PinMart 2.0!

Change is hard for some people. I’m one of them. Even just changing something as small as the order I get myself together in in the morning can totally throw off my whole day! But sometimes, even if it’s hard, change is good. That’s the case with PinMart! Yesterday we launched a brand new website, the first time we’ve done so since 2006, years before I’d even joined the team! It was a nerve-wracking day, going “dark” as it were, for a number of hours to repopulate all the information and pins and patches and bracelets… but this morning everything is just as it should be, even if everything looks and feels entirely different!

So what did we change, other than updating the graphics and the layout? EVERYTHING. 469Of course we’ve still got the same great assortment of products for every occasion, from awareness to recognition, from weddings to work anniversaries, but the way you find these pins has been vastly improved, with a much smarter search engine. And we’ve added functions like a wish list, and a quoting process for custom pins that lets a customer follow their inquiry from request to shipment, all right from the site.

It’s a brand new site, really, from apple pins to zipper pulls, but one thing that hasn’t changed a bit is the people working behind the scenes, on the phones, in our chat room, and behind every email you get from us. We’re all really proud of where we’ve come since 2006, and we can’t wait to hear what you think about the new site. Contact us (through our super-sleek new “contact us” page) and let us know what you think. And if you see anything that needs improvement, don’t hesitate to let us know! Change is hard, but after clicking through our new website for a few minutes, you’ll agree that it’s sometimes really worth it.

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Observing National POW/MIA Recognition Day

On Friday, September 19, Americans across the country and abroad will observe National POW/MIA Recognition Day – a day dedicated to honoring and remembering soldiers who were prisoners of war (POW) and those who remain missing in action (MIA), as well as their families. This special day is observed annually on the third Friday in September.

According to the U.S. Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, over 83,000 Americans are still listed as MIA from WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the Gulf Wars, as well as other conflicts. Of those missing, 75% of the losses are located in the Asia-Pacific, and more than 41,000 are presumed lost. Thousands of American soldiers have been captured as prisoners of war.

These individuals and their families will be honored on September 19 with memorial ceremonies and remembrances organized by military installations, veteran organizations and local communities. These events seek to recognize and honor the sacrifices and contributions made by POWs and those who remain MIA, and their families. On POW/MIA Recognition Day, all military installations will be flying the National League of Families’ POW/MIA Flag, which represents the country’s commemoration of POWs and missing soldiers, whose brave actions will never be forgotten.

The History of National POW/MIA Recognition Day

POW/MIA Recognition Day was created by the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia. The organization was founded by families who were unsatisfied with the lack of information pertaining to the status of family members who were held captive in Southeast Asia or listed as MIA and unaccounted for.

The League’s initiative led Congress to pass a resolution authorizing National POW/MIA Recognition Day to be observed on July 18, 1979. Though the date of the commemoration varied, it became an annual event and was officiated as a national observance for the third Friday in September in 1986. Every year since, POWs and those listed as MIA have been 1208New1honored on the third Friday of the month.

The official POW/MIA flag is flown at memorial events nationally and abroad. The flag was designed for the National League of Families by Newt Heisley. The flag is black and white and in a white circle bears the silhouette of a man and a watch tower with a guard on patrol. Underneath is a wreath with the moto “You Are Not Forgotten”. Congress officially recognized the flag on August 10, 1990, and declared it “a symbol of our Nation’s concern and commitment to resolving as fully as possible the fates of Americans still prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, thus ending the uncertainty for their families and the Nation”.

Honoring POWs and Missing Soldiers

You can celebrate National POW/MIA Recognition Day by attending a memorial event in your community. Communities nationwide will be holding special events to honor POWs and those who remain MIA. Along with attending an event, you can show your support by wearing POW/MIA military insignias and donating to an organization that works to locate missing soldiers and provides assistance to families of POWs and missing soldiers.

