Advice Unlimited

As many of you know, I’m retiring and Advice Unlimited LLC is closing its doors the end of this month. It’s been an incredible journey: after a career as a journalist, I founded Advice Unlimited 31 years ago, focusing on providing public relations/strategic communications for technology companies serving the government. I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with amazing companies – from tech giants like VMware, Microsoft, McAfee and Cisco to innovative startups like MetaCarta, CloudBolt, and Passport Systems, to name a few.

I want to thank you all. It’s been great fun learning about so many new technologies, finding interesting approaches to educate, entice, and inform sometimes skeptical audiences, and working with such visionaries and game-changers. It’s been an incredible adventure, wonderfully rewarding. I’ll miss all the twists and turns of the public sector technology marketplace.

For the past 16 years, we’ve also provided pro bono PR for USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore, and this was always a source of pride and inspiration. USO-Metro does exemplary work supporting our servicemembers and their families; it was an honor to help this organization meet its mission.

Still, I’m looking forward to this next phase of my journey. Thank you to all of you who have been a part of Advice Unlimited – and I wish you all exciting new experiences and continued success! 

Memorial Day has become a great celebration for families to mark the official kickoff of the summer season. People enjoy parades, cookouts and all kinds of sales across America. It’s great to have fun and celebrate summer; but we also want to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day. 

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery.

Today, cities in the North and the South claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866. Both Macon and Columbus, Ga., claim the title, as well as Richmond, Va. The village of Boalsburg, Pa., claims it began there two years earlier. A stone in a Carbondale, Ill., cemetery carries the statement that the first Decoration Day ceremony took place there on April 29, 1866. Carbondale was the wartime home of Gen. Logan. Approximately 25 places have been named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, many of them in the South where most of the war dead were buried.

In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. Supporters of Waterloo’s claim say earlier observances in other places were either informal, not community-wide or one-time events.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation. State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities.

It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May.

To ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten, in December 2000, the U.S. Congress passed and the president signed into law “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” P.L. 106-579, creating the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance. The commission’s charter is to “encourage the people of the United States to give something back to their country, which provides them so much freedom and opportunity” by encouraging and coordinating commemorations in the United States of Memorial Day and the National Moment of Remembrance.

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation. As Moment of Remembrance founder Carmella LaSpada states: “It’s a way we can all help put the memorial back in Memorial Day."

This year, please take some time to honor the brave men and women that have served our country. One organization that is dedicated to honoring our servicemembers every day of the year is the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore (USO-Metro). This is a wonderful nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that is dedicated to "serving those who serve, and their families" in the Washington-Baltimore region. With the help of nearly 5,000 volunteers, USO-Metro provides programs and services for active duty troops and their families at area military hospitals and local military bases; through their Mobile USO program; at six USO Centers, and four USO airport lounges.

Volunteering with USO-Metro is a great way to honor our servicemembers and make a direct impact. There are many different types of programs, so you can choose where you feel your skills and interest will be most effective. The generous support of individuals and organizations in the local community is what allows USO-Metro to fulfill its mission. You can find out more about getting involved with USO-Metro here.

And have a wonderful, memorable Memorial Day!


Last night, the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore (USO-Metro) hosted its 32nd Annual Awards Dinner at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Crystal City. We attended the dinner, providing PR support, as we have for the past 18 years, and were once again inspired by this exceptional organization! 


The evening’s theme was Celebrating Our Moments Together and was devoted to honoring outstanding individuals from each branch of service, as well as the exceptional people who support our nation’s service members through volunteerism and USO-Metro’s countless charitable programs. Attended by senior government and military leaders, celebrities, business and community leaders, over 600 guests honored the tireless work USO-Metro does for our nation’s heroes and their families.


This year, we also celebrate the opening of the USO Warrior and Family Center at Bethesda, which opens with its official ribbon cutting ceremony today. This state-of-the-art USO Center will provide a “home-away-from-home” for the nation’s wounded, ill and injured active duty service members and Reserve and National Guard troops, as well as their families and caregivers. The new facility, located at the Naval Support Activity Bethesda, home of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, will provide a beautiful, peaceful environment to bring families together and an opportunity to prepare for a happy and fulfilling life ahead.


During the event, Chef Robert Irvine was honored with the USO-Metro Merit Award, presented by Gary Sinise; The American Military Spouses Choir received the Legacy of Hope Award, and the Next Generation of Hope Award went to music prodigy Ethan Bortnick. This year’s Colonel John Gioia Patriot Award was presented to Don Blanchard, the father of fallen Capt. Aaron R. Blanchard (USA). Don teamed up with USO to create A Father’s Tribute Ride, during which he rode his motorcycle to all four corners of the country, honoring his son and raising money to help military nonprofit organizations.


The evening was a touching tribute to our service members and their families, and we were honored to be a part of it. Advice Unlimited’s involvement with USO-Metro allows us to pay tribute and give back, serving as a constant reminder of the extreme sacrifices these heroes and their families make for us every single day. If you would like to learn more about how you can get involved in this outstanding organization, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..






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