Sunday, July 24, 2005

The forgotten Hero

I came across this letter, I can identify with this so much. We forget those left behind, those who have to keep their head high. Gosh, I have been there. All I know it has made me stronger and now when you meet a woman who's man is in the military give her an extra hug.

Letter to a Military Spouse

While I have never had the pleasure of meeting you or
your husband, I felt the need to write you and express
a very deep feeling that I have in my heart.

I, as a person, am not brave. I do not tackle things
head on, as I hate confrontation. I will travel 100
miles out of my way just to avoid a conflict. I am an
American woman that has no idea what is going on in
the military other than what I hear on the news.

I have never had to let go of someone so that they
could go fight for people that they didn't know,
people that sometimes do not appreciate or understand
what they are fighting for.

I have never had a sleepless night of worry because of
a report that another bomb has exploded and I still
haven't heard from my husband.

I have never had to wait for months on end to hold the
one that I loved so.

I have never had to tell my children that daddy wasn't
coming home tonight because he was so far away
fighting for something that they aren't yet old enough
to understand.

I have never had to hold my head high and suppress the
tears as I hear that it will be at least another six
months of separation before my loved one gets to come
home.

I have never had to deal with a holiday away from the
one that I thought I would share every day of my life
with.

And I have never had to feel the panic rising in my
heart at the sound of a ringing phone or knock at the
door for fear that it is the news that everyone is
terrified of getting.

For the reasons listed above, I can not tell you that
I understand how you feel. I can not tell you that you
must be strong. I can not say that you shouldn't be
angry, because you "knew what you were getting into
when you married a military man". I can not say these
things because I have never had to walk in your shoes.

What I can say for certain is that because of your
unselfish acts of bravery and your husbands
willingness to stand up for those who see him as "just
another soldier" - - I will never have to walk in your
shoes.

I do understand that as a military wife you are
expected to uphold a certain amount of control, but I
never understood how you could do it, until now. I
have figured out that you are not like other women.
You are of a special breed. You have a strength within
you that holds life together in the darkest of hours,
a strength of which I will never possess. The faith
you have is what makes you stand out in a crowd; it
makes you glow with emotion and swell with pride at
the mention of The United States of America.

You are a special lady, a wonderful partner and a
glorious American.

I have more respect for your husband than I could ever
tell you, but until recently I never thought much
about those that the soldier leaves at home during
deployment.

Until this moment I could never put into words exactly
what America meant to me.

Until this moment, I had no real reason to.... Until I
heard of you.

Your husband and his military family hold this nation
close, safe from those who wish to hurt us...but you
and those like you are the backbone of the American
family. You keep the wheels in motion and the hearts
alive while most would just break completely down.
Military families make this nation what it is today.

You give us all hope and you emit a warming light at
the end of a long dark tunnel.

Because of you and your family...I am able to be me. I
am able to have my family. I am able to walk free in
this great land. Because of you and your family, I can
look ahead to the future with the knowledge that life
is going to be okay. Because of you and your family, I
can awake to a new day, every day.

I realize that you are a stronger person than I will
ever be because of these things and I just wanted to
take the time today to say thank you to you and your
family for allowing me that freedom.

I will never be able to repay this debt to you, as it
is unmatchable. However, I hope that you know that no
matter where you are...what you are doing...what has
happened today...or what will happen tomorrow...Your
husband will NEVER be "just another soldier" to me....
And you, dear sweet lady, will never be forgotten.

You are all in my prayer's everyday and I pray that
God will bring you back together with your loved one
safely.

May God Bless You!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

See you in Heaven

Today I recieved an e-mail from a soldier in Iraq...he was ready to board a helicopter flight to a mission in Northern Iraq, where every day danger is a way of life. He told me he was going to be gone for no more than 5 days and to be patient if I don't hear anything from him for those days...then he added well just in case I don't make it back:
"...see you in heaven..."

My prayers will go out to him today and always...

Friday, July 8, 2005

Letters to the Front

                                           
During the war, Americans were strongly encouraged to write to everyone in uniform they could. Besides regular overseas mail, the Postal Service created V-Mail that was sent on microfilm so more letters could go at once and not be lost forever if a mail plane went down. The campaign worked. Billions of letters were sent to military personnel, who sent billions of letters back.

"Can you pass a mailbox with a clear conscience?" Dole Pineapple ad.

During Desert Storm Americans again wrote letters to any serviceman and got responses back. I remember my oldest daughter writing letters to a Marine, who adopted her as his little sister. The memories of making a soldier smile for just a second can last a lifetime.

Of course things have changed and now we have the internet and we can e-mail soldiers, but there is nothing quite like it when you hold a written letter in your hand.

When my son was in Okinawa it was what got me through the fears of him being away, especially when 911 happened. He also shared with me how one Christmas Day over there; they read hundreds of letters that were mailed to them from all over the country. They feasted on the goodies of foods from home. He said it was one of the greatest Christmas gifts he ever got. People who were strangers became people who shared their emotions and gratitude for the work of a soldier. He never considered himself as a hero, but he knew his work was appreciated.

