Memories with Gratitude by Lois Bolin, Ph.D., Old Naples Historian

Ahhh….summertime, when the living is easy usually means less traffic and no long line into our favorite restaurant. For many up north (bless their hearts), summertime means, eating popsicles, wearing sundresses, driving with the windows down, kids playing outside, and lounging by the pool. With all that has gone on this past year, it is easy to let anxiety build and chaos take over –
but it doesn’t have to run and ruin our lives.

According to a variety of sources, a sure fire way to smooth and soothe chaos is to actively practice gratitude, which provides a multitude of benefits such as: improved physical and psychological
health; enhanced empathy and reduced aggression (except on Facebook); improved sleep and self-esteem; and increased mental strength.

Attitude of Gratitude
Naples has many moments to be thankful for in May. The City of Naples, once called a ‘nothing to do in little town’ in a 1949 Florida Trend magazine article, was also known as ‘the little bend in the road’. The road to which they were referring was the Tamiami Trail, completed April 26, 1928, by Barron Gift Collier, whose personal pledge to finish a section of the highway between Tampa and Miami led the Florida State Legislature to create Collier County on May 8, 1923. (I am grateful for those who built our Paradise.)

On Collier County’s 22nd birthday, there was a bigger celebration shared with America – the ending of World War II in Europe known as VE Day, which is just one special military day in the month of May. In fact, May is known as National Military Appreciation Month (NMAM), whose purpose is to raise awareness of those who currently serve or who have served in the armed forces and to encourage communities and individuals to remember these days in their own special way. (I am grateful for our Greatest Generation, Veterans and Military).

Military Appreciation Month
May 1st, Loyalty Day, a day to reaffirm our loyalty to the United States and to recognize the heritage of American freedom. The holiday was first observed in 1921 but in 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower made it official.

Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) occurs the first week in May to honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees who ensure
that our government is the best in the world.

Victory in Europe Day (VE) commemorates its 76th anniversary this year.

Military Spouse Appreciation Day, traditionally the Friday before Mother’s Day, honors and recognizes the important role our military families play in keeping our Armed Forces strong and our country safe.

Armed Forces Day is celebrated the third Saturday in May for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.

Memorial Day, a Federal holiday observed on the last Monday in May, commemorates the men and women who died while in military service. The Collier County Veterans Council will once again
host its Memorial Day tribute on May 31st at Hodges Funeral Home and Naples Memorial Garden beginning at 10 a.m. No reservations are required. (I am grateful for our local Veterans

June and July Gratitude
Operation Overlord (D-Day) launched June 6, 1944, wherein Allied forces conducted an enormous amphibious invasion across five beaches—Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword—that caught
the Germans by surprise and initiated the end of Nazi reign over Europe. The invasion also prevented Soviet spread over most of Western Europe after the war. (I am grateful for the sheer audacity and personal courage of those involved in this courageous one-shot, roll-of-the-dice nature of the event.)

June 14th is Flag Day, which isn’t really celebrated much with the exception of the state of Pennsylvania and it is the United States Army 246th birthday this year. (I am grateful for George

On July 27th, the National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day is observed each year to remember as many as 50,000 American troops who died in the conflict (official sources vary on the actual number), and over 100,000 wounded, and thousands of prisoners of war. (I am grateful for Jeff Brodeur, President of the National Korean War Veterans Association.)

There you have it – a list of opportunities to fill your gratitude cup, which we hope runneth over with sweet summertime Life in Naples memories.

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