Memorial Day

Memorial DayMemorial Day is a day to remember the soldiers that lost their lives in the line of duty, serving our country and the people that live in it.  These soldiers gave their lives for Us.  For me, it’s also another day that I try to understand why we seem to always be in some kind of conflict and what the real reason is the decision makers are starting WARS.  I wonder if the men and women fighting these wars are really fighting for our freedom and to protect us against terrorism, or, are they fighting to keep the business of WAR alive?  Defense Contractors and others, including politicians, profit heavily during WAR time which, in the United States, seems to be all the time.  Our National Defense budget is much larger then our Heath Care budget, the numbers aren’t even close.  With all the capital that the US allocates towards defending this country it makes you think that we are in the business of WAR, and the politicians keep the WAR Machine turning.  What is the real reason we are still in Afghanistan, does any average citizen really know?  It’s been 11 years, what have we accomplished?  There have been some captures / murdering of terrorist leaders and we have weakened the strength of al-Qaeda and the Taliban but as soon as we leave that will all be abolished.  What are we really after, to protect the US citizens against terrorism?  In my opinion there’s just one answer to that….BULLSHIT!!  I find it hard to believe our government is that concerned about our well-being.  If that were true, we would have better Health Care Plans, a better Education System, better Crime Fighting Organizations, a better Drug Abuse Prevention Plan and the list goes on.  The Defense business does provide jobs, which does play a critical role in providing stability to our economy.  And since several major businesses farm out thousands of jobs to other countries to exploit cheap labor and make larger profits for themselves, it almost seems like our economy would collapse without WAR.   How sad is that, a country that is dependent on WAR to keep it’s economy stable.  “Hello Mr. Politician, I know you sit back in your big office and WAR to you means giving your approval by signing a piece paper, and this might be news to you, but people die in WAR, young people, men and women…do you realize that???”  “When that defense contractor greases your pocket so you will buy their WAR machines, does it concern you that the men and women that operate those machines might be killed in a battle using them?”  Do you ever wonder where Our Government gets the money to pay for those WAR machines?  They get the money from the Federal Reserve System which is a privately  owned bank that’s in charge of printing and controlling the money supply for the United States.  Simply stated, our government asks the Fed for more money to finance the WAR, in turn the Fed prints out and loans the money to our government and charges them interest. The money the Fed prints out is not backed by anything, it used to be backed by gold and silver but that is no longer the case, hence the primary reason for the out of control national debt.  So as you can see, the business of WAR is good for the Bankers, the Politicians and the Defense Contractors, but is it in the best interest of America and the people that live in this country?  That’s up to you to decide.   On Memorial Day we must remember Our fallen soldiers and the sacrifices they made…they gave up everything because they believed they were fighting for freedom, fighting for the right to be an American and fighting to preserve a better way of life.  A better way of life for every American citizen, not just the politicians, bankers and business men that profit from the business of WAR.  Below is some information you may or may not know.

Costs of the War in Afghanistan

June 7, 2011

As part of its “Cost of War” analysis, NPP has calculated the total cost of the war in Afghanistan. To date, $459.8 billion dollars has been allocated for the war in Afghanistan since 2001 in current, or “then year” dollars. Adjusted for inflation the total is $487.6 billion in constant 2012 dollars. This includes all of the funding that has been requested by the President and appropriated by Congress for the war through the end of the current fiscal year on September 30, 2011.

The cost of War since 2001 in Iraq and Afghanistan has reached $1.3 Trillion and growing. (Source)


US War Timeline Ending with WWII

Afghanistan War (October 7, 2001 to present)

Afghanistan

The wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, marking the beginning of its War on Terrorism campaign, seeking to oust the Taliban and find al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The officially-stated purpose of the invasion was to destroy al-Qaeda and deny them sanctuary and freedom of movement within Afghanistan.

U.S. Casualties: 1098 deaths, 2379 wounded in action [source]

Iraq War (March 20, 2003 to December 15, 2011)

Iraq

The Iraq War is an ongoing conflict in the Middle Eastern country of Iraq, which began with the 2003 invasion of Iraq. The U.S.-led coalition overthrew Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and occupied Iraq in an attempt to establish a new governmental regime.

U.S. Casualties: 4,404 deaths; 31,827 wounded in action [source]

Here’s a video on one of the reasons it’s taken so long to train the Iraqi Soldiers:

http://www.facebook.com/v/1155650126490

Gulf War (August 2, 1990 to February 28, 1991)

Persian Gulf

The 1991 Gulf War was a conflict between Iraq and a coalition force of approximately 30 nations. The Gulf War led by the United States and mandated by the United Nations in order to liberate Kuwait.

U.S. Casualties:  378 deaths, less than 1000 wounded in action

The Cold War (often dated 1947–1991)

The Cold War was a sustained state of political and military tension between the powers of the Western world, led by the United States and its NATO allies, and the communist world, led by the Soviet Union, its satellite states and allies. This began after the success of their temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences. The Soviet Union created the Eastern Bloc with the eastern European countries it occupied, maintaining these as satellite states. The post-war recovery of Western Europe was facilitated by the United States’ Marshall Plan, while the Soviet Union, wary of the conditions attached, declined and set up COMECON with its Eastern allies. The United States forged NATO, a military alliance using containment of communism as a main strategy through the Truman Doctrine, in 1949, while the Soviet bloc formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955. Some countries aligned with either of the two powers, whilst others chose to remain neutral with the Non-Aligned Movement.

