On a snowy night in 1969, Edwin was shot in his home, while Miriam and her mother, Bettye, were inside.
“I remember, I heard my mother cry ‘Edwin!’ and I sat up in the bed, and I was immediately engulfed in fear,” Miriam, now 55, tells Jean.
Jean and her mother were Pratts’ neighbors. They rushed over after receiving a phone call from Bettye.
“When I saw that front door was open, I knew. I knew,” says Jean, who was 21 at the time. “I’ll never forget walking into that family room and I could see your dad laying there and, of course, he was totally still. He died instantly.”
Jean ran and got Miriam from her room. For Miriam, that’s when “I knew everything was going to be alright,” she says.
Edwin had spent his last day playing with his daughter. “He played snowballs with you and took you on your little sled and spent that whole day with you,” Jean tells Miriam. “Which I think is a marvelous thing.”
After his death, Miriam’s mom didn’t talk much about Edwin, because it made her sad. Miriam was able to learn about him through a photo album that Bettye had put together. It was filled with newspaper clippings, obituaries, and personal pictures of Edwin.
What’s different about this story is what this little girl did all because she walked past a plaque for Edwin Pratt
At the end of the Civil War, many black families, formerly enslaved, found their way to Webster Groves. They began to settle on Vinegar Hill and along Shady Creek. One of these persons was Ken Lankford, who was a preacher. He began preaching, just after the war in 1865, in a brush arbor, alongside Shady Creek. The trees there also provided shade for those who attended his services.
A year later, in 1866, William Porter helped to formally organize the church and it became the First Baptist Church of Webster Groves. Allen Brown contributed the first $25 for the church building, which had 18 other original members. Those members built the first church in their community, making sure it had a tall foundation because of its location near Shady Creek. Churches have long been a part of creating a community, and the First Baptist Church of Webster Groves did the same in North Webster.
The year that the First Baptist Church of Webster Groves was created, an English woman came through Webster Groves on a mission to establish schools for black children throughout Missouri. She was working for the assistant state superintendent of public schools, James Milton Turner, who was in charge of postwar black schools. Mrs. Dotwell, as she is only recorded, began the first school for black children in Webster Groves at the First Baptist Church in 1866 and taught black children there until the Webster Groves School District undertook its responsibility in 1868. At that time, there were 30 children in North Webster eligible to attend between the ages of 5 and 21. The school later became known as Douglass and the church still stands, albeit, in a new building.
U.S. states offer Veterans a wide range of benefits. State representatives provided VA the most popular benefit for Veterans, part of a five-part series. Below is a list of the benefits in alphabetical order by state.
For VA benefits, people can download and print the VA Welcome Kit at https://www.va.gov/welcome-kit. People can provide general feedback and suggestions on ways VA can improve the Welcome Kit via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A YouTube video on the welcome kit is at https://youtu.be/DZvITWcWutE.
“Alabama’s beautiful State Veterans Homes are our most popular Veteran benefit because we provide more than just skilled care to our heroes, we provide a home filled with love, honor, and compassion. With amazing support from our communities, we are able to provide activities and outings which keep our residents active and engaged and improve their quality of life. We currently have four State Veterans Homes all with waiting lists and are planning the construction of our fifth State Veterans Home.” – Kim Justice, executive director, State Veterans Homes.
Veterans can learn more about the program at https://va.alabama.gov/vets-home-program/.
“The most popular state benefit is the Alaska Property Tax Exemption. This exemption provides a tax break on the first $150,000 of assessed value of the home for Veterans with a 50% or greater disability rating either by the military or the VA.” – Verdie Bowen Sr., director, Office of Veterans Affairs
Veterans can learn more about this program at (URL) http://veterans.alaska.gov/RealEstate
“One of Arizona’s most popular state benefits are special license plates that recognize and honor military Veterans. Most popular are the Veteran, Women Veteran, and Freedom Special Plates. Each plate requires a $25.00 initial application fee and $25.00 renewal fee. Of the $25.00 fee, $17.00 is deposited into the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services Veteran Donation Fund. Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes § 41-608, the Veteran Donation Fund is used to provide grants to nonprofit organizations for the benefit of Veterans in Arizona.” – Wanda Wright, director
Veterans can learn more about Special License Plates at https://azdot.gov/motor-vehicles/vehicle-services/plates-and-placards/plate-selections-gallery and the Veteran Donation Fund at https://dvs.az.gov/donation-fund.
“One of Arkansas’ newest benefits for Veterans is the state tax exemption on military retirement pay.” – Gina Chandler, assistant director, Veterans Services
More information about that benefit is at http://www.veterans.arkansas.gov/benefits/state-benefits.
