To encourage and fortify relationships between military service members, veterans, their families, their friends, and their Country; to nurture the path of communication for everyone, ensuring that no one is alone or left behind; and proving that we have not, are not, and will never forget the nobility of their sacrifices.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Gold Star Mother's Day

During World War I families displayed Blue Stars in their windows identifying them as having a loved one fighting in the War. The tradition came to superimpose a Gold Star over the Blue Star if the family member serving in the War was killed.
I think a simple tradition, like placing a Star in a window might help chip away at the apathy the majority of the American's feel towards the current Wars. (I say current Wars, because even though we are officially not supporting combat operations in Iraq, we still have men dying in Iraq.) Seeing the Blue and Gold stars in passing windows as one were to drive to the supermarket to get milk might help bring the Wars closer.  It would also give the general public an opportunity to recognize and pay proper respect to the family members who serve.
Sunday, September 26th is Gold Star Mother's Day. Just as it is important to Thank those serving in the military, it is important to Thank their Mothers, ensuring their sacrifices for our great Nation do not go unnoticed.
From one Mother to another, Thank You for all you have endured for my freedom, and that of my families freedom.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trust, Believe, And Blind Faith

I recently heard someone say, “I don’t have anything invested in the War in Afghanistan.”  I don’t understand this thought.  As American’s we have men and women’s lives invested.  We have mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, and friends invested in the War.  I have felt the impact of casualties of War one person removed.  Having felt the pain of losing people close to me, I feel sympathy for the families and loved ones, without having known the fallen. 
Recently the War in Afghanistan has become more personal for me with the deployment of a good friend.  It is a different feeling having someone I care about go to War, versus meeting someone who is already at War; that I come to care about, which has been the case in the past.  Now that the War is personal, I find my thoughts drifting there often.  I wonder how he is, what he’s doing?  When I hear of an attack, helicopter crash, or a casualty I can’t help but pray he’s safe. 
This morning I received an email from my friend.  His very short note gave me the same high Christmas morning gave me as a child.  I smiled until my cheeks hurt.  This evening I discovered another friend was waiting for the identities of men killed in action.  I was told, “This is the life.  It’s what you do.  You wait.”  Now that War is more personal to me, the news of casualties impacts me with more feeling, sadness, and fear.   
I have lost people close to me, so I understand grief.  I understand the questions and pain it raises.  Have felt the hole left at weddings and births from the absence of the person who should be there.  I have cried in pain wondering if I will ever be happy again.  It is because of this understanding my heart goes out to friends and family to those who die in war; for it is the ones left behind who feel the most pain. 
When I expressed my fear of death for my deployed friend my grieving friend told me, “You have to trust in his team, in his friends, in their training that they will take care of each other, or die trying.” 
It never occurred to me civilians need to trust in those they have never met to protect the ones they love.  In the civilian world this is an unusual concept.  I have found many who would rather not get involved than protect, or watch the back of another person, especially one they don’t know very well.  I know with confidence any one of the military friends I have, would give their life for a stranger.
It made me think, knowing you’re not alone, that someone always has your back must be comforting.  I imagine this is the sort of faith children have in their parents, but a parent/child relationship is not the same kind of relationship, which binds in war.  A parent would die for a child, but a child would not die for a parent.  (Nor would the parent want them too.  This is the difference.) 
Another difference is environment.  When at war the smallest decisions, like untied shoelaces, hold the possibility of being deadly.  If shoelaces are not tied, it slows down reaction time, putting a teammates life in danger.  In the civilian world, untied shoelaces do not mean possible death. 
The average American is not routinely faced with dangerous or deadly situations, and if they are, their normal response is flight or submission.  In the past I experienced two separate situations where I was faced with men bigger and stronger armed with weapons.  Being far from “average” I fought them armed only with pure rage and words, winning both battles.  At no time did the thought of “back up” cross my mind.  I was alone and I knew it.  The only trust I had; was in myself.  This is the trust of a typical American.  Fact is, I have a handful of people I trust with my life, and still have fingers left over.  Trust is not easy.
The idea of being surrounded by people who constantly protect each other everyday, as shown in the little things like tying ones shoelace or staying hydrated is a foreign concept to me.  It is a concept I will accept and believe in though, because believing gives me hope.  Hope that more men and women will reunite with their families than funerals attended.   
In the end, I am forced to trust, believe, and have blind faith in the bond generated by war.  To trust in the brotherhood that combat creates to protect those I love.