Edward Teller claims that ”work on weapons during the cold war did not put a particularly heavy burden on the American economy,” and that ”at any rate, the cold war had the distinction of not costing any lives.” The term ”particularly heavy” is rather subjective; in fact, United States expenditures for nuclear weapons and weapons-related programs between 1940 and 1996 consumed nearly $5.5 trillion in adjusted 1996 dollars. That is 29 percent of all military spending and 11 percent of all Federal Government spending.

As for lives lost, while the United States and the Soviet Union did not fight on the battlefield, hundreds of thousands of American and Soviet citizens were exposed to the radioactive and toxic byproducts of nuclear weapons production and testing in their own countries. The human toll of these activities is only now beginning to be quantified.

Vietnam War (1959 to April 30, 1975)

Vietnam

U.S. military advisors first became involved in Vietnam as early as 1950, when they began to assist French colonial forces. In 1956, these advisors assumed full responsibility for training the Army of the Republic of Vietnam or ARVN. Large numbers of American combat troops began to arrive in 1965.

U.S. Casualties: 58,193 deaths, 153,303 wounded in action, 1948 missing in action [source]

Korean War (June 25, 1950 to July 27, 1953)

Korea

The Korean War, occurring a civil war between the states of North Korea and South Korea that were created out of the post-World War II Soviet and American occupation zones in Korea, with large-scale participation by other countries.

U.S. Casualties:  54,246 deaths, 8142 missing in action.

World War II (December 8, 1941 to  August 14, 1945)

World War II

World War II, or the Second World War, was a worldwide conflict fought between the Allied Powers and the Axis Powers, from 1939 until 1945. Armed forces from over seventy nations engaged in aerial, naval, and ground-based combat. Spanning much of the globe, World War II resulted in the deaths of over sixty million people, making it the deadliest conflict in human history. Total includes the estimated 9 million lives lost in the Holocaust. The war ended with an Allied victory.

U.S. Casualties:  407,300 deaths, 670,846 wounded in action [source]


Memorial Day History

Civil War Commander in Chief John A. Logan

Civil War Commander in Chief John A. Logan declared the first official Memorial Day in 1868

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women’s groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, “Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping” by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication “To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead” (Source: Duke University’s Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860’s tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50’s on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye’s Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “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.”

The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.

But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: “Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.”

On January 19, 1999 Senator Inouye introduced bill S 189 to the Senate which proposes to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th instead of “the last Monday in May”. On April 19, 1999 Representative Gibbons introduced the bill to the House (H.R. 1474). The bills were referred the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Government Reform.

To date, there has been no further developments on the bill. Please write your Representative and your Senators, urging them to support these bills. You can also contact Mr. Inouye to let him know of your support. Visit our Help Restore the Traditional Day of Observance page for more information on this issue, and for more ways you can help.

To see what day Memorial Day falls on for the next 10 years, visit the Memorial Day Calendar page.

Something to Think About

Quotes

Once in a great while, experience teaches us a lesson that that can only be described as an axiom or a truism. It just is. You can try to understand its origins or debate its basis in theory, but if you ask me, that’s just a waste of time. You’re better off just taking it for what it is – an empirical observation – and benefiting from its implications.

Now, I know some of this stuff straddles philosophy and psychology, but there’s a good reason for that. While they are indeed “real world” observations, they were perceived through a subjective filter which, for better or worse, includes all kinds of strange and diverse influences.

So, while you will find elements of TaoismFreudian theory, Ayn Rand, and What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School, make no mistake: they’re all practical lessons that can help your career … or even change your life:

  1. If you don’t know, say so. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, stop talking.
  2. Whether negotiation is strong or weak depends entirely on your goals.
  3. Don’t jump ship before you hit the iceberg.
  4. Anger is never about what you think you’re angry about.
  5. Confidence comes from success, knowledge comes from failure.
  6. A**hole is a subjective noun.
  7. If you’re miserable, quit and do something else. If you’re still miserable, it’s you.
  8. Success is based on current behavior, not past performance.
  9. If you protect your domain or CYA, that’s all you’ll accomplish.
  10. Thin-skinned people are actually thick-headed.
  11. People won’t perform for those they don’t respect.
  12. If you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, you won’t be successful at it.
  13. When you have problems with others, look inside yourself for answers.
  14. The workplace is about business, not you.
  15. Conflict is healthy; anger is not. Get some help for that.
  16. No matter how smart you are, wisdom only comes from experience.
  17. Whine and complain all you want; nobody gives a crap.
  18. You can BS others but you really can’t BS yourself.
  19. The boss isn’t always right, but she’s still the boss.
  20. The customer isn’t always right, but he’s still the customer.

If any of this comes across as sort of preachy, just so you know, that’s not my intent. I’m not interested in indoctrinating anyone, just helping you to navigate a complex and challenging working world.

Come to think of it, while I think their meanings should be self-evident – at least after some reflection – I’m probably not the best judge of that. So if you don’t get it, ask and I’ll provide additional color in the comment section.

