9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration - We Are The Mighty
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9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

Ready or not America, Inauguration Day is here. With nothing better to do in 2020, more Americans than ever became engrossed in the most heated election of our time. What’s sure to mend hearts and minds together in unity? How about a not-at-all ostentatious celebration costing on average over 175 million dollars. Here’s everything you want to know.

We “go Dutch” on the bill

If the hundred million plus tab had you gagging on your 2020 tuna sandwich rations, fear not middle-class citizens—taxpayers and private donors split the ticket. Basically, you pay for the stage and bulletproof glass, not Beyonce’s performance or the bubbly served by the caseload.  

Security, please 

It should be no surprise that the event racks up a security bill of epic proportions. Think traffic control, building sweeps, snipers on rooftops, entry point checks, motorcades, minding angry protestors, and more.

A casual stroll 

The stroll down Pennsylvania Avenue made famous by President Carter in 1977, varies in length throughout the years. President Obama walked for roughly eight minutes compared to President Bush’s short three-block stroll during his second parade. The entire route driven by motorcade is approximately 1.5 miles.

President Obama's Inauguration

Every 3-letter agency is involved 

Technically designated as a national security event, this federally funded operation led by the Secret Service gathers intel from partner agencies like the FBI and ATF. This year especially, the CDC will be joining the inauguration party as well.   

Give them lobster

Lobster made the cut for the Inaugural Luncheons of President Trump, Obama, and George W. Bush. The multi-course luncheon hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) is a longstanding tradition dating back to 1897.

Take the stage 

The temporary stage is constructed to hold over 1,600 important members of the American Government. Being temporary in nature, it consists of plywood, lumber, and cinderblock and is made to compliment the architecture of the capitol building according to the JICC. This year will look a little different due to COVID protocols with only a couple hundred people on the stage.

Party like it’s 1997 

President Clinton’s 1997 inauguration holds the record for most “official” inaugural balls—14 in total. Countless unofficial parties exist on the day of, however, only events sponsored by the Presidential Inaugural Committee are listed as official and are guaranteed as an official POTUS destination. This year, in lieu of inaugural balls, the President and First Lady will have a ceremonial first dance.

Clinton on inauguration day

Poppin inauguration bottles isn’t cheap

Planning arguably the most important party of the quadrennial is a big deal requiring an even bigger budget. The opulent celebrations funded by the PIC are so “yuge” they hold Guinness World Records. President Trump’s PIC currently holds the record for raising over $90 million followed not-so-closely by President Obama’s 2009 total of $55 million.

What about the tickets? 

inauguration day at the white house

How much does it cost to attend an inauguration? That depends. While tickets to the swearing-in portion of the day are free, they are limited and can only be obtained upon request to your local Congress member’s office. Invitations to balls and other celebratory events average a few hundred dollars, well into the thousands.

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The first Native American woman to die in combat was also the first female military death of the Iraq War

American women risk their lives for their country every day. In fact, women have served alongside men in combat long before they were legally “allowed.” That being said, women didn’t have the option of joining the military in fields outside of nursing until after the Vietnam War. With such a history, it’s important to tell the stories of the women who served and lost their lives while defending our country.


9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration
Pfc. Lori Piestewa waiting for deployment at Fort Bliss, Tex., on Feb. 16, 2003. (U.S. Army photo)

Honoring our fallen warriors is a longstanding, sacred traditional in our military. It’s part of our DNA to recognize the sacrifice of those that die in combat.

Let’s take a moment to remember Pvt. Lori Ann Piestewa, who was not only the first woman in the U.S. military to lose her life in the Iraq War, she was also the first Native American woman to die in combat with the United States Armed Forces. Piestewa was a Native American of Hopi descent with Mexican-American heritage.

Her native name was White Bear Girl.

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration
Piestewa is the first American Indian woman to die in combat on foreign soil. (U.S. Army photo)

Hailing from her hometown of Tuba City, Ariz., Piestewa was from a military family. She was the daughter of a Vietnam veteran and the granddaughter of a World War II veteran. Her own interest in the military began in high school, where she participated in a junior ROTC program. Piestewa enlisted in the Army and was attached to the 507th Maintenance Company in Fort Bliss, Texas and deployed to Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Her company, the 507th, was infamously ambushed near Nasiriyah, Iraq, on March 23, 2003.

Piestewa was driving the lead vehicle in a convoy when one of their vehicles broke down. They stopped to make a repair, then continued north to catch up to the rest of the convoy. Along the way, they made a wrong turn and were ambushed by Iraqi troops.

The missing numbered 15 total.

