Posts tagged with "Military Personnel"

Memorial Day illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Memorial Day Guide

To honor the service of countless military personnel that have served the United States, 360 Magazine has compiled a thorough guide of keepsakes to gift to those nearest to you this season.

BBQGuys Grilling Products

A staple within the grilling community, BBQGuys is sporting a lucrative Memorial Day Sale on an assortment of grills and accessories. With up to 60% off products, this deal lasts until June 6 to ensure you obtain your desired products.

Some of the best deals include…

Make sure to check out the entire BBQGuys sale HERE.

Caesars Entertainment Discounts

All Caesars Entertainment resorts are offering extra discounts of up to 35% off for veterans and active-duty military.

The 2022 Memorial Day military hotel offer details include…

  • Stacked military discount of 15%, in addition to the best available rate
  • Available to book through Thursday, May 26 to Tuesday, May 31
  • Book directly HERE 
  • Deal types not eligible for additional discount in combination include Caesars Rewards loyalty member offers, room packages, and promotions with property and/or room add-ons/inclusions (show tickets, food credits, resort credits, etc.)
  • More details can be found HERE
Memorial Day illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

The Meaning Behind Memorial Day

THE MEANING BEHIND MEMORIAL DAY

By: Heather Skovlund-Reibsamen

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes.” – Maya Angelou

Memorial Day, once referred to as Decoration Day, is an American holiday in the United States that honors military personnel along as well as mourn those that we have lost along the way. Decoration Day was for decorating graves with flowers, wreaths, and flags. Memorial Day is formerly observed on the last Monday of May each year. It is a solemn day, but it is also important to reflect upon, appreciate and be thankful for the freedom that we all get to enjoy every day in the United States of America.

Many gather with friends and family for barbeques and celebrating the beginning of summer while others visit cemeteries and memorials to remember their loved ones lost. Each year a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. It is important to remember that we are not celebrating the wars, instead we are remembering those who served and those who gave their last breath in order to ensure that the freedoms of our country would be passed on to the next generations. We remember for the price they paid for the cost of our freedom – their lives given so ours could go on.

Memorial Day was originated after the American Civil War, where the United States faced the task of burying and honoring 600,000 to 800,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the bloodiest military conflict in American history. The first commemoration of Memorial Day was held in Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868. On this day, both Union and Confederate soldiers were laid to rest. Over the years, cities across the United States host Memorial Day parades that involve military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Americans sometimes wear a red poppy in remembrance of their loved ones, which is a tradition that was born from a World War 1 poem.  

In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae

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.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Memorial Day has a different meaning behind it for every American. Here at 360 Magazine, we were able to get a few opinions from veterans in the United States.

  • Kyle Skovlund: United States Air Force – Memorial Day has a different meaning for me. Growing up, my parents would travel to Brookings, South Dakota each year to put flowers on the graves of those they had lost. When my own daughter passed away, I began doing the same thing. Memorial Day, for me, is a day to reflect on those that have been lost.
  • Michael Miller: United States Air Force – Memorial Day means remembering and celebrating. Remembering the great men and women that gave their life for our great nation and celebrating the freedoms their sacrifices have given us.
  • J.M. Skovlund: United States Army  – “Memorial Day means exactly what it was intended for, to remember and honor our fallen. They went above and beyond for our country, for the soldier on their left and right, and that’s something not everyone can say.” “Go out and remember the fallen the way you see fit. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. If it’s having a drink in their honor, do that. If it’s going to their grave to chat, do that. Either way, remember the fallen the best way you can, don’t disgrace them.”
Myotubes illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Bio-inspired Muscle Growth

Bio-inspired scaffolds help promote muscle growth

Rice University bioengineers adapt extracellular matrix for electrospinning

Rice University bioengineers are fabricating and testing tunable electrospun scaffolds completely derived from decellularized skeletal muscle to promote the regeneration of injured skeletal muscle.

Their paper in Science Advances shows how natural extracellular matrix can be made to mimic native skeletal muscle and direct the alignment, growth and differentiation of myotubes, one of the building blocks of skeletal muscle. The bioactive scaffolds are made in the lab via electrospinning, a high-throughput process that can produce single micron-scale fibers.

The research could ease the burden of performing an estimated 4.5 million reconstructive surgeries per year to repair injuries suffered by civilians and military personnel.

Current methods of electrospinning decellularized muscle require a copolymer to aid in scaffold fabrication. The Rice process does not.

“The major innovation is the ability to prepare scaffolds that are 100% extracellular matrix,” said bioengineer and principal investigator Antonios Mikos of Rice’s Brown School of Engineering. “That’s very important because the matrix includes all the signaling motifs that are important for the formation of the particular tissue.”

The scaffolds leverage bioactive cues from decellularized muscle with the tunable material properties afforded through electrospinning to create a material rich with biochemical signals and highly specific topography. The material is designed to degrade as it is replaced by new muscle within the body.

Experiments revealed that cells proliferate best when the scaffolds are not saturated with a crosslinking agent, allowing them access to the biochemical cues within the scaffold matrix.

Electrospinning allowed the researchers to modulate crosslink density. They found that intermediate crosslinking led to better retention of fiber alignment during cell culture.

Most decellularized matrix for muscle regeneration comes from such thin membranes as skin or small intestine tissue. “But for muscle, because it’s thick and more complex, you have to cut it smaller than clinically relevant sizes and the original material properties are lost,” said Rice graduate student and lead author Mollie Smoak. “It doesn’t resemble the original material by the time you’re done.

“In our case, electrospinning was the key to make this material very tunable and have it resemble what it once was,” she said.

“It can generate fibers that are highly aligned, very similar to the architecture that one finds in skeletal muscle, and with all the biochemical cues needed to facilitate the creation of viable muscle tissue,” Mikos said.

Mikos said using natural materials rather than synthetic is important for another reason. “The presence of a synthetic material, and especially the degradation products, may have an adverse effect on the quality of tissue that is eventually formed,” he said.

“For eventual clinical application, we may use a skeletal muscle or matrix from an appropriate source because we’re able to very efficiently remove the DNA that may elicit an immune response,” Mikos said. “We believe that may make it suitable to translate the technology for humans.”

Smoak said the electrospinning process can produce muscle scaffolds in any size, limited only by the machinery.

“We’re fortunate to collaborate with a number of surgeons, and they see promise in this material being used for craniofacial muscle applications in addition to sports- or trauma-induced injuries to large muscles,” she said. “These would include the animation muscles in your face that are very fine and have very precise architectures and allow for things like facial expressions and chewing.”

Co-authors of the paper are Rice graduate student Katie Hogan and Jane Grande-Allen, the Isabel C. Cameron Professor of Bioengineering. Mikos is the Louis Calder Professor of Bioengineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

The National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation and the Ford Foundation supported the research. 

Read the abtract here.

This news release can be found here.

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