Quotes from the Archives

“Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without forgetting.”
– seen on a whiteboard at Allen Hospital, Waterloo, IA

“Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.”
– Peter Drucker

“Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself.”
Elie Wiesel (1928 – )

“To know the pains of power, we must go to those who have it; to know its pleasures, we must go to those who are seeking it.”
Charles Caleb Colton (1780 – 1832), Lacon, 1825

“Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked.”
Lord Chesterfield (1694 – 1773)

“The game of life is the game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy.”
Florence Shinn

“Consult your friend on all things, especially on those which respect yourself. His counsel may then be useful where your own self-love might impair your judgment.”
Seneca (5 BC – 65 AD)

“Doubt whom you will, but never yourself.”
Christine Bovee

“To know the road ahead, ask those coming back.”
Chinese Proverb

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.”
e e cummings (1894 – 1962)

“The truth is the kindest thing we can give folks in the end.”
Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811 – 1896)

“We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh.”
Agnes Repplier (1855 – 1950)

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
Mahatma Gandhi (1869 – 1948)

“Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.”
Confucius

“Have no friends not equal to yourself.”
Confucius

“When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends.”
Japanese Proverb

“It is far more impressive when others discover your good qualities without your help.”
Judith Martin

“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”
Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

“It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtues.”
Abraham Lincoln

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Abraham Lincoln

What are your favorite Quotes?

Post your favorite Quote in the comments section and I will add them to the list.  Please make sure you include the author and keep them tasteful.

Personality disorders: Narcissistic

Narcissistic personality disorderA personality disorder is a type of mental illness in which you have trouble perceiving and relating to situations and to people — including yourself. There are many specific types of personality disorders.

In general, having a personality disorder means you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking and behaving no matter what the situation. This leads to significant problems and limitations in relationships, social encounters, work and school.

In some cases, you may not realize that you have a personality disorder because your way of thinking and behaving seems natural to you, and you may blame others for the challenges you face.

Definition

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and in other areas of their life, such as work or school.

Narcissistic personality disorder treatment is centered around psychotherapy.

Symptoms

Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by dramatic, emotional behavior, which is in the same category as antisocial and borderline personality disorders.

Narcissistic personality disorder symptoms may include:

  • Believing that you’re better than others
  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
  • Exaggerating your achievements or talents
  • Expecting constant praise and admiration
  • Believing that you’re special and acting accordingly
  • Failing to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings
  • Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
  • Being jealous of others
  • Believing that others are jealous of you
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Being easily hurt and rejected
  • Having a fragile self-esteem
  • Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional

Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence or strong self-esteem, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence and self-esteem into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal. In contrast, people who have healthy confidence and self-esteem don’t value themselves more than they value others.

When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may have a sense of entitlement. And when you don’t receive the special treatment to which you feel entitled, you may become very impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything — the best car, athletic club, medical care or social circles, for instance.

But underneath all this behavior often lies a fragile self-esteem. You have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have a sense of secret shame and humiliation. And in order to make yourself feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and efforts to belittle the other person to make yourself appear better.

When to see a doctor
When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may not want to think that anything could be wrong — doing so wouldn’t fit with your self-image of power and perfection. But by definition, a narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of your life, such as relationships, work, school or your financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and confused by a mix of seemingly contradictory emotions. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.

If you notice any of these problems in your life, consider reaching out to a trusted doctor or mental health provider. Getting the right treatment can help make your life more rewarding and enjoyable.

Causes

It’s not known what causes narcissistic personality disorder. As with other mental disorders, the cause is likely complex. The cause may be linked to a dysfunctional childhood, such as excessive pampering, extremely high expectations, abuse or neglect. It’s also possible that genetics or psychobiology — the connection between the brain and behavior and thinking — plays a role in the development of narcissistic personality disorder.

Risk factors

Narcissistic personality disorder is rare. It affects more men than women. Narcissistic personality disorder often begins in early adulthood. Although some adolescents may seem to have traits of narcissism, this may simply be typical of the age and doesn’t mean they’ll go on to develop narcissistic personality disorder.

Although the cause of narcissistic personality disorder isn’t known, some researchers think that extreme parenting behaviors, such as neglect or excessive indulgent praise, may be partially responsible.

Risk factors for narcissistic personality disorder may include:

  • Parental disdain for fears and needs expressed during childhood
  • Lack of affection and praise during childhood
  • Neglect and emotional abuse in childhood
  • Excessive praise and overindulgence
  • Unpredictable or unreliable caregiving from parents
  • Learning manipulative behaviors from parents

Children who learn from their parents that vulnerability is unacceptable may lose their ability to empathize with others’ needs. They may also mask their emotional needs with grandiose, egotistical behavior that’s calculated to make them seem emotionally “bulletproof.”

Complications

Complications of narcissistic personality disorder, if left untreated, can include:

  • Substance abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Problems at work or school

Preparing for your appointment

People with narcissistic personality disorder are most likely to seek treatment when they develop symptoms of depression — often because of perceived criticisms or rejections. If you recognize that aspects of your personality are common to narcissistic personality disorder or you’re feeling overwhelmed by sadness, talk with your doctor. Whatever your diagnosis, your symptoms signal a need for medical care.

When you call to make an appointment, your doctor may immediately refer you to a mental health provider, such as a psychiatrist.

Use the information below to prepare for your first appointment and learn what to expect from the mental health provider.

