Honor Pearl Harbor by Remembering to See

It is 1,190 miles from where I live in Kansas to the Pacific Ocean. Pearl Harbor is 3,895 miles away. Yet, in my small Kansas town, we honor Pearl Harbor. We remember the lives taken and the survivors in a small city park. 

It is important to remember the attack, the horror, and most especially it’s important to remember the lives taken and those affected by the attack.

Remembering the Killed And Injured

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is a day when we pause to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. We remember and honor the 2403 people who were killed in the attack. Of those killed, 1,177 were from the USS Arizona. There were 49 civilians killed. The youngest victim was three months old.

Among the wounded were 1,143 service members and 35 civilians.

Remembrance Day

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is not a national holiday. Businesses are still open. People go about their daily lives. But we remember. Flags are flown at half-mast in remembrance. Memorial services are held. Not just at the USS Arizona memorial. Wreaths are laid, stories are shared, speeches are given, and photographs are recirculated. And articles rehash the whys and the wherefores of what happened and what should have happened.

Remember Pearl Harbor & Remember to See

We honor Pearl Harbor with a day of remembrance but there is something we are missing.

In hindsight, the United States could have, should have known, about the attack long before it happened. This article: Pearl Harbor Facts: 7 Things You Never Knew About the Attack makes a case that FDR should have anticipated the attack.

Willful Blindness

The fact is that FDR and all the military service people involved were human. We humans blind ourselves to things we do not wish to believe. Psychologists call this Willful Blindness.

We can’t notice everything. We can’t focus on everything. So our brains consciously and subconsciously filter what we take in. What we take in is the information that makes us feel great about ourselves. We filter out what makes us uncomfortable or unsettles our belief systems. This is true of every one of us. In fact, the more hotly we declare something is true the more likely it is that we are missing something. We are blinding ourselves to some relevant piece of information.

“Our blindness grows out of the small, daily decisions that we make, which embed us more snugly inside our affirming thoughts and values. And what’s most frightening about this process is that as we see less and less, we feel more comfort and greater certainty. We think we see more — even as the landscape shrinks.”

—Margaret Heffernan from the website Political Psychology.

Ask Questions

As we pay tribute and remembrance to the fallen, the victims, and we honor Pearl Harbor with a day, we should also remember and ask ourselves what are we not seeing. It’s as easy as asking questions: What should I know that I do not? What am I missing? Most importantly, what am I not seeing that I should?

Does the End of the Year Stress You Out?

It’s the last month of the year–a busy, busy time. Not only do we continue our usual work schedule, but we also prep the house for the holidays (whichever one you celebrate), we fix big meals, we spend time with family, and we reflect back on the past year. I don’t know about you but I enjoy all those things. Yet, at the same time, I can get overwhelmed. So much stress! Does the end of the year stress you out?

Does the end of the year stress you out?

What is Stress?

Stress is your body’s way of handling any kind of demand or threat. When you face a threat your body is designed to release hormones that kick your body into high gear. These hormones are called stress hormones. They cause your heart to beat faster, your muscles to tighten, you breathe quick, short breaths, and your senses become sharper. This is the fight or flight response you probably learned a bit about in school.

Back when we were cave dwellers this fight or flight response to stress was life-saving. Today, stress can keep you on your game so you perform your best, it can warn you of and get out of potentially threatening situations. But, this same fight or flight response releases all those stress hormones when you are stressed out about an argument with your spouse, gift buying for the holidays, or work, or family situations. In other words, for those stressful times that are not life-threatening. And boy do we have non-life-threatening stress. (Or is that just me?)

What Causes Stress?

Anything can cause stress. Things that stress me out may not cause you any stress at all. Stress can be very short-term or very long term. Situations that can cause stress include:

        Being bullied

        Working too hard

        Losing a job

        Marriage or relationship problems

        Recent breakup or divorce

        Death in the family (or close friend)

        Difficulty in school

        Family problems

        Busy schedule

        Recent move or change of jobs

        Financial problems

        Chronic illness—yourself or a loved one

        Retirement (yes, you read that right)

        Rigid thinking

        Negative thinking

Symptoms of Chronic Stress

Long-term stress can lead to your body being ultra-sensitive to stressful situations. Ultra-sensitive, your body will release stress hormones even when the situation isn’t that stressful. Over time these high levels of stress hormones can lead to changes in your behavior and in your physical and emotional health.

Physical symptoms of chronic stress include:

        Headache

        Muscle pain or tension

        Nausea, dizziness

        Diarrhea or constipation

        Change in sex drive

        High blood pressure

        Chest pain, rapid heart rate

        Frequent colds or flu

Emotional symptoms include:

        Feeling you can’t get things done

        Moodiness

        Anxiety, racing thoughts

        Restlessness

        Lack of motivation

        Irritability

        Sadness or depression

Behavioral symptoms include:

        Nervous habits—chewing fingernails, pacing, etc.

