Thursday, November 30, 2006

Is It Worth It?

Chaplain (1st Lt) Raymond Leach
Task Force IRON Chaplain
From the November 17, 2006 of Desert Bulls

Sometimes we wonder if this military effort in Iraq is worth it. There's nothing like traveling down the highways and freeways in Iraq in the back of a HUMVEE for ten hours, or twelve hours, or fifteen hours like the trip I took today from CKV (Camp Korean Village) back 'home' at Al Asad Airbase to get a chance to think a lot about why we are here. When we are faced with the tragedy of losing Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen and others supporting our efforts around us, we wonder all the more. Is this really worth the sacrifice?

I met a Turkish man who is working here at Al Asad, and he began telling me his story. His brother and other family members have been killed for no reason at all. He is happy that he has a chance to work here and earn an honest living where things are 'safe.' He doesn't especially relish the idea of having to travel the roads to earn a living, and he doesn't feel safe in the cities. That is because it isn't safe. Pirates roam the highways and byways. Terrorists drag innocent people out of their homes and kill the in the streets of the cities without a second thought. Is our presence here really worth it? Ahmed thinks it is!

Yesterday at Trebil I visited with some men who are driving trucks for us, delivering supplies from Jordan to Al Asad and back. These men are Dominicans, Spanish-speaking mend who wear crosses and are very religious. They are Christians working in an Islamic culture. They told us that they cam right after 9/11 in response to the terrorist attacks. They wanted to help, and this is the only way they could think of doing so. The are persecuted by the other drivers, because they are different. They have things stolen. They are jeered. But they stay, because they are our brothers. Is our presence in Iraq worth all the sacrifice? These men believe it is , and daily put their lives and well-being on the line to join us in our efforts.

I would never say this is a holy war. I couldn't even tell you exactly why we are in Iraq. There are certainly any number of nations across the globe that find themselves terrorized by dictators, held in oppression, in need of a superpower to set them free. Why are we here and not there? I don't have all the answers. I do know this. For we as Americans, living in a very wealthy nation where even our poorest are better off than three-fifths of the rest of the world, where eating out of the dumpster would be considered a feast by over two billion of our human sisters and brothers, it is good for us to be here, making a sacrifice on behalf of the downtrodden and impoverished. I would go so far as to say that it is a godly thing we do, perhaps the most godly thing we have done as a nation for some time. I believe that God gives resources and power to someone with the expectation that he or she will use those gifts to better the lives of others. How would God feel if God looked down on us and saw us hoarding this resources to ourselves, unwilling to step out and risk our personal comfort and safety to help widows and orphans stand up to the bullies and criminals on the block? I think God would be very disappointed, if not angry.

Is it all worth it? YES. Without a doubt. To sacrifice is to find the true meaning of life in this troubled world. Sacrifice brings a new perspective, one that does not take so many things for granted. A time of sacrifice leads one to welcome and embrace the comforts and safety of our great nation with a more grateful heart. Sacrifice develops character, and a greater willingness to help others rather than live a self-serving and ultimately unfulfilling life. This is a good thing we are doing. We are making a positive difference. It is worth it!


I read the Redbull Newsletter and found this piece to be especially moving as the debate about what we are doing in Iraq escalates. You can visit their site at

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The President of Iran Wrote Me a Letter!!!!!!!!

Imagine my surprise when I got a letter from H. E. Dr. Mohmoud Ahmadinejad !!!!!!!!! And, he called me a "Noble American."

Actually, he wrote to all of us... ab lengthy piece of fluff that could have come from the far-left of America. Did he hire the Democrat's chief speechwriter? If not, it lets me know that he is more tuned in to the far-left and the naive in this country than I gave him credit for.

The problem is, with all of his lofty aspirations and desires for us to rise up against our government and to be as "perfect" a human being as he is, he does ignore his own reprehensible words and deeds. His self-proclaimed piety and goodness were enough to make me gag, though I can see how the ACLU and friends might celebrate.

"Our nation has always extended its hand of friendship to all other nations of the world," he says. What??? I remember the Iran Hostage Crisis. I remember his recent and continual rants to wipe the nation of Israel off of the map. In fact, his letter talks about it. So, he doesn't really mean ALL nations - just the ones he likes.

Speaking of our troops in Iraq, he says, "Their mothers and relatives have, on numerous occasions, displayed their discontent with the presence of the their sons and daughters in a land thousands of miles away from US shores. American soldiers often wonder why they have been sent to Iraq." Obviously, he has never met the hundreds of American soldiers I know, or their families.

He tells us exactly how our government should work and all of the things that are wrong with it. He's worried about our civil liberties. As if there are any civil liberties in Iran.

It drones on and on - much like some of the pointless posts in many comments boxes on the blogs.

At the end, he says, "We should all heed the Divine Word of the Holy Qur'an."

Well, if I could "Return to Sender," I would. This man was involved in the taking of the U S Embassy in Tehran and the kidnap and capture of American hostages. His country founded, supports, trains and funds the terrorist group Hezbollah. His own people are oppressed by the religious police and told how to live and how to think. Non-Shi'ite Muslims have no freedom to practice their religion. He is EVIL.

Hey, Mahmoud - don't call me, don't write to me. I'm not buying.

Wednesday Hero ~ CPL Jason E. Meier

Cpl. Jason E. Meier
Cpl. Jason E. Meier
From Arlington, Wisconsin
1st Team, 3rd Squad, 3rd Platoon, Bravo Battery, 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, Marine Wing Support Group 37 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Air Wing (Forward)

Cpl. Jason E. Meier plays soccer with an Iraqi boy during humanitarian efforts while on a Mounted Combat Patrol in the Al Anbar Province of Iraq, November 8, 2006. Meier is the vehicle commander for 1st Team, 3rd Squad, 3rd Platoon, Bravo Battery, 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion, Marine Wing Support Group 37 (Reinforced), 3rd Marine Air Wing (Forward). He is an Arlington, Wis., native.

These brave men and women risk their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.

Blogs Participating In Wednesday Hero
Yankee Mom
Bear Creek Ledger
Mail Call! Supporting The Troops
Yeah, Right, Whatever
Gazing At The Flag
Ohio Military Reserve
DeMediacratic Nation
My Point
A Day In The Life Of.....
Blue Star Chronicles
Pet's Garden Blog
Hooah Wife & Friends
Right-Wing & Right Minded

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Hero Among Us ~ Army Master Sgt Sarun Sar

Master Sargent Sarun Sar

Paktika Province, Afghanistan Master Sgt. Sar takes a break while conducting combat operations in Eastern Afghanistan. Sar and his team frequently conducted patrols along the snow covered mountains in Afghanistan. Photo from Sar's personal collection.

Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii - U. S. Army Master Sergeant Sarun Sar and his wife, Dobromila, receive applause after he was awarded the Silver Star during a ceremony here. Sar, a Special Forces combat veteran assigned to the Special Operations Command - Pacific, received the medal for heroism in a firefight while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in Eastern Afghanistan. Photo by Sgt. Tim Meyer, U. S. Pacific Command Public Affairs

Navy Capt. Craig Powell, SOCPAC Deputy Commander, presents Master Sgt. Sarun Sar with two Bronze Star medals. One of the Bronze Star medals is for valor. The awards compliment a Silver Star that Sar received in January. All three awards were presented for his actions in combat in Afghanistan in 2005.

Head Monk Louk Ta Sau Veang, left, Master Sgt. Sarun Sar, center, and Phnom Penh monk Suosdey Sas asscss water depth in a village well built by the West Pearl Harbor Rotary Club for impoverished villagers living in the Kampong Speu province. Photo: Allison Schaefers


Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but the story that goes with these pictures is worth a great deal more.

Meet U. S. Army Master Sergeant Sarun Sar.

Sarum Sar was born in Kampong Speou, Cambodia, in 1966. His father was a schoolteacher and his mother looked after the large rice farm and home and his brothers and sisters. Then war tore his family apart. The communist Khmer Rouge insurgency of the Pol Pot began the era we refer to as "the killing fields." This period is known for the executions and starvations that cost the lives of more than 3 million Cambodians.

Sar's father was arrested and sent to a prison camp, where he died from ailments of imprisonment. One of his brothers was executed. His mother and two younger brothers died the cruel death of starvation. Sar joined the anti-Vietnamese guerillas, was wounded several times in combat and was eventually sent to a refugee camp in Thailand to recover. There, Sar and his older sister and her two children were reunited.

They received a sponsorship from a church in Montgomery County, Maryland and came to the United States in 1981, where they lived with an American family.

Sar felt strongly that he should serve his adopted country and joined the Army in 1985, one year after high school graduation. A year later, he became a United States citizen. In 2003, he qualified as an Army Ranger, winning honors in his class. Between deployments, he earned a Bachelor's Degree in American History at Campbell University, North Carolina.

Sar has done two deployments to Afghanistan. He is currently on special assignment to the U. S. Embassy in Cambodia. Through the West Pearl Harbor Rotary Club, Sar is helping villages with water concerns and providing looms and training in weaving so that the women can make a living. "I want to do anything that I can to help these people. Most of them still know my family," Sar says of his work to assist the village.

As a soldier, a highly decorated soldier, in his 21 years in the Army, Sar has served in the Gulf War, in Bosnia and Kosovo, two combat tours in Afghanistan, but says, "it's a small price to pay for this country that I love more than my birthplace; this county that has given me so much."

"I am a soldier, so wherever they send me, I will go. The people at home only see what's being aired on their television screens. In Afghanistan, I saw that the civilians needed us - they were poor, they were afraid, and they wanted someone to protect them and their family," Sar said. Sar feels that the American public has heard only about the fighting in the war against terrorism and not enough about the work to achieve peace. "They should be proud of what their soldiers have done to overcome fear and win the hearts of these people." When he first arrived in Afghanistan "the people didn't talk to me. Towards the end they wanted me to marry one of their daughters so I could stay a little longer."

Master Sgt. Sarum Sar is a remarkable American and a true American hero!

To read more about him, a Google search will turn up many articles.
My main resources:

Monday, November 27, 2006

Rangel Wants to Prove the Military Stupid and Poor

Charles Rangel is now on his campaign, not only for a draft, but to prove that the military is not very bright and only from poor communities - AND, he's going to have hearings to prove it!!!


Excerpts from his interview with Chris Wallace on FoxNews Sunday:

Congressman, in fact, contrary to what you've been saying, isn't the volunteer army better educated and more well-to-do than the general population?

Of course not. I want to make it abundantly clear that I have been advocating a draft ever since the President has been talking about war, and none of this comes within the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee.

But I want to make it abundantly clear, if there's anyone who believes that these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No young, bright individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment.

If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq.

So anyone who supports the war and is against everyone sharing in the sacrifice is being hypocritical about the whole thing. The record is clear, and once we are able to get hearings on this, everyone will see what they already know, and that is that those who have the least opportunities at this age find themselves in the military, as I did when I was 18 years old.


I find Rangel's comments far more insulting and incendiary than than Kerry's. It is evident that he is determined to make the truth fiction and attempt to prove his crazy theory. It is also evident that he has no respect for anyone serving. He also has no concept that our military wants to fight to keep this country safe and free. Without them, he wouldn't get to babble on and attack them at every turn.

Read the entire interview here.

Hats Off to The Tension for finding the interview.

Djibouti for Thanksgiving

.Petty Officer 2nd Class Damien Brandlen, a Navy Seabee, helps deliver Thanksgiving dinner to isolated troops in the town of Tadjoura, Djibouti. - Chris Tyree, the Virginia-Pilot

Out of the dust and the heat that is the Horn of Africa, came a Thanksgiving feast flown to an isolated group of Navy Seabees and Guam National Guardsmen. A feast of turkey, ham, potatoes and chocolate cake, graced the three picnic tables decorated by a lone 3-D paper turkey sent by one of the Seabees mothers in Georgia. The food that graced their table was a true feast compared to their usual MREs or Spam and rice.

I have to admit that prior to the Great War on Terror, I could not have found Djibouti on the map. But, its strategic location at the mouth of the Red Sea has made it an important place. The United States has the Combined Task Force - Horn of Africa stationed there. It is comprised of members of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force.

Their mission is of a humanitarian nature. They work on projects such as drilling wells and building medical clinics. They are on a good-will mission to this tiny, impoverished nation. The central base is Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, the capitol city of Djibouti.

As this region has seen the bombing of the USS Cole and the bombing of two US embassies, these efforts towards good-will in this region are quite important.

Once again, the US military is enduring hardships in far-off places, and I am thankful for them everyday.

