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Holiday shopping survival guide



Do you dread the thought of navigating crowded stores, busy parking lots, and long checkout lines? Here are a few tips to make your holiday shopping experience less of an ordeal.

Go at the right time
There’s no doubt that weekends are a prime time for shopping, especially Saturdays. If possible, head to stores on a weekday or first thing in the morning. Waiting until the last minute will also mean con¬tending with crowds. Keep in mind that many navigation apps allow you to see how busy a particular location is at a given time.

Know what you want
To limit the amount of time you spend in stores, make a list and browse local retailers’ websites before you visit in person. This will ensure you know exactly where to go to get the best deals. Of course, you can also stick to shopping online, so long as you leave enough time for your packages to arrive before the holidays.

Avoid hindrances
If you’re not a fan of shopping in general, you’ll want to ensure the experience isn’t any more unbearable than it needs to be. Among other things, you should:

• Dress in comfortable layers, and wear appropriate walking shoes
• Leave your car at home, if possible, to avoid searching for a parking spot
• Refrain from shopping with people who are indecisive
• Buy heavy items last so you don’t have to lug them around

Finally, depending on what would cause you the least amount of stress, you can either plan several short trips or aim to get all your shopping done at once.

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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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Interesting Things to Know

May is Motorcycle Safety Month – Save a life: Be aware of motorcycles



Spring is in the air, and more motorcyclists than ever are on the road. But highway crashes continue to claim the lives of about 5,000 motorcyclists every year.

Collisions involving motorcycles lead to injury and death approximately 80 percent of the time, according to Ride Safe.

For motorcyclists, staying sober is the key to staying safe. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 30 percent of bikers involved in a fatal crash had alcohol in their system.

For drivers, the key to avoiding a horrific collision with a motorcyclist is to stay aware.

That’s easier said than done because while drivers are often aware of other cars, they might see a motorcycle but not remain aware.

Among the types of accidents:

  • Car doors: Most states have dooring laws. These laws make it the responsibility of the car driver to look for oncoming traffic before opening the car door. If you open your car door into bicycle or motorcycle traffic, you can set up a potentially fatal accident. There is no way bikers, or even pedestrians, can get out of the way in time.
  • Lane switching: When cars change lanes in traffic, motorcyclists are at their most vulnerable. Blind spots in cars make it difficult to see a narrow motorcycle. Motorcyclists have to be keenly aware of this danger, and drivers do too. A quick glance in the mirror might not tell you everything you need to know about traffic.
  • Intersections: One of the most deadly locations for car-motorcycle collisions, these accidents usually involve failure to yield the right of way to a motorcycle.

In addition, motorcyclists have a responsibility to ride safely. They should keep weather conditions in mind. Riding in a rainstorm is dangerous, and riding with lightning can be fatal.
Motorcyclists should also keep road conditions in mind. Construction, road debris, cracks, and uneven pavement all cause accidents.

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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

Studio Verde

The Arc of Warren County

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

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

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

Front Royal
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Upcoming Events

10:00 am A Tree-mendous Hike @ Sky Meadows State Park
A Tree-mendous Hike @ Sky Meadows State Park
May 28 @ 10:00 am – May 29 @ 11:00 am
A Tree-mendous Hike @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sensory Explorers’ Trail. Explore the rich natural history of trees guided by a Virginia Master Naturalist. Discover the tips and tricks of basic tree identification and the tree-mendous roles that trees play in our environment.[...]
7:00 pm Memorial Day Community Band Concert @ Gazebo
Memorial Day Community Band Concert @ Gazebo
May 29 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Memorial Day Community Band Concert @ Gazebo
Memorial Day Band Concert at Gazebo Plaza on Main Street, presented by Front Royal American Legion Community Band.
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
May 31 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
10:00 am Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 3 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
Clean the Bay Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Boston Mill Road Trail near the Park Office. Learn how fences and tree plantings improve water quality at Sky Meadows State Park with a special Explorer Outpost. Stop by our station along Boston Mill Road[...]
10:00 am National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 3 @ 10:00 am – Jun 4 @ 1:00 pm
National Trails Day @ Sky Meadows State Park
Picnic Area. Join park trailblazers and get your hands dirty as we work to enhance the trail surface on Hadow Trail. All ages are welcome and no experience is required. Round trip hike to the[...]
12:00 pm Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Settle’s Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 3 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Settle's Kettle @ Sky Meadows State Park
Log Cabin in the Historic Area. Follow your nose to the Log Cabin to see what is cooking on the hearth. Immerse yourself within the 19th century enslaved culture and its foods. Explore the taste[...]
12:00 pm The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 3 @ 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
The Farmer’s Forge @ Sky Meadows State Park
Historic Area. The forge is fired up and the blacksmiths are hard at work showing off their skills. Members of The Blacksmiths’ Guild of the Potomac have set up shop in the forge, located behind[...]
1:00 pm Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
Jun 3 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Front Royal Bluegrass Music Jam @ The Body Shop
New Bluegrass and traditional music jam the first Saturday of each month starting Feb. 4th, from 1pm till 4pm. All levels of playing invited to attend.
1:00 pm Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Jun 3 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Meet the Beekeepers @ Sky Meadows State Park
Carriage Barn in the Historic Area. What’s that buzzing? Meet with local apiarists of Beekeepers of the Northern Shenandoah (BONS – online at and discover the art of Apiculture (a.k.a. Beekeeping). This monthly program[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Jun 7 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]