        Sleeping too much or too little

        Eating too much or too little

        Smoking, using alcohol or drugs ‘to relax’

        Withdrawing from others

Asking for Help Isn’t a Failing

If you are experiencing behavioral, physical or emotional symptoms of stress there are things you can do to lessen your stress levels. You can do some things for yourself (we’ll discuss those next week). You may want to talk to a trusted counselor such as your religious leader or a therapist. If it’s overwhelming you ask your physician if medications might help you manage.

If you are thinking of giving up, of hurting yourself or others, don’t wait.

Get help now.

Go to the emergency room, call 911, call a local suicide prevention hotline, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. You don’t need to give your name.

Does the end of the year stress you out? I hope your stress is temporary. If it’s chronic, I pray that you find relief soon. What time of year are you most stressed? Next week we’ll talk about things that influence how stress affects you and ways to improve your ability to handle stress.

The Best Gifts are Given from the Heart

Hello, December! Tis the season for the hustle and bustle of gift giving and getting. But the best gift is given from the heart. Consider volunteering or giving to worthy charities instead of purchasing that impulse buy you’re thinking of gifting to yourself. Or ask your friends and family to donate in lieu of buying you a gift this season. But let’s talk about how you choose a worthy charity and about one of the charities I support, the American Humane Society.

Give Wisely

There are many, many worthy charities out there. Unfortunately, there are some organizations that call themselves charities but are less than well-organized or downright dishonest. Before you give to any charity, check them out.

There are three charity watch organizations.

BBB Wise Giving Alliance 

Charity Navigator 

Charity Watch

Be certain to understand their rating system.

Obviously, the watch organizations can’t cover every single charity, especially the small ones. But the ones they don’t cover, you can ask the questions yourself. Ask for the kind of information these charity watch organizations do.

Too much work to look up the organization on three different sites? Consumer Reports looked at each of the three charity watches to come up with a list of best-rated charities. You can find that list here.

The Best Gift is Given From the Heart

By that I mean, choose a cause or charity that means something to you. One that expresses and acts upon some situation you believe deserves attention. You know, the subjects that you are passionate about.

I’ve always been an animal lover but after working a few months at a pet rescue shelter—wow. People and situations can be unimaginably cruel. Critters need our help. Now, I’m passionate about ensuring humane treatment of all animals.

The American Humane Society

The Best Gifts are Given From the Heart. Won't you consider donating to the American Humane Society

The American Humane Society was founded 141 years ago. (Isn’t that amazing?) Before 1877 there were several organizations attempting to prevent cruelty to animals. But they had no unified voice. Delegates from 10 states, representing 27 organizations, met in Cleveland, Ohio and joined their efforts. Thus the American Humane Society was born.

The society “is committed to ensuring the safety, welfare, and well-being of animals. Our leadership programs are first to serve in promoting and nurturing the bonds between animals and humans.”

History of the Humane Society

The Humane Society’s history is so long I can only give you a taste of the things they’ve done.

They were instrumental in exposing unsanitary and inhumane methods in slaughterhouses.

They rescued and treated wounded horses from the battlefields of World War I.

The society investigated and brought cruelty to animals in the movies to the public’s attention.

When 1,400 lambs froze to death, they pressured the government to pass laws to protect animals during transportation.

The society considered that prevention of cruelty to children was part of their agenda. They campaigned for safety for children, for changes in the nation’s labor laws, and for safe, off-the-street playgrounds among many other things.

They’ve provided disaster relief in countless situations rescuing and/or feeding and housing pets, wildlife, and livestock.

After 141 years of work, their history is extensive. Read more about it here.

WHAT THEY DO

Today the American Humane Society has many programs.

The American Humane Lois Pope Life Center for Military affairs helps military service animals. They offer support and treatment for those animals serving in war zones, they provide or assist with service animals for veterans and military families, they offer healthcare and support for retired military service animals, and they recognize and honor animals that have served in the military.

In support of conservation, the society is the world’s largest certifier of the welfare and humane treatment of animals in working and other environments.

They provide grants and awards to support and facilitate efforts to rescue, shelter, and care for animals in need—whether homeless, injured, or abused. Some of those grants and awards help servicemen and women get service dogs. The application forms are on their website.

The society monitors more than 1000 film and TV productions per year. They are on set to protect animal actors.

They also actively educate people on humane treatment of animals and how best to care for their animals in difficult situations. See their fact sheets here.

How You Can Give

The American Humane Society takes one time or monthly donations, donations in honor of someone’s memory. Now, for a limited time, a donor has promised to double your donation. So any amount will help. Go here to donate.

They have a Visa signature credit card that when you use it a percentage goes to support the Society. Learn more here.

You can volunteer as a rescue team member.

You can target donations to former military service animals so they can retire in comfort and with the healthcare they need. Give here.

You can donate your vehicle. Here are the forms.

Or, you can spread the word about their good deeds.

 

It’s a gift-giving time of year. Thank you for considering making a gift to the American Humane Society.

The best gifts are given from the heart. What gifts have you made from your heart? Do you gift or volunteer for charities or causes? Which ones?