Happy Veterans Day
November 11, 2023
Click here for a message from the VA about Veterans Day.
Memo sent on November 9, 2023 from Laboratory Director, Paul Kearns
Veterans Day falls on Saturday this year, and I encourage everyone to thank our veterans and find a moment to consider the significance of this holiday. Veterans are our colleagues, collaborators, family members, and friends. Their service and sacrifices parallel our mission’s dedication to American security and prosperity. Our veterans contribute to the diversity of our lab, and we would be a lesser institution without them.
More than 165 of our employees are veterans. Many of them are part of our Argonne Veterans employee resource group (ERG), which enriches our lab community with many outreach activities.
Thanks to their leadership, last month, we hosted a veterans resume-writing workshop, which brought over 30 local veterans to our Lemont campus. The ERG and Human Resource Services staff helped the vets refine their job search strategies, documents, and interviewing skills. Interim Deputy Lab Director for Operations and Chief Operations Officer Karen Hellman addressed our guests and told me that the event was a big success. This community outreach will help us further build our world-class community of talent.
Argonne connects with veterans in many other ways, not all of which are well-known. For several years, the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility has collaborated with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on MVP-CHAMPION (Million Veteran Program Computational Health Analytics for Medical Precision to Improve Outcomes Now). This program leverages our supercomputers to crunch massive amounts of veteran health care data to improve outcomes and reduce costs.
Other research areas support active-duty members who will one day become veterans. The Nonproliferation Research, Analysis and Engagement group provides technical expertise for nuclear nonproliferation to safeguard materials, equipment, and technology. At the same time, the National and Cyber Security Information Sciences group is advancing cybersecurity to keep infrastructure running smoothly and the military operating effectively. These are only two examples of our various projects for the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Our freedom to experiment as a society and as scientists — to evolve established assumptions, invent novel approaches, and apply cutting-edge ideas — are protected by the U.S. Constitution and the veterans who have sworn to support and defend it. Just recently, our Veterans ERG recorded a reading of the Constitution’s Preamble. It’s an encouraging reminder of the values of the Enlightenment movement that the framers brought to the Constitution and that continue to inspire us to this day.
Please listen to the recording. It prompted this reflection and my great appreciation. I again encourage all of us to thank those who served in our military.
In a look borrowed from vintage newsreels, this four-part series on The Basics of Military Culture, powered by PsychArmor in partnership with Comcast NBC Universal, covers stories from six American service members about their experiences serving our country.
This series provides an in-depth exploration of military service and culture, covering topics such as the commitment required to serve, the values that guide military culture, the diversity and inclusivity within the military, and the challenges service members and their families face during and after their service. This series features personal stories and interviews with service members, as well as insights into the benefits of military service and the invaluable soft skills that it provides.
Happy Flag Day!
Wednesday, June 14, 2023 is Flag Day.
For fun facts on the U.S. Flag, here is a YouTube video: Flag Day and Flag Etiquette (Original Version)
Britannica defines Flag Day as follows:
Flag Day, also called National Flag Day, in the United States, a day honouring the national flag, observed on June 14. The holiday commemorates the date in 1777 when the United States approved the design for its first national flag.
The idea to set aside a day to honour the national flag came from several sources. Bernard J. Cigrand, a Wisconsin schoolteacher, in 1885 urged his students to observe June 14 as “Flag Birthday.” He later wrote an essay published in a Chicago newspaper that urged Americans to proclaim this date as the day to celebrate the flag. In 1888 William T. Kerr of Pennsylvania founded the American Flag Day Association of Western Pennsylvania, an organization to which he dedicated his life. A lesser-known claim is that of George Morris of Connecticut, who is said to have organized the first formal celebration of the day in Hartford in 1861.
In 1916 Pres. Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14 as the official date for Flag Day, and in 1949 the U.S. Congress permanently established the date as National Flag Day. Although Flag Day is not an official federal holiday, Pennsylvania celebrates the day as a state holiday. Each year the U.S. president delivers an address that proclaims the week of June 14 as National Flag Week, and all Americans are encouraged to fly U.S. flags during that week.
Happy Memorial Day!
You hear this sentiment from co-workers, store tenders, people you pass on the streets, and all-over social media; this phrase proves to be a conundrum for those who understand the true meaning of Memorial Day, a day of reflection, respect, and remembrance for those who gave their life for their country; a day that should not be trivialized with the standard greeting of celebratory frivolity. Often confused with Veterans Day, which is observed on November 11 annually and pays respect to and celebrates the service of all U.S. military Veterans, Memorial Day had its start immediately following the Civil War, as a way to honor and remember all those who died while fighting for our country, Union or Confederate, one and all.
First dubbed as Decoration Day in reference to the act of leaving flowers and flags on soldiers’ graves, this day has always been thought to have its first official commemoration on May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery. Here more than 5,000 participants gathered to honor the fallen and took part in decorating more than 20,000 graves of Union and Confederate soldiers. A recent discovery, in 1990, produced a box of First Decoration Day artifacts and manuscripts found in the depths of the Houghton Library at Harvard University; this find shed a new light on the earliest known celebration of Memorial Day which actually occurred on May 1, 1965, in Charleston, South Carolina by newly freed African Americans.
Transformed into a prison for Union soldiers, the Washington Racecourse and Jockey Club of Charleston had a mass grave behind the complex for the bodies of the deceased prisoners who lost their lives due to the horrific conditions of the camp. Once the Confederate army abandoned the city, it left a population of newly freed slaves who immediately took on the job of ensuring these fallen heroes were commemorated through an honorable burial. A cemetery was built, and the bodies were interred in proper burial plots with an inscription on the surrounding fence “Martyrs of the Race Course.” On that first day in May 1965, thousands of freed slaves along with white missionaries gathered together to honor the fallen soldiers. The ceremony included a parade, singing, formation marches and prayers; all to pay homage to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
On May 29, 2023, we honor our fallen soldiers from all U.S. violent conflicts and wars, who have given their lives for their country, please give of yourself; volunteer for a military organization, place flowers or flags on military graves, slow down your everyday enough to remember, reflect, and respect the memory of these heroes, these warriors who gave everything so we are able to live in a country where we are safe and free. This Memorial Day, pause for these warriors, share the story of the history of this day so that others may also take a pause to remember why we are able to call our home, the United States of America; it is not without the greatest sacrifice of all – of so many. Good Memorial Day to everyone, may we never forget-