“California’s most popular benefit is our home loan program. Using Qualified Veterans Mortgage Bonds, California provides flexible financing for Veterans purchasing homes in the state of California. The servicing of the loans remains with the department for the life of the loan, and this popular benefit includes exceptional fire, hazard, earthquake, and flood insurance.” – Theresa Gunn, deputy secretary, CalVet Home Loans
California Veterans can learn more about this program at https://www.calvet.ca.gov/calvet-programs/home-loans.
“The tax exemption on homes is the most popular but limited to 100% permanent and totally disabled Veterans. Given that, the most popular benefit that most Veterans can receive is Disabled Veteran license plates. The DV plates, which waive license tax on one vehicle, pertains to Veterans at 50% or more service connected and permanent and totally disabled Veterans.” – Richard J. Tremaine, director, Division of Veterans Affairs
Veterans can learn more at www.Colorado.Gov/Vets.
“Connecticut’s most popular state benefit is the Veteran designation with American Flag on the State Driver’s License and on non-license ID Cards, which is used by community based organizations, agencies and retailers to verify Veteran status for various local and state programs, services and discounts. To receive Veteran’s flag on an existing Connecticut license or identity card, the Veteran must submit documentation (DD-214 or pre 1950 WG AGO Discharge certificate) of qualifying active federal service, not including initial entry training; or Entitled to retirement pay under 10 USC Chapter 1223, as amended from time to time, or, but for age, would be entitled. The characterization of Honorable Discharge, General under Honorable Conditions, or Other Than Honorable (OTH) if deemed eligible is pursuant to Connecticut’s OTH benefits law.” – Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Thomas J. Saadi
Veterans can learn more about this benefit at https://portal.ct.gov/DVA/Pages/Apply-for-Veterans-Flag-on-CT-Driver-License-or-ID-Card.
“The most popular state benefit are the various Veterans license plates.” – Larence Kirby, executive director, Office of Veterans Services
Special license plates are available through the Department of Motor Vehicles for: Former Prisoners Of War, Formerly Missing-In-Action, Purple Heart Recipients, Medals of Valor Recipients, Disabled Veterans, Delaware National Guard & Reserve Members, Retired Military, Korean War Veterans, Vietnam War Veterans, Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), and Gold Star Lapel Button.
To learn more about Delaware’s services for Veterans, visit https://vets.delaware.gov/.
“Eligible resident Veterans with a VA certified service-connected disability of 10% or greater shall be entitled to a $5,000 deduction on the assessment of their home for tax exemption purposes. Real estate owned and used as a homestead by an honorably discharged Veteran with a service-connected, permanent and total disability is exempt from taxation. Any partially disabled Veteran who is age 65 or older, any portion of whose disability was combat-related, and who was honorably discharged, may be eligible for a discount from the amount of ad valorem tax on the homestead commensurate with the percentage of the Veteran’s permanent service-connected disability. A growing economy, mild winters and the lack of a state income tax attract many Veterans and their families to Florida. To keep them here, we offer unique benefits such as in-state tuition rates for Veterans and their families using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, several layers of property tax exemptions, expanded Veterans’ preference, and extensive benefits, licensure and fee waivers for many activities and occupations.” – James S. “Hammer” Hartsell, deputy executive director, Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Veterans can learn more by visiting www.FloridaVets.org.
“One of the most popular state benefits in Georgia is free license plates for Veterans. License plates are available in a special Veteran themed design, with options available to highlight a Veteran’s branch of service, their era of service, or a special military decoration they received during their service. License plates are also available for disabled Veterans at no charge.” – Mike Roby, Georgia’s commissioner of Veterans Service
Veterans can learn more about the program at https://veterans.georgia.gov/license-plates.
“Another popular state benefits in Georgia is a free driver’s license for Veterans or an honorary license for their spouse. The license features an American flag and a Veteran designation in the corner. The license is free for Veterans who meet a residency and service requirement but is available for a small fee for Veterans who do not meet the qualifications. License plates are also available for disabled Veterans at no charge.” – Mike Roby, Georgia’s commissioner of Veterans Service
Veterans can learn more about the program at https://veterans.georgia.gov/driving-licenses-and-personal-id-cards.
“Hawaii’s Most popular state benefit is the Totally Disabled Veterans Real Property Tax Exemption. Each island has their own tax exemption benefit in place.” – Ronald Han, Director State Office of Veterans’ Services
Veterans can learn more about the exemption at http://dod.hawaii.gov/ovs/benefits-and-services/.