A few days later, Pfc. Jessica Lynch was rescued from an Iraqi hospital. Nine members of the 507th were killed in action, including Piestewa. A rocket-propelled grenade hit the Humvee she was driving.

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration
Piestewa with her best friend, Pfc. Jessica Lynch. Lynch was also in the convoy ambushed by Iraqi forces in March 2003. (Piestewa Family photo)

Piestewa left behind a son, a daughter, and a mother and father, Terry and Percy Piestewa, who toured the country attending memorial services held in her honor.

She was posthumously promoted to Pfc. Lori Ann Piestewa and Arizona’s offensively-named “Squaw Peak” was renamed Piestewa Peak. It was “given the name of hero,” as her tribe described it.

Lori Piestewa will live forever in our memory and in the memory of her fellow soldiers as the Hopi woman warrior that gave her life for her country: White Bear Girl.

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Why America has always had a silly history with turkeys

Every Tuesday before Thanksgiving, there’s a ceremony held in which the President of the United States gives an official proclamation before a large crowd, pardoning a turkey for all the crimes they may have committed.

The turkey pardon is a fun — albeit goofy — ceremony that helps the country get into the holiday spirit, even if it began in ’87 as a means of distracting people from the Iran-Contra Affair. Since then, every president has kept the tradition going because, well, America seems to love turkeys this time of year.

As strange as this tradition might seem, it’s really not all that out of place. The relationship between Americans and turkeys has been weird since the beginning.


9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

In those days, the meal was “scraping together what they had.” By today’s standards, a feast of venison, lobster, and duck is far more fancy than a deep-fried turkey.

(“The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth.” 1914. Painting. Jennie A. Brownscombe)

Long before the Europeans arrived in the Americas, indigenous peoples had sort of domesticated the turkey and started breeding them, making them plumper so that they’d make for a better meal. And it made good sense to do so. Turkeys are simple creatures that, when nourished, develop into large birds with plenty of delicious meat and they’re covered in large feathers that are great for crafting.

Furthermore, wild turkeys can survive in a range of environments. They were found all across the New World, from the Cree peoples’ lands near the Hudson Bay in Canada to the lands of the Aztecs in Mexico. Columbus himself even once remarked on how great the birds tasted. Eventually, turkey became a staple in most settlers’ diets… which makes it all the more odd that there wasn’t any turkey served for dinner at the first Thanksgiving.

The Wampanoag people were well known for their hunting skills and brought venison because it was showcased their talents as hunters. The pilgrims brought lobster and water fowl because they were much more common. Since the settlers didn’t really leave Plymouth, turkey was of off the menu unless they ventured into native territory.

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

Not going to lie, that’s kind of badass.

(U.S. Diplomacy Center)

When everyone’s gathered around the table eating turkey this Thanksgiving, you’re bound to overhear that one uncle say, “Did you know the US almost made the turkey its national bird?” in an attempt to look smart. Unfortunately for your uncle, no. That never happened. Not even close. That’s fake news. Yes, all of these links go to a different source disproving your uncle. But it’s not your uncle’s fault — this myth has been perpetuated for hundreds of years.

This myth got its start just two years after the creation of the Great Seal of the United States when Benjamin Franklin wrote a letter to his daughter about the design choices. He jokingly said that bald eagles had “bad moral character.” He also said the bird of prey was more of a scavenger (they’re not). He went on to praise the seal of the Order of the Cincinnati, a fraternity of military officers, that had a turkey on it.

In case you were wondering, Franklin’s actual recommendation for the Great Seal was of Moses parting the Red Sea with fire raining everywhere and the motto of, “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.”

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

These loud, slow-moving, flightless birds will wreak havoc on farms in the spring time when the seeds are sewn. That’s why turkey season falls around then… in most states, anyway. Some states hold it in fall so that citizens can hunt down their own Thanksgiving dinner. Happy Thanksgiving!

(U.S. Air Force photo by Samuel King Jr.)

Soon after the United States became the United States, Americans quickly started hunting down and eating wild turkeys. They hunted them so thoroughly that pioneers would almost drive them to extinction wherever they went. The turkeys survived westward expansion and steadily climbed — then, the Great Depression hit and, for obvious reasons, they almost went extinct again in the 1930s.

After World War II, some troops returning from war went on to become game wardens, and began relocating turkeys en masse to avoid their being hunted into extinction. But how did these military veterans manage to catch large quantities of elusive turkeys in the wild? With modified howitzers shells that launched nets, of course!

No, seriously. These turkey-net cannons actually worked. The turkey populations went from just under 500,000 across the entire U.S. in 1959 to the roughly seven million that are fair game for hunting each and every year.

