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Friday, May 22, 2015

Why Do We Celebrate Memorial Day?

by Beth White

Accounts Receivable Representative, Liberty University Office of Military Affairs

During the weekend of May 25, 2015, millions of Americans across the country will officially kick off the summer season and the Memorial Day holiday by going to local lakes and beaches or having cookouts with family and friends. Some might watch or participate in their city or town’s annual parade and celebrate with fireworks during the evening. Everywhere, people will look forward to some well-deserved time off from work. Some may even purchase a red paper flower from an older veteran, not because we understand the significance of it, but because it will make us feel good to contribute to a veteran’s organization. Why exactly do we celebrate Memorial Day anyway?

The tradition of honoring those who died in service to their nation dates back to ancient Greece when, following the battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, the Spartans erected a monument to those who died. In the United States, the tradition began during the Civil War. There are several communities who claim to have had the first ceremony including Boalsburg, PA, Charleston, SC, Columbus, MS and Waterloo, NY.

On April 29, 1866, former Union General and national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, John Logan spoke at an event in Carbondale, IL. On May 5, after learning of a Decoration Day ceremony in Waterloo, NY, he presented the idea to the public for a “Decoration Day” and chose May 30th because it was not the anniversary of any battle. In early May 1868, General Logan issued General Order 11 which called for people to dedicate May 30th as a day for “strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet church-yard in the land.” On May 30, over 5,000 local citizens arrived at Arlington National Cemetery to decorate the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers while listening to speeches by General Logan and former Union General and future President James Garfield. By 1882, Memorial Day was also being used as a name for the special day.  Although the former Confederate states honored their war dead on a separate day, all northern states officially recognized May 30th as Decoration Day by 1890.

After World War I, the fallen American servicemen from the recent war were also included in the ceremonies. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which made Memorial Day the last Monday in May in order to allow federal employees to have a three day weekend. The change went into effect in 1971 with the declaration of Memorial Day as a federal holiday.

The red poppies that are sold by local veterans were inspired by the poem, “In Flanders Fields”. In the days following World War I, Mona Michael came up with the idea of wearing red poppies on Memorial Day to honor those men who died in the war. She sold red poppies to family and friends, then gave the money to benefit servicemen in need. A French woman visiting America learned of the idea and returned home to make artificial ones for the same purpose. In 1922, the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to sell artificial poppies.

Why do we celebrate Memorial Day? Since the founding of our country, more than 1.4 million men and women have died while wearing the uniform of our military. In December 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance resolution was passed that asked all Americans at 3:00 on Memorial Day to “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to Taps.” During this Memorial Day, perhaps we can take a moment and pause to reflect and remember those who paid the ultimate price and gave us the freedoms that we all enjoy. 

Posted at 2:19 PM | Permalink

Monday, May 18, 2015

Fit in 15 Challenge

by Jamie Swyers

Most of us lead busy lives, from school to work to taking care of a family, so we often have trouble finding time to finish all that we need to accomplish in a day. As a result, our exercise and fitness goals have the potential to fall to the way-side. However, that does not need to be the case. Contrary to popular belief, spending hours at a gym isn’t necessary to improve your health and fitness levels. There are many quick and effective 15 minute workouts that will put you on the path to reaching your goals. 

If you’re a beginner, start by adding 15 minutes of walking into your routine.  You can increase the intensity by picking up the pace as you become more comfortable.  If you have experience with exercise, here are a few examples of full body workouts that can be done from the comfort of your own home, with limited equipment and only 15 minutes. Complete the circuit three times through, each exercise for 45 seconds of work and 15 seconds of rest before moving onto the next exercise.

Circuit Level 1

  1. Squats *Keep your chest up and your knees behind your toes
  2. Knee Push-ups *Keep a flat back and core tight
  3. Walking Lunge *Keep your front knee behind your toes and turn around when you run out of space
  4. Tricep Dips (on edge of table) *Avoid going past 90 degrees to protect your shoulder
  5. High Knees March *Go at a pace to get your heart rate up

Circuit Level 2

  1. Side to Side Skaters *Keep your chest up and core engaged
  2. Standing side leg raise (Right) *Avoid using momentum, keep upper body stable, use a chair for balance
  3. Standing side leg raise (Left)
  4. Quick Feet *Core tight and shoulders relaxed
  5. Hip Bridge *Flat back with core engaged

Circuit Level 3

  1. Squat Jumps *Knees stay behind toes, avoid knees coming in
  2. Plank Jacks *Core tight, keep body in one straight line, do not let the hips sink
  3. Push-ups *Keep a flat back and core tight
  4. Bicycles Crunches *Keep lower back pressed into the floor, avoid pulling on the neck
  5. Russian Twist *Keep back straight

I hope you find encouragement in the fact that fitness does not have to be a major time commitment, but rather a priority that can be fit into your busy schedule. Some is better than none and even 15 minutes of regular activity can create noticeable changes to your health, fitness and mood!