What you can do

  • Write down any symptoms you’re experiencing and for how long. It will help the mental health provider to know what kinds of events are likely to make you feel angry or defeated.
  • Write down key personal information, including traumatic events in your past and any current, major stressors.
  • Make a list of your medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions with which you’ve been diagnosed. Also write down the names of any medications or supplements you’re taking.
  • Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who has known you for a long time may be able to ask questions or share information with the mental health provider that you don’t mention.
  • Write down questions to ask your mental health provider in advance so that you can make the most of your appointment.

For narcissistic personality disorder, some basic questions to ask your mental health provider include:

  • What exactly is narcissistic personality disorder?
  • Could I have different mental health conditions?
  • What is the goal of treatment in my case?
  • What treatments are most likely to be effective for me?
  • How much do you expect my quality of life may improve with treatment?
  • How frequently will I need therapy sessions and for how long?
  • Would family or group therapy be helpful in my case?
  • Are there medications that can help?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?

In addition to the questions that you’ve prepared to ask your mental health provider, don’t hesitate to ask any additional questions that may come up during your appointment.

What to expect from your mental health provider
The mental health provider is likely to ask you a number of questions to gain an understanding of your symptoms and how they’re affecting your life. The mental health provider may ask:

  • What are your symptoms?
  • When do these symptoms occur, and how long do they last?
  • How do you feel — and act — when others seem to criticize or reject you?
  • Do you have any close personal relationships? If not, how do you explain that lack?
  • What are your accomplishments?
  • What do you plan to accomplish in the future?
  • How do you feel when someone needs your help?
  • How do you feel when someone expresses difficult feelings, such as fear or sadness, to you?
  • How would you describe your childhood, including your relationship with your parents?
  • How would you say your symptoms are affecting your life, including school, work and personal relationships?
  • Have any of your close relatives been diagnosed with a mental health problem, including a personality disorder?
  • Have you been treated for any other mental health problems? If yes, what treatments were most effective?
  • Do you use alcohol or illegal drugs? How often?
  • Are you currently being treated for any other medical conditions?

Tests and diagnosis

Narcissistic personality disorder is diagnosed based on signs and symptoms, as well as a thorough psychological evaluation that may include filling out questionnaires.

Although there’s no laboratory test to diagnose narcissistic personality disorder, you may also have a physical exam to make sure you don’t have a physical problem causing your symptoms.

Some features of narcissistic personality disorder are similar to those of other personality disorders. It’s possible to be diagnosed with more than one personality disorder at the same time.

To be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, you must meet criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is published by the American Psychiatric Association and is used by mental health providers to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

Criteria for narcissistic personality disorder to be diagnosed include:

  • Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power or beauty
  • Believing that you are special and can associate only with equally special people
  • Requiring constant admiration
  • Having a sense of entitlement
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Having an inability to recognize needs and feelings of others
  • Being envious of others
  • Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner

Treatments and drugs

Narcissistic personality disorder treatment is centered around psychotherapy. There are no medications specifically used to treat narcissistic personality disorder. However, if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other conditions, medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications may be helpful.

Types of therapy that may be helpful for narcissistic personality disorder include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. In general, cognitive behavioral therapy helps you identify unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy, positive ones.
  • Family therapy. Family therapy typically brings the whole family together in therapy sessions. You and your family explore conflicts, communication and problem solving to help cope with relationship problems.
  • Group therapy. Group therapy, in which you meet with a group of people with similar conditions, may be helpful by teaching you to relate better with others. This may be a good way to learn about truly listening to others, learning about their feelings and offering support.

Because personality traits can be difficult to change, therapy may take several years. The short-term goal of psychotherapy for narcissistic personality disorder is to address such issues as substance abuse, depression, low self-esteem or shame. The long-term goal is to reshape your personality, at least to some degree, so that you can change patterns of thinking that distort your self-image and create a realistic self-image.

Psychotherapy can also help you learn to relate better with others so that your relationships are more intimate, enjoyable and rewarding. It can help you understand the causes of your emotions and what drives you to compete, to distrust others, and perhaps to despise yourself and others.

Lifestyle and home remedies

Whether you decide to seek treatment on your own or are encouraged by loved ones or a concerned employer, you may feel defensive about treatment or think it’s unnecessary. The nature of narcissistic personality disorder can also leave you feeling that the therapy or the therapist is not worth your time and attention, and you may be tempted to quit. Try to keep an open mind, though, and to focus on the rewards of treatment.

Prevention

Because the cause of narcissistic personality disorder is unknown, there’s no known way to prevent the condition with any certainty. Getting treatment as soon as possible for childhood mental health problems may help. Family therapy may help families learn healthy ways to communicate or to cope with conflicts or emotional distress. Parents with personality disorders may benefit from parenting classes and guidance from therapists or social workers.

Also, it’s important to:

  • Stick to your treatment plan. Attend scheduled therapy sessions and take any medications as directed. Remember that it can be hard work and that you may have occasional setbacks.
  • Learn about it. Educate yourself about narcissistic personality disorder so that you can better understand symptoms, risk factors and treatments.
  • Get treatment for substance abuse or other mental health problems. Your addictions, depression, anxiety and stress can feed off each other, leading to a cycle of emotional pain and unhealthy behavior.
  • Learn relaxation and stress management. Try such stress-reduction techniques as meditation, yoga or tai chi. These can be soothing and calming.
  • Stay focused on your goal. Recovery from narcissistic personality disorder can take time. Keep motivated by keeping your recovery goals in mind and reminding yourself that you can work to repair damaged relationships and become happier with your life.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Personality disorders: Borderline

Borderline personality disorderA personality disorder is a type of mental illness in which you have trouble perceiving and relating to situations and to people — including yourself. There are many specific types of personality disorders.