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From Annapolis to Miami: Navy midshipman drafted by the Dolphins

Last night, the Miami Dolphins drafted one of the most dynamic players to ever take the field for the United States Naval Academy. If you have seen Malcolm Perry play, it should be no surprise that he is being given a chance to play in the NFL.


From Annapolis to Miami! Malcolm Perry selected by the @MiamiDolphins. #NavyFB | #BuiltDifferentpic.twitter.com/pkrOIOUwD2

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From Annapolis to Miami! Malcolm Perry selected by the Miami Dolphins!

The Navy quarterback is being drafted as a wide receiver as Dolphin scouts were deeply impressed with Perry’s athleticism which was on full display at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine. Perry was only the second midshipman to be ever invited to the Combine and showed off his versatility as both a passer and receiver. Listed at 5’9″ and weighing 186 pounds, Perry ran a 4.63 in the 40-yard dash.

As Navy football fans probably know, Perry switched back and forth from quarterback and slot back while at the Naval Academy. The Dolphins hope that he will be able to develop into a route runner and be used in the slot. His senior year, he set numerous Naval Academy records as he led Navy’s triple option offense to an 11-2 record and another win over Army. Perry rushed for over 2,000 yards and scored 21 rushing touchdowns while also throwing for seven.

Malcolm Perry 2019 Navy Highlights

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Malcolm Perry 2019 Navy Highlights

For those of you wondering about his service commitment, the rules are different than what they used to be. Defense Secretary Donald Esper announced in November 2019 that service academy cadets and midshipmen could either defer their military service or pay pack the cost of tuition if they were drafted in a professional sports draft.

Perry comes from a military family. Both his parents served in the 101st Airborne division and are Gulf War veterans. Perry grew up an Army brat and always thought about enlisting but never gave thought to going to a service academy, especially the one in Annapolis.

“Growing up, I thought being in the military was the coolest thing,” he said. “I just always figured I would enlist, though I didn’t know much about the academies themselves.” But Perry’s athleticism in high school bought him the attention of both the Navy and Air Force Academies and he ended up going Navy.

ESPN had cameras in Perry’s house (as with most notable draft prospects) because of the virtual nature of the 2020 NFL Draft due to the coronavirus outbreak. It is awesome they did because, we can see Perry and his family’s reaction to him being taken. Those Army parents look really nice in Navy gear, don’t they?

Here it is! Congrats #malcolmperry and family – and @MiamiDolphins!!pic.twitter.com/QzKRYssuUp

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National nonprofit to host virtual parade to honor veterans

Like so much in 2020, Veterans Day celebrations will look different this year, but one national nonprofit is taking the opportunity in stride. 

The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) will be hosting the first-ever virtual Veterans Day recognition celebration, “Honoring Our Warriors”, to encourage Americans everywhere to celebrate Veterans Day from home. 

“Veterans Day is set aside for all of us as Americans to acknowledge those who have served in the military and sacrificed so greatly on our behalf,” Jennifer Silva, Chief Program Officer at Wounded Warrior Project, told We Are The Mighty. “Although many parades are cancelled, we can still show our appreciation and celebrate veterans who have made tremendous sacrifices for the liberty of this great nation.”

The event will take place on Wednesday, November 11 at 11:30 a.m. EST / 10:30 CST / 8:30 PST on the nonprofit’s Facebook Page and YouTube channel, and will be hosted by Jesse Palmer, former NFL quarterback and current football analyst for ESPN.

“Throughout my time as an NFL player and broadcaster, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many active servicemembers and veterans alike, whose integrity, valor and bravery continues to inspire me to this day,” Palmer said. “It is an honor to celebrate the brave men and women who have served our country, and I am looking forward to hosting this special program with Wounded Warrior Project that commends their service and sacrifice.”

The nationwide virtual celebration will bring to life stories of strength, courage and hope through personal anecdotes from generations of military veterans and touching reunions. Attendees can also anticipate musical performances by multi-platinum singer Sara Evans and male a cappella group Straight No Chaser – all to honor the United States armed forces and celebrate America’s heroes.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to honor our brave U.S. veterans and support the impactful work of Wounded Warrior Project,” Sara Evans said in a statement from the press release.

Throughout the broadcast, WWP will encourage participants to share their own stories and veteran tributes.

“At Wounded Warrior Project, we believe that every day is Veterans Day, and we work diligently throughout the year to fulfill our mission of honoring and empowering wounded warriors and their families,” Silva said. “We do this not only to help provide a better future for those living with the visible and invisible wounds of war, but in honor and respect of those military men and women who have gone before us.”