“The most popular benefit are the reduced hunting & fishing license and tag fees available. Idaho provides resident disabled Veterans with a service-connected disability rating of 40% or greater $5.75 combination hunting and fishing licenses and reduced tag fees. Nonresident disabled Veterans can obtain hunting licenses for $31.75 and reduced tag fees. This provides significant cost savings for Veteran hunters and fishers.” – Kevin Wallior, Idaho Division of Veterans Services management assistant
Veterans can learn more about the program at https://idfg.idaho.gov/licenses/dav-programs.
“Illinois’ newest benefit is the Veteran designation for Illinois state driver’s licenses. This has quickly become our most popular benefit in terms of the number of Veterans who have obtained it. Our most popular monetary benefit is the Illinois Veterans Grant/Illinois National Guard Grant.” – Linda Chapa LaVia, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Illinois Veterans and their families can learn more about these programs at https://www2.illinois.gov/veterans/Pages/default.aspx.
“Indiana has tuition and fee exemption for children of disabled Veterans, children of Purple Heart recipients, and children of POWs. Remission of tuition and fees for children of disabled Veterans (at least 0% service-connected) who served during a period of war or participated in equally hazardous duty, or the children of Purple Heart recipients, or the children of prisoners of war. This may be used at approved state-sponsored universities for up to 124 credits. – Joseph J. DeVito, outreach director, Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs
Indiana Veterans can learn more about all of the benefits offered at www.in.gov/dva.
“Our Homeownership Assistance Program that provides $5,000 for first time Veteran homebuyers, our Veterans License Plates – which contributes to our License Plate Fund, and our Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License programs are all among our most popular programs.” – Karl J. Lettow, public information
Details on these are at https://va.iowa.gov/benefits.
“Kansas offers a wide variety of hunting and fishing opportunities because of an abundance of wildlife and numerous water resources.” – Kansas Commission on Veterans Affairs Director Gregg Burden
Veterans in Kansas may be eligible for hunting and fishing fee discounts and should visit Kansas Wildlife and Parks at www.ksoutdoors.com for more information.
“Kentucky waives tuition at all state colleges and universities for dependents of certain Veterans, including those who died on active duty, died as a direct result of a service-connected disability, and those who are 100 percent service-connected disabled or receiving a non-service connected pension. This benefit is so popular that people move to Kentucky specifically to take advantage of this benefit.” – Sophi Thompson, Tuition Waiver Program coordinator
Kentucky Veterans can find out more about this benefit here.
“Our most popular benefit is our structure in that Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs has a close working relationship with all 64 of our parishes. We have 74 parish service offices across the state that are accessible to all of our Veterans and their families. Our offices are staffed by highly-trained, federally-accredited Veterans assistance counselors that are employees of the State of Louisiana. As a result of our unique structure, we are able to provide the best opportunity to take advantage of the plethora of available benefits.” – Joey Strickland, Secretary, Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs
For more information on the parish service offices, visit www.vetaffairs.la.gov/benefits.
“Maine’s most popular benefit that our Veterans take advantage of is the Maine Resident Lifetime Veteran State Park and Museum Pass. Any Veteran who resides in the State of Maine, that received an honorable discharge from military service is eligible to receive a pass. The pass gives the Veteran free admission to State Parks across the state as well as the Maine State Museum.” – David Richmond, director, Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services
For more information, visit https://www.maine.gov/veterans/benefits/recreational-licenses/lifetime-park-pass.html.
“Maryland provides a number of state benefits to Veterans and their dependents. Based on inquiries received by the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, the most popular state benefit is the property tax exemption for Veterans who are rated at 100% disabled. The property tax exemption allows this unique population of Veterans to be fully exempt from property taxes on their primary dwelling.” – George Owings, secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans can learn more about the exemption and how to apply at https://veterans.maryland.gov/maryland-tax-benefits/.
For Massachusetts information, visit https://www.mass.gov/orgs/massachusetts-department-of-veterans-services.
“Our most popular state benefit for emergent needs is the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund (MVTF). The MVTF provides emergency grants to help combat-era Veterans and their families weather unforeseen, temporary financial emergencies. Emergency grants cover expenses such as utility bills, home repairs, transportation and mortgage assistance.” – Lindell Holm, Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency/MVTF executive secretary
For more information and to apply, visit https://www.michiganveterans.com/mvaaEmergencyAssistanceForm or call 1-800-MICH-VET.
“Our most popular service is the VA Claims representation provided by our staff and our largest program financially is the State Soldiers Assistance Program.” – Larry Herke, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs
To learn more, visit https://mn.gov/mdva/resources/healthdisability/claims.jsp.