In general, having a personality disorder means you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking and behaving no matter what the situation. This leads to significant problems and limitations in relationships, social encounters, work and school.

In some cases, you may not realize that you have a personality disorder because your way of thinking and behaving seems natural to you, and you may blame others for the challenges you face.

Definition

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is an emotional disorder that causes emotional instability, leading to stress and other problems.

With borderline personality disorder your image of yourself is distorted, making you feel worthless and fundamentally flawed. Your anger, impulsivity and frequent mood swings may push others away, even though you desire loving relationships.

If you have borderline personality disorder, don’t get discouraged. Many people with borderline personality disorder get better with treatment and can live happy, peaceful lives.

Symptoms

Borderline personality disorder affects how you feel about yourself, how you relate to others and how you behave.

When you have borderline personality disorder, you often have an insecure sense of who you are. That is, your self-image or sense of self often rapidly changes. You may view yourself as evil or bad, and sometimes may feel as if you don’t exist at all. An unstable self-image often leads to frequent changes in jobs, friendships, goals and values.

Your relationships are usually in turmoil. You often experience a love-hate relationship with others. You may idealize someone one moment and then abruptly and dramatically shift to fury and hate over perceived slights or even minor misunderstandings. This is because people with the disorder often have difficulty accepting gray areas — things seem to be either black or white.

Borderline personality disorder symptoms may include:

  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as risky driving, unsafe sex, gambling sprees or illegal drug use
  • Strong emotions that wax and wane frequently
  • Intense but short episodes of anxiety or depression
  • Inappropriate anger, sometimes escalating into physical confrontations
  • Difficulty controlling emotions or impulses
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Fear of being alone

When to see a doctor
People with borderline personality disorder often feel misunderstood, alone, empty and hopeless. They’re typically full of self-hate and self-loathing. They may be fully aware that their behavior is destructive, but feel unable to change it. Poor impulse control may lead to problems with gambling, driving or even the law. They may find that many areas of their lives are affected, including social relationships, work or school.

If you notice these things about yourself, talk to your doctor or a mental health provider. The right treatment can help you feel better about yourself and help you live a more stable, rewarding life.

If you notice these things in a family member or friend, talk to him or her about seeing a doctor or mental health provider. But keep in mind that you can’t force someone to seek help. If the relationship is causing you significant stress, you may find it helpful to see a therapist yourself.

Causes

As with other mental disorders, the causes of borderline personality disorder aren’t fully understood.

Factors that seem likely to play a role include:

  • Genetics. Some studies of twins and families suggest that personality disorders may be inherited.
  • Environmental factors. Many people with borderline personality disorder have a history of childhood abuse, neglect and separation from caregivers or loved ones.
  • Brain abnormalities. Some research has shown changes in certain areas of the brain involved in emotion regulation, impulsivity and aggression. In addition, certain brain chemicals that help regulate mood, such as serotonin, may not function properly.

Most likely, a combination of these issues results in borderline personality disorder.

Risk factors

Personality is shaped by both inherited tendencies and environmental factors, or your experiences during childhood. Some factors related to personality development can increase your risk of developing borderline personality disorder. These include:

  • Hereditary predisposition. You may be at a higher risk if a close family member — a mother, father or sibling — has the disorder.
  • Childhood abuse. Many people with the disorder report being sexually or physically abused during childhood.
  • Neglect. Some people with the disorder describe severe deprivation, neglect and abandonment during childhood.

Also, borderline personality disorder is diagnosed more often in women than in men.

Complications

Borderline personality disorder can damage many areas of your life. Intimate relationships, jobs, school, social activities and self-image all can be negatively affected. Repeated job losses and broken marriages are common. Self-injury, such as cutting or burning, can result in scarring and frequent hospitalizations. Suicide rates among people with BPD are high.

In addition, you may have other mental health disorders, including:

  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Bipolar disorder

Because of risky, impulsive behavior, you are also more vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, motor vehicle accidents and physical fights. You may also be involved in abusive relationships, either as the abuser or the abused.

Preparing for your appointment

If you have a pattern of difficult relationships or personality traits that seem common to borderline personality disorder, call your doctor. After an initial appointment, your doctor may refer you to a mental health provider, such as a psychiatrist.

Use the information below to prepare for your appointment and learn what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do:

  • Write down any symptoms you or people close to you have noticed, and for how long.
  • Write down key personal information, including traumatic events in your past and any current, major stressors.
  • Make a list of your medical information, including other physical or mental health conditions with which you’ve been diagnosed. Also write down the names of any medications or supplements you’re taking.
  • Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who has known you for a long time may be able to ask questions or share information with the doctor that you don’t remember to bring up.
  • Write down the questions you want to be sure to ask your doctor so that you can make the most of your appointment.

For symptoms common to borderline personality disorder, some basic questions to ask your doctor or a mental health provider include:

  • What is likely causing my symptoms or condition?
  • Other than the most likely cause, what are possible causes for my symptoms or condition?
  • What treatments are most likely to be effective for me?
  • How much can I expect my symptoms to improve with treatment?
  • How frequently will I need therapy sessions, and for how long?
  • Are there medications that can help?
  • If you’re recommending medications, what are the possible side effects?
  • Do I need to follow any restrictions?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What Web sites do you recommend visiting?