*Note that proper form is essential to stay safe while exercising, so if you are unsure of the proper form or you experience any unusual pain while working out, contact a health or fitness professional to ensure your safety. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new fitness program to ensure you are aware of the risks associated with exercise.

Posted at 2:01 PM | Permalink

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Re-blog: The Best Things in Life are Free

Re-blogged from Online Communities. View the original post here.

by Andrea Lewis

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “the best things in life are free,” but have you taken the time to actually think about that?  Sure there are some really great things in life that aren’t free, and let’s be honest, it’s virtually impossible to live a life these days without paying something along the way.  So what does this expression even mean?  And how can you put it to practical use?  We all know that family, friends, love and laughter are indeed the best things in life – and money can’t even buy them!  But what about other things? Here’s some helpful tips to get the most out of those best things in life and save a little money in the process!

  • Enjoy the Great Outdoors.  Take a hike or explore a local park on the weekends!  Not only is it free to adventure into nature, but it’s healthy for your body as you get that exercise.
  • Hang Out with Friends.  There’s nothing like some reenergizing friend-time.  Even if it’s just the two of you talking over a cup of coffee, or maybe hitting the court for some one-on-one B-ball.
  • Movie Night at Home.  With the access to almost unlimited movie options with online streaming and movie box rentals, movie night is a synch!  Even if you don’t have one of these options, the local library is a great resource for all kinds of great movies.  Many public libraries carry new releases as well!
  • Family Game Night.  What better way to connect and engage with your family than a game night?  Gather your favorite games together and let the fun begin!
  • Read a Good Book.  Whether it’s a mystery, adventure, comedy, or biography, there’s nothing that beats flipping open a good read to relax and unwind.
  • Go stargazing.  With today’s technology there are tons of free smartphone apps to help you stargaze, or maybe you want to break out a constellation map and do it the old fashioned way!  Even if your stargazing consists of just admiring the beauty, there’s no better way to spend a cool spring or summer night.
  • Make a picnic.  Who says you have to go to a restaurant to have a good time?  Take your food on the go and breathe the fresh air as you taste some yummy goodies.  If you have a grill or fire pit, maybe you can even make some s’mores to go with it!  Even if the picnic is in your backyard it will be a great change of pace and will help you relax and reenergize.  


Re-blogged from Online Communities. View the original post here.



Posted at 10:25 AM | Permalink

Friday, April 3, 2015

Top 5 pitfalls to avoid when writing a paper

You’ll be assigned to complete many different kinds of writing tasks in college (such as article reviews, literary analyses, or lab reports), and not all of them will look like the famous five-paragraph essay you learned to write in high school English.  There are significant differences among the writing genres you’ll encounter, but there are a few qualities that all good pieces of academic writing have in common.  Here are five pitfalls to avoid if you’re going to write an excellent paper of any kind.

1.Hiding your main idea (or not having a main idea). Depending on the type of assignment, your main idea may be called your thesis statement, your purpose statement, or your research question.  It may be at the beginning or the end of your paper.  But you need to have one, and it needs to be clear to your reader.

2.Not having an outline. Don’t worry; this doesn’t have to be the highly formal “I, A, 1, a” type of outline.  You don’t even have to make an outline before you begin writing—some people like to write a messy draft first and then organize it later.  But at some point, you need to get your paper into an order that’s logical and easy to follow.  Each paragraph should have one topic and should lead clearly into the next paragraph.

3.Using sources irresponsibly. In many assignments, you’ll be asked to quote, paraphrase, and/or summarize source material.  Appropriate types of sources vary greatly depending on the type of assignment, but you always need to make sure you understand and properly represent each source (even if you will ultimately disagree with it) and give the author credit using the citation style your professor requires.

4.Assuming the reader thinks just like you. Since your reader (professor or otherwise) is not inside your head, you need to be clear about any assumptions that underlie your argument, define terms that you’re using in a specific way, and check your logic to make sure you haven’t made any unexplained leaps.

