Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A to Z Challenge: V is for Veteran's Benefits

In the case of one veteran, at least, the ability to work on your GED after enlisting has brought great joy, and erased a big regret.

Kenneth Thomas, on a snow day in 1952 when a senior in high school, decided to enlist in the Marine Corps.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, he says, so he left Bonneville High School in Iona, Idaho, fought in the Korean War, then came home to marry and settle down and have kids.

He also, while in the military, was given the benefit of an opportunity to earn his GED, which he did.

He has regretted not having an actual high school diploma, however.  He's a big believer in getting a good education.

His daughter, upon finding this out, went back to the high school and she and the principal checked the records.  There, waiting to be discovered, was the documentation saying that his GED work during his military service didn't just get him the GED, but actually completed his high school requirements.

Mr. Thomas, it seems, was due a diploma, but never received it.

He will in May, walking across the stage with this year's senior class.  This will be around the same time his granddaughter graduates from a different high school in the area.  They will have a huge family gathering to celebrate both of their accomplishments.

Congratulations, Mr. Kenneth Thomas.  It couldn't happen to a nicer veteran.

Today is

Adonia -- Greece (women's festival mourning the death of Adonis; date approximate)

Army Day -- North Korea

ANZAC Day -- Australia; Christmas Island; Cocos (Keeling) Islands; Cook Islands; New Zealand; Niue; Norfolk Island; Tonga

DNA Day -- structure of DNA first published this day in 1953; human genome project ended today in 2003

Duck Appreciation Society Day -- The Duck Appreciation Society (some sites say May 10; either way, go feed the ducks if you like them, but not stale white bread, it's no better for them than it is for us)

East Meets West Day -- Allies from the East and West finally met up this day in 1945 about 75 miles from Berlin

Festival of Robigalia -- Ancient Roman Calendar (to protect against corn blight; festival of Robiga and Rogibus, the brother and sister fertility gods)

Fiddlers' Frolics -- Hallettsville, TX, US (home of the Texas State Fiddler Championships; through Sunday)

Flag Day -- Faroe Islands; Swaziland

Full Pink Moon -- a/k/a Full Sprouting Moon, Grass Moon, Egg Moon, White Moon, Virgin Moon, and Fish Moon; in other traditions
     Bak Full Moon Poya Day -- Sri Lanka
     Tagu Full Moon -- Myanmar

Hanuman Jayanti -- Hindu (local dates may vary)

Harpa Month Begins -- Traditional Icelandic Calendar (Harp, dedicated to young women as last month was dedicated to young men)
     Sumardagurinn Fyrsti -- first day of summer, a legal holiday

Harrogate Spring Flower Show -- Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England (Britain's premier spring flower show; through Sunday)

Hug A Plumber Day -- because when you are knee deep in it, you really need them around

Liberation Day -- Italy; Portugal

Mahavir Jayanti -- Jain (local dates may vary)

Nagasaki Tall Ships Festival -- Nagasaki, Japan (sailing festival, commemorating the 16th century opening of Nagasaki as Japan's sole foreign trade port; through the 29th)

National Crayola Day -- no one claims starting this holiday, observe it with your children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews/kids down the street, and remember how fun it is to color pictures

National Zucchini Bread Day -- they hold this at a time when you are not yet sick of all that zucchini you grew in the garden

Red Hat Society Day -- first Red Hat Tea Party held this day in 1998

Sinai Liberation Day -- Egypt

St. Mark the Evangelist's Day (Patron of attorneys/barristers/lawyers/notaries, captives, glaziers, imprisoned people/prisoners, lions, stained glass workers, struma patients; Egypt; Boretto, Italy; Creazzo, Italy; Infanta, Philippines; Ionian Islands; Pordenone, Italy; Sonnino, Italy; Venice, Italy; against impenitence, insect bites, scrofulous diseases, struma)

Tag des Baumes -- Germany (Tree Day/Arbor Day)

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® Day -- US (begun by the Ms. Foundation for Women in 2003, the day is designed to expand opportunities for girls and boys, expose them to what adults do in their daily lives during work hours, show them the value of education, and teach them about the challenges of balancing work, family, community, and personal responsibilites; children are encouraged to return to school tomorrow and discuss what they have learned)

Theravadin New Year -- Buddhist (through the 28th; dates can vary locally)

Washington State Apple Blossom Festival -- Wenatchee, WA, US (more than 40 fun events showcasing the greater Wenatchee Valley, it's people, products, and heritage; through the first Sunday in May)