In addition to the questions that you’ve prepared in advance, don’t hesitate to ask questions during your appointment at any time that you don’t understand something.

What to expect from your doctor
A doctor or mental health provider who sees you for symptoms common to borderline personality disorder is likely to ask a number of questions, including:

  • What are your symptoms?
  • When did you first notice these symptoms?
  • How are these symptoms affecting your life, including your personal relationships and work?
  • How often during the course of a normal day do you experience a mood swing?
  • How often have you felt betrayed, victimized or abandoned?
  • How well do you manage anger?
  • How well do you manage being alone?
  • Do you get bored easily?
  • How would you describe your sense of self-worth? Have you ever felt you were bad, or even evil?
  • Have you had any problems with self-destructive or risky behavior, such as reckless driving, wasteful spending, gambling or unsafe sex?
  • Have you ever tried to harm yourself or attempted suicide?
  • Do you use alcohol or illegal drugs? How often?
  • How would you describe your childhood, including your relationship with your parents?
  • Were you physically abused or neglected as a child?
  • Have any of your close relatives been diagnosed with a mental health problem, including a personality disorder?
  • Have you been treated for any other mental health problems? If yes, what treatments were most effective?
  • Are you currently being treated for any other medical conditions?

What you can do in the meantime
If you have fantasies about hurting yourself, go to an emergency room or call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.

Tests and diagnosis

Personality disorders are diagnosed based on signs and symptoms and a thorough psychological evaluation. To be diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, you must meet criteria spelled out in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual is published and updated by the American Psychiatric Association and is used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.

For borderline personality disorder to be diagnosed, at least five of the following signs and symptoms must be present:

  • Intense fear of abandonment
  • A pattern of unstable relationships
  • Unstable self-image or sense of identity
  • Impulsive and self-destructive behaviors
  • Suicidal behavior or self-injury
  • Wide mood swings
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Anger-related problems, such as frequently losing your temper or having physical fights
  • Periods of paranoia and loss of contact with reality

A diagnosis of borderline personality disorder is usually made in adults, not in children or adolescents. That’s because what appear to be signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder may go away with maturity.

Treatments and drugs

Borderline personality disorder treatment may include psychotherapy, medications or hospitalization.

Psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is the core treatment for borderline personality disorder. Two types of psychotherapy that have been found effective are:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). DBT was designed specifically to treat borderline personality disorder. Generally done through individual, group and phone counseling, DBT uses a skills-based approach to teach you how to regulate your emotions, tolerate distress and improve relationships.
  • Transference-focused psychotherapy (TFP). TFP centers on the relationship between you and your therapist — helping you understand the emotions and difficulties that develop in that relationship. You can then use what you have learned in other relationships.

Medications
Medications can’t cure borderline personality disorder, but they can help associated problems, such as depression, impulsivity and anxiety. Medications may include antidepressant, antipsychotic and anti-anxiety medications.

Hospitalization
At times, you may need more intense treatment in a psychiatric hospital or clinic. Hospitalization can also keep you safe from self-injury.

Because treatment can be intense and long term, you face the best chance for success when you consult mental health providers with experience treating borderline personality disorder.

Coping and support

Living with borderline personality disorder can be difficult. You may realize your behaviors and thoughts are self-destructive or damaging yet feel unable to control them. Treatment can help you learn skills to manage and cope with your condition.

Other things you can do to help manage your condition and feel better about yourself include:

  • Sticking to your treatment plan
  • Attending all therapy sessions
  • Practicing healthy ways to ease painful emotions, rather than inflicting self-injury
  • Not blaming yourself for having the disorder but recognizing your responsibility to get it treated
  • Learning what things may trigger angry outbursts or impulsive behavior
  • Not being embarrassed by the condition
  • Getting treatment for related problems, such as substance abuse
  • Educating yourself about the disorder so that you understand its causes and treatments
  • Reaching out to others with the disorder to share insights and experiences

Remember, there’s no one right path to recovery from borderline personality disorder. The condition seems to be worse in young adulthood and may gradually get better with age. Many people with the disorder find greater stability in their lives during their 30s and 40s. As your inner misery decreases, you can go on to sustain loving relationships and enjoy meaningful careers.

By Mayo Clinic staff

Mother’s Day: Where Did It All Begin?


Happy Mothers DayMost of us buy cards or go out for dinner to commemorate Mother’s Day, but we rarely realize how far back these celebrations date. Like many other holidays that have been commercialized in modern times, Mother’s Day has centuries-old antecedents. Cultures around the world celebrated (and still do) the mother goddess as a representative of nurturing and the giver of all life.

The ancient Egyptians celebrated the mother goddess Isis, while the Greeks celebrated the goddess Rhea, who was the mother of most of the major deities including Zeus. In ancient Rome, Cybele was the major mother figure; and as early as 2250 B.C., the Romans celebrated a festival of Hilaria, which occurred in the spring and was dedicated to the mother goddess. In Taoism, the end of May is celebrated as the “mother of the world” day, recognizing the goddess as the origin of all things. Incense is burned and the focus is on meditating on divine harmony.

During the Middle Ages, people in remote villages attended the main church in their parish — the “mother” church — for a special service. In England, a day known as “Mothering Sunday” fell on the fourth Sunday of Lent and was a day when working people were allowed to take time off to go home to visit their mothers.

