Daily Archives: May 31, 2010

A Memorial Day Remembrance: Major Philip B. Larimore, Jr.

This weekend, many of us will gather with family and friends for barbecues and picnics to celebrate Memorial Day, the unofficial kickoff to summer. But, at some point between the hot dogs, hamburgers, and volleyball, I hope each of us will take time to reflect on what Memorial Day is really about – remembering the American soldiers who have lost their lives in battle to protect the freedoms so many of us take for granted.

While Memorial Day is intended to honor our fallen, we should not forget those who have pledged to make the same sacrifice if called upon – the young men and women still serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, the United States and in more than 130 foreign lands.

And, I want to take this opportunity to share with you a remembrance of my dad that is posted at the Home of Heroes website:

Major Philip B. Larimore was the youngest man commissioned in World War II and the most-decorated Memphis hero of World War II: decorated with:

  • the Distinguished Service Cross,
  • Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster,
  • Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster,
  • Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf Clusters,
  • Croix D’Guerre with Palm, and
  • Fourragere.

He was also awarded:

  • the European Campaign Medal with three bronze service stars and an arrowhead,
  • the American Campaign Medal,
  • the World War II Victory Medal, and
  • the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Major Larimore’s unit received a Presidential Unit Citation. And, he received Battles Stars for the Rome-Arno, Southern France, and Germany campaigns.

He was promoted to first lieutenant when 18, to captain at 19, and major at 22. He was wounded six times at Anzio and twice in southern France.

In Germany, at 20 years old, as Company Commander of Company L, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Division, while beating down three German machine-gun nests, he received the bullet wound which crushed the bone in his right leg above the knee causing him to lose the leg.

He completed his Army service at Fort Myer, Virginia, as Executive Officer of the Ceremonial Detachment at Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Recently, I discovered his citation for the Distinguished Service Cross:

Awarded for actions during the World War II

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Major (Infantry), [then First Lieutenant] Philip B. Larimore (ASN: 0-511609), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while Commanding Company L, 30th Infantry Regiment, 3d Infantry Division, in action against enemy forces on 8 April 1945, near Rottershausen, Germany.

Leading his company’s attack, Major Larimore miraculously eluded the hail of enemy bullets concentrated on him and, in hand-to-hand fighting of which he was the center, killed a German officer at point-blank range.

With the unit objective taken, he sent out a patrol. Learning soon after that it was surrounded by enemy forces, he determined to got to its relief.

As he ran toward a tank in which to move up, enemy snipers opened fire, but leaping on the back of the vehicle, he ordered it forward and manned the turret machine gun. Firing into the woods and killing several of the enemy, he drew hostile fire on himself as his patrol used the diversion to withdraw.

Moving across a clearing with the tank, firing and being fired on all the way, he was struck on the helmet by a sniper bullet and momentarily stunned. Leaping from the tank, he was again hit by enemy fire and severely wounded.

Major Larimore, by his heroic leadership and courageous action in diverting the enemy, delivered his comrades from encirclement and greatly aided in securing the battalion objective.

Major Larimore’s intrepid actions, personal bravery, and zealous devotion to duty exemplify the highest traditions of the military forces of the United States and reflect great credit upon himself, the 3d Infantry Division, and the United States Army.

General Orders: War Department, General Orders No. 52 (June 10, 1947). Action Date: 8-Apr-45

We his sons, Walter, William, Philip, and Richard, are aware that he was one of our nation’s heroes, but we choose to honor him even more as a loving husband to his wife of 54 years, Maxine, an incredible father to us, and a beloved grandfather to our children.

So today, on this most sacred day, we pause to reflect on what has been given and sacrificed. Let us never forget. But let us also remember what resulted from these sacrifices.

Let us remember the terrorist plots that were foiled and the killers that have been brought to justice because Americans were willing to pay the price.

Let us remember the tyrannical regimes that have been toppled and the genocides that were stopped because Americans sacrificed life and limb.

Let us remember that without a U.S. military, the world would be a far more oppressive and darker place.

Freedom is not a gift. It is an earned benefit that was paid for by the blood of our heroes. From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terrorism, the sacrifices and caliber of America’s fighting men and women have been nothing short of inspirational.

