Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Memorial Day
commemorates U.S. soldiers who died while in military service.

No, it isn't about putting flowers on Aunt Sarah's grave --- though people do it. Our local cemeteries look like they got smacked by the plastic flower fairy.

No, it isn't about thanking living members of our military, though you will see feeble and mostly insincere attempts at that.

No, it isn't about remembering veterans, living and dead, though this is what normally happens. That, friends, is called Veteran's Day.

No, it isn't about the National Guard NASCAR, as their PAO keeps telling people.

And, NO, there should never be a greeting of "Happy Memorial Day"

Across the country today, cemeteries are covered in plastic flowers on graves of people who may never have known someone who served. The Boy Scouts, VFW and other organizations have placed flags on the graves of the people who were veterans. The local cemeteries are full of flags.

In most cemeteries, the graves that Memorial Day are about are just a few in the many.

Over the years I have written much about Memorial Day. Some day, I may even tell my most significant Memorial Day story, but this is not the year.

I have written about FLAGS IN at Arlington

I have written about Punchbowl National Cemetery where I spent every Memorial Day of my youth.

I have written about the Gold Star and the Blue Star

I have written about the Poppies

I have written about the American Cemeteries Abroad

I have shared Ben Stein's amazing speech "They Did God's Work"

I have written much about Rolling Thunder - you'll have to search for that one - or you can click on the tag Memorial Day and see all of my posts.

I have written about the fallen - told their stories.

We have lost friends and neighbors over the years. People who stepped forward and said, "Send Me" --- they are missed everyday, but especially today we think of them.... those we knew and those we did not.

On this solemn day - think of those who gave their lives for us, for this idea of America - think of those they left behind who hurt everyday, but especially today.

Friday, May 28, 2010

May They Walk with God - May We Ever Remember

Forty-five-year-old; Sgt. Maj. Robert J. Cottle, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 4th Marine Division, pays tribute to one of his fallen Marines on March 8, 2010 at South Station, Helmand province, Afghanistan.

A little more than two weeks later, Cottle, a seven-year active-duty veteran and high-ranking SWAT officer for the Los Angeles Police Department, was struck by a roadside bomb killing him and 19 year old Marine Lance Cpl. Rick Centanni.

Photo by Marine Corps 1st Lt. Joshua Diddams
I Marine Expeditionary Force (Fwd)
Date: 03.08.2010
Location: South Station, AF

As we approach Memorial Day,
we must never forget that good men and women
are still giving their lives in defense of our nation.

If you didn't read the caption of this photo, you missed the point....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Friday, May 07, 2010

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

Military Spouse



Ben Stein, a television personality and writer, wrote this for an Army newsletter, The Strykers, out of Ft. Lewis, Washington. It was addressed to one of the wives of the soldiers. I wrote to him and asked for permission to share it, and he told me to share it as often as I can. On, Military Spouse Appreciation Day, I share it with all of the military spouses - thank you all.

Dear Karen,

I have a great life. I have a wife I adore, a son who is a lazy teenager but I adore him, too. We live in a house with two dogs and four cats. We live in peace. We can worship as we please. We can say what we want. We can walk the streets in safety. We can vote. We can work wherever we want and buy whatever we want. When we sleep, we sleep in peace. When we wake up, it is to the sounds of birds.

All of this, every bit of it, is thanks to your husband, his brave fellow soldiers, and to the wives who keep the home fires burning while the soldiers are away protecting my family and 140 million other families. They protect Republicans and Democrats, Christians, Jews, Muslims and atheists. They protect white, black, yellow, brown and everyone in between. They protect gays and straights, rich and poor.

And none of it could happen with the Army wives, Marine wives, Navy wives, Air Force wives – or husbands – who go to sleep tired and lonely, wake up tired and lonely, and go through the day with a smile on their faces. They feed the kids, put up with the teenagers’ surliness, the bills that never stop piling up, the desperate hours when the plumbing breaks and there is no husband to fix it, and the even more desperate hours after the kids have gone to bed, the dishes have been done, the bills have been paid, and the wives realize that they will be sleeping alone – again, for the 300th night in a row.

The wives keep up the fight even when they have to move every couple of years, even when their checks are late, even when they have to make a whole new set of friends every time they move.

And they keep up the fight to keep the family whole even when they feel a lump of dread every time they turn on the news, every time they switch on the computer, every time the phone rings and every time – worst of all – the doorbell rings. Every one of these events – which might mean a baseball score or a weather forecast or a FedEx man to me and my wife – might mean the news that the man they love, the man they have married for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, is now parted from them forever.

These women will never be on the cover of People. They will never be on the tabloid shows on TV about movie stars. But they are the power and the strength that keep America going. Without them, we are nothing at all. With them, we can do everything.

They are the glue that holds the nations together, stronger than politicians, stronger than talking heads, stronger than al Qaeda.

They deserve all the honor and love a nation can give. They have my prayers, and my wife’s, every morning and every night.

Love, and I do mean love, Ben.