Through the generous support of donors and partners, Wounded Warrior Project serves more than 185,000 warriors and family support members by providing life-changing programs and services.

WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michael Linnington.

“Since 2003, Wounded Warrior Project has been a tireless advocate for our nation’s finest, improving the lives of post-9/11 warriors and their families, and empowering veterans to live their best lives,” WWP CEO Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Michael Linnington said. “While this Veterans Day looks different than years past, we are committed to honoring our nation’s heroes and hope you will tune in to our virtual celebration.”

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A top German doctor recommends whiskey to protect against COVID-19 (he’s joking…but still)

Updated: In keeping with Facebook’s efforts to report fake news, we have updated this article to include the doctor’s full statement.

While the World Health Organization vehemently disagrees, Dr. Juergen Rissland, a lead doctor at the Institute for Virology at Saarland University Hospital in Germany, went on the record to say: Drinking whiskey can protect against COVID-19.

And that is definitely one report we can all get behind.


While appearing on “The Morning Show,” Dr. Rissland was asked about whether or not drinking could kill any viruses a person may have ingested. “Yes, of course, that’s true,” Dr. Rissland responded. “And the higher the percentage of alcohol, the better it is. For example, if you are a whisky lover, then that certainly isn’t a bad idea,” he continued, while offering this bit of sage advice to pace yourself: “But of course you need to bear in mind that you can’t do that every 15 minutes, that is something else to consider.”

9 things you didn’t know about InaugurationVirologist Jurgen Rissland, who says alcohol can protect against COVID-19. Credit: Newsflash/Newsflash

After being prodded a little further by the show’s co-hosts who asked him if he was really suggesting folks drink high-proof alcohol, Dr. Rissland laughed. “I would like to say it can’t hurt, but in the end, it is definitely not a panacea. For God’s sake, you shouldn’t get me wrong here. I just wanted to make the point that the virus is vulnerable to high-proof alcohol, because it has an outer layer made of fat, and high proof alcohol destroys the virus. And one would need to drink quite a lot to get any sort of protection from infection.”

So we’ll take his advice with a good sense of humor… and probably a shot of whiskey.

Prost!

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Watch the new F-15QA perform a vertical takeoff and pull 9 Gs in its first ever flight

The most advanced version of the F-15 ever built took to the skies in St. Louis, MO, on April 14, 2020, and highlighted just how impressive its capabilities are. In the 90 minute flight, the F-15QA (QA stands for Qatar Advanced) showcased its speed, maneuverability and, in general, just how badass of a force this new jet will be.


What’s a “Viking takeoff”? Watch as the Qatar Emiri Air Force #F15 demonstrates the maneuver during its first flight.pic.twitter.com/wLHEuvH0Lt

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With the F-15QA’s unmatched speed and maneuverability, Chief Test Pilot Matt Giese was able to showcase the capabilities by performing a vertical “Viking” takeoff and by pulling nine Gs during the test in various maneuvers. The maiden flight highlighted just how advanced this aircraft is. Avionics, radar and other systems all performed as designed and the flight was deemed a success.

“This successful first flight is an important step in providing the QEAF an aircraft with best-in-class range and payload,” said Prat Kumar, Boeing vice president and F-15 program manager in a press release issued by Boeing. “The advanced F-15QA not only offers game changing capabilities but is also built using advanced manufacturing processes which make the jet more efficient to manufacture. In the field, the F-15 costs half the cost per flight hour of similar fighter aircraft and delivers far more payload at far greater ranges. That’s success for the warfighter.”

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

Image via Boeing

The F-15QA was developed for the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF). The Department of Defense awarded Boeing a .2 billion contract in 2017 to manufacture 36 F-15 fighter jets for the QEAF with delivery date being 2021. To put it mildly: the QEAF is stoked.

“We are very proud of this accomplishment and looking forward with great excitement to the continued successes of this program,” Col. Ahmed Al Mansoori, commander, QEAF F-15 Wing said in a press release. “This successful first flight is an important milestone that brings our squadrons one step closer to flying this incredible aircraft over the skies of Qatar.”

In addition to being able to perform seamless Viking takeoffs, Boeing shared the other impressive features of the advanced aircraft. According to Boeing, the F-15QA brings to its operators next-generation technologies such as fly-by-wire flight controls, digital cockpit; modernized sensors, radar, and electronic warfare capabilities; and the world’s fastest mission computer. Increases in reliability, sustainability and maintainability allow defense operators to affordably remain ahead of current and evolving threats.