Calling for Peace and a Respect for All Life

The first North American Mother’s Day was actually a call for peace. Julia Ward Howe wrote a proclamation in 1870 that called for mothers to stop their sons from killing the sons of other mothers. She asked for an international Mother’s Day of Peace.

Our current Mother’s Day was started in 1908 by a West Virginian, Anna Jarvis, to honor her own mother, who held a Mother’s Friendship Day in order to bring together families and friends that had been divided during the Civil War. Anna Jarvis gave her mother’s favorite flower to every mother who attended. Today, white carnations are used to honor deceased mothers, while pink or red carnations pay tribute to mothers who are still alive. Finally, in 1914 Woodrow Wilson declared the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day Around the World

Many cultures use this day to enjoy traditional dishes that their mothers taught them to cook. In Mexico, a mother is serenaded by her family or a hired band, while in Japan, children enter drawings of their mothers in a contest that celebrates mothers and peace. Sweets and flowers — especially violets — are given to moms on Mother’s Day in the United Kingdom. There, it is also customary to serve Simnel cake, a glazed fruitcake inspired by a folk tale about a married couple, Simon and Nell.

In addition to flowers, cards, jewelry and chocolates, it is customary for Australians to exchange perfume and teas on Mother’s Day. In Canada, there seems to be an added emphasis on helping Mom do chores and cooking her supper. Sweden’s Mother’s Day, which takes place on the last Sunday in May, has a strong charitable focus: The Swedish Red Cross sells small plastic flowers leading up to the holiday, and the proceeds raised are given to poor mothers and their children. The Native American culture celebrates Mother Earth as our mothe,r and counsels us to take care of her.

A Modern-Day Ritual to Celebrate Your Mother Figure

This Mother’s Day, be creative and make an Appreciation Box (adapted from The Joy of Family Rituals). With the changing configuration of families today, we need to also be sure to honor the stepparents, foster parents, godparents and mentors — both alive and deceased — who have played an important role in our “mothering” and of the “mothering” of our children.

To make an Appreciation Box you can use a shoebox, hatbox, cigar box, or any kind of container that appeals to you. Decorate it with markers, ribbons, flowers, photographs, beads, feathers, or jewels. Use your imagination. This is great to do as a family project, and can include small children as well as adults.

Place drawings, home-baked cookies, Mom’s favorite bath oil, a poem or any other objects and symbols that show love and appreciation for your mother. Write down something that you love about her: “I love the way you bake me banana bread on my birthday,” or ” I love the way you always see the bright side of life.” Also, include written promises to do something special for Mom. A 10-year-old might promise to cook dinner once a month, while a child living out of the home may want to take Mom out for a day of spa delights.

As an example, my friend David is a great musician and made his mother a special CD that included her favorite songs as well as one he wrote especially for her. My son Jourdan (an animator) always includes a unique cartoon that he draws on my cards. By taking the time to really appreciate your mother, you will be giving her the best gift possible. And let us not forget Mother Earth, who is responsible for the bounty of all of life.

I’m wishing you all a beautiful Mother’s Day, and would love to hear about your favorite rituals or traditions in the comments below.

Barbara Biziou

Author, ‘The Joy of Ritual’ and ‘The Joys of Family Rituals’

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is celebrated throughout most of the world and means many things to many people. It has nothing to do with religious beliefs or political events or some famous person’s birthday.  Mother’s Day is simply a day to give thanks to all the Mother’s in the world and should be recognized by everyone that was ever born.  We would not be here if it wasn’t for our Mother, she gave us the greatest gift of all, LIFE.  For me, Mother’s Day is a time to remember all that my Mother has done for me, all the sacrifices she has made for me and all the times she was there for me.  There is only one person that you call your Mother, no one can ever replace her and no one will ever love you like she does.  When you fall, she picks you up, when you cry she wants to know why, when you laugh she laughs with you, when you need someone to talk to, she will open her ears and heart and be there for you.  Our Mother is the most important person in our lives and the most influential.  However, not all Mother’s are perfect, they are human and do make mistakes which is why we must watch over them as they have watched over us to make sure they know we are there for them too.  Mother’s Day is also a day to remind us to let our Mothers know how important they are to us.  We sometimes get caught up in our daily routine and forget that she’s waiting for us to call or contact her just to hear us say “I love you Mom”.  Here is a poem I found that made me smile and I’d like to share it with you:

A Poem for Mothers, and Mine

The love of a mother is beyond compare
One who dearly loves and is always there
From scraped kneesMothers Day
To falls from trees
A mother cares for all
From “I told you so”
To “That’s a no-no! ”
A mother answers the call
Mothers cook, mothers clean, some even work a job
Even with all their strength, a mother still knows how to sob
Mothers should be honored for all they have done
Every day of the year, not just one
There is nothing better than a mother’s love
For her time on this earth thank God above
A mother’s love endures forever
Its unbreakable bonds no on can sever
No matter how much I have grown
My mother’s love is always shown
She has become a mentor and a guide
Within her always I am able to confide
No better payment for her I can find
Then to love her with heart, and with mind
To the one who bore me; I share my emotion
To the one who raised me; Absolute devotion
To this woman I express my joy
You will always be my “mommy” and I your “baby boy”

Whether your Mother is here in body or in spirit, please take time to show her how much you appreciate everything she has done for you.  Some of the best Mother’s Day gifts come from the heart, not the mall, and everyone can afford to give a gift from the heart.  The gift of LOVE is the best gift a person can receive from another, it’s a gift that lasts forever.  You are one of a kind and are very special to your Mother, on Mother’s Day, let your Mother know how special she is to YOU.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mothers out there, enjoy your special day.