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“Where were you on that September Day…”

14 years. And yet, the time before September 11th, and the time after seem both very immediate and also eternal, as if it’s always been this way. I still vividly remember listening to the radio while getting ready for school and hearing the confused, panicked voices of the DJs, and thinking that it was surely some very weird sort of joke, like Orson Wells’ “War of the Worlds” back in the 1940’s. But no, it was no joke, though the reality of it took a long time to sink in.

14 years and everyone I talk to about September 11th still has the same strong urge I have to discuss what they were doing when they first heard, where they were, their initial reactions. As if we still need to come to terms with the shocking reality of how much we all changed that day, in that one moment. Before, and forever after.

And yet, despite the bone deep sadness and fear that that day instilled in us, it also roused 1451a sense of pride in our country that I’m not sure all of us consciously recognized beforehand. My generation especially, a child of baby boomers who had never known personally an invasive war, tended to take our country a bit for granted. But when that first plane hit the Trade Towers… well, to say it was a wake up call is an understatement.

So while September 11th is a day of remembered sadness, it’s also a day of revived pride. I remember suddenly seeing American flag pins everywhere, and thinking thereafter that a suit looked naked without one. Or watching the members of the house and senate sing “God Bless America”, Republicans and Democrats both joining voices, hands, and truly, we were not divided for a moment: we were simply, fiercely, American.

14 years. And now, though still with sadness and levity, this day has become a day of service, a day to “pay it forward”. It doesn’t have to be something big… at least not to you. Because a kind action towards someone else, no matter how big or small, can mean the world towards that person. And kindness, service, pride and cooperation… no act of violence can take away the fact that Americans are all of those things and more.

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Medic Alert Awareness Month: The Importance of Medical ID Tags

While a medical ID bracelet, pin or necklace may not be the hottest accessory, it can help save a person’s life. If you’re someone who has a medical condition that cannot be easily recognized, wearing a medical ID tag is very essential.
A medical ID tag alerts emergency responders or law enforcement in the event of an emergency in which you are unable to communicate. The ID tag will inform others of the condition in the event that you are unconscious or unable to speak due to shock, loss of speech or hysteria.

In the event of an emergency, providing information about your health condition is vital. diabeticMedical bracelets or pins speak for you when you are unable to speak for yourself. They provide medical personnel with a quick diagnosis so that they can react to the situation properly and as quickly as possible. In severe scenarios, a medical ID tag can mean the difference between life and death.

Who Should Wear a Medical Alert Tag?

Any person who has a medical condition that cannot be easily recognized should wear a medical ID tag. The following conditions warrant a medical ID tag:

• Diabetes
• Severe Allergies to Food or Medications
• Asthma
• Epilepsy
• Alzheimer’s
• Heart Conditions
• Hypertension
• Hypothyroidism
Young children or persons who are unable to articulate their medical condition should also wear a medical ID tag.

Medic Alert Awareness Month

To raise awareness of the importance of wearing medical ID tags, Medic Alert Awareness Month is celebrated every August. Medic Alert Awareness Month also aims to raise awareness for the Medic Alert Foundation and the life-saving benefits of its medical ID jewelry.

Founded in 1956, the Medic Alert Foundation is a non-profit organization that works to ensure people are given the proper care in the event of an emergency. The organization provides Medic Alert identification bracelets and necklaces and maintains a database of their members’ health information, which can be made available to medical personnel during an emergency. With Medic Alert, your medical information and health history can be conveniently retrieved from the details engraved on your Medic Alert jewelry. First responders can contact Medic Alert’s live 24/7 emergency response service to obtain your information. The medical ID tags minimize the risk of medical errors and help ensure you are receiving the best care in an emergency.

What should be Engraved on a Medical ID Tag?

Your medical ID tag will alert medical authorities who respond to your emergency. While you definitely want to include your health condition, what you engrave on the bracelet or pin is up to you. You can also choose to include your name or the name and phone number of the person you wish to call during an emergency. If there is a medication or something you must or must not take to alleviate the issue, you may want to include that as well.

If you have a Medic Alert bracelet, you do not need to include all of your valuable health information on the ID tag because first responders will have access to all of your medical data. If you wish to use a generic medical ID, it’s best to include as much information as you can to ensure you receive the highest quality care.

