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Before she died, Elaine Harmon wrote a letter that she left in a fireproof lockbox for safe keeping.

It was found by her family shortly after her death. Handwritten on cream-colored stationary, it contained one simple request. A dying wish.

The letter left by Elaine Harmon. Photo via CBS Evening News/YouTube.


"I would like to be buried in Arlington Cemetery,” it said. “Even if there are no ashes left, I would like an empty urn placed at Arlington.”

She knew, more than most people, how hard that would be to accomplish.

Harmon first learned to fly in 1940 during college at the University of Maryland.

Her mother, Margaret, was always against it, describing the activity as "unladylike." But her father was supportive and happily signed the initial permission slip necessary for Elaine to begin flight school.  

Elaine D. Harmon.

In 1942, with World War II in full force, Army general Henry "Hap" Arnold formed the Women's Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) after a suggestion by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

The idea was to give female pilots, many of whom had more flight experience than male pilots, a chance to help the war effort. Female pilots from all over the country started racking up flight hours in preparation, eager for the opportunity.

WASPs in 1944. Photo via Defense Video Image Distribution System.

25,000 women applied, and only 1,830 were accepted. Elaine Harmon was one of them.

After joining the WASPs, Harmon was stationed in Las Vegas, where she delivered planes and trained new pilots.

She and her fellow WASPs were as essential to the World War II effort as any male soldier. By providing training and support, they helped lead the Allies to victory.

Over time, though, their accomplishments would be slowly forgotten.

38 WASPs died during WWII. None of them received military benefits, and none were buried with any traditional military honors. In December 1940, the WASPs were disbanded without veteran status and with little thanks from their government. Even their families were banned from flying Gold Star flags, signifying a military death in the family.

Photo via U.S. Air Force.

After the war, Harmon returned to her home in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Records of the WASP program remained classified by the U.S. government for 35 years.

In the 1970s, the Defense Department announced that it would officially allow women to fly military aircraft on behalf of the United States. Many media outlets reported that this was happening for the first time in history, utterly ignoring the WASP program from 30 years earlier.

Photo by Hudson/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images.

Shocked, Harmon and former WASPs from all over the country mobilized and began speaking and campaigning to Congress, arguing that now was the time to recognize the WASPs as veterans who served the U.S. military.

President Carter agreed and signed a law in 1977 granting the women of the WASP program full veteran status.

Decades after WWII, Elaine Harmon was officially a veteran. However, there was one thing left.

Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images.

Despite full recognition, the U.S. Army maintained that it could not legally allow WASPs to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. That remained true until 2002, and when the first WASP funeral was held at Arlington, Harmon was in attendance.

Arlington is the most famous military cemetery in the country, and is the resting place of over 300,000 veterans. Being buried there is an honor for the deceased and their families — a recognition that you are one of the heroes who died fighting for your country.

On Sept. 7, 2016, Elaine Harmon was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.

Terry Harmon (right), Elaine's daughter. Photo by Tom Williams via AP Images.

Surviving WASPs from around the country flew in to attend the funeral and speak. “Finally, we’re over the last fight," said Florence Reynolds, a fellow pilot and friend. “I wanted to be here to make sure they didn’t fuss it up.”

Volunteers flew World War II-era warplanes overhead, and Lt. Col. Christine Blice-Baum read from a poem called “Celestial Flight,” written by a fellow WASP.

"She is not dead," read Blice-Baum. "You should have known ... that she is only flying higher, higher than she's ever flown."

Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Images.

Being buried at Arlington National Cemetery caps off Elaine Harmon's significant and historic military career — and at long last, honors her dying wish.

Pop Culture

She bought the perfect wedding dress that went viral on TikTok. It was only $3.75.

Lynch is part of a growing crowd of newlyweds going against the regular wedding tradition of spending loads of money.

Making a priceless memory.

At first glance, one might think that Jillian Lynch wore a traditional (read: expensive) dress to her wedding. After all, it did look glamorous on her. But this 32-year-old bride has a secret superpower: thrifting.