How to Keep Bugs Off This Memorial Day (and Summer)

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of the summer season for most of us. So, now that summer is officially here and everyone is spending some quality time outside — which means protecting ourselves and our kids from mosquitoes and other insects. Bug bites are not only irritating, but can put you and your family at risk for all kinds of diseases, such as West Nile virus and malaria.

CBS News Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton shared the best bug repellent products as judged by Consumer Reports to keep your family safe through this summer season.

Ashton suggested these bug sprays:

  • Off: Deep Woods
  • Cutter
  • Off: Smooth and Dry

These sprays can give you up to eight hours of protection against mosquitoes, however, many products contain a chemical commonly used in repellents called ‘deet.’

For those who want to opt for a more natural alternative, Ashton suggests products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus and soy-based products.

Ashton noted, “These natural alternatives don’t give you the same protection in terms of longevity … and people should not use them on children under the age of three years of age.”

Ashton warned parents to be careful when using these insect repellents with kids. She said, “Many (of these cans) look a little bit like toys, so you don’t want to give to your child and let them spray it on themselves.”

Ashton explained the best way to keep your children protected is to apply the sprays for them, avoiding the face, eyes, mouth, and hands, but not forgetting problem areas like the ankles or the back of the neck.

On “The Early Show,” Ashton demonstrated how well these products work by spraying her forearm and putting her hand into a box full mosquitoes. The mosquitoes were provided by Rutgers University; they were lab bred and disease-free.

And while she did not get bitten, here are some remedies just in case you do:

  • For irritation caused by histamine reactions to a bug bite:
  • A cold pack or ice
  • Hydrocotrisone cream
  • Benadryl

Ashton advises you to keep a lookout for the labels on bug repellent bottles and cans — a concentration of 15 percent to 30 percent gives you really good protection, while deet products can protect you for up to 300 hours.

Grilling This Memorial Day (and Summer)? Spices may play role in reducing cancer risk

Researchers are reporting that adding certain spices to your steaks or burgers before tossing them on the grill this Memorial Day (and summer)  will not only add to the flavor of the meat, but may also cut the risk of cancer long associated with the cooking of beef. Here’s a report from the AP:

Scientists at Kansas State University found that three spices in particular — fingerroot, rosemary, and tumeric — seem to direct the greatest amount of antioxidant activity toward preventing the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs).

HCAs, they note, are the cancer-causing compounds that are produced when foods such as beef are barbecued, grilled, broiled or fried.

Specifically, the three spices appeared to cut back on HCA production by upwards of 40%, the team observed, thereby significantly reducing the HCA-associated risk for developing colorectal, stomach, lung, pancreatic, mammary and prostate cancers.

“Cooked beef tends to develop more HCAs than other kinds of cooked meats such as pork and chicken,” KSU food chemistry professor J. Scott Smith noted in a news release.

“Cooked beef patties appear to be the cooked meat with the highest mutagenic activity and may be the most important source of HCAs in the human diet.”

Therefore Smith and his colleagues looked into the HCA-inhibiting potential of six spices:

  • cumin,
  • coriander seeds,
  • galangal,
  • fingerroot,
  • rosemary and
  • tumeric.

Of all those investigated, rosemary came out on top as the strongest protector against HCA.

The authors suggested that consumers integrate these spices into their menus when appropriate, noting that some, such as rosemary, come in an extract form that has demonstrated HCA inhibition of 61% to 79%.

They pointed out that spicing allows for the sort of high-temperature cooking (above 352 degrees Farenheit) that is typically recommended for safe grilling, while at the same time blocking the increased HCA production that is known to occur when the flames intensify.

Smith and his team plan further research to see what other marinades and powders might do by way of HCA curtailment — they noted that earlier work has shown that marinating steaks with particular herbs and spices effectively lowers HCA production.