“Mississippi’s most popular state benefit for totally disabled Veterans is the homestead exemption. If a Veteran has been honorably discharged with total disability, he or she is exempt from all Ad Valorem taxes on the assessed value of homestead property. Another popular benefit is free access to all State Parks and Recreational Facilities. All Veterans are eligible for this perk.” – Stacey Pickering, executive director of Mississippi Veterans Affairs
For more information on Mississippi Veterans Affairs, visit www.msva.ms.gov.
“The Missouri State Veterans Services Program has 44 accredited service officers offering assistance to Veterans, widow/widower of a Veteran, Veterans child or a parent who has lost a son or daughter in military service. Service officers provide counseling and assistance when you have questions about compensation, pensions, education benefits, life insurance, medical benefits, state benefits and burial benefits. They are networked within the supported communities. If federal and state benefits are not enough, our VSO’s know local community agencies who might provide assistance.” – Ryon Richmond, acting executive director, Missouri Veterans Commission
Veterans can learn more about the program at https://mvc.dps.mo.gov/service/.
“Montana’s most popular state benefit is the Veteran Designation on the drivers’ licenses. An MOU between Montana Veteran’s Affairs Division and the Department of Motor Vehicles allows us to verify Veteran status in order to have the Veteran designation on their drivers’ licenses for a fee of $10.” – Kelly Ackerman, administrator, Montana Veterans Affairs Division
For more information, visit doj.mt.gov/driving/license-plates.
“The Nebraska Veterans Registry is the most popular benefit based on the fact that out of the 125,000 Veterans in Nebraska 85,000 plus are registered with the State of Nebraska. This allows for easy application for benefits provided such as military license plates and special discounts sometimes offered at establishments throughout the state. This also eases outreach to Veterans by the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs.” – John Hilgert, Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs director
Veterans can apply to the registry at https://www.nebraska.gov/va_registry/index.cgi.
“Nevada’s most popular state benefit is a state income tax exemption for all! Because Nevada does not have a state income tax, all residents including Veterans are exempt.” – Julie Dudley, communications director
“In my opinion, New Hampshire’s most popular state Veteran benefit is most likely it’s property tax credits. Depending on what city or town you live in, New Hampshire offers qualified Veterans a tax credit for up to $750 annually and if you are a 100% permanently and totally disabled Veteran (as determined by the Veterans Benefit Administration), you will be eligible for up to $4,000 in property tax relief.” – William Gaudreau, director, NH Division of Veteran Services
Veterans can learn more about benefits at www.nh.gov/nhveterans.
“Veterans are eligible for a $6,000 exemption on your income tax return if you are a military Veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States on or any time before the last day of the tax year. Your spouse (or civil union partner) is also eligible for an exemption if he/she is a Veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances and you are filing a joint return. This exemption is in addition to any other exemptions you are entitled to claim and is available on both the resident and nonresident returns.” – Patricia A. Richter, acting director, Division of Veterans Services
More information is at http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/military/vetexemption.shtml
The most popular state benefit available to New Mexico’s 154,000 Veterans, according to the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services, is the Veterans State Property Tax Exemption.
This is an exemption of up to a $4,000 reduction in the taxable value of a Veteran’s primary residence for county property taxation purposes. This benefit is also available to non-remarried surviving spouses of Veterans who would have otherwise qualified for this benefit. Any Veteran who has been rated 100% service-connected disabled (permanent & total) by VA and is a legal resident of New Mexico qualifies for a complete property tax waiver for their primary residence.
According to DVS, in 2019 the agency processed 6,480 exemption and waiver applications. Veterans can learn more about the program at http://www.nmdvs.org/state-benefits/.
“New York’s most popular state benefit is the FreshConnect Checks program. This program in collaboration with Agriculture and Markets, allows Veterans and their families to access $20 in fresh food vouchers to be used at farmers markets across New York.” – Joel Evans, executive deputy director, New York State Division of Veterans’ Services
New York Veterans can learn more about the program at https://agriculture.ny.gov/consumer-benefits-farmers-markets#freshconnect-benefits-for-veterans-and-servicemembers.
“The most popular North Carolina state benefit is Veteran license plates and the tax exclusion for 100% disabled Veterans.” – Martin Falls, chief deputy secretary for the North Carolina Department of Military and Veteran Affairs
Veterans can learn more about the North Carolina Veteran programs at www.milvets.nc.gov.
“Our most popular state benefit is the grant program at North Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs.” – Lonnie Wangen, commissioner
The state offers a Hardship Assistance Grant and a grant for North Dakota Veterans with PTSD. Veterans can learn more at http://www.nd.gov/veterans/benefits/hardship-assistance-grant.