If you or a loved one has a medical condition that cannot be easily recognized, a medical ID tag will ensure you receive the assistance and care you need when you need it most.

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August is National Immunization Month

As we go through the month of August I hear more commercials about school supplies, new school clothes, and that inevitable first day of school. It’s still warm outside, the sky still stays light until well after dinnertime, but school is right around the corner or already upon us in some places. And this also means that it’s time to consider getting your children immunized against things like the flu and other booster shots. In fact, August is National Immunization Month, promoting early action for school age children and also for all others when it comes to flu shots, in preparation of colder weather and increasing viruses at work and school.808_1k

There are lots of places to get your immunization, meaning you don’t need to go through the hassle and wait of making an appointment with your doctor six weeks out. Many grocery stores and pharmacies will offer walk-in immunizations this time of year, and many schools will even have doctors and nurses available at the beginning of the year to provide proper immunization.

Keeping an eye out for signs and medical personnel wearing medical lanyards or medical lapel pins indicating they’re able to provide immunizations and make a point to get yourself immunized today to ensure fewer illnesses this winter. Also: be sure to thank medical professionals for helping you out: I can’t imagine it’s a lot of fun sticking needles into people’s arms all day. They’re the every day heroes that we wouldn’t be able to do without!

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Solid Metal Memories

Summer means a lot of things. It’s summer vacation for kids. It’s swimming and outdoor sports season. Wedding season. And one of my favorites: it’s fest season! Festival season combines many of my favorite things: great live music, creative projects and people, great street food, and increasingly, unique and really amazing custom lapel pins! Whether it’s Burning Man or Disney World, pins are making a huge impact on the festival season.

Working with custom lapel pins means I run across a lot of pieces we’ve created for things 104_1klike fests over the years, and I’ve saved some of my favorites on my pin wall. Neon mosaic owls for Electric Forest; huge, beautiful rhinestone playas for Burning Man; anarchy symbols and religious declarations for conventions, realistic airplanes for EAA AirVenture, and a rainbow skull and crossbones for QueerCon. Their creativity, size and often playfulness make them absolutely some of my favorite pieces.

And at Disneyland they’ve made pin collecting a serious hobby, with thousands to choose from everywhere you go, and long-time collectors walking around with lanyards that weigh literally pounds, festooned with characters, anniversary pins, and event Rubber Duckcommemoration. Each lanyard is probably worth hundreds or thousands of dollars, and I guarantee you none of the people wearing them would trade them in for the money back. Lapel pins from fests or places like Disney are solid metal memories that can bring their owners back every time they look at them.

Do you have a custom pin collection? Or some other unique collection that you wouldn’t trade for any amount? We’d love to hear about it!

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Fly Girl

Happy birthday to Amelia Earhart! It was on this day back in 1897 that she was born in a small town in Kansas, and saw her first airplane exhibition at the age of ten in Iowa at a state fair. It took another 11 years before she finally got behind the controls of an airplane herself, but from the moment she began, she devoted herself to it entirely, and become the 16th woman in the world to get a pilot’s license.

And while she was not the first woman to get her pilot’s license, she quickly became the world’s most famous female pilot, earning the nickname “Lady Lindy” for her aviation prowess comparable to the famous male pilot, Charles Lindbergh. And throughout her-sadly short-career, she set records and inspired women everywhere not only to take to508 the skies if they so chose, but to not let social norms dictate their choices when it came to a career.

And her legacy lived on after her disappearance as women swarmed to join the military efforts of World War II, though the Air Force itself was not a formal body until after the War was over. By 1948 Women had their own air force affiliation, the Women of the Air Force or WAF. This organization remained intact until 1976 when women were finally admitted into the USAF on a completely equal standing to their male counterparts.

118 years after the birth of Ms. Earhart, we as women, and as a country, have come so far. Women are in every branch of the military, and all over the skies as commercial pilots and in the Air Force. And if there’s anything to be taken away from the amazing life of Amelia Earhart, it’s to follow your dreams, no matter where they take you, whether that means going thousands of feet into the air, all the way across the world, or keeps you exactly where you are. Dream big, and don’t give up. Happy Birthday, Amelia!