5 Skin Protection Tips For Memorial Day (and Summer)

Whether you are light- or dark-skinned, whether it’s cloudy or sunny outside, we physicians recommend you wear a sunscreen, and plenty of it. But, the simple act of preventing a sunburn while enjoying the sun has become complicated with questions about how much sunscreen to use (more than you think), how often to apply (frequently) and what those acronyms (UVA, UPF, SPF) mean. Here’s a CNN article with helpful details:

This week, the Environmental Working Group likened some sunscreens to “modern-day snake oil,” calling most of the products ineffective and questioning their safety. It said that the products were “exposing people to potentially hazardous chemicals.”

The report did not appear in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Dermatologists say there is no evidence that sunscreen is unsafe and that going unprotected is much more dangerous.

The problem is that not all sunscreens are created equal, depending on their ingredients. And the scars of neglecting sun protection are chronicled on the iReport photo wall of pain.

The sun is not the only culprit. Frequent trips to tanning booths have been found to double or even triple risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, according to a study this week.

The rays from the booth or the sun can damage the skin cell’s DNA, producing mutations that lead to cancer.

The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has declared the Friday before Memorial Day, which kicks off the summer, a “Don’t Fry Day.” Here are five tips to avoid joining iReporters’ stories of their worst sunburns ever (ouch).

1. Clothing matters

All clothing protects the skin to some degree, said Dr. Ariel Ostad, a clinical assistant professor in the department of dermatology at New York University Medical Center.

A tightly woven fabric such as denim confers more protection than linen, because it allows less light penetration, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

While it’s unlikely anyone would wear sunscreen underneath thin clothes, it might be worthwhile for extra sensitive people, Ostad said,

“Even with T-shirts, I see people who get burned,” he said. “If someone has a history of cancer or is very fair skinned, it doesn’t hurt to put it on,” underneath the clothes.

Some companies create UV-absorbing clothes. These might be helpful for people who spend hours in the sun, because the fabric’s weave is designed to protect against the sun, said Ostad, who has no relationship with any of the manufacturers.

These clothes have ultraviolet protection factor, also known as UPF, which indicates how much UV radiation can penetrate the fabric. A shirt with an UPF of 30 means just 1/30 of the sun’s radiation can get through.

2. Sunscreens should have UVA and UVB protection.

UVB rays cause sunburns. UVA rays age the skin, causing wrinkles and tans. These are two types of ultraviolet radiation that damage and increases risks of skin cancer.

Make sure the sunscreen product has both UVB and UVA protection, dermatologists say. The key active ingredients to look for are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, said Ostad.

“Evidence has shown the best sunscreens are the ones that block UVB and UVA,” Ostad said. “The majority of these companies that market sunscreen products, they try to make people more aware of the SPF.”

3. A high SPF is hype.

The higher the Sun Protection Factor value, the better sun protection the product is supposed to provide against UVB light.

Research shows that an effective SPF 15 can block about 93 percent of all incoming UVB rays, SPF 30 blocks 97 percent and SPF 50 blocks 98 percent.

The protective factors plateau from there, Ostad said. A product with SPF 100+ blocks about 99.1 percent of the UVB rays.

“You don’t really need a high number,” Ostad said. “They end up being expensive and don’t do more than SPF 50.”

Keep in mind, SPF protects only against UVB rays. This fall, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to issue sunscreen labeling changes and a star-rating system to also measure UVA protection.

4. Sunscreen sprays are not as effective.

Sure, the sprays are easy to apply, but the downfall is they’re less effective. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide doesn’t come in spray form. And most of the sprays protect mainly against UVB rays, Ostad said.

Another problem is that people don’t use enough sunscreen, said Dr. Rutledge Forney, an educational spokesperson for The Skin Cancer Foundation.

An average person should use a dollop — enough to fill a shot glass, she said. About one ounce of sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours, she said.

“Whether the sun is out or not, put on sunscreen on your face and hands, just like you would brush your teeth twice a day,” Forney said.

5. Darker skin tone isn’t a free pass

Darker-skinned people have some natural protective qualities from their pigmentation, but it’s no immunity against sunburn and skin cancer. African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and people of color get the disease, too.

It might be harder to diagnose skin cancer in these populations because the growths often appear in atypical locations such as palms, soles of the feet, toenails and fingernails.

Skin experts say all racial groups need to use sunscreens.

So, have a great Memorial Day (and, for that matter, summer), but be sure to protect your and your family’s skin in the process.