For more information on this mission, see

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Draft... You've Got to be Kidding....

As we are all aware, Congressman Charles Rangel has brought the issue of the military draft to the forefront once again. Much has been written about it in the blogosphere. Once I calmed down from just being angry with Charlie - again - I decided I needed to read what he wrote and posted on his congressional site, before I stated my opinion about his proposal.

First, the title of his news release is REINSTATE THE DRAFT: IT'S A MATTER OF FAIRNESS. Please note, that it has nothing to do with national need or national security. It has to do with his convoluted sense of fairness, which boils down to wanting to force the children of the Republicans, specifically President Bush and Vice-President Cheney, to serve. To this end, he has included men and women up to age 42 eligible for service.

Second, he says, "The great majority of people bearing arms for this country in Iraq are from the poorer communities in our inner cities and rural areas." This could not be farther from the truth. There a smaller percentage of minorities in the military, than in the general population, though it is close to being equal. The enlistments out of inner-cities is proportionate to the population. The attack on rural areas as being poor is also incorrect. He goes on to site that 70% of the volunteers in New York City were Black or Hispanic. Perhaps he should worry about the citizens of New York City as a whole, and leave the rest of us alone.

Third, he says, "the unfairness and absence of shared sacrifice in the population cannot be challenged." Well, Charlie, I challenge that. I've been to two military funerals for young men from my area. Both were white. Both were from solidly upper-middle class families. Both were well-educated.

Fourth, he says, "If this war is the threat to our national security that the Bush Administration insists it is..." Where was he on September 11, for the Beirut Bombings, for the Iran Hostage Crisis, for the Somalia episode, for the bombings of our embassies in Africa, for Kobar Towers? Oh yeah, comfortable ensconced in his offices in the Capitol Building - and has been since 1971. I think I find that statement more offensive than the idea of the draft. I fear Charlie has disconnected from any reality that doesn't include pitting races against one another.

A study by the Heritage Foundation found that the opposite of what Charlie is saying is true. "A proportion of high-income recruits rose in a disproportionately high level after the war on terrorism began, as did the proportion of highly educated enlistees." It found that "the current makeup of the all voluntary military looks like America. Where they are different, the data show that the average soldier is slightly better educated and comes from a slightly wealthier, more rural area." As for the weight falling to the rural areas, I believe this is because we still honor flag and country, honor and duty, in the rural areas.

Last, his statement, "There's no question in my mind that this President and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way." This is just dumb. If the military did not come from communities of any of the representatives in Congress, just where did they come from - Mars?

What Charlie is trying to do is use the draft as an instrument of pacifism. He wants to upset those who do not want to have anything to do with the safety and security of our country. He wants them to rise up in the streets to protest the war he doesn't like. He also wants to use it as an instrument of "equality" - which translates to more racial divisiveness.

Regarding the draft itself, I can't think of a better way to cause the military to degenerate into an ineffective force than to reinstate the draft. After years of working with this age group, I know how truly ineffective they can be. I do believe that military service would be good for a great many of the American youth who have no sense of anything beyond themselves, but I certainly do not want to put the readiness and the defense of my country in their hands, nor do I want to see the military absorbing their problems. I'd be all for a year of mandatory service to our country after a stint in a boot camp for all kids, but I don't want to pay billions (trillions) of dollars for it. I'd rather see American history taught in the schools. I'd like to see young people educated about this wonderful country we live in. I'd like to see people remember flag and country, duty and honor.

Charlie's Statement:

Heritage Foundation Study:

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Army Needs...

"The Army needs soldiers who do not have a price
at which they can be bought;
who willingly put in a 14 hour day for an 8 hour paycheck;
who do not borrow from integrity to pay for expediency;
whose handshake is an ironclad contract;
who are honest in small matters as they are in large ones;
whose ambitions are big enough to include others;
who do not believe that shrewdness, cunning, and ruthlessness
are the three keys to success;
who are occasionally wrong and always willing to admit it."

Author Unknown

we have those men and women in service to our country...
many could learn lessons from them!!

Friday, November 24, 2006

How Did You Spend Thanksgiving?

Aaron Tippen
Spent His in Afghanistan!

"Those are the real working men and women, and if I can repay even an ounce of what they are doing for me, my family and my country by taking their minds off of the day-to-day risks... well, I can't think of a better thing to do with my time," Aaron Tippen said. "They have been fighting for the rights we take for granted every day, and I want to make sure they know we're thankful."

To date, Tippen has performed for more than 500,000 military personnel either overseas or at home.

Thank you, Mr. Tippen, for taking care of the best among us!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

We are so blessed as a nation and as a people. Each day I wake up to see our flag flying and each night go to bed knowing it will be there in the morning. Of all of the many blessings in our lives, this is the greatest... that we born Americans, by God's Amazing Grace.

We are also blessed to live in a nation where so many volunteer to protect and to defend us. We will ever be grateful to the young men and women who serve our country. This year, they are deployed around the world ~ many in the most dangerous places in the world. They serve to keep us safe and free.

We have many more blessings in our lives ~ but without this nation and the troops who protect it, I don't believe we would have as many blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, but especially to those who serve and to those who wait at home.

May God's Blessings be with all of you.

Giving Thanks to Our Troops ~ Neil Cavuto

I cannot imagine eating Thanksgiving dinner in a mess hall.
In a foreign country.
In a hostile foreign country.
Away from family.
Away from friends.
Away from all I hold dear.

I cannot imagine wondering whether this meal might be my last.
Or the buddy sitting next to me won't always be with me.

I cannot imagine going through what our soldiers go through every day.
But, especially "this" day.
When we should all give thanks.
But, they barely have the time to eat.
Before they're back on the line.
Back protecting us.

We who debate their role.
Some of us who even mock their cause.
This isn't about war.
This is about those who fight it.
And live through it.
In a place we forget.
On a day we should not.

I am very lucky to have this day with my family.
My creature comforts are secure precisely because theirs are not.
It's not fair.
It's not right.
It just is.

They are due our thanks every day.
Our prayers all days.
But they are due both, especially this day.
It's amazing to me that those paid so little, give so much.
Never complaining.
Always giving.
So that we can sit down in peace.
While they stand guard, in war.

Thank you, my friends.
And, Happy Thanksgiving.