“Every county in Ohio has a Veterans Service Commission, who employ Veterans service officers to assist Ohio Veterans with benefits, transportation, and even financial assistance- all at no charge to Veterans.” – Sean McCarthy, assistant director, Department of Veterans Services
A comprehensive Ohio Veterans Resource Guide is available online at https://dvs.ohio.gov/wps/wcm/connect/gov/7c2ff73e-7a10-42a9-b2c1-4688be28837c/BenefitsGuide.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=n8kF7Cb.
For Oklahoma information, visit https://odva.ok.gov/.
“Veteran Recognition License Plates are very popular in Oregon for Veterans, disabled Veterans, and their families. This program includes multiple recognition plate options that allow Veterans to display pride in their military service, all while helping to support work for fellow Veterans and their families through organizations such as the Oregon Veterans’ Homes and Gold Star Families, both of which receive a portion of the registration fees charged for some plates.” – Ana Potter, Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs Aging Veterans Services director
Oregon Veterans and their families can learn more about the program at https://www.oregon.gov/odot/dmv/pages/vehicle/plates.aspx#Veteran.
“Pennsylvania’s most popular state benefit is by far the Real Estate Tax Exemption. This program, administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, provides real estate tax exemption for any honorably discharged Veteran who is 100 percent disabled, a resident of the commonwealth and has a financial need. More than 14,000 Pennsylvania Veterans are enrolled in the program, which grows by about 1,000 Veterans each year.” – Joel H. Mutschler, director of the Bureau of Veterans Programs, Initiatives, Reintegration, and Outreach
Pennsylvania Veterans can learn more about the Real Estate Tax Exemption program at dmva.pa.gov.
“The most popular state benefit is Rhode Island National Guard members receive free tuition.” – Kasim Yarn, director, Rhode Island Office of Veterans Services
Veterans can learn more at http://www.vets.ri.gov/.
“All persons who have been declared permanently and totally disabled by the Social Security Administration, VA, or other state or federal agencies, are eligible for a homestead exemption in an amount set by the General Assembly. This also applies to persons over age 65.” – Brandon C. Wilson, public information director
For more information, contact your county and municipal tax offices or visit http://va.sc.gov/benefits.html.
South Dakota’s most popular state benefit is the bonus program. The state of South Dakota awards a bonus to active duty military members and Veterans who meet service qualifications.
“Regardless of service era, we take an all-inclusive approach to ensure all Veterans have access to their benefits,” said Greg Whitlock, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs.
Whitlock encourages Veterans to contact their local county or tribal Veterans service officers or the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs office (605-773-3269) to learn more about their benefits. Veterans can also visit https://vetaffairs.sd.gov/ or https://www.facebook.com/SDDVA/.
“Tennessee’s most popular Veteran benefit is the property tax relief for certain 100% disabled Veterans and their surviving spouses for up to $175,000 of the property’s assessed value. Determination of eligibility for a homeowner who is a disabled Veteran or widow(er) of a disabled Veteran will be made based on information provided by the VA through use of consent forms.” – Ron Dvorsky, Tennessee Department of Veterans Services resource coordinator training officer
Veterans can learn more about the program at https://comptroller.tn.gov/office-functions/pa/property-taxes/property-tax-programs/tax-relief.html.
“From September 2019 through April 30, 2020, the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) Claims Department has assisted over 7,000 Veterans in receiving over $250 million in retroactive payments plus annual increases. I’d say that shows the TVC claims program is very popular.” – Thomas P. Palladino, executive director of the Texas Veterans Commission
Veterans can learn more at https://www.tvc.texas.gov/claims/.
“Utah’s Veterans Property Tax Abatement is widely used designed to reduce certain property taxes Veterans owe on normally taxed property, to include homes, automobiles and recreational vehicles. The tax reduction is based on the level of a disability rating as determined by VA.” – Gary Harter, executive director of Utah’s Department of Veterans and Military Affairs
Additional information is at https://veterans.utah.gov/utah-tax-abatement-exemption/.
“Vermont’s most popular benefit is a property tax reduction program for Veterans with a VA rating of 50% or greater.” – Robert E. Burke, director, Office of Veterans Affairs
For more information visit veterans.vermont.gov.
“Virginia’s VA claims assistance program. This program has over 100 full time staff dedicated to assisting transitioning service members and Veterans prepare, and when necessary, appeal their VA disability compensation and pension claims.” – Thomas Herthel, deputy commissioner for the Virginia Department of Veterans Services
In 2019, VDVS staff helped over 200,000 Veterans submit over 70,000 claims and appeals. Additionally, VDVS has a dedicated team of appeals attorneys and specialists who assist Veterans before the Board of Veterans Appeals and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and advocate on their behalf. In all, Virginia’s Veterans received over $3.5 billion in federal disability claims benefits in Federal Fiscal Year 2019.