[VIDEO]: Qatar Emiri Air Force F-15QA will get large area display cockpit with touch screen made by Elbit Systemspic.twitter.com/6kUzF0VHby

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Don’t worry, this fun and excitement isn’t only for Qatar. Boeing is preparing to build a “domestic variant” of the F-15QA, the F-15EX, as approved in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. According to Boeing, in January, the Air Force announced their intention to award a sole-source contract to Boeing for eight of the F-15EX, with future plans for as many as 144.

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

The F15EX. Image via Boeing

Boeing considers the F-15EX the cost-effective, ready solution. According to their website:

In support of the National Defense Strategy, the United States Air Force must purchase an additional 24 combat aircraft per year. F-15EX is the only way to rapidly and affordably meet the Air Force’s critical requirements.

Boeing’s F-15EX is the most cost-effective, ready, advanced solution to meet U.S. Air Force capacity requirements and add capability to the fleet. Driven by Boeing’s active production line, the next-generation jet enables pilots and mechanics to transition in a matter of days as opposed to years while delivering unmatched total life cycle costs.

The F-15EX leverages B+ in technology investments over the past decade to bring the U.S. Air Force the world’s most modern variant of the undefeated F-15. Complementing other aircraft, the F-15EX enhances the air combat capabilities of the fleet to ensure the U.S. remains ahead of current and emerging threats. With next-generation technologies to provide unrivaled capabilities in a broad spectrum of environments, Boeing’s F-15EX delivers more payload, capacity and range than any fighter in its class.
9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

Image via Boeing

We can’t wait.

MIGHTY CULTURE

How technical training can help veterans find careers they love

Mike Slagh is on a mission to help military members and veteran discover their full potential. Slagh is the founder of Shift.org, a career advancement company designed to help veterans and members of the U.S. military acquire the skills they need to advance and thrive in today’s information economy.

Leaving military service can be daunting. Finding a meaningful career makes the transition to civilian life so much easier. While each branch of the military makes a considerable effort to prepare troops for that jump, it can still be a difficult time. 

Slagh knows this; he went through a difficult transition period of his own. When he left the Navy in 2016 after six years of service, he wanted to find a career in tech. The possibilities in the industry seemed endless and Slaugh was excited to find one that fit his skills. The problem for a talented veteran like Slagh was that he couldn’t get his foot in the door. 

A career as a naval officer wasn’t the only qualification under Slagh’s belt. He also had a Master’s degree in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy school and utilized his entrepreneurial  experience to co-found TroopSwap. 

Now imagine how difficult it could be for other separating veterans. Every year, 250,000 service members leave the U.S. military looking to get their foot in the door somewhere. Some 80 percent of that quarter million people leave the military without a job. 

Slagh set out to change all that and Shift.org was born.

Shift.org offers fellowship opportunities, career accelerators and direct hire potential to any military member, past or present, no matter where they are in their career path. Whether they’re just starting their transition, have been out for a while or are looking for a new career, Shift offers training and resources to prepare for it.

By 2018, Shift was working within the Department of Defense to help service members get fellowships at major tech companies while still in the military. This gives them valuable work experience and an expanded resume before their first day of civilian life. 

The fellowships send service members and soon-to-be separated veterans on an immersive, 8-week program with tech companies and venture capital firms. There, they gain experience working on the company’s real-world projects using the latest technologies in the field. 

Shift’s career accelerators offer participants the opportunity to learn from industry experts, through four weeks of intense networking and interviewing development. 

Programs like these are changing the way veterans transition and helping address many of the systemic issues that persist within the veteran community — it’s exactly what Slagh hoped to find.

Developing talent 

Real-world training courses are an important aspect of developing talent in the tech industry. 

The Microsoft Software and Systems Academy (MSSA) is the tech giant’s answer to helping veterans get into technical careers like those that Slagh sought out when he left the military. MSSA trains veterans to gain the critical skills needed for America’s digital economy. 

Like Shift.org, MSSA supports veterans through career training and retraining, soft skills support and hiring opportunities. Since MSSA’s inception in 2013, more than 600 companies have hired MSSA graduates and 96 percent of those graduates are either still employed or have gone on to higher education. 

While it’s true veterans can pursue a traditional four-year degree in technical study areas, training with companies like Microsoft provides real-world experiences within the kind of companies they want to work in, while learning the exact skills necessary to get their foot in that door. 

Microsoft and Slagh agree that once a veteran has their foot in the door, the sky’s the limit. 