-Neil Cavuto, Cavuto on Business, FoxNews

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wednesday Hero ~ SPC Donald Wheeler

Army Spc. Donald L. Wheeler
Army Spc. Donald L. Wheeler
22 years old from Concord, Michigan
A Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division
October 13, 2003

Spc. Donald Laverne Wheeler was affectionately known as "DJ" to his family, which included three sisters and eight brothers. In the military, he picked up the nickname "Sunshine." "They called him Sunshine at Fort Hood in Texas because he was so tall he stood out from everyone else and he was always smiling," said one of his sisters, Andrea Barrett. Wheeler died on October 13, 2003 in an attack in Tikrit. His mother, Mary Cay Wheeler, said he decided to enlist after the Sept. 11 attacks. "He loved the Army but at the same time he missed his family", she said. They had a photo of Wheeler blown up to near life size and brought it to his sister's wedding reception because he couldn't attend. "I shall always remember him, a big kid who gave everything he had on that dusty day," said Lt. Jason Price at a memorial service in Tikrit. "It's difficult to say goodbye."

These brave men and women have given their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.

Blogs Participating In Wednesday Hero
Yankee Mom
Bear Creek Ledger
Mail Call! Supporting The Troops
Yeah, Right, Whatever
Gazing At The Flag
Ohio Military Reserve
DeMediacratic Nation
My Point
A Day In The Life Of.....
Hooah Wife & Friends
Right-Wing & Right Minded


Every year, since I was a little girl, I compile a list of the things I am thankful for... and, there are always so many things, mostly intangible things. But, one of the things that is always on my list is that I am thankful for those who have the grace to give to others. I am especially thankful for those who take care of our troops - those who are thankful and giving.

This is Brittany Bohannon and her parents. Brittany raised over $8,000 for troop support through Operation AC last year and she is still doing it. She has collected bottles and cans, arranged a concert by Clark, the singing state trooper and sold daffodils.

"If I was there, I would want to be supported, and if my brothers were there, I would want to support them and want others to support them," Brittany said. "The way I look at it is they're not necessarily over there fighting for themselves, they're over there fighting for our country. They're helping others gain their freedom and they're putting their lives in harm's way, and I respect them for making that decision to do such a hard job. I greatly respect what they're doing for our country."

This year Brittany and her family are on my list of things I am thankful for.

Operation AC -

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

4ID Iraq Memorial ~ Fort Hood, Texas

4ID Memorial

The top picture is the Sculpture installed at the Fort Hood Memorial.
The bottom picture is the Sculpture in Saddam's palace in Tikrit, Iraq.

This sculpture has made the email rounds numerous times, along with a beautifully written, though fictitious story. The real story is truly beautiful, too.

The 4ID was deployed in Iraq during most of 2003, part of Task Force Iron Horse. They were there for the fall of Saddam's dictatorship, they were there for the capture of Saddam Hussein, and they faced many losses and injuries during that time.

Command Sergeant Major Charles Fuss wanted to commemorate the unit's fallen. They found a local artist, Khalid Alussey (Kalat) to cast the statue. He had been an artist in the commissioned employment of Saddam Hussein. In July 2003, two large statues of Saddam on horseback were taken down and the bronze was recycled for Khalid Alussey to make the statue the 4ID had commissioned. Task Force Ironhorse Soldiers donated the $18,000 to cover the cost of the statue. Army 1st SGT Glen Simpson posed for the picture used to create the statue.

The statue depicts a kneeling soldier before the boots, rifle, helmet and dogtags of his fallen comrade. With him stands a young Iraqi girl - reaching out to touch the soldier.

The statue arrived at Fort Hood on February 16, 2004. The 4th Infantry Division has raised most of the cost of the larger memorial project.

"The entire project will be an esthetic whole, a seamless tribute to those who sacrificed everything to bring democracy to Iraq and security to America."

To see the Fort Hood Memorial, go to their website at

Monday, November 20, 2006

Travel Advisory for the Holidays

Travel Advisory - ACU's

A great many people are going to find themselves in airports over the next several weeks for holiday travel. It will be hectic, it will be busy, it will be awful if weather gets in your way, but it will be happy, too. You are going to spend the holidays with family and loved ones.

While you are traveling, be aware! You may see military men and women traveling, too. They will probably be in their tell-tale ACU's and desert boots. They will be carrying overloaded backpacks. They will probably look tired. They will probably try to stay out of your way. They will probably sit on the floor so that others can have the limited seating.

Don't just stare at them. Walk over, smile at them and talk to them - thank them. It is a definate that they are either going home - where they haven't been in a long time, or they are heading away from home - for a long time.

Now all of this may seem obvious, but it is not to most people.

While returning from vacation last month, we were sitting at our boarding area, playing hurry up and wait. An Airman came into the area and sat on the floor. Then, a Marine joined him. Finally, two Soldiers sat down. I went over and thanked them and shook their hands. They were all headed to the middle east, returning from leave. I wished them well.

I went back to my seat and started watching people. Not one person spoke to them. They all went out of their way to avoid the four of them. They tried to not get caught looking at them. I was embarrassed for my fellow Americans. It was pathetic. When the flight was called, the entire full flight had to walk by them to board - still no one spoke to them. I was angry that people could be so disrespectful of our troops. Maybe, they felt too shy to speak - but, that is not an excuse.

If you see one of our troops while you are traveling - say THANK YOU! and smile. The smile you are rewarded with will make your day!

Why the C-130 picture? When we did get on our flight, the last person to board was flying stand by and he sat down next to me. He spoke politely to us, and settled in. He looked tired.

"Where are you heading?' I asked. "Alaska," he said. As we were on the east coast, I made the obvious remark, "long flying day for you." He looked at his watch and said, "I'm on hour 23 now." So, I asked if he was coming from the middle east. He cautiously said that he was. I touched his arm and thanked him for his service to our country. Then, THE SMILE. He had been treated so badly at his previous connection location that he changed into civilian clothes. He was an Air Force C-130 pilot. He had been flying in and out of Baghdad for the past months. We talked for some time - about flying, about Iraq, about his wife and children, about our country, about the wars, and some entertaining stories about flying in and out of Baghdad.

Then, he asked me, "Why do you support the war in Iraq?"

I have a great many reasons for supporting the war in Iraq, but the reason that I do not loose faith in it is because those who are there fighting it have not lost faith. I get letters and emails from "our kids" all of the time telling me why it is the right thing to be and how much good we are doing. I told him that I could not loose faith as long as the troops had faith.