5.Not proofreading. Ideally, your paper will go through several revisions as you work to make it clearer, more convincing, and better supported with sources.  But after you’re finished revising, you still have one step left: proofreading.  In this step, you check for surface-level (but still important) errors such as misspellings, missing words, and incorrect punctuation.  Try reading your paper aloud when you proofread.  You’re more likely to catch mistakes if you see them and hear them.

If you follow your professor’s guidelines for the assignment and avoid these five pitfalls, you’ll have a solid paper that you can be proud to claim as your work!

What pitfalls will you be avoiding the most? Which ones did we miss? Use #5pitfalls to share your thoughts on Liberty Landing!

Postedby Luis Lucchini at 4:52 PM | Permalink

Thursday, March 5, 2015

10 ways to get in shape without a gym

by Jamie Swyers

Your local gym may be the most common place to start working towards your fitness goals, but if you struggle to show up regularly or dislike the monthly fees, it’s nice to have other options.  Lifting weights and running on a treadmill are just a couple ways to stay healthy, but if they aren’t fitting your schedule or giving you any enjoyment, here are 10 other ways to get in shape - no gym required.

  1. Walk the dog: In addition to the long list of emotional benefits owning a pet brings, studies show that dog owners are more likely to get the required daily amount of physical activity.  Just like dogs need regular activity to stay healthy and happy, so do their owners.  Be the first to volunteer to take the dog out (or even the neighbors’), to help you stay motivated to walk regularly.
  2. Hiking: Hiking is a rewarding and memorable activity that can keep you in great shape.  While general physical activity has been shown to decrease stress, The American Public Health Association acknowledges that being around nature increases relaxation levels.  Spend time with your family next Saturday by picking a nearby hiking trail, packing some healthy lunches and enjoy the great outdoors!
  3. Biking: Riding a bike has been a long standing option when it comes to recreation and exercise.  Many cities are becoming more bike-friendly to accommodate bike commuters, or at least have a local park with bike paths for community members to enjoy.  Biking is a low impact but effective cardiovascular workout and can help you get outdoors and enjoy exercise.  Just make sure you wear a helmet and follow local traffic laws to stay safe!
  4. Home Fitness DVD: By investing in a few cheap fitness DVDs, you can take your gym workout to your living room.  Most don’t require extensive equipment and there are many equipment-free options to help you get the benefits of a group fitness class in the privacy of your own home. (Pro Tip: Remember to close the dog in another room to avoid being licked in the face in the middle of the ab workout!)
  5. Join a Team: What better way to get fit than to have a blast doing it?  Many cities offer adult sports leagues such as baseball, ultimate frisbee, basketball, and more.  Get together a team and relive the high school glory days, while you get the benefit of built in accountability.  It may be easy to skip a session at the gym, but missing a game is harder since you have a team counting on you.
  6. Play with your kids: Kids don’t exercise - they play! But as an adult you know that actually playing kids, instead of simply chaperoning, is exhausting.  Kids are born with an excitement for movement and most kids go right from walking to running no less than everywhere they go.  By committing to playing with the kids (saying yes to the piggy back rides, games of tag and swing sets), you get a fantastic opportunity to bond with your children, while investing in your health.
  7. Create your own bodyweight workout: If you are familiar with some basic exercises, it’s easy to put together a quick and effective circuit routine you can do at home with no equipment.  Exercises like push-ups (on your knees or toes), squats, jumping jacks, tricep dips off a sturdy chair, and planks can be done in a circuit of 45 seconds on and 15 second rest.  Repeat the sequence 3 times for a quick and effective 15 minute workout. Make sure you understand proper form of each exercise before you begin and if you experience pain, stop and contact a health professional to ensure circuit training it right for you.
  8. Take the Stairs: Everyone one knows taking the stairs can be an effective way to increase your activity level during the day, but purposely spending extra time a few days per week making several trips up and down the stairs can improve your strength and cardiovascular capacity. 
  9. Make chores a workout: Modern convenience has made several chores easier, but you can still do a few things the old fashioned way and get an amazing workout. Mowing the lawn, washing the car, shoveling the driveway and cleaning the windows can all keep your heart rate elevated and your muscles moving for a substantial amount of time.  Try putting additional effort into scrubbing the mirrors or vacuum at a quicker pace and it will be apparent that this work is physically taxing.  By combining your workout with some extra household chores, you score more than just a clean house.
  10. Schedule Active Social Outings: Going out to dinner with your friends or significant other is common place, but get creative and plan something active you all will enjoy.  Whether that is sledding, taking ballroom dancing lessons or going ice skating, try something that will keep you moving while you socialize and catch up.  
Postedby Luis Lucchini at 1:32 PM | Permalink

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