Veterans are exactly the kind of talent the tech industry needs on a daily basis. They can bring more than just the technical skills necessary to do the job, they also bring soft skills needed to be productive, force-multiplying employees. Service members uniquely understand the importance of diversity in the workforce and how to create high performing teams. 

Service members are natural leaders and capable of being an effective member of a bigger team. They understand the importance of teamwork and are trained to quickly assess, analyze and fix a situation with the resources at hand – all incredibly applicable to the tech industry. 

“I had no idea how the skills learned in the military translated to something of value in my next career,” Slagh said. “That’s when I realized that many veterans thrive in high-growth, ambiguous environments and there was serious potential to unlock.”

Now’s the time to begin unlocking your potential. To learn more, visit the Microsoft Software and Systems Academy website. Their Tech Transition Toolkit offers some great tips on how you can get a head-start toward a fulfilling, rewarding career in tech.

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InDOGuration celebrates the first White House shelter dog, Major Biden

Dogs have long been known as “man’s best friend”. Studies have shown documented health benefits and increasing happiness hormones for those who spend time with their furry friends. When President Joseph Biden moves into the White House on January 20, 2021 he’ll be bringing his two German Shepherds along for the adventure. One of them, Major, is in for a special surprise. 

Major will be the first shelter dog to ever occupy the White House. This is a monumental and history making moment for all of his furry friends everywhere. To celebrate this occasion, an “InDOGuration” ran live on national television to commemorate the event. NBC’s Today Show host Jill Martin hosted the ceremony for Major on January 17.

Adopted by the Biden’s in 2018 by the DHA, Major joined brother Champ in the home. There were some rumblings when the Biden’s got Champ, since he was adopted from a breeder and not a shelter. When they were looking for another pup to join the pack, they had that in the forefront of their minds. It was actually their daughter Ashley who found Major through a Facebook posting about a litter of German Shepherd puppies at the Delaware Humane Association. 

Biden and his wife with their furry pooches Champ and Major Biden. ― Picture via Twitter/FirstDogsChamp&MajorBiden

In an interview with The Washington Post, Delaware dog trainer Mark Tobin said that the soon to be president is “passionate about dogs because he loves them. The soon to be president has shared in many interviews that he always had dogs growing up and even brough one with him to law school in the 1960s. The dog’s name? Senator. 

Tobin was responsible for training Champ and getting him ready for life as the second family’s dog. He also facilitated the meet and greet when Major came home as a puppy from DHA. “The meet and greet with Champ was funny, because you could tell Champ is like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this guy’s got way too much energy,’ ” Tobin shared in that same interview. 

A children’s book titled Champ and Major: First Dogs will publish on January 19, 2021. It will follow their friendship and newly anticipated adventures together in the White House. The description on Amazon reads: Champ and Major’s dad, Joe Biden, just got a really important job: He’s going to be the new president of the United States! Major is going to be one of the first rescue dogs to live in the White House, and Champ can’t wait to show his little brother around.

With Major having some big learning to do, hopefully Champ will show him the ropes since he’s a seasoned White House veteran having spent eight years there himself. Reports have also surfaced that the Bidens are considering adding a rescue cat to the mix too. 

One thing’s for sure, come January 20, 2021 – things are about to get a whole lot more lively in the White House. And its’ lawn too.

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5 reasons why our military mothers are the best

Our mothers put up with so much and they never get the credit or recognition they deserve. They carried us for nine months, spent every waking moment of our first few years diligently caring for us, and tried their best to make us our best. Then, after we turn 18, we go to war and we stop calling.

We rarely ask for their advice and often jump face-first into the very potholes they told us to avoid — and still, they couldn’t be any prouder.


This one goes out to all you lovely military moms out there. This is why you’re the best.

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

The “My child is an Airman/Soldier/Marine/Sailor” bumper sticker is far more impressive than any college.

(Photo by Cpl. Mackenzie Carter)

They’re brought into the military life while stuck with civilians

More often than not, our mothers don’t really get a say on whether we join the military. Sure, she’ll be a little disappointed when it finally sets in that their kid isn’t going to be a millionaire brain surgeon who can afford to buy her a beautiful mansion (sorry, mom, but we both knew that wasn’t going to happen with my high-school grades), but they’re still proud of their baby.

Next, they’re sucked into the military lifestyle and there’s no way of backing out. They’ll try to move on as if everything is normal, but they’ll find that their patience with civilian moms will quickly wear thin.

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

The pain is all worth it for the moment that plane lands, though.

(Photo by Capt. Richard Packer)

They’re heartbroken almost the entire time we’re gone

Deployments are rough on everyone. In our absence, friends we once knew change entirely and even some lovers fade away. But our mommas will always remain. They’ll never stop thinking of us as their babies.