"Good," he said. "Because we are doing great things there. It would be a disaster if we left."

If you are traveling this holiday season and you see one of our troops - smile at them, thank them. They are not the policy makers - they are the brave young men and women who go where they are told and fight to keep us free, so that you can travel for the holidays.

God Bless Them All.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

History is Our Stories ~ The Gettysburg Address

On November 19, 1863, the Gettysburg National Cemetery was dedicated. President Abraham Lincoln was invited. It was at this event, in front of some 10,000 citizens, that Lincoln delivered one of the shortest, yet one of the most powerful speeches in our nations history, known as The Gettysburg Address. The address is engraved on one wall of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that "all men are created equal."

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little not, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us, the living, to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that, from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here, gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain, that the nation, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that the government of the people by the people for the people shall not perish from the earth.

History is Our Stories ~ Dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery

Gettysburg National Cemetery
Dedicated November 19, 1863

The Battle of Gettyburg, July 1-3, 1863, were the bloodiest days this country has ever known. 50,000 soldiers were killed or wounded in those three days. Hastily buried in shallow graves, on the battlefield and in the yards of the homes serving as hospitals, the fall weather eroded away the covering. The dead of the southern states would remain until the 1870's, when they were removed to cemeteries in the south.

The people of Gettysburg took the land known as Cemetery Hill and moved the Union bodies to this site, which was near the center of the Union lines during the battle. The land was purchased by the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The work was not completed by the time of the official dedication, November 19, 1863.

This event would probably not be remembered were it not for the fact that President Abraham Lincoln delivered his most famous speech, The Gettysburg Address, in which he reminded the gathering of the sacrifice of "these honored dead.." who gave their lives for the purpose of preserving the union.

The Civil War raged on until Lee's surrender on April 9, 1865.

This cemetery is now park of the National Park Service and is the final resting place for these Union soldiers and military men from the all of our wars have joined them here.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Happy Birthday, Steamboat Willie!!!

Happy Birthday,
Steamboat Willie
aka Mickey Mouse!!!

November 18, 1928, Walt Disney released Steamboat Willie - the debut of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. And, we all know the importance today, 78 years later! Not one of us doesn't know these two! Happy Birthday!!!

Valour-IT Fundraiser

Thank you to all who gave to the Valour-IT Fundraiser. And, thank you to all of the bloggers who teamed up to get the word out to everyone.

The preliminary total is

Valour-IT provides laptops computers with voice recognition software for the wounded troops with hand/arm injuries. These computers aid them in their communication abilities. They may not be able to type an email or open an email, but they can speak to the computer and it will do it for them. This provides them the ability to remain connected to their family and friends while undergoing treatment for their wounds.

Sometime today, think of some little thing you do with your hands - dress, brush your teeth, comb your hair, eat, read the newspaper, work on the computer - now imagine not being able to do that for yourself. You can only imagine how freeing Valour-IT computers are.

Our fundraiser may be over - though checks are left to count - but you can still make donations.

JROTC ~ What is it, anyway?


JROTC has come under attack and will be expelled from the San Francisco public schools. These two pictures are of the Bay Area students that will be deprived of this magnificent program.

The debates on this issue have been loud and ugly and largely of the misinformed across the blogosphere. While everyone seems to have an opinion, most people don't even know what JROTC is.

JROTC is an elective high school course taught by military personnel at selected high schools, both public and private, in the United States and its territories, and abroad in the Defense Dependents School System.

There are programs for all branches of the military: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy.

They exist to teach high school students the value of citizenship, leadership, service to the community, personal responsibility, and a sense of accomplishment, while instilling self-esteem, teamwork, self-discipline, confidence and pride. They attain life shills that enhance success after graduation.

The motto: "To motivate young people to be better citizens."

These programs prepare the student for leadership roles while making them aware of their rights and responsibilities and privileges as American citizens. Students in these programs have higher GPA's and higher graduation rates.

The curriculum includes:
*Communication Skills
*Leadership Training
*Physical Fitness
*First Aid, Drug Abuse Prevention
*Technology Awareness

Leadership and Education Training (LET):
I - To be Better Citizens. The text discusses citizenship, leadership, and other courses to help the cadets succeed in high school and after graduation. They provide color guards, participate in community parades, drill and rifle teams.

II - Details about Leadership. The units include techniques of communication, leadership, first aid, map reading, history, American citizenship. They continue with the LET I activities.

III - More Leadership Skills. The cadets become involved in a teaching and leadership role in the cadet battalions, while they do independent study in areas of communication, leadership, first aid, history, map reading, career opportunities and technology awareness. They continue with LET I activities.

IV - Responsible for Daily Cadet Administration, Perform as Commanders and Staff Officers. In some areas of instruction, they act as assistant instructors for JROTC classes. They continue to develop their leadership skills. They plan special unit events: military ball, annual awards banquet, etc.

Cadets have the opportunity to travel and to compete with other units throughout the country. The work in community outreach projects. These young people are taught what so many need to be taught.

Personally, I would like to see JROTC in every school. It provides such unique opportunities for these young people. It helps to build character. It motivates.

Friday, November 17, 2006

They Have Names

One of my blogger friends, also a United States Soldier, has created a perpetual memorial site to honor our fallen. His plan is to tell their stories... to let their families tell their stories.

On May 29th, two journalists were killed and one severely injured by an IED in Iraq. Every media outlet in the country seemed to trip all over themselves trying to tell the American people about these "brave journalists". There were specials aired during prime time, full front page articles on almost every national newspaper and most local papers. And, in every single article was this vague and nonspecific notation: "A U.S. soldier and an Iraqi translator also died in the blast."

Who was this "U.S. soldier"? For days, he endured anonymity for his sacrifice while these journalists whom he'd given his life to protect were paraded throughout the media as martyrs. I made it my goal in life to find our who he was and to tell his story. He was not just "a U.S. Soldier" to me. He was a brother. He was a father. He was a son. And, he had a name.

They have names was created in order to pay proper respects or our fallen heroes. All to often, these Troops are relegated to mere numbers by the press. Their stories are unknown. Their lives are unknown. And, their names are unknown. Their sacrifice is impersonal and taken for granted. To many Americans, they are faceless figures. They are not enigmas - They Have Names.