Lynch posted her bargain hunt on TikTok, sharing that she had been perusing thrift shops in Ohio for four days in a row, with the actual ceremony being only a month away. Lynch then displays an elegant ivory-colored Camila Coelho dress. Fitting perfectly, still brand new and with the tags on it, no less.

You can find that exact same dress on Revolve for $220. Lynch bought it for only $3.75.
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Images provided by Pacifico

Making waves in the best way

True

At last, summer is here. And for many people, that means it's time for heading to the beach and maybe even catching some waves. Surfing is a quintessential summertime activity for those who live in coastal communities—it’s not only really fun and challenging, it’s also a great way to celebrate Mother Nature’s beauty. Even after a wipeout, the cool water mixed with warm sunshine offers a certain kind of euphoria. Or, you know, just hanging back on the sand is plenty fun too. Simply being outdoors near the ocean is its own reward.

pacifico quiksilver beach cleanupLet’s protect the places where outdoor adventure happensAll photos provided by Pacifico

However, it's well known that our beautiful beaches are suffering the consequences of overcrowding, pollution and littering. What was once a way of playing in nature is now slowly destroying it. And of course, this affects beachgoers everywhere. The sad truth is—without taking action to preserve all the natural joys the earth provides, we will eventually lose them.

But there is hope. Two popular brands that both have roots in surf culture have teamed up to help make trips to the beach a more sustainable pastime. The best part? You don’t have to know how to hang ten in order to participate.

Pacifico®, a pilsner-style lager originally brought to the U.S. by surfers, and Quiksilver, an iconic apparel company loved by both surfers and beach goers alike, have created a brand-new range of clothing and accessories with sustainability in mind.

Take a look below. These threads are great for all kinds of fun in the sun, without compromising the environment.

pacifico quicksilver beach cleanupsReady to make some waves

The collection launches on July 5 and includes tees and woven shirts, boardshorts, hats, flip-flops and a special beach towel and tote bag. The unique collaboration features the vibrant, colorful designs that are the hallmark of Quiksilver combined with Pacifico elements, created to make a positive impact.

Each item has been thoughtfully curated to minimize an environmental footprint and protect the outdoors. The hats, for example, are made from NetPlus® by Bureo®, a raw material created from South American recycled fishing nets. Additionally, the board shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles, and tees are made with 100% organic cotton. Pretty rad stuff, to put it in surfer lingo.

The prices on these pieces are equally rad, ranging from $28 flip-flops to $60 boardshorts.

In keeping with the sustainable ethos and protecting the places we play, Pacifico and Quiksilver will celebrate the products’ launch by hosting two beach cleanups. The first is on July 5 at Sunset Point in Malibu, California, from 4-5:30pm, and the second is on July 9th at Deerfield Beach in Florida from 8:30 – 10:30am.

pacifico quicksilver clothing lineCleaning up and looking good while doing it

Theses beach cleanups are open to anyone over the age of 21 who’s ready to have some fun while taking care of nature’s playground.

Those who can’t make it to the beach (bummer, dude) don’t have to miss out on all the fun. The new collection will be available on July 5th at www.quiksilver.com/mens-collab-pacifico. And even if you don’t surf, never plan to surf, have no desire to even be near a surfboard, rest assured, the apparel is still cool. Plus sustainable choices are always good fashion.

Our planet provides us with an endless supply of beauty and adventure. But without more mindful actions from humanity, its natural wonders will eventually diminish. Fortunately Pacifico and Quiksilver are making it easier than ever for people to enjoy the great outdoors without jeopardizing it. That’s a wave worth riding.

This article originally appeared on 09.06.17


Being married is like being half of a two-headed monster. It's impossible to avoid regular disagreements when you're bound to another person for the rest of your life. Even the perfect marriage (if there was such a thing) would have its daily frustrations. Funnily enough, most fights aren't caused by big decisions but the simple, day-to-day questions, such as "What do you want for dinner?"; "Are we free Friday night?"; and "What movie do you want to see?"

Here are some hilarious tweets that just about every married couple will understand.

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