Sure, most moms can keep their composure in front of others, but there isn’t a moment that goes by that they’re not thinking of us.

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

They may not get info on the exact moment you’re landing until just hours beforehand, but you can be certain they’ll be there!

(Photo by Tech. Sgt. Lauren Gleason)

They go months without knowing if we’re okay

Communications blackouts are no joke. When something major happens, troops will be told to cut off all communication with the folks back home. These blackouts happen without notice.

Not to make everyone feel horribly guilty, but, uh… sometimes we tend to do this accidentally by using our few phone calls back home to check up on our significant other instead of letting our mothers know that we’re doing fine.

Sorry, ma.

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

And in return, one of the few gifts we can give back is allowing them to pin rank on our uniforms. It may not seem like much but, to them, it means the world.

(Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alana Langdon)

They’re always on-point with care packages

Without exception, care packages are loved and appreciated by deployed troops. It’s always nice when schools, churches, and other organizations send out the standard collection of socks, baby powder, and Girl Scout Cookies, but our moms know how to out-do everyone.

Our moms have read through every single article on the internet about care packages and what to put in them. They’ll toss in home-made cookies, personal photos, and things we’ll actually cherish while deployed. After all, mom knows best.

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

(Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Ashley J. Johnson)

They do everything in their power to keep you stress-free

If there’s one skill that every mother learns to master over 18+ years of childrearing, it’s how to handle insane and ridiculous problems. Putting out match-sized fires is nothing when they’ve learned to deal with forest fires.

You might realize it, but our moms are our best friends while we’re deployed. They’re our bakers, our financial advisers, our babysitters, our confidants, our emotional rock, and, if you’re like me and had the pleasure of enduring a deteriorating marriage while deployed, our enforcers (my mom is badass like that).

Above all, your mother is the one woman on this Earth who will love you most.

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Taking pictures of animals in your house is the greatest quarantine activity ever

If you have a smart phone and Google, you can take photos of various animals in your house and it’s basically the greatest thing that’s ever happened in quarantine (and if we’re being honest, maybe outside of that, too).

Using Google’s AR (augmented reality) technology, kids and adults alike can spend an unbelievable amount of time seeing animals up close and personal, and, the best part? To scale. There’s nothing like seeing a Great White take up your backyard to understand how large these creatures are. With a few clicks on your phone, your Tiger King selfie is mere moments away.


To get started, open Google on your smart phone’s browser. Type in any one of the animals currently featured (they continue to add, so if your favorite isn’t listed, keep checking back!). Currently, they have:

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

Once you’ve googled the animal, scroll down a tiny bit until you see “Meet a life-sized (animal) up close.” Click on the “View in 3D.”

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

Once you click the view in 3D, you’ll have the option for AR or Object. The object will just be the animal. AR is where it’s at. Move your phone around until you see the animal’s shadow and then touch it until it appears. Then, enjoy having your children pose with an interactive, 3D, life-size animal in your house. Quarantine just got a million times better. Thanks, Google.

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration
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Welcoming home Vietnam War veterans 45 years later

In March of 1965, the first U.S. troops entered the jungle-filled country of Vietnam. This would begin America’s involvement in one of the most controversial wars in the nation’s history. While the service members were facing new dangers around every turn, the environment back home was growing increasingly hostile. As more of the population grew to protest the war, it became evident that the military members fighting in the jungles of Vietnam were quickly becoming public enemy number one.


By March of 1973, with the war coming to an end, demonstrations in the States began to die down. However, disillusionment with the war was as widespread as ever. The troops were withdrawing from Vietnam, but there was no warm welcome and appreciation waiting for them as they arrived home. The World War II era of celebration as troops returned to U.S. soil had passed, and the troops of the Vietnam era were met with nothing more than disdain, anger and protest.

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

These war veterans were thrown back into “normal” life without ceremony and with little to no assistance to help them adjust to life after war. This combined with the anger of the American people led many of these service members to turn to addiction and worse to cope with their inability to adjust back to civilian life. Others adjusted well enough, but went on to live their lives without the pride of their fellow veterans, always knowing deep down that their service was seen with disdain as opposed to gratitude. Even decades later, those who served in Vietnam were ignored or seen with the same contempt they were met with when they arrived home.

It wasn’t until 2007 when the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War was being observed that the movement to give Vietnam Veterans the acknowledgment they deserve truly took form. It was then that Congress authorized a program to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that Vietnam Veterans Day was officially established to be celebrated every year on March 29. This enactment states that the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War should be commemorated through 2025, thus ensuring that Vietnam Veterans Day will be observed at least through that time.

