Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Deployment

"We ask a lot of those who wear our uniform. We ask them to leave their loved ones, to travel great distances, to risk injury, even to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. They are dedicated, they are honorable; they represent the best of our country. And we are grateful."

- Presidential Address to the Nation, October 7, 2001.

We also forget that the families left behind also pay the price of deployment. They will spend holidays alone, they will make sure all repairs are done, they take care of the finaces and the children...so much to consider. Yet, they do it, because it is their job as a military spouse to sacrifice. I admire these men and women also. They are the heroes at home. Remember to also support them when you are thinking of supporting the troops.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Peace

"Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly
process, gradually changing opinions,
slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures."

~John F. Kennedy

It takes time to restore the peace in a country of war. Remember what our men and women in the military are fighting for...peace. Our part is to support them in any way we can. Be a peacemaker!!! Support the troops
!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2005

What it means to love a soldier

I found this really great article and needed to share it with you:
by Jamie Reese

She stands in line at the post office waiting to send a package to her husband, a U.S. Army soldier serving in Iraq. Envelopes, pens, paper, stamps, sunscreen, eye-drops, gum, batteries, powdered Gatorade, baby wipes and Twizzlers. He said he needed the sunscreen and baby wipes. She threw in the Twizzlers. There's a common bond at the post office in this military town. People aren't just sending letters and packages; they are sending smiles, hope, love and just a touch of home. People look around at the others, sharing their concern, fear and pride. They take comfort knowing they are not alone. Passing through the gate leaving the Army post, she enters another world. A world filled with pawnshops, surplus stores, barbershops, fast food galore and, of course, "Loans, Loans, Loans." This is a life that includes grocery shopping at a place called the Commissary. A life that has her venturing to the Post Exchange, referred to as the PX, instead of heading to Wal-Mart.

This is where you come to learn, appreciate and respect the ceremonious traditions of Reveille and Retreat, and of course, the National Anthem from a completely different perspective. At 6 a.m., or as the soldiers call it, 0600 hours, Reveille can be heard across post. The bugle call officially begins the military workday. At 1700 hours Retreat sounds signaling the day's end. Soldiers render salutes, chatter fades and all eyes are drawn to the nearest flag. At 2300 hours, the bugle sounds Taps, denoting not only the "final hour" of the day, but also honoring those we have lost.

When the national anthem plays in a military town, a special aura fills the air. Men, women, and even children stop to pay their respects. Civilians place their hands over their hearts. Soldiers salute. In this world, the anthem isn't just a prequel to the echo of "Play Ball." Since she married her soldier and experienced the Star Spangled Banner from this perspective, she's noticed how people in civilian towns react to the national anthem. She notices the people who continue to talk, the hats that stay on, the beer that doesn't get put down, and even the jeers at the person singing the anthem. The meaning seems to be lost to a majority of people. But if she looks closely, she can see who has been blessed enough to learn this lesson. Some are grandparents, some are parents, and some are young children.

At first glance, children growing up in this world of artillery, tanks and uniforms are the same as any other kids from any other town. They do the things that kids do. They play sports, go to school, and play with their friends. The difference is that their group of friends may change once a year, or more, due to a change of duty station. They don't have any say in this. They could be two years old and not remember a thing about it, or they may be 16 years old getting ready for prom and having to uproot and move again. They're known as "military brats," a harsh misnomer for those who learn a lifestyle of sacrifice at such a young age. Yet, it makes them strong.

The little boys become the men of the house and the little girls become the ladies. They adapt to these different situations. They live with the reality that one, or even both parents, may not be around to celebrate birthdays and holidays. They know there will be time when they will look into the stands during Little League games and see only an empty space in the bleachers. At the same time, these kids have a sense of overwhelming pride. They brag about their daddies and their mommies being the best of the best. They know their Mom's been through deployments, changes of duty stations, and the ever-changing schedules Army life brings. While Dad is away, she takes care of the house, the bills, the cars, the dogs, and the baby.