World Malaria Day / Malaria Awareness Day -- WHO and the International Community

World Penguin Day -- because they begin migrating on or around this day

20-Something Service Day -- can't find who started this one, but it's a good idea, whomever it was, whether you are 20 or older to do some community service or volunteer work regularly

Birthdays Today:

Jacob Underwood, 1980
Jason, Lee, 1970
Renee, Zellweger, 1969
Hank Azaria, 1964
Talia Shire, 1946
Stu Cook, 1945
Bjorn Ulvaeus, 1945
Al Pacino, 1940
Meadowlark Lemon, 1932
Paul Mazursky, 1930
Albert King, 1923
Ella Fitzgerald, 1918
Edward R. Murrow, 1908
Guglielmo Marconi, 1874

Today in History:

Lysander's Spartan Armies defeated the Athenians and the Peloponnesian War ends, BC404
German geographer and mapmaker Martin Waldseemuller publishes his Cosmographiae Introductio map in which he gives the American continents their name, 1507
Highwayman Nicholas Pelletier becomes the first person executed by guillotine, 1792
Charles Fremantle arrives in the HMS Challenger off the coast of modern-day Western Australia prior to declaring the Swan River Colony for the United Kingdom, 1829
The last survivors of the Donner Party arrive back in civilization, 1847
The Governor General of Canada, Lord Elgin, signs the Rebellion Losses Bill, outraging Montreal's English population and triggering the Montreal Riots, 1849
British and French engineers break ground for the Suez Canal, 1859
New York State becomes the first US state to require automobiles to be licensed, 1901
First DC Comic with Batman is published, 1939
Fifty nations gather in San Francisco, California to begin the United Nations Conference on International Organizations, 1945
Francis Crick and James D. Watson publish Molecular structure of nucleic acids: a structure for deoxyribose nucleic acid describing the double helix structure of DNA, 1953
The St. Lawrence Seaway, linking the North American Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean, officially opens to shipping, 1959
Robert Noyce is granted a patent for an integrated circuit, 1961
Israel completes its withdrawal from the Sinai peninsula per the Camp David Accords, 1982
American schoolgirl Samantha Smith is invited to visit the Soviet Union by its leader Yuri Andropov after he read her letter in which she expressed fears about nuclear war, 1983
Pioneer 10 travels beyond Pluto's orbit, 1983
The Hubble Telescope is deployed, 1990
The Human Genome Project comes to an end 2.5 years before first anticipated, 2003
The final piece of the Obelisk of Axum is returned to Ethiopia  after being stolen by the invading Italian army in 1937, 2005
Bulgaria and Romania sign accession treaties to join the European Union, 2005


  1. What a great story. Gotta love when things work out this way.

  2. Thanks for such a heartwarming story. A real mood lifter for today.

  3. Ok, that is just cool! And I hope he gets a standing ovation!


  4. That is such a great story. I wish I could go to that family's celebration! :-)

  5. Such a perfect poem to my blogpost. Thank you! i have also noticed that you are not on my blogroll and I have remedied that!

  6. What a great story. Heartwarming. I'm glad you mention the full moon as I was wondering why things are so crazy right now. That usually explains it.

  7. We owe our vets SO much! Thanks for the wonderful story.

  8. Mr. Thomas!!! If I ever see that graduation video, I'm gonna be teary-eyed for sure. I love stuff like this.

  9. What an inspiration! I love that grandfather and granddaughter get to share in such a milestone.
    Jess/ Blogging on the Brink

  10. Loved the story. His daughter did a wonderful loving thing.


  11. Hilary, i do, too.

    Stephen, it was for me, too.

    Cat, he deserves one, i agree.

    Kay, it would be nice to be there.

    Carla, i hope you get lots of smiles today. ((hug))

    Thank you, Tabor, i really appreciate that!

    Shell, i hope things settle down for you soon.

    Gigi, we do, so i'm glad when i can find good stories about them.

    Josie, i hope they video it and it goes viral!

    Jess, he is an inspiration, a quiet hero.

  12. Mimi- what a great post! He deserves a huge hug from all of us! Thanks for posting.
    ps should I clone my green thumb and send it to you? hee hee

  13. It's so grand that a veteran can see his dreams come true! Life is about doing the things we have always wanted to do and leaving this world with few regrets. So glad he gets to do this! Jennifer a.k.a Urban Gyspy Girl