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Memorial Day: A Day of Remembrance

Memorial Day was officially observed for the first time on May 30, 1868. It was called Decoration Day and was a day of remembrance for all men and women who have died in our nation's service. The day was primarily a remembrance day in the Northern states for those who had died in the Civil War. The Southern States had remembrance days at other times. It wasn't until after WWI that the southern states joined in the national day. Memorial Day is now observed on the last Monday in May.

Every spring before Memorial Day many people cheerfully purchase a red poppy from the Veterans standing outside local businesses. The poppies are a tradition that was started in 1915 when Moina Michael started designing red poppies to wear on Memorial Day to commemorate those who have died in service to our country. She was the first to wear the poppy and monies raised were used to support veterans. The poppies are just one symbol of the sacrifice that our veterans have made and are a great reminder and thank you to our veterans. The poem "In Flanders Field" was written by a Canadian doctor on a battlefield in France during WWI and is the inspiration for the idea of the red poppies.

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Today the VFW continues its tradition of selling the Buddy Poppy and the American Legion Auxiliary Poppy Program also sells millions of red crepe paper poppies. Be sure to make a generous donation and leave a smile for the veteran when you purchase one in the next few days.

The National September 11 Memorial Museum

The National September 11 Memorial Museum, also known as the 9/11 Museum, is scheduled to open at the site of the former World Trade Center twin towers in New York on May 21st. Please see the website to learn more about the museum and to find information about a visit.

How To Fly A Flag For Memorial Day

On Memorial Day, the flag should be hung at half-staff until noon, when it should be raised to the top of the staff.

Competitive Drill: How to Maximize Your Precision Score

Step 1: Hand Pins and Cutaways

I cannot stress this enough. When a hand isn't touching the rifle, it needs to be pinned at your side. This includes during aerials, behind the back catches, flow movements, etc. Any time a hand is not in use, it needs to be tight at your side. Practice pushing your fist towards the ground to straighten out your elbow.

Additionally, you need to work on your cutaways - this is the act of moving your hand from a non-hand pin position to a hand-pinned position. The faster this occurs, the better. During aerials, move your arm down to your side in a straight line, not in an arc. Additionally, do not make a sound during the pin by slamming it into your leg too quickly.

Step 2: Close Your Mouth

Breathe through your nose and avoid opening your mouth at all costs. Practice breathing through your nose during cardio exercises. Be careful not to over-work yourself while practicing this technique - do it until you feel mildly uncomfortable and then take full breaths again. Your body needs oxygen, but the constraints of drill force us to uptake it through the nose.

Step 3: Tighten Your Abs to Maintain Your 't-Form'

The t-Form is the stance your body takes when standing at attention. It describes the shape your body makes when you stand with your chin up, your shoulders and hips squared front, and your legs together. When you flow, or move around the pad, it's easy to lose your t-form. Counteract this by tightening your abs.

Step 4: Don't Look at the Rifle When You Don't Have to

Use your peripherals whenever possible. Avoid looking down at your rifle during moves where the rifle doesn't leave your hands or travel above your head. Doubles, two-hand spins, side ninjas, etc. are all tricks you don't have to look at. Show how much control you have by looking straight ahead.

Practice these techniques over the next year to see your score drastically improve. For more information, keep your eye on the Independent Drill YouTube channel. Precision videos are coming soon.

Adam Jeup has been an active driller for 10 years and has competed at IWDC. He owns and operates Independent Drill, a learning resource for drillers of all skill levels. Adam is a regular contributor to the Bugler. Stay tuned for his exclusive articles on competitive drill!

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