Veterans can learn more at https://www.dvs.virginia.gov/benefits.
“Washington offers free license plates for disabled Veterans, Purple Heart and Gold Star, as well as free camping for Veterans with 30% or greater disability.” – Liza Narciso, assistant to the director, Washington Department of Veterans Affairs
For more information, visit https://www.dva.wa.gov/.
“West Virginia provides funds each year to pay for education and training opportunities that do not qualify under VA guidelines. This gives our Veterans a second opportunity for success.” – Cabinet Secretary Dennis Davis
Veterans can learn more at https://veterans.wv.gov/Pages/default.aspx.
“WDVA’s online tool, MyWisVets.com, makes it easy for Wisconsinites to check their eligibility benefits, upload supporting documents, apply for grants, pre-register at our Veterans homes or for an internment, and more. MyWisVets.com is supported by WDVA’s Veterans Benefits Resource staff, who are also available by phone, email, or via our Live Chat feature on the WDVA website to support Veterans with state and federal benefits questions.” – Donald Placidi Jr., Division of Veterans Benefits administrator, Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans can visit the online portal at www.MyWisVets.com.
“The most popular state benefit is the property tax exemption. This benefit is used in all 23 counties.” – Tim Sheppard, executive director, Wyoming Veterans Commission
Veterans can learn more at https://www.wyomilitary.wyo.gov/veterans/commission/.
What is yoga – Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. Yoga is one of the six Āstika (orthodox) schools of Hindu philosophical traditions.
There is a broad variety of yoga schools, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The term “Yoga” in the Western world often denotes a modern form of hatha yoga and yoga as exercise, consisting largely of the postures or asanas
Goal of Yoga – The Goal of Yoga. The main goal of Yoga is to clean the mind and calm the mind. “Yogaha Chitta Vritti Nirodaha,” Raja Yoga says. When done regularly, the physical practice of yoga can help reduce stress and boost concentration, overall health and a sense of well-being. Yoga encourages one to go deeper into their being and find the inner place that is beyond temporary anchors.
Breathing – Breathing is obviously an important part of every day, whether you’re doing yoga or not. Though we don’t typically focus on our breath during the day, in a yoga class, breathing is just as important as the poses and serves a greater purpose. Each inhale and exhale can energize, calm, and help you form a deeper mind-body connection.
Pranayama, which literally means “to extend the vital life force,” or prana, is an incredibly rich practice made up of many breathing techniques that vary in complexity from ones simple enough for a child to do to those appropriate only for advanced practitioners. While the best way to practice pranayama is under the guidance of an experienced teacher, there are simple techniques—such as gentle diaphragmatic breathing and comfortably lengthening the exhalation—that can be used at any time to transform not only your breath but also your state of mind.
Benefits of Yoga – As for the benefits of yoga, there is evidence that practicing yoga can help you increase your flexibility, strength, and stamina. Hatha is the type usually studied, but there’s no reason to believe that you won’t gain these benefits from other types as well. For women – Several studies have proved that the lifespan of women doing yoga is more when compared to non-practitioners. Yoga can be classified as the body and mind cleanser. It cleanses the body and allows us to lead a happy life. Practicing several yoga poses before, during and after pregnancy helps to keep the mother and child strong. Mainly, yoga practice before and during the pregnancy helps women to have painless labor. For PTSD survivors – A growing body of research suggests yoga does provide mental health benefits, from alleviating depression to PTSD. Yoga has been studied as an effective treatment for some types of depression. A series of studies from the Netherlands found yoga provided some benefit for people with chronic depression.
Why I Dislike Yoga – First let me say I do find some relief with the breathing exercises nonetheless I’m not a big fan of slow methodical movements. Perhaps because when I think of movement I expect to feel an immediate change in my physical awareness much like working out – we seat, we feel “in-shape” we/I feel like I have done something that will produce changes if I keep at it. Perfoming Yoga virtually has little or no benefit for me at all. Yet with Yoga, I feel like I’m slowly walking a beach with little or no effect physically. I guess that and in of itself is the positive side of Yoga. Yet I still dislike it…
What are your thoughts?
There are 5 temples mentioned in the bible – 1. The Garden 2. The Tabernacle 3. Solomon’s Temple, The “First” Temple 4. Herod’s Temple, The “Second” Temple 5. The Church. It is written – Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple. It is worth mentioning that in the New Testament, no synagogue, temple, chapel, tabernacle, building, or any other meeting place was ever called a “church.” The term always referred to the Christian assembly and, in the New Testament, it was used for both the local community of believers and the overall collection of Christians.