At the time of this writing, over 3000 troops have been killed in Iraq alone. Each and every one of them has unique talents, hobbies, families and histories. Each of them had a reason that led them to serve in one of our nation's armed forces. These people are not mere numbers - They Have Names.

This site is dedicated to the memory of CPT James "Alex" Funkhouser, who gave me the motivation to share the stories of our fallen heroes.

I remember this event vividly - I frequently yelled at the television "Who was the soldier?" I was angry at the lack of importance that was placed on him and the attention given to the media personalities. It became even more personal when his name was finally spoken, my heart sank. I had been given his name the week before to send a support letter to... the letter was returned unopened.

Please visit They Have Names and learn about these magnificent troops who have given the ultimate for our country.

You can contact CJ here.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

We Should All Become Citizens...

Wouldn't it be nice if we all took the Oath of Citizenship sometime in our life...

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;

that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;

that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;

that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law:

that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law;

that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and

that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion, so help me God.

Veterans ~ Now Citizens!!!

US Soldiers Become Citizens
in Veterans Day Ceremony in Iraq

How did you become a citizen? For most of us, it was a gift from our parents - we were born here and given all of the gifts that being an American citizen entails. For others, they immigrated here. They came through hardships and waiting or were brought by their parents and given the gift of a life in America.

For a very special few who immigrated here, they showed their devotion to their new home and joined the military services. Many of them have fought and died for the United States of America - even though they were not citizens.

On Veterans Day, a special ceremony took place in Al Faw Palace, Camp Victory, Iraq. Seventy-five servicemembers from multiple branches of the military and thirty-three countries took the oath of citizenship.

Mehdi Ostadhashemi's mother fled Iraq after the Iran-Iraq war with her young son. Now eighteen years later, in a palace built by Saddam to commemorate the victory over Iran, this US Army Soldier became a citizen of the United States of America.

"Today we honor and remember America's heroes, our nation's veterans," Dr Zalmay Khalilzad, United States Ambassador to Iraq said. "You have assumed the highest responsibility of citizenship, and America is grateful for your courageous service and extraordinary sacrifices. Just like you, I am an American by choice, and I could not be prouder to stand here with you today. Each of you makes our nation a better, stronger country."

"These men and women before us today...have taken on the extraordinary responsibility of maintaining the freedoms for which the United States is so well known," said General George W. Casey. "You have already shown courage and determination in the dangerous and difficult task of bringing freedom to the Iraqi people well before you were citizens of the country you so proudly serve. On this Veterans Day it is my privilege to thank you, and to welcome the most deserving new citizens of the United States of America."

Dr. Emilio Gonzalez, Director of US Citizen and Immigration Services, flew to Baghdad to administer the oath of citizenship and present the certificates and flags to the new citizens. "They so love this country that they are willing to fight for it without being citizens. That says a lot about the character of the person."

I welcome these new citizens - these defenders of freedom and the American way of life - and, I thank them all for their dedication to our country.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wednesday Hero ~ MAJ Guy Barattieri

Maj. Guy Barattieri
Maj. Guy Barattieri
36 years old from Seattle, Washington
National Guard's Alpha Co., 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group
October 4, 2006

Everyone called him "Bear." In fact, many of his colleagues at FOX News learned Guy Barattieri's full name for the first time when they read his obituary.

To FOX News journalists, Bear was a protector. He worked with FOX as a guard in their Baghdad bureau, leading their large security team when that office was attacked with a cement mixer full of explosives last year.

A 1992 West Point graduate, Barattieri first served in the regular Army infantry before becoming a Green Beret and serving with the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Lewis.

After leaving active duty as a captain, Barattieri became a citizen-soldier in August 2000 with the state National Guard's Special Forces outfit in Buckley, which is east of Tacoma. From August 2001 to 2004, he was a Seattle police officer in civilian life, and he was elected president of his police academy class.

Barattieri went on active duty in 2002 as a Special Forces detachment commander in Kuwait. In March 2003, his team led the 101st Infantry Division on its march to Baghdad. Barattieri received a Bronze Star and Combat Infantryman's badge for his role.

He was killed when a roadside bomb while traveling to a power plant near Baghdad. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

These brave men and women have given their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.

We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes,
They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.

Blogs Participating In Wednesday Hero
Yankee Mom
Bear Creek Ledger
Mail Call! Supporting The Troops
Yeah, Right, Whatever
Gazing At The Flag
Hooah Wife & Friends
Right-Wing & Right Minded

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

SPC Douglas Desjardins ~ Farewell and Walk With God

SPC Douglas C Desjardins
December 16, 1982 ~ November 5, 2006

A son of Scio, Oregon - a son of Mesa, Arizona - one of America's finest - a brother of the 2nd Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division - Spc Douglas Desjardins was all of these, and more. Known as Douglas, Dougie, and DJ, it is evident that he enlivened the world he walked through. He lost his life when an IED detonated near his M1A1 Abrams tank during combat operations.

I learned of his death from a newsletter written by one of his 'brothers' in Iraq. I have linked to the newspaper articles about his death below, but I think it is fitting to allow his 'brother' to tell his story ~ no one could ask for a more loving and beautiful tribute.

"It is with deep sorrow that I now inform you, SPC Douglas Desjardins, was Killed in Action the morning of the 5th. Born December 16th 1981, he was the epitome of a soldier and a friend. I can't say the details of the event and honestly I don't care to recount them even if I were allowed. We take small comfort knowing that his passing was instantaneous, that he did not suffer. He is in a better place, though knowing so doesn't help too greatly. A silence has overcome our entire building, throughout the company of men who knew DJ. A brother to all.

"Everyone gathered around as the Commander informed those in the company who did not already know. My platoon was informed to stand down from current mission and that another platoon would finish what we had begun. We went upstairs and gathered as a platoon to talk amongst ourselves. For hours we all remained in the room, at times saying nothing as we all sat there, other times helping each other, clinging to each other to find strength in our bond. Grown men cried unashamedly.

"We spoke of our times with DJ, reminiscing on the man he was. A steadfast and laid back comedian with a trademark smile only he could pull off. Full of comments such as 'Friends don't let Friends watch Friends'. DJ always motivated people to better themselves. He was the hub of the enlisted members of the platoon, especially for SPC and below. The first guy to put a boot in someones rear when they became complacent. The peacemaker who would step between tow joes quarreling. A Lover of Jim Beam. I could sit here and type for hours of DJ. The most amazing thing was that even though he has passed, he still retained his ability to cheer us up. As we spoke of him he reached out to us and turned our tears to smiles and even laughter as we spoke of times with DJ.