Mother’s Day: May 13, 2012

– Eric White –

W3xPROs.com

7 Things You May Not Know About Cinco de Mayo


Cinco de Mayo, which takes place this Saturday, has become enormously popular in the United States, often serving as a reason to throw a “gran fiesta.” Yet despite its ubiquity, the holiday remains widely misunderstood. In fact, many people still falsely believe it is Mexico’s independence day, rather than a celebration of the undermanned Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla. To mark that event’s 150th anniversary, here are seven other things you may not know about Cinco de Mayo’s origins.

 

Cinco de Mayo

Participants appear in costume at a Cinco de Mayo parade in Puebla, Mexico. (Credit: Ulises Ruiz/EPA/Corbis)

 

1. Mexico had just gotten over a civil war in 1862.
The so-called War of the Reform broke out in 1858 soon after liberals drafted a new constitution aimed at reducing the power and influence of the Catholic Church. During the armed conflict, Mexico had two governments: a conservative one in Mexico City led by General Félix Zuloaga and a liberal one in Veracruz led by Benito Juárez, president of the supreme court. The conservatives, who had the support of the pope, won a series of initial skirmishes, but the liberals controlled the ports and were therefore better able to equip their troops. They emerged victorious in January 1861 when they retook Mexico City. The country remained starkly divided, however, with conservatives plotting their revenge.

2. European troops invaded because Mexico was broke.
After the War of Reform, Mexico had virtually no money in its treasury and owed tens of millions of dollars to foreign debtors. The sale of expropriated church property brought very little relief. As a result, newly elected President Juárez suspended payment of all foreign debt for two years, a move that prompted an immediate backlash from Spain, France and Great Britain. With the United States too distracted by the Civil War to enforce the Monroe Doctrine, troops from those three European powers began arriving in Veracruz in late 1861. Spain and Great Britain almost immediately withdrew, but about 6,000 French troops pushed inland toward the capital, backed by Mexico’s vanquished conservative leaders.

Cinco de Mayo

3. France was considered extremely potent militarily when it attacked Mexico.
In 1862, the French had one of the best armies in the world. Arriving at Puebla on May 4, they were coming off a series of victories in Southeast Asia and Northern Africa and were loaded with firepower, including long-range rifles that put the Mexicans’ creaky muskets to shame. They were so overconfident, in fact, that they didn’t even bother to properly prepare their artillery. On the morning of May 5, the French tried to intimidate the Mexicans with screeching bugle calls and advanced bayonet maneuvers. But after a full day of fighting, including three unsuccessful uphill charges, they were forced to retreat due to heavy casualties.

4. After losing the Battle of Puebla, France went on to win the war.
Mexico’s victory at Puebla slowed, but did not stop, France’s assault. In the wake of the battle, an infuriated Emperor Napoleon III ordered that almost 30,000 more troops be sent to Mexico. This time around, under a new commander, they were able to overrun Puebla and easily conquer Mexico City. Juárez and his supporters then fled to the mountains to conduct guerilla operations while Napoleon III installed Ferdinand Maximilian von Habsburg, second in line to the Austro-Hungarian throne, as Mexico’s ruler.

5. The French occupation of Mexico was short-lived.
Back in France, Napoleon III was growing increasingly concerned that Prussia, fresh off victories against Denmark and Austria, would next try to reclaim the perpetually disputed territories of Alsace and Lorraine. Meanwhile, the Civil War had wrapped up, and U.S. officials were exerting diplomatic pressure on the French and supplying weapons to Juárez’s army. With his coffers running low, Napoleon III decided in 1866 to end France’s occupation of Mexico. Maximilian unwisely stayed and briefly fought on, surrendering only after his troops were routed at Querétaro. On June 19, 1867, he and his top generals were executed by a firing squad.

6. Porfirio Díaz began making a name for himself at Puebla.
Porfirio Díaz, Mexico’s longest-serving president, was a relatively unknown cavalry commander until the Battle of Puebla, where he outflanked the French on their third charge and sent them into a disorderly retreat. Over the next few years he won battles at Oaxaca and elsewhere. Following the war, however, Díaz became so disillusioned with his onetime friend Juárez that he unsuccessfully ran for president against him. He later launched a couple of coup attempts, finally seizing power in 1876. Except for one four-year break, his reign lasted until 1911, when he was finally disposed by the Mexican Revolution.

7. Cinco de Mayo is more widely celebrated in parts of the United States than in Mexico.
Juárez declared Cinco de Mayo a holiday immediately after the Battle of Puebla, but for many Mexicans it has always taken a backseat to such events as the September 16 Independence Day, which commemorates the start of hostilities against Spanish rule in 1810. In the United States, on the other hand, Cinco de Mayo gained traction during the 1960s, when Chicano activists began looking for a way to honor their history and culture. Today, the biggest Cinco de Mayo celebrations are held in U.S. cities with large Hispanic populations, such as Los Angeles, which every year attracts hundreds of thousands of people to its Fiesta Broadway festival.

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By: JESSE GREENSPAN

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