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4 great reasons to give gift cards during the holidays



Do you find it stressful to pick out personalized gifts for everyone on your list? Are you unsure whether giving your loved ones gift cards is the right thing to do? If so, here are four reasons offering this type of present may be a good choice for you.

1. There are endless options. From ski lift tickets to spa packages and gourmet meals to clothing stores, it’s easy to find a gift card that suits the interests of the person you want to spoil.

2. You won’t disappoint. Rather than risking buying your loved ones a present, they don’t like, giving them a gift card allows them to choose exactly what they want. This is an especially wise option for gift exchanges.

3. You’ll save time. Gift cards are quick and easy to purchase, and buying them will save you the hassle of walking up and down crowded store aisles. Simply head straight to the checkout. You can even purchase certain gift cards online.

4. You decide the price. You’re in full control of how much money is loaded onto the gift card. That way, you can spend as much or as little as you want, without having to calculate taxes.

Do you think a gift card is too impersonal? Think again! Simply wrap this present in a pretty box and attach a handwritten note to up the wow factor.

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5 unique Father’s Day gift ideas



Father’s Day is fast approaching! Have you bought your gift? Does your dad insist he doesn’t need anything at all? Finding a unique or useful present for the dad that seemingly has everything can be challenging. Here are a handful of unique ideas to inspire you.

1. Smart home gadgets
Connected technology is the perfect gift for the geeky dad. For example, a smart doorbell, thermostat, or a set of smart LED bulbs are something he typically wouldn’t buy for himself but would be grateful to own.

2. Reading accessories
If your dad is a bookworm but already has shelves full of reading material, get him some fun accessories to improve his reading experience. For example, a set of stylish bookends, a clip-on book light, a bathtub caddy book stand, a page anchor, or “lazy reading glasses” will allow your dad to dive into a great read. If your dad listens to audiobooks, get him a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones.

3. Outdoor equipment
If you have an outdoorsy dad, consider getting him something he can use while enjoying nature. For instance, a pair of binoculars, a fancy multi-tool, an insulated camping chair, or a soft-sided beer cooler make great gifts.

4. Cooking utensils
Does your dad love to cook or grill? Help him elevate his food game with a unique gift. A digital meat thermometer, barbecue tool set, handheld food torch, or salt block are gifts that are sure to please. You could also buy him a subscription to a monthly meat or spice box.

Visit your local shops to curate the ideal gift for your dad this Father’s Day.

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Memorial Day: the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier



Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, honoring all who have died in service to the United States. It takes place annually on the last Monday in May and includes commemorative traditions like services, parades, speeches, and flag ceremonies. Thousands of people choose to observe the day by visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington D.C.


The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a neoclassical, white marble sarcophagus, stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, D.C. It’s located in Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for numerous presidents, Supreme Court justices, astronauts, and other public servants, including more than 400,000 military personnel, veterans, and their immediate families.

The Tomb began as a resting place for one unknown service member from World War I, and today it’s the grave of three unidentified service members. It serves as a symbolic grave for all fallen service members whose remains haven’t been found or identified. It also serves as a place of mourning and a site for reflection on military service.

A sentinel has been on duty in front of the Tomb every minute of every day since 1937, ensuring the Unknown Soldiers forever rest with dignity and honor.

On Memorial Day, a national ceremony is held at the Tomb with nearly 5,000 people in attendance. The president typically delivers an address. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

This Memorial Day, look for a service in your area to pay your respects to service members who have fought and died while serving the United States of America.

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Memorial Day: The most dramatic salute



Few tributes are as moving as the traditional flyover at a military funeral or important public event. The flyover is even more dramatic when one aircraft zooms out of formation in the Missing Man Salute.

The missing man formation evolved from early flyovers. The first non-military flyover was in 1936 for King George V. The first U.S. flyover was in 1938, when 50 aircraft honored Major General Oscar Westover, flying with one empty space. By the end of World War II, the formation included the pull-up, when one plane flies out of formation, sometimes to the setting sun.

The formation is usually flown by four to six aircraft in a V formation. The flight leader is at the point of the arrowhead. As the formation approaches the gravesite or ceremonial area, the wingman following to the leader’s right leaves the formation in a spectacular pull-up, suggesting the hero’s soul going up to God.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are famous for their dramatic flyovers, including their missing man formations.

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Interesting Things to Know

How the poppy came to symbolize the fallen



It began with the stark reality. After World War I, in fields and towns throughout Europe, poppies began growing everywhere.

A wreath of red poppies rests on a memorial in the cemetery of St. John’s Church in Beck Row, England, Nov. 10, 2019. (Airman 1st Class Joseph Barron/U.S. Air Force photo)

Scientists said the growth on the battlefields was because former battlefields had become enriched with lime from the rubble left by the war.

