those who died in war.
• Even though Memorial Day began as a holiday honoring Union soldiers, some states still have Confederate observances. Mississippi celebrates Confederate Memorial Day on the last Monday of April, Alabama on the fourth Monday of April, and Georgia on April 26. North and South Carolina observe it on May 10, Louisiana on June 3 and Tennessee calls that date Confederate Decoration Day. Texas celebrates Confederate Heroes Day on Jan. 19 and Virginia calls the last Monday in May Confederate Memorial Day.
• The crowd that attended the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery was about the same size as those that attend today's observance: about 5,000 people
Civil War: Approximately 620,000 Americans died. The Union lost almost 365,000 troops and the Confederacy about 260,000. More than half of these deaths were caused by disease.
World War I: 116,516 Americans died, more than half from disease.
World War II: 405,399 Americans died.
Korean War: 36,574 Americans died.
Vietnam Conflict: 58,220 Americans died. More than 47,000 Americans were killed in action and nearly 11,000 died of other causes.
Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm: 148 U.S. battle deaths and 145 non-battle deaths.
Operation Iraqi Freedom4,422 U.S. service members died.
Operation New Dawn: 66 U.S. service members died.

Operation Enduring Freedom: 2,318 U.S. service members have died as of May 12, 2014.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Foods That Steal Your Sleep

At some point or another, it happens to everyone: You can't sleep. When you finally drop off, the alarm buzzes a microsecond later. Then, you can't get up. And then, it gets worse: When you finally drag yourself out of bed, you look like you-know-what.


Can't imagine why the sleep gods had it in for you? Think about what you ate the night before, says Elizabeth Somer, RD, author of The Food & Mood Cookbook. Any of the following -- much less a combo platter -- can leave your body on uneasy street for hours:


Spicy foods: Garlic, chilies, cayenne, and other intense spices are yummy going down, but they can keep you up with heartburn or indigestion. Avoid MSG, too, as it can trigger dreams that are a bit too vivid.


A big dinner: An overtaxed digestive system takes hours to settle down, and there's nothing restful about that. When sleep's critical, make lunch your largest meal, and enjoy a light 500-calorie dinner early in the evening.


Raucous veggies: Eat those good-for-you-but-gassy foods -- beans, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts -- in the middle of the day. A tankful of gas can keep anyone up at night.


Speed eating: Relax and enjoy meals to avoid swallowing air, another common cause of midnight tummy trouble.


Nightcaps: Alcohol may make you drowsy at first, but later on it disturbs sleep patterns and leads to awakenings and restlessness. A 4-ounce glass of wine with dinner won't hurt, as long as it's not within 2 hours of bedtime.


Coffee after breakfast: Caffeine can linger in your body for as long as 12 hours. So if you're often wide-eyed at bedtime, make sure you're caffeine-clean for at least 12 hours. (Skip tea, chocolate, cola, or other caffeine culprits, too.) Still watching the clock at 2 a.m.? Wean yourself off even morning java, then stay caffeine-free for 2 weeks. If you definitely sleep better, you have your answer: Caffeine is not your friend. If the results are mixed, "Try adding back a cup or two of coffee or tea in the morning and watch what happens," says Somer. "But if sleeplessness comes back, cut it out."


Getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night doesn't just make your eyes bright, your skin happy, and your mind sharp, it can also make your RealAge as much as 3 years younger.