To cope with it all, she learns military families communicate via the Internet so he doesn't miss out on what's happening back home. But he does miss out. He won't be there for the baby's first steps, and he may have to hear his son or daughter's first words through a time delay across a static-filled telephone line. She remembers what it was like before he left, when everything seemed "normal." Normal except for the pressed uniform, the nightly ritual of shining boots, the thunder-like sound of the Apache helicopters flying overhead, and the artillery shells heard off in the distance. OK, relatively normal when they occasionally went to the park, spent holidays together and even enjoyed four-day weekends when he could get a pass.

But, the real challenge began with the phone call. She relives the moments before she kissed him good-bye. A phone ringing at 0400 hours is enough to make her heart end up in her throat. They've been expecting the call, but they weren't sure when it would come. She waits to hear the words, "Don't worry, it's just a practice run." But instead she hears, "Here we go." So, off he goes to pack, though most of the packing is finished because as a soldier, he is "always ready to roll." She gets the baby, but leaves his pajamas on because it is just as well that he sleeps. She takes the dogs out, she gets dressed, all the while trying to catch glimpses of her husband. She wants to cherish his presence because she doesn't know when she'll see him again. She knows that in other homes nearby, other families are enacting exactly the same scene. Within 15 minutes, the family is in the car heading to the "rally point."

As they pull up, they see soldiers everywhere, hugging their loved ones. While people love to see tearful, joyous homecomings, fearful, anxious, farewells are another story. Too soon, with his gear over his shoulder, he walks away. She is left behind, straining to keep an eye on her soldier. As the camouflage starts to blend, only his walk distinguishes him from the others. She takes one last look and takes a deep breath. She reminds herself she must stay strong. No tears. Or, as few tears as possible. Just words of encouragement to the children, to her friends and to herself. Then she turns, walks back to the car, and makes her way home to a house that is now eerily quiet. She mentally prepares for the days, weeks, even months ahead. She needs to focus on taking care of her love while he is overseas. Her main priorities will be the care packages, phone calls, e-mails, and letters sprayed with perfume. And, she can't forget to turn the stamp upside down to say, "I love you." Taking care of her family, her friends, even strangers this is her mission as an Army wife to do these things without a second thought.

At the ripe old age of 25, she knows the younger wives will turn to her for advice. "How do you balance a checkbook? How do you change a tire? When are they coming home?" Only when she knows everyone else is OK, the bills are paid, the cars maintained, the lawn cut, the kids asleep, the pets calmed down, and the lights are off, does she take time for her self. Alone at night, she runs the next day's events over in her mind to make sure it will all get finished. She reviews her checklist of things to do, things to buy for his care package. Once again, she checks the calendar to count down the days. Before turning in, she checks to make sure the ringer is on for the late night phone call that might come in from overseas. Before she falls asleep, a few tears hit the pillow. But even as the tears escape, strength enters her mind, body, spirit and soul. She remembers why she is here. She remembers the pride and the love that brought her here in the first place, and a sense of peace comes over her, replacing, if only for a second, the loneliness, the fear and the lingering heartache she feels while her soul mate is away. This is what it means to love a soldier. She wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

A small token

It's a small token when MPP writes to the soldiers, but it is a big reward when we receive mail back. Here is a letter from SFC Ross in Iraq:
Hello Group,

This is a great group. Thank you to all who are willing to support us troops. Many people assume that a care-package is the way to support troops. But, honestly, your words of encouragement and kind sentiments are better! When the News (CNN, Newspapers, etc) only show one side of the job that we are doing or experiencing it's refreshing to know people are more interested in what we as American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines are doing, and how we are doing.

There is alot of good going on here in the desert. What you don't see on TV is the "Boring" stuff. 1,000s of schools reopend with new books for the first time since before the Iran/Iraq War of the late 70's and early 80's. There are more hospitals and clinics open now then there were with Saddam in power. Roads that were left in disrepair since the above mentioned war and from the first Gulf War are being repaired or have been finished. Of course everyone did get to see the "BLUE THUMBS" from the election, that was held on time as scheduled.