I encourage you to not walk by that mailbox empty handed, whether it is a written letter or an e-mail...what you share makes a difference. I get the most inspiring e-mails from soldiers who share their thoughts of everyday life in the battlefields. Some have it easier than others. Some are lonely, some miss home and their families, some have no families, some fear death; but all do enjoy the few words you can share with them of hope and peace and a better world.

MILITARY PEN PALS



Wednesday, July 6, 2005

America Supports You: Iraqi Children Receive Donations

It is nice to see that the efforts of the American People are paying off...I found this article in Defend America...

By 1st Lt. Kevin Norton, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 6, 2005 – Task Force Baghdad soldiers said they have been overwhelmed and overjoyed by donations Americans have been sending to a program designed to provide school supplies, clothes and toys to Iraqi children.
The "Iraqi Schools Program," founded by Army Maj. Greg Softy in August 2003, is currently being managed by soldiers of 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. Softy was the squadron operations officer with 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, and has since rotated back to Germany.

Iraqi Schools is a widely successful program that links Americans with an actual neighborhood of Iraqis who need help. The generosity of Americans has allowed the 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment -- known as the "Cottonbalers" -- to distribute vital school supplies, medical supplies and clothing to Iraqis in need.

As of May 25, 42,682 packages had been received with 1,013,274 pounds of school supplies, clothing, and toys distributed in the West Rashid area of Baghdad.

The early success of the program even caught the attention of President Bush, who acknowledged the program in a weekly radio address in October 2003: "The response was overwhelming - hundreds of packages were shipped, and a Web site was established to encourage other Americans to contribute," Bush said. The program continues to grow under the operation of Army Maj. Dave Priatko and the men of 3/7 Infantry. The Cottonbalers say they are extremely excited about working with the program. "It's absolutely amazing how much we've been able to distribute," said 1st Lt. Steve Weber of 3/7's B Company. "We've been able to give out school supplies to smiling children on every patrol we conduct."

Priatko, the battalion executive officer, serves as the director of the program and its main point of contact. Priatko; Chaplain (Capt.) Suk Kim, the battalion chaplain; and his assistant, Sgt. Robert Harris, do most of the heavy lifting in terms of running the program. They receive and sort mail, collate the different types of supplies, and repackage them for the line companies to distribute in sector.

Priatko and the chaplain then update the Web site dedicated to publicizing the program. Every month, they send a progress report and post pictures for the people back home to enjoy. The line companies do the rest.

The program has a positive effect on the soldiers who participate.

"My favorite missions are those that are geared specifically to handing stuff out to kids and visiting the schools," said Army Staff Sgt. Ortiz Arroyo, of the battalion's primary security detachment. "There isn't a man out here who doesn't thoroughly enjoy the smiles of the school kids."

Priatko also said he sees the huge boost in morale that comes from taking part in the Iraqi Schools Program. "The experience is equally gratifying for our soldiers when they see the smiles on the faces of each of these children," he said. Unit officials said the Iraqi Schools Program is valuable in terms of building relations with the Iraqi people. This benefit is not lost on the men of 3/7 Infantry.

"The efforts of our friends and families at home are deeply humbling. It's things like this that make it an honor to represent the American people," said 1st Lt. Ryan Tate, a member of the battalion's intelligence section.

Friday, July 1, 2005

Some personal thoughts

Sometimes I wish I could do more...there I get this e-mail of a soldier telling me that with each mission the danger of getting hurt or killed increases and then wishing me a great 4th of July...I am sitting here eating my chocolate caramel kisses knowing the only danger I have is maybe the California eartquakes that have been haunting us...I wish could do more...maybe send a special guardian angel out to each of the men and women so they all return safe to their families...

Remember freedom is not free...please help to protect it by supporting the troops...all I can do now for this soldier telling him I am here and I will keep him in my thoughts, that each day that passes he will be closer to home...I appreciate his sacrifice so much...and this 4th of July, I know he is the sparkle in every firework I see.

America's Generosity

I am amazed by the volume of e-mail I get from people all over this great nation...people share their willingness to support soldiers from all walks of life...can you imagine sending a care-package to a complete stranger? Yes, it is happening that is why this country is truly blessed with the most generous people I know.

The difference it makes to send someone a letter or a package to who is stationed out overseas is priceless, it is what makes us great. I get mail from soldiers all over and they tell me how good it feels to receive just a simple hello from a complete stranger, it truly shows how much we care for them and you know what they also appreciate it.

I hope this Fourth of July you will remember all the men and women who may not get to eat those great American foods we have during the holiday and then enjoy the fireworks. Don't take it for granted.

Enjoy each and every day for freedom is what we are all about and freedom is what they give every day they fight for us.
Happy
4th of July