"Sleep eventually came to us all. A troubled and restless sleep for many. When I awoke I lay there wanting to believe that when I got dressed and walked next door that I would find DJ watching an episode of Smallville (we were both Smallville Junkies!) Perhaps if I were to head out to the tank line I'd find him hard at work on his tank. He took pride in all he did.

"Less than a month ago he had suffered an injury to his hand when the loaders hatch slammed onto his fingers. Even stitched up and unable to move his had much at all, he still tried to head out with his crew. When informed he could not got, I lent the LTs crew one of my soldiers to plus them up for mission. DJ informed my joe that there could be only one White 1 Delta (the driver) and not to get too comfy in that spot. It became a running joke in the platoon. In theme with the Highlander movies. There Can Be Only One.

"White 1 Delta is gone. I entered the room to assist in clearing his personal belongings so that they could be inventoried and shipped to his family. A difficult but necessary task. After we finished and his belongings moved out of the once vibrant spot he occupied seemed so barren.

"His memorial service is still being planned out. We are making a slide show with pictures of DJ and will write of the man we all knew. I am going to play Jordan Leighs song Soldier I Thank You as his service to honor my friend.

"So many times I have been to these services. Too many times. The role call announced and the 21 gun salute, the mournful sound of taps played upon a bugle. Standing there looking upon the helmet adorning the rifle, dog tags hanging silently in remembrance. As we march one at a time to pay honors to our fallen brother, a short distance but such a long walk within. Kneeling to say words of farewell and a prayer for him, standing to attention and rendering salute. A Farewell.

"Many days I wonder how I can drive on after so much loss. While there are many reasons both patriotic and personal I think back to DJs words to me that day in the hall. Of how I have his approval. Even with a heavy heart and a hurting soul, I drive on for the men I serve beside and all those who have fallen at my side.

"I ask that you keep DJ and his family in your thoughts and prayers. Remember his and the many others before him who have given the ultimate sacrifice."
The newspaper articles about DJ may be found:

Leave a Message for DJs Family

To sign the Legacy Book for Douglas Desjarins-

visit this link

Monday, November 13, 2006

Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial Dedicated

A place to reflect, a place to pay respect to our fallen and our Veterans....

Located in Salem, Oregon, the first memorial in the country to the fallen in Afghanistan and Iraq has been completed, and was dedicated on Veteran's Day. The memorial is the vision of M.J. and Clay Kesterson who lost their son Chief Warrant Officer Erik Kesterson in Iraq.

The memorial has an American soldier, down on one knee with his hand reaching out. At the bottom of the pool is a map of the world. There is a memorial wall which is engraved with the names of Oregon's fallen.

The northwest has been battered by storms, but the clouds parted and sun shone for the dedication. About 400 people came for the ceremony. A Blackhawk helicopter came in close for a fly over - CWO Kesterson was killed in his Blackhawk in Iraq.

To read more about the dedication, see Salem-News.

To see pictures of the construction and the dedication, go here.

Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial

My previous post on Afghan-Iraqi Freedom Memorial is here.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Veterans Day Tribute

The Eleventh Hour,
The Eleventh Day,
The Eleventh Month

The eleventh hour, the eleventh day, the eleventh month - the day the Armistice was signed in the war to end all wars, World War I.

Today, we set it aside as the time to thank and to honor all Veterans who served honorably in the military - in wartime or in peacetime. It is a time to acknowledge their service to our national security, that all those who served have sacrificed and have done their duty.

Please be sure to thank a veteran today. They are around you - your neighbors, your co-workers, your friends. They are young and they are old. They were Airmen, Soldiers, Marines, Seamen or Coast Guardsmen. They are male and female. They come from every state in the union. They even come from other countries. They are the people who have stood watch and kept us safe and free. They have always been there for us. We can never thank them too many times.

Today, we have young men and women stationed around the globe - doing jobs that secure our country and our freedoms. Think of them, too - today's veterans.

We thank you. We honor you for your service. May God Bless you all.

For a beautiful tribute, please go here.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

11 November 1921 -
Dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

"Here rests in honored glory
an American Soldier
known but to God."

Three years after the end of World War I, the remains of an unknown soldier were intered at this spot in Arlington Cemetery. In 1958, a soldier from World War II and a soldier from the Korean War were interred.

Representative of all who served and died for this country, the tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by selected members of the Old Guard.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Valour IT Reminder!!

Navy meets its goal!

In honor of the Marine Corps Birthday, please give a gift to ValourIt for the Marines!!!

Don't forget the auctions are still open!

Marine Corps Birthday - 231 years old

Semper Fidelis

Today is the 231st Birthday of the United States Marine Corps.

On November 10, 1775, the Second Continental congress meeting in Philadelphia passed a resolution stating that "two battalions of Marines be raised" for service as landing forces with the fleet. This resolution established the Continental Marines and marked the birth date of the United States Marine Corps.

To all Marines, past and present, we wish you a Happy Birthday, we thank you, and we wish God's blessings for you all.

National Museum of the Marine Corps

These pictures show the new National Museum of the Marine Corps under construction. It will be a lasting tribute to U. S. Marines -- past, present and future. Situated on a 135-acre site adjacent to the Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia, the museum's soaring design evokes the image of the flag raisers of Iwo Jima and beckons visitors to its 100,000 square foot structure. World-class, interactive exhibits unsing the most innovative technology will surround visitors with irreplaceable artifacts and immerse them in the sights and sounds of Marines in action. The Museum will be dedicated on November 10, 2006, the Marine Corps 231 Birthday.

Last month, while we were touring Virginia, we were disappointed that we were too early for the opening of the Museum, which opens to the public on November 13, 2006. But, we hoped to catch a glimpse. A friend of ours said, "don't worry, you can't miss it!" Driving up the interstate it towers above you, like a bright, shining beacon of freedom and security!

It will contain the history of the Marine Corps, including the work of Marine Corps Artist Michael D Fay. (Click on his name to see some of his amazing work!)

To learn more about the museum and to see some of the amazing displays, visit the website.

Marine Corps Hymn

From the Halls of Montezuma
to the Shores of Tripoli,
We fight our country's battles
On the land and on the sea.
First to fight for right and freedom,
and to keep our honor clean,
We are proud tto claim the title
of United States Marine.