One sad piece of news that is important that really hasn't gotten out. Not by design, but by media choice is the fact that there are more mass graves than we really thought existed and families (shiite and kurd) are finally being able to put to rest their lost from the terror that Saddam inflicted on people who disagreed with his policies and rule.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT,

SFC Ross
494th AG Co (Postal)


Thank you SFC Ross, may you stay safe and return soon to your family. God Bless you and all the troops.

Friday, March 25, 2005

What is a hero?

One of the definitions in the dictionary says a hero is a one that shows great courage. Now if you think about this, I know you will think of many people you know who have this courage, maybe even yourself. So a hero could be many things. The heroes I am thinking of are the ones who choose a career that may ask them to pay the ultimate price, their life.

Most of these men and women who join the military may never think about the risk, they may choose to be a soldier for the adventure. Then when they are called for duty, they do it. I admire that. In my job, as a teacher, I get called on doing my job M-F/8-4 that's about it. It's not a job where I am asked to give my life for, unlike the soldiers.

I know what it means being away from home, I left my country at 17. These men and women are away from home and also fight for the freedom we treasure daily. I admire that too.

Whether they know it or not, they are heroes. They deserve the support we give them. I am so proud to be an American and live here and know people willingly give their support. Many send care packages to complete strangers. These people are also heroes, they care, they love, they support.

Thank you to all military personnel, their families and the people who support them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Friendships

Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well tried before you give them your confidence. True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation.
George Washington
First president of US (1732 - 1799)


I must say that the gift of having friends is truly a blessing. Being connected to the internet makes it so much easier to find new friends and keep up with old friends. Friendship isn't always easily described. The Eskimos, they say, have a hundred different words for snow. Unfortunately, the English language isn't quite as innovative, though it has vast opportunities to differentiate meaning. Certainly, Love is one of those opportunities. And so, too, is Friendship.

Instead of different words, however, we're stuck with simple adjectives. Close friend. Best friend. Childhood friend. Intimate friend. Trusted friend. Beloved friend. Military friend. But whether you use adjectives or different words, few could deny the nearly infinite meaning in such a simple word.

Friends are special people. We can't pick our family, and we're sorely limited in the number of them at any rate. Society and mores (and often our own conscience) dictate we select a single mate. But our friends can be as diverse and infinite as the adjectives we choose. Our friends, in a very real sense, reflect the choices we make in life.

Thanks to all the military friends as well as civilian friends who have joined us, we salute you all and we are glad we can make your days and nights brighter by being friends.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Support and Obsession

There are some women, who just don't get the term SUPPORT. These women go out of their way to write to these men about how they are looking for a strong man in uniform. I had banned one of our members in MPP(Military Pen Pals) because she did just that. The soldier she wrote to was married and all he wanted was support and not some sex-craved cyber chick. She still didn't get the message and continued writing to him. Ladies, c'mon if a man says he is married that is exactly what he means. Besides these guys/gals are fighting a war out there, they need our support.

Of course there are the guys out there who do appreciate the extra attention of a little romance. That is fine and dandy, BUT remember listen to their clues.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Membership Growing

There have been so many wonderful replies to this. The AOL group has now 80 members, many of them are military personnel. There are also members who are just on the website, who post in the forum or have expressed their support.

The soldier's book is a really great photo album of the guys overseas and how they see their mission. It is such an important job to be there, even when some people say bring the troops home, they have no idea that these guys/gals are doing a tremendous job to bring peace to a country that does not know what freedom means. We have to remember that war is never pretty and war also brings death, but war is not always negative. Out of all this will come a new beginning for the people in Iraq, they are people who also dream of freedom and caring for their families. They are mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters who need our support. I thank all military personnel for their efforts bringing liberty to Iraq.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Amazing

I had registered to blogger some time ago, I just never went back to create anything. I know this will change now.

Military Pen Pals has just taken off so fast, it is hard to believe it has been only 3 weeks in the running. I suppose I wasn't the only one looking to support the troops and connect to the guys overseas.