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Memorial Day: Observe safely, remember the fallen
This Memorial Day weekend will be special in Danbury, where special services Sunday will honor one of the sons of Southwest Nebraska who gave their lives in the war in Southeast Asia.
Danbury native Capt. Daniel Wayne “Danny” Thomas took off on an orientation flight in a small, OV-10A aircraft in January 1971, and didn’t return. In 2014, the crash site was discovered in Vietnam’s central highlands, and his body was returned last November.
Wherever you are on Monday, we hope you’ll take time to participate in Memorial Day services at the local cemetery.
It’s always a moving experience, walking among the graves of those who have sacrificed everything so we can enjoy the green grass, flowers and freshly-budded trees of spring in our free country.
The experience is also a somber reminder of how fragile and short our lives really are.
Don’t let your own, or someone else’s irresponsibility turn what should be a pleasant weekend into a tragedy.
The weekend marks the start of the Click it or Ticket campaign by the Nebraska State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies nationally to remind drivers of the importance of buckling up.
The 100 days following Memorial Day are the most dangerous ones to be on the highway, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving Nebraska reminds everyone that seatbelts are your best defense against drunk driving.
If your plans include alcohol, designate a non-drinking driver. Tragically, 160 lives were claimed by this completely preventable activity during this holiday weekend last year.
“Memorial Day weekend is a time when we gather to honor our nation’s heroes who sacrificed their lives to save ours,” said Andrea Frazier, MADD Nebraska Program Manager. “Please make it a safe weekend as well.”
The unofficial opening weekend of summer also tends to offer harsh reminders of the dangers that can accompany outdoor activities.
We’re thinking of sunburn, which causes damage that can increase chances of developing skin cancer. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services recommends using a sunscreen that is at least SPF 15 and has UVA and UVB protection. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and reapply sunscreen after swimming and excessive sweating.
Other important tips:
— Prevent bug bites bu using insect repellent with DEET (10 to 30 percent for children older than two months) or Picardin (5 to 10 percent) to protect from mosquito and tick bites.
— Wear a life jacket when boating and have a responsible adult supervise children swimming or playing in our around water.
— Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during and after outdoor activities.
— Wear a properly-fitted helmet while biking, skating and skateboarding.
— Chill or refrigerate leftovers quickly; don’t leave food out at room temperature for longer than two hours (or one hour if the outdoor temperature is above 90ºF).
— Use fireworks only under responsible adult supervision.
— Make sure playground equipment is well-maintained, and use trampolines only under adult supervision.
— Learn hour to recognize poison ivy and poison oak.
— Children too young to have a driver’s license should not be allowed to operate off-road vehicles. ATV riders should not ride double, should be trained on ATV use and wear appropriate clothing, shoes and head-and-eye protection.
DHHS has more tips on Facebook and Twitter.