The Origin in America
The first Africans in the New World arrived with Spanish and Portuguese explorers and settlers. By 1600 an estimated 275,000 Africans, both free and slave, were in Central and South America and the Caribbean area. Africans first arrived in the area that became the United States in 1619, when a handful of captives were sold by the captain of a Dutch man-of-war to settlers at Jamestown. Others were brought in increasing numbers to fill the desire for labor in a country where land was plentiful and labor scarce. By the end of the 17th century, approximately 1,300,000 Africans had landed in the New World. From 1701 to 1810 the number reached 6,000,000, with another 1,800,000 arriving after 1810. Some Africans were brought directly to the English colonies in North America. Others landed as slaves in the West Indies and were later resold and shipped to the mainland.
Slavery in America
The earliest African arrivals were viewed in the same way as indentured servants from Europe. This similarity did not long continue. By the latter half of the 17th century, clear differences existed in the treatment of black and white servants. A 1662 Virginia law assumed Africans would remain servants for life, and a 1667 act declared that “Baptisme doth not alter the condition of the person as to his bondage or freedom.” By 1740 the slavery system in colonial America was fully developed. A Virginia law in that year declared slaves to be “chattel personal in the hands of their owners and possessors for all intents, construction, and purpose whatsoever.”
The first recorded slave revolt in the United States happened in Gloucester, Virginia, in 1663, an event involving white indentured servants as well as black slaves.
In 1672, there were reports of fugitive slaves forming groups to harass plantation owners. The first recorded all-black slave revolt occurred in Virginia in 1687.
Virginia was the host of several thwarted uprisings, including one in Richmond in 1800 and Spotsylvania County in 1815, but the state was also the scene of the most notorious slave rebellion in American history: Nat Turner’s Revolt.
The civil rights movement was an organized effort by black Americans to end racial discrimination and gain equal rights under the law. It began in the late 1940s and ended in the late 1960s. Although tumultuous at times, the movement was mostly nonviolent and resulted in laws to protect every American’s constitutional rights, regardless of color, race, sex or national origin.
In general, the federal government stayed out of the civil rights struggle until 1964, when President Johnson pushed a Civil Rights Act through Congress that prohibited discrimination in public places, gave the Justice Department permission to sue states that discriminated against women and minorities and promised equal opportunities in the workplace to all. The next year, the Voting Rights Act eliminated poll taxes, literacy requirements and other tools that southern whites had traditionally used to keep blacks from voting.
But these laws did not solve the problems facing African Americans: They did not eliminate racism or poverty and they did not improve the conditions in many black urban neighborhoods. Many black leaders began to rethink their goals, and some embraced a more militant ideology of separatism and self-defense.
Civil Rights History Time Line
July 26, 1948: President Harry Truman issues Executive Order 9981 to end segregation in the Armed Services.
May 17, 1954: Brown v. Board of Education, a consolidation of five cases into one, is decided by the Supreme Court, effectively ending racial segregation in public schools. Many schools, however, remained segregated.
August 28, 1955: Emmett Till, a 14-year-old from Chicago is brutally murdered in Mississippi for allegedly flirting with a white woman. His murderers are acquitted, and the case bring international attention to the civil rights movement after Jet magazine publishes a photo of Till’s beaten body at his open-casket funeral.
December 1, 1955: Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus. Her defiant stance prompts a year-long Montgomery bus boycott.
January 10-11, 1957: Sixty black pastors and civil rights leaders from several southern states—including Martin Luther King, Jr.—meet in Atlanta, Georgia to coordinate nonviolent protests against racial discrimination and segregation.
September 4, 1957: Nine black students known as the “Little Rock Nine” are blocked from integrating into Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. President Dwight D. Eisenhower eventually sends federal troops to escort the students, however, they continue to be harassed.
September 9, 1957: Eisenhower signs the Civil Rights Act of 1957 into law to help protect voter rights. The law allows federal prosecution of those who suppress another’s right to vote.
February 1, 1960: Four African American college students in Greensboro, North Carolina refuse to leave a Woolworth’s “whites only” lunch counter without being served. The Greensboro Four—Ezell Blair Jr., David Richmond, Franklin McCain and Joseph McNeil—were inspired by the nonviolent protest of Gandhi. The Greensboro Sit-In, as it came to be called, sparks similar “sit-ins” throughout the city and in other states.
November 14, 1960: Six-year-old Ruby Bridges is escorted by four armed federal marshals as she becomes the first student to integrate William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. Her actions inspired Norman Rockwell’s painting The Problem We All Live With (1964).
