Tag Archives: Military

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Memorial Day 2014

276240_100000410189176_563033050_nEach year when this day rolls around, I am reminded of all the sacrifice a family makes when their loved one goes away to protect the freedoms we Americans enjoy each day.

And while I’m so amazed at what it takes to be in the military and fight overseas with the constant threat of being killed, if they’re in a combat situation, I feel it’s also important to recognize the sacrifices a family makes throughout the entire tour.

A spouse who is left to raise a young family by themselves perhaps on a military base. The inadequate stipend they are given to raise that family. The increased level of responsibility they must endure.

And if their beloved is killed, they are left to raise that family alone.

Today I salute not only the veterans and remember all those who were killed to secure our freedoms, but for all the family members who are or have grieved a military family member’s death and the difficult road to recovery on an emotional as well as financial level.

I salute you!

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Veterans Day 2011 – 11/11/11

On Veterans Day I have the great honor of remembering all the wonderful people in my life who have served in the United States Military both here and abroad.

I think of my Dad, who served in the Army in France during the Korean War, my one Uncle who was a Marine in the Pacific during World War II and witnessed great horrors, my other Uncle who was in the Marines and was an honor guard at Arlington National Cemetery in DC.

I also think of all my friends who lost brothers during Vietnam. I was in high school when their older brothers were coming home in caskets. Those thoughts don’t leave you.

Now I admire those close friends who have voluntarily given of themselves in either active duty or in the reserves here at home.

A college friend whose husband is a Lt. Commander in the Navy, flying helicopters off aircraft carriers and she a Naval Surgeon. A Captain in the Army National Guard in NY, who I became friends with after her sister was murdered in Virginia. Another very close college buddy who served multiple tours in Bosnia and Iraq as a high ranking officer in the Army. And lately, a newer friend, who spent 23 years in the Marine Reserves as an MP.

I admire their courage, their sacrifice, their sense of duty to our citizens. Only honorable men and woman would dare step up for the benefit of their citizens.

They do this willingly with humility. They do so with integrity and faithfulness, devotion and great care. They live their lives with a sense of service to others, even when they leave active duty.

I guess that’s what I find so amazing…because a person with such high character is rare. And I am so grateful to call them my friends.

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Navy Seal’s Dog Grieves Too


There is nothing more tragic than when good men, among the most elite in our military service, are killed in battle. But when 30 are killed in one crash, the nation should mourn. And the leaders of our country should stand up and proclaim a national day of mourning with flags lowered in their memory.

It took a few weeks for the bodies of these dedicated men to come back to their families for burial. And, at one memorable funeral, the devoted canine, a beautiful Labrador Retriever named Hawkeye, mourned his master, Navy Seal Jon Tumilson, originally of Rockford, Iowa.

When Scott Nichols, a dear friend of Jon’s, rose to give his eulogy, Hawkeye followed him up to the casket. With a huge sigh, this precious dog laid at the foot of the casket and didn’t move.

He knew exactly what was going on. He was in shock and understood that his master was dead. He stayed there to protect him for the last time.

There are people who believe that animals cannot or do not grieve the death of their owners. And this is proof that this theory is not true.

Like people, animals are devoted to those they love and who care for and about them. We feel this intense bond with our pets, so what would give us the idea they don’t also feel this bond with us?

Beyond protecting us, loyalty is a pet’s greatest gift to us. He is there whenever we are hurting, either physically or emotionally. He is the one who soothes us when no one else will. He is the one who greets us when no one else is around. He is the one who worries about us and sits near us when we’re sad, alone, hurt, disappointed. He knows how we feel and does whatever he can to make us feel better.

For this lovely dog, the tables are now turned. He is the sorrowful one and, like humans, it will take him some time to adjust to his loss. And like humans, he will feel depressed, perhaps not eat, lay around more than usual and tend not to play or participate in activities he may have in the past.

He also needs his time to be alone and sad, just like the rest of us. He has lost an amazing master and he feels the grief of all around him, also.

The pain associated with loving someone and losing someone is not exclusive to humans. Pets grieve, too and even though they can’t communicate in words their sorrow, it is evident through their actions.

Read more here.

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We, the Patriots

Whenever I think of this holiday, the 4th of July, I prefer to think of the additional title it holds…Independence Day. I have many fond memories of this day in years past.

I also think of the movie “The Patriot” with Mel Gibson, as he encouraged his neighbors to fight together for their freedom. I don’t usually enjoy what was truly a violent movie, yet I found myself engaged in their pursuit of a new life free from oppression in this new land we call America.

Mel Gibson’s character experiences the death of a wife and son, his surviving children a mother and brother, his son loses a wife and her parents. And while their quest dually involved revenge and freedom, I found myself no longer focused on the blood and violence of the movie, but the compassion these broken people were able to give each other, throughout this tragic time in their lives. I couldn’t imagine living in such a continually unsafe environment. Yet millions all around this world do every day.

Regardless of whether you like the way our political parties are running this government, I find myself more focused on the fact that in the end, men and women in government come and go. This country stands forever.

It is the patriots of our fine country who fight for its freedom…not politicians. It is the patriots who rise up to defend her when she needs defending, whether at home or overseas. It is our patriots who risk life, limb, mental strength, and spirit to go around the world to defend and rise up oppressed peoples.

We may not receive the recognition we deserve…true. Not everyone thinks as we do…true. But I know of no other country who defeats its enemies, as in the case of Germany and Japan in World War II, and then returns to help them rebuild their land instead of possessing it.

Only the honorable people of a great nation do that. Willingly.

So on this Independence Day, I focus on all the good our nation has done for the peoples of the world. All the good its done for our own people, our own Patriots. And I know, absolutely know, that no matter what the politicians in this land do to enrich or harm it, America will always stand. For its Patriots will expect no less.

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The Sack Lunch

On Veterans’ Day, we remember all those who have sacrificed to serve in the United States’ Military and those who have died just to keep us safe and free. People around the world know the devotion our men and woman play in keeping their nations free, as well. Let us always be grateful and remember them.

This is a wonderful story I recently received and wanted to share it with you…

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight. ‘I’m glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,’ I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation.

‘Where are you headed?’ I asked the soldier seated nearest to me. “Petawawa. We’ll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we’re being deployed to Afghanistan.”

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be several hours before we reached the east, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time…

As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. “No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn’t be worth five bucks. I’ll wait till we get to base.” His friend agreed.

I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch. I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. “Take a lunch to all those soldiers.” She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. “My son was a soldier in Iraq; it’s almost like you are doing it for him.”

Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated. She stopped at my seat and asked, “Which do you like best – beef or chicken?” “Chicken,” I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. “This is your thanks.”

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room.
A man stopped me. “I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.” He handed me twenty-five dollars.

Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand and said, “I want to shake your hand.” Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain’s hand. With a booming voice he said, “I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.” I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers.

Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm.

When we landed I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base.
I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. “It will take you some time to reach the base.. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You.”

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers.

As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a couple of meals. It seemed so little…

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to The United States of America for an amount of “up to and including my life.”

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.

Please pray for our brave soldiers…

“Oh God, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen.”

Now pass this on…and leave your comments below.