But it was the poet, Lt Colonel John McCrae, who saw the poppies as a memorial to the bloodshed in a war that shattered Europe.

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row.
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

Today, in the U.S., the poppy is distributed by The American Legion for donations to support veterans and active-duty military personnel. Poppy Day is May 26, the Friday before Memorial Day.

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Great ideas for celebrating Mother’s Day



This year, families will celebrate Mother’s Day on May 14. Many children will surprise Mom with their finest drawings and a few kind words about how much they love her. Husbands will celebrate the occasion with flowers and a special gift, such as jewelry or perfume.

If you are having trouble coming up with ideas for a Mother’s Day gift, take some time to look at the things that surround Mom. Chances are you’ll soon notice the things she likes. Does she use her few spare moments to take a bubble bath with aromatic oils? Does she collect teddy bears? Does she read book after book? Does she wear silk scarves? Does she pay careful attention to her make-up and manicure? Does she play a sport? A few minutes of careful observation will reveal a lot about the type of gift she would appreciate.

For the person who devotes her daily life to her children, this is the day to show Mom your love and appreciation. A family celebration is probably the best gift that you can give her.

You can celebrate Mother’s Day away from home by planning a picnic at a local park or enjoying a hassle-free meal at a favorite restaurant. You can also plan a small party at home to celebrate Mom’s special day. You can make a special meal and take care of all of Mom’s chores. You can also add to the festivity by decorating the house with balloons and ribbons. But most of all, what Mom will probably appreciate the most is being surrounded by the people she loves.


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Mother’s Day: Stranded in a pea field, a mother became an icon



It was 1936, and one mother sat worrying in a makeshift tent at the edge of a California pea field. She had seven hungry children, a broken-down car, no place to stay, and no work.

Dorothea Lange’s famous “Migrant Mother photograph.


Thompson (seated) with three of her daughters (from L. to R.), Katherine, Ruby, and Norma, in 1979, 43 years after Migrant Mother


Her situation was similar to 2,500 other people who came to work in the same fields, but those fields of peas had just been ruined by freezing rain. Now there was no work and no food.

But there was one important difference. Dorothea Lange, a photographer working for the U.S. government, took a photo of her that day — the most famous photo ever taken of the Great Depression. She called it Migrant Mother.

Although that one photo made Lange famous, it did nothing for Florence Owens Thompson, then 32. She had been on a long hard road. She had six children when her first husband, Cleo Owens, died five years before. After his death, she met Jim Hill, and by the time she arrived at that pea field, she had a seventh child.

Thompson didn’t know it then, but she left that pea field an icon of a painful era. While she did know about the famous image, she remained anonymous for 40 years. In the late 1970s, a reporter tracked her down. She wasn’t pleased with the fame that brought her no money when she needed it.

But her life had changed. She had picked cotton, tended bar, cooked, worked in fields — everything to support her family, now grown to nine children. She had married again to a hospital administrator, George Thompson, and the family became financially secure.

In the end, the famous photo helped to raise donations for her medical care before her death in 1983. Her grave marker reads FLORENCE LEONA THOMPSON, Migrant Mother – A Legend of the Strength of American Motherhood.

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Thank You to our Local Business Participants:


Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Mountain Creative Consulting

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Jamboree LLC

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

Front Royal/Warren County C-CAP

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Treatment Center

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jean’s Jewelers

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

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The Arc of Warren County

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

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Valley Chorale

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

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WCPS Work-Based Learning

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Crooked Run Valley 5/10k @ Sky Meadows State Park
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Backcountry Crash Course: Earth ... @ Sky Meadows State Park
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Free Community Meal @ Valley Assembly of God Church
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Free Community Meal @ Valley Assembly of God Church
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Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
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Indoor Yard Sale @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
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Indoor Yard Sale @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
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Vacation Bible School @ Living Water Christian Church
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9:00 am Indoor Yard Sale @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Indoor Yard Sale @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
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Indoor Yard Sale @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
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VA State Parks History and Cultu... @ Sky Meadows State Park
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VA State Parks History and Culture: The Enslaved Community at Mount Bleak @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. In 1860, nearly half of Fauquier County’s 21,706 residents were enslaved, with fourteen enslaved individuals living at the Mount Bleak Farm. Journey through these difficult stories alongside staff, volunteers and costumed interpreters. Explore[...]
1:00 pm Summer Show 2023: Aladdin @ Skyline High School
Summer Show 2023: Aladdin @ Skyline High School
Jun 17 @ 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Summer Show 2023: Aladdin @ Skyline High School
Italia Performing Arts presents ALADDIN, An Adaptation for Dance of the Traditional Story, with music edited, compiled and arranged by Dr Ryan Keebaugh. Tickets are on sale only through our ticket agency SimpleTix, and not[...]