1961: Throughout 1961, black and white activists, known as freedom riders, took bus trips through the American South to protest segregated bus terminals and attempted to use “whites-only” restrooms and lunch counters. The Freedom Rides were marked by horrific violence from white protestors, they drew international attention to their cause.
June 11, 1963: Governor George C. Wallace stands in a doorway at the University of Alabama to block two black students from registering. The standoff continues until President John F. Kennedy sends the National Guard to the campus.
August 28, 1963: Approximately 250,000 people take part in The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Martin Luther King gives his “I Have A Dream” speech as the closing address in front of the Lincoln Memorial, stating, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”
September 15, 1963: A bomb at 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama kills four young girls and injures several other people prior to Sunday services. The bombing fuels angry protests.
July 2, 1964: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, preventing employment discrimination due to race, color, sex, religion or national origin. Title VII of the Act establishes the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to help prevent workplace discrimination.
February 21, 1965: Black religious leader Malcolm X is assassinated during a rally by members of the Nation of Islam.
March 7, 1965: Bloody Sunday. In the Selma to Montgomery March, around 600 civil rights marchers walk to Selma, Alabama to Montgomery—the state’s capital—in protest of black voter suppression. Local police block and brutally attack them. After successfully fighting in court for their right to march, Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders lead two more marches and finally reach Montgomery on March 25.
August 6, 1965: President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to prevent the use of literacy tests as a voting requirement. It also allowed federal examiners to review voter qualifications and federal observers to monitor polling places.
April 4, 1968:Martin Luther King, Jr. is assassinated on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Ray is convicted of the murder in 1969.
April 11, 1968: President Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Fair Housing Act, providing equal housing opportunity regardless of race, religion or national origin.
June 2020: The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is a civil rights and police reform bill drafted by Democrats in the United States Congress, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus. The legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on June 8, 2020. The legislation aims to combat police misconduct, excessive force, and racial bias in policing.
So we started as slaves, we were freed, we couldn’t vote so we marched, and we marched and we boycotted and we marched. Black men women and children have been brutally murdered in the streets of the US since forever and it wasn’t until #GeorgeFloyd that we began marching and protesting again. So if at first you don’t succeed try, try again… When will marching and protested end racism – it won’t! So what is the answer – this writer tends to think that it will take everyone learning how the Hand of God works.
Recent racially charged incidents including the tragic death of George Floyd have stirred ensuing riots and torn open the rawest of wounds – racism. Judging a person according to skin color is an ancient sin. For that reason, God gave this ancient solution.
In the earliest words of Scripture, God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth” (Genesis 1:26). Let us, who is “us” – If you search the Bible you will find that when the Almighty speaks of “us” or “our,” He is addressing His Power not the angles otherwise we would have wings.
How then can we stop police brutality and end racism when each of us understands who we are in relationship to God and the power we have within…
History.com Editors. (2009, November 12). Slave rebellions. HISTORY. https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/slavery-iv-slave-rebellions
Search results. (n.d.). Scholastic | Books for Kids | Parent & Teacher Resources. https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/search-results/?search=1&prefilter=&filters=teachers_ss_dp:articles-and-collections%7C*&text=black%20history#lessons-plans
History.com Editors. (2009, November 9). Martin Luther King, Jr. HISTORY. https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/martin-luther-king-jr
‘Teacher’s Manual’ by American educator Thomas H. Palmer and ‘The Children of the New Forest‘ by English novelist Frederick Maryat (1792-1848).
(“Max Lucado: What is the answer to racism? This profound yet simple promise,” 2020)
Cotton Candy, Tee-Shirts and Flavored Popcorn!!!
What is Popcorn
A popcorn kernel’s strong hull contains the seed’s hard, starchy shell endosperm with 14–20% moisture, which turns to steam as the kernel is heated. Pressure from the steam continues to build until the hull ruptures, allowing the kernel to forcefully expand, from 20 to 50 times its original size, and then cool.
Popcorn (popped corn, popcorns or pop-corn) is a variety of corn kernel which expands and puffs up when heated; the same names are also used to refer to the foodstuff produced by the expansion.
What is Cotton Candy
Cotton candy is a spun-sugar confection that resembles cotton. It usually contains small amounts of flavoring or food coloring.
The candy is made by heating and liquefying sugar, spinning it centrifugally through minute holes—by which the sugar rapidly cools and re-solidifies into fine strands. It is often sold at fairs, circuses, carnivals, and festivals—served in a plastic bag or on a stick or paper cone.
One writer said this…..