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Oh, Canada!

Happy Canada Day! Our neighbors to the north are celebrating their “birthday” just three days before America has its big patriotic blow-out this weekend. To be more specific though, Canada Day represents the day that the three individual colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and the United Province of Canada merged into a singular body under the British North American Act of 1867. However it wasn’t until 1982 that Canada Day became an official Canadian holiday.

The subsequent 33 years have seen celebrations that are akin to what we see around the S188US on the 4th of July, with all number of patriotic parades, ceremonies, declarations of citizenship, fireworks, concerts and other festivities. However each locality has its own unique traditions associated with the day.

One thing you’re bound to see a ton of on this day, however, no matter where in the great country of Canada you find yourself, is the bright red maple leaf emblazoned on the white background of their beloved Canadian flag. While relatively young, having only been around since 1964, it took hold quickly and completely amongst the Canadian people and is instantly recognizable around the world when seen flown, or on t-shirts, flag pins or even when painted on the faces of Canadian sports fans.

And so with patriotism on my mind as Independence Day looms in the US, I want to wish all of Canada, and expats living elsewhere but keeping Canada in their thoughts, a hearty and heart-felt HAPPY CANADA DAY!

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“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…”

I’ll be the first to admit that I had no idea that the Statue of Liberty had ever looked any different than she does today, standing on Bedloe’s Island in the New York harbor. I thought she had always been that uniquely blue green color. But no! When she first arrived in the US, as a gift from France to celebrate 100 years of American independence and also friendship with France, she came gleaming a bright copper, and in 214 different containers no less!

And after an arduous fundraising and construction period, she was complete, and dedicated on October 28, 1886, by then president Grover Cleveland. Since that day, Lady 353Liberty has seen over 12 million immigrants safely onto Ellis Island, has stood tall during two world wars and almost countless other conflicts, and has survived weather, civil unrest, and of course, the tragedy that hit New York on September 11th, 2001. Throughout it all, and to this day, she represents the view of America as seen by those entering for the first time, and those who have always known her as their own: a symbol of freedom, welcome, opportunity and hope.

Today, Lady Liberty, as she’s informally known, is seen on everything from t-shirts, shrunken down statuettes, postcards, lapel pins and lanyards, and even on a fair number of American bodies in the form of tattoos! She is just as much a symbol of freedom and hope as she has ever been, and for a lady going on 129, I think she’s never looked better.

Have you ever visited the Statue of Liberty? If so we’d love to hear your story of what it was like, and how you felt!

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Old Glory indeed!

Flag Day is upon us again! Both politicians and real patriots alike live for days like this, when they can pull out their American Flag lapel pins and wear them with extra pride. But how many of you out there know what the heck Flag Day is? Other than the day to stake your American Flag lawn ornaments out, to be left until after Labor Day. It’s actually the US Flag’s birthday, and for being 238 years old this year, I’d say it’s looking really good.

Back in 1777, our brand new country, all 13 colonies of it, was bursting out with pride after 1116winning, tenuously, its independence from the British Crown, and one of the first things every country (or organization, club, or punk rock band) needs is a logo, a flag, a symbol to unite everyone. This was decided upon on the 14th of June 1777 after 10 previous versions of our flag, some very similar to what we see today (minus a bunch of stars, obviously) and some way off, sans blue color entirely! But after returning to the drawing board ten times, they felt confident that they had it right on try number 11. And from then on, up until 1959 when Hawaii’s 50’s star was added, our flag grew in stars but kept its 13 stripes, and for the last 56 years we’ve pledged allegiance to the same familiar flag.

Who knows what our flag will look like in another 100 years, but this year, don’t hold out sharing your flag pride. American Flag lapel pins, lawn ornaments, shirts, hats, kerchiefs for Spot and actual flags are all welcome, and part of this amazing, ever-evolving country we call home. Happy Flag Day!

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