Memorial Day in Indiana: barbeques, sales, and of course, the Indy 500. However, it’s also important to remember the real reason behind the day – to honor those who have died in warfare. Memorial Day has its origins in the aftermath of the American Civil War – it was originally called “Decoration Day” and citizens were encouraged to decorate the graves of those who had fallen during the war. It wasn’t until after World War I that it was expanded to honor those who died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was established as a national holiday and is celebrated on the last Monday of every May. For more information on the history of Memorial Day, be sure to check out the Department of Veterans Affairs Memorial Day site.
Of course, a lot of people will be barbequing this weekend as well! The USDA provides a fact sheet of safety tips for those who are grilling out. Tips include keeping things clean, keeping food cold prior to grilling, and making sure everything is fully cooked. Additionally, many swimming pools open this weekend. Medline Plus provides swimming safety tips.
At 3:00 PM on Monday is designated as a National Minute of Remembrance. You can learn more about the Vietnam Veterans, Korean War Veterans and World War II Veterans Memorials by clicking on the links. Finally, be sure to check out different veterans’ stories at the Stories from the Veterans Project from the Library of Congress.
Get TrafficWise and Save Time on Your Daily Commute
The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) has a program to use Intelligent Transportation Systems, or ITS, to help relieve traffic congestion and to improve safety. INDOT’s initiative is called TrafficWise. You can get real time traffic information in the Indianapolis Metropolitan area and northwest Indiana near Gary. You can also check out traffic conditions in Southern Indiana and the Louisville area by clicking on the Louisville TRIMARC link. This information allows you to check out traffic conditions on freeways before you leave your home or workplace. When you’re in your vehicle traveling the interstates, you can look to the large Dynamic Message Signs on the highway regarding traffic conditions to plan alternative routes if necessary. Other ITS avenues of communication of traffic conditions are alerts via the Highway Advisory Radio system and notices sent via the Internet or personal pagers. Those traveling by car this Memorial Day Holiday can be safe and utilize TrafficWise to avoid the headaches of traffic jams and construction.
Discover America’s Natural Heritage this Summer
Now that it’s getting warm out, many Hoosiers start thinking about what sort of activities to do this summer. Make the most of your summer and visit a national park! These beautiful parks offer both recreational and educational activities. Whether you’re interested in camping and hiking or in history and nature, there is probably a park that will fit in with your interests. If you’re unsure of where to begin, the National Park Service has a great feature on their website for locating national parks. Simply click on the state that you’re interested in and you’ll be shown a descriptive list of all the parks there. You can make it a long trip out west, or even stay in Indiana. The possibilities for enjoying nature are endless.
Raise Awareness About Risks of High Blood Pressure in May
Should you have your blood pressure checked this month? Chances are, the answer is yes! Direct your patrons to the website of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health. Search their diseases and conditions index and find out more about High blood pressure (or Hypertension) and how knowing your numbers can prevent disease & help keep you healthy. Check out their online Guide to Lowering High Blood Pressure for many FAQs. The Centers for Disease Control has a feature on May’s High Blood Pressure Education Month which offers statistics and quick facts about Hypertension. The Medline Plus encyclopedia entry on High Blood Pressure provides links to information in 17 languages other than English, plus the latest news and research. Remember – you can keep your blood pressure at a healthy level by monitoring your numbers, watching your nutrition, and staying active.
UNESCO Identifies Worldwide Treasures
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) provides a searchable list and map of 878 properties deemed as having “outstanding universal value” by the U.N. World Heritage Committee. The World Heritage List includes unique properties in 145 different countries that are protected under the World Heritage Convention. As its website says, “Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration.” Each entry briefly describes the property and includes a gallery of photographs, maps, news, links, and additional media. Most properties, including the Church and Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie with “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, contain descriptive videos as well. You and your patrons can take an online tour of Venice and its Lagoon, visit the Great Wall of China from above the earth, or learn about beautiful Cocos Island National Park in Costa Rica, all from the comfort of your library terminal.
by Katharine Springer, Elisabeth O’Donnell, & Kim Brown-Harden