Along with establishing a specific day to acknowledge these veterans, there has been a movement across the country to give Vietnam Veterans the welcome home they never received 45 years ago. This movement encourages Americans to thank a Vietnam Veteran, shake their hand, and tell them, ‘Welcome home,’ when they meet them. Each of these veterans sacrificed something in those jungles many decades ago. Many sacrificed everything — while over there, or after they returned home. It is long overdue that those men are given the welcome home and the gratitude they deserve.

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration

They didn’t choose to enter that war, or trek through those jungles. Many of them didn’t even choose to be in the military in the first place, their choice was taken away from them when they were drafted. However, they did their duty. They fought the war. And they faced contempt when they arrived home, living with it for decades since.

This Vietnam Veterans Day, and every day, take the time to thank a Vietnam Veteran. Take a moment to shake their hand, thank them for their service and welcome them home. It’s a small gesture, but to them it means more than anyone could possibly know. For them, 45 years later, they are finally gaining the acknowledgement and gratitude they should have received the day they stepped foot back on U.S. soil.

To each and every Vietnam Veteran: Welcome Home.

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Rangers: The reason why you don’t mess with Texas

This post is sponsored by The CW’s Walker, premiering on January 21st, Thursday 8/7c!

(Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Rangers: No, not the baseball team. Nope, not the Lone Ranger. I’m talking about the real-life special law enforcement division known officially as the Texas Ranger Division. Since 1823, the Texas Rangers have taken down criminals and outlaws like Bonnie and Clyde, investigated crimes like the infamous Irene Garza murder, and protected VIPs like President William Howard Taft whose assassination attempt in Mexico was thwarted by a Ranger. Today, the Rangers serve under the Texas Department of Public Safety as the state’s Bureau of Investigation.

9 things you didn’t know about Inauguration
Although Rangers have no official uniform, they are required to wear clothing that is “western in nature” (Texas DPS)

As of January 1, 2020, there were 166 commissioned members of the Texas Ranger Division across six companies. The Rangers perform a wide array of law enforcement duties. While Rangers conduct mainly criminal investigations and arrests, other programs also fall under their direction and supervision. Rangers conduct Public Corruption/Integrity investigations, Joint Intelligence and Border Security operations, and even riverine reconnaissance operations. The Rangers Special Operations Group includes tier one professionals like Crisis Negotiation Units, SWAT and SRT operators and EOD personnel.

As previously mentioned, the Rangers are organized into six companies in Houston, Garland, Lubbock, Weslaco, El Paso and Waco with the Ranger Division headquartered in the state capitol of Austin. Additional Rangers are stationed across the state, with each Ranger having responsibility for a minimum of two to three counties, some with even larger areas. Becoming a Texas Ranger is no easy task. Due to the high standards and illustrious legacy of the division, their acceptance rate is low. Applicants need to have an outstanding record of at least 8 years of law enforcement experience primarily investigating major crimes. As such, even military police experience does not meet this requirement. Additionally, the Rangers only recruit internally from the Texas Department of Public Safety and require applicants to be commissioned officers with the rank of at least Trooper II. If these requirements are met and the background check passed, the hard part begins.

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Rangers of the Special Operations Group conduct a drug interdiction on the Rio Grande (Texas DPS)

Applicants must undergo a written examination that includes competencies like reading comprehension, grammatical skills and knowledge, and mathematics. If they pass the written exam, they go before an Oral Interview Board. Board members have the final say in who becomes a Ranger, and who doesn’t. According to the Rangers’ website, “Little recruiting has ever been necessary and it is not unusual for many officers to apply for only a handful of openings.” Once a law enforcement officer is accepted into the Rangers, they are required to attend at least 40 hours of in-service training every two years. However, most Rangers will conduct training that far exceeds this requirement. Additionally, specialized fields like SWAT, SRT and EOD will train constantly to keep their skills sharp and prepare for new and evolving threats.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, in 2019, the Rangers conducted 993 felony arrests and secured 562 confessions to various crimes. A whopping 537 convictions resulted in 8,531 years in prison assessed, 76 life sentences and three death sentences. All of that in one year from the work of 166 Rangers. You don’t mess with Texas, but if you’re foolish enough to commit a crime in the Lone Star State, watch your back. The Texas Rangers rarely miss their mark.

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Company F Rangers with then-Governor George W. Bush (Texas DPS)

Needless to say, you don’t want to miss the reboot of TV’s most famous Texas Ranger. Check out Walker when it premieres on January 21, Thursday 8/7c on The CW.

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