Our flag's unfurl'd to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;
We have fought in evey clime and place
Where we could take a gun.
In the snow of far-off northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes,
You will find us always on the job
The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;
In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve.
If the Army and the Navy
Ever look on Heaven's scenes,
They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

History is Our Stories - The Yellow Ribbon

Top Photo of Ribbon from the US Library of Congress
Bottom Photo of the Laingen's by Greg Jenkins

We see them everywhere - Yellow ribbons - magnets on cars, tied on mailboxes and posts, tied around trees. But, how did this happen?

During the Iran Hostage Crisis, Penelope Laingen, wife of hostage Bruce Laingen, charge d'affaires of the US Embassy, tied a yellow ribbon around a tree at their home in Maryland. This began a nationwide movement. The Washington Post wrote an article entitled "Penne Laingen's Wait," which announced the yellow ribbon symbol as a banner through which families could express their determination to be reunited. Millions of Americans also tied yellow ribbons around trees and lampposts. They stayed up until the hostages came home - more than a year later. The hostage's families formed a support group and took on the yellow ribbon as their symbol. They began making and distributing yellow ribbon lapel pins.

The Yellow Ribbon is now a national symbol in this country. "A symbol of reaching out, of caring, of caring for our fellow Americans," said Bruce Laingen.

Though Penne may have led the first national response with the yellow ribbon, it is part of the folklore of this coumtry. It can be traced back to the Puritans who used it as a battle symbol, versions of the song "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon" date throughout the late 19th century, and, of course, "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree." It's use and meaning continue to evolve, but we all know when we see a yellow ribbon that someone is away from home and is missed.


Holiday Mail - Mail Early

Spc. John Souza, mail clerk, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, sorts his unit’s mail every afternoon for later distribution to his company.

Pvt. Rokeisha Washington helps Staff Sgt. Michael Addesso, both of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, with sorting through the mail.

For our troops away from home, there is probably nothing that is cherished more than mail from home. We have been told in numerous ways from the troops we write to how important it is. Many of them have become like family to us.

With the holidays coming up, it is important to know the deadlines for mailing to APO/FPO addresses.

APO/FPO AE Zip 093xx - First Class Letters & Priority Mail - December 4

All other APO/FPO Zips - First Class Letters & Priority Mail - December 11

All Parcel Post - November 13

The best shipping rates are still the Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes which come in two sizes.

If you don't know anyone to send a card or letter to, click on one of troop support links on the left and get involved!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Gift to Valour IT

This is a picture of Sharon, our shearer, shearing one of our Angora goats. Sharon drives about three hours each way to get to our farm and spends about eight hours here shearing the goats. This is hard work - trust me.

You probably wonder why I have a picture of Sharon on a post about Valour IT. This is my tribute to her generosity and grace for our troops.

When she got here, we were talking about our troop support activities - something she always asks about. When we finished shearing, and I was getting ready to pay her, she said, "I have a proposition for you.... Take my fees and give them to the troop project."

I have donated, in Sharon's name, her fee for an entire day's work. Not many people are willing to give a day's wages to anything, but Sharon did. In my book, she is an extra-special lady!

Thank you, Sharon!!!!

Valour IT Update

Valour IT is a program which provides laptop computers and voice-recognition software to our wounded troops. This program allows those with hand and arm injuries to stay in touch with family and friends. As of this writing, we have earned $115,000 in donations - enough for 143 systems. Our goal is to raise $180,000 by Veteran's Day. A friendly competition is going on between the branches of the service to raise the money.

How to donate:

Click the box on the left and donate to your team of choice.

Visit the Auctions:
Marines in the Garden of Eden by Richard Lowrey
The Gulf War Chronicles by Richard Lowrey
The Navy Auctions which include flight suits, a helmet, challenge coins and books

Please give to help our wounded - even $1.00 will help. They have given so much for us!

Wednesday Heroes - Operation Iraqi Children

"I have seen their smiling faces and their attempts to say 'I love you' in broken English...I saw hope in their eyes and gratitude in their hearts for what was done for them."
-Gary Sinise

No soldier this week. Instead I thought would hightlight the efforts of a great organization doing what they can to help the real victims of this war. Operation Iraqi Children. It's an organization started by author Laura Hillenbrand and actor Gary Sinise. OIC was set up to help Iraqi children get school supplies that they would otherwise be unable to afford. From their mission statement.

During and after Operation Iraqi Freedom, American soldiers passing through Iraqi villages were horrified at the squalor of Iraqi schools, which had been severely neglected under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. Corralled in sweltering one-room buildings without air conditioning, fans, windows, solid floors, or even toilets, Iraqi students lack even the rudimentary supplies that American children take for granted. Libraries and books are almost nonexistent. Without these basic tools of education, Iraqi children face an uphill struggle to learn. "Imagine sending your child to a school in which there are virtually no books, no pencils, no paper, no blackboards," says Hillenbrand. "This is the reality for Iraqi children. The future of the Iraqi nation is being squandered for lack of basic school supplies."

Along With The Troops, Organizations Who Help Need To Be Recognized For Their Efforts. For Those Efforts, I Am Proud To Call Them Heroes.

We Have Every Right To Dream Heroic Dreams.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes,

They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by clicking here.

Blogs Participating In Wednesday Hero
Yankee Mom
Bear Creek Ledger
Mail Call! Supporting The Troops
Yeah, Right, Whatever
Gazing At The Flag
Hooah Wife & Friends
Right-Wing & Right Minded

And the Winner Is.....NOT

Well, the election results are in and I am disheartened at Americans... and disgusted at Democrat pundits - in the background I hear one reiterating the mantra - voted against Bush, terrible economy, not enough hand-outs to people, rich should be paying more than 60% of their income in taxes, yadda, yadda, yadda.

In the real win column we have.....

sorry, I'm blank.

In the loss column we have...

Our Troops - abandoned by the people they are fighting for - AGAIN

The Iraqis - we will abandon them - AGAIN

The Economy - watch the stock market the next few weeks

The Safety of this Country - you think Osama is celebrating now?!

Immigration Laws - the let 'em in and we will make them citizens crowd won

Parental Rights - you may be responsible for them, but what they do is none of your business

Intelligence Services - they will take away the tools that have worked

I guess I can think of a winner...

Terrorists and Terrorism
So, while you were asking for change - did you ask yourself a change to what? Did you think about it?