Operation Postcard Contest

Words For Warriors is having its first contest. It is an art contest for children of all ages. I am looking for Patriotic artwork to make postcards from that will be sent downrange as words of encouragement, making sure no one feels forgotten about.
Artwork may be sent via email to
or by snail mail to

Words For Warriors
P.O. Box 734
Janesville, CA. 96114

There is NO limit to the amount of entries one child can submit. The Deadline for artwork is Friday, November 5th, 2010. The winners will be announced on Veteran's Day, Thursday November 11, 2010.

Please include Child's name, Age, and Hometown along with Parent's name and contact information. There will be different age groups depending on the volume of artwork received, meaning multiple prizes. For you new readers, local businesses display postcards, giving their customers the opportunity to write words of support. Words For Warriors collects the postcards sending them downrange to Iraq and Afghanistan to our Warriors. This program was a huge success in our local Subway over the summer. I should note any artwork received through snail mail will be forwarded downrange for support.

If you don't believe in the power of simple words or children's artwork I encourage you to read here, here, here, and here to see what a few of the troops who have received letters and care packages from Words For Warriors had to say. Just so you all know, I have a wall that is ten feet high and eight feet wide covered in Thank You notes and pictures from warriors. They are grateful for what they receive. Many Veteran's I know keep the letters and artwork they receive while deployed for the rest of their lives. It means THAT much.

Here is one postcard from this summer with a special note of appreciation.
Update as of September 26th 2010: I would like to stress this contest is open to ALL CHILDREN who are residents on planet earth. If you know a child on planet earth who has made patriotic artwork, please enter them into the contest. As a reminder there is NO LIMIT to the amount of artwork one child can submit. ALL received artwork will end up in deployed service members hands and will NOT be returned to the artist. 
Some really fantastic artwork is coming in, and many of them with a story of inspiration. If your child's artwork has a story to accompany it, please send it as well. I love to read them, and I know the service member who receives the artwork will love it also. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Suicide Prevention Month

Suicide is a very raw word wrapped in a plethora of sensitive emotions.  The subject has been touched upon twice here on Words For Warriors. Once by me in the post, How Words Saved A Life and once by Ben in his post, Companion To Honor.
The suicide rate among military personnel has risen, and continues to rise at an alarming rate. In recognition of the rising suicide rate the Army expanded National Suicide Prevention Week, September 12th through the 18th to National Suicide Prevention Month.  The website for Department Of Defense Health System posted a variety of resources for Commanding Officers, Friends, Family, along with the Suicide Hotline for those who need immediate help.
The United States has been at War for 10 years, our longest War to date. This translates into multiple deployments, increasing stress.  With large volumes of artillery and IED's being used in Iraq and Afghanistan Traumatic Brain Injuries and PTSD numbers are increasing. These are all major stress factors that can lead to suicide.
It is my personal opinion that military suicides due to the stress of War, should be considered a casualty of war.  After all, it was the experiences and stress of War that pushed the individual to suicide. I look at it like this, if a person who dies due to an IED they are considered a casualty of war, whether they die on foreign soil or US soil. Why then wouldn't someone who is injured with Traumatic Brain Injury or PTSD also be considered a casualty of war? The lack of means to recognize, diagnose, or understand a condition doesn't make it any less a reality.  (I would like to note, I am by no means condoning suicide.)
I believe José Narosky said it best when he said, "In war, there are no unwounded soldiers." Just because someone has all of their arms and legs, does not mean there is not a wound that needs healing. Hopefully the military's recent efforts to help those who need it will lead to less suicides.
As a civilian, I feel like there is not enough recognition of this problem. It leads me to John F. Kennedy's words, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." We have brave men and women to thank for protecting our country, isn't it time we asked ourselves what we can do for them? 

Veterans History Project

I love history, and not just the kind in the books. I love "his-story." Whenever I am around someone's grandparents I love to get them talking about their younger years. I have heard many stories about The Great Depression, World War I, World War II, and I treasure each one.  The stories of Vietnam, Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan are more difficult to get Veterans to share, for many reasons.  Pain, shame, and time frame being a few.  Some of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans haven't processed their own experiences, so how can they tell them? And do they want to?
I believe personal stories are a much bigger learning tool than any book. When you have someone who experienced a time first hand they give a unique story tailored to their circumstances.
Recently I had one of the most wonderful ladies in my life die. She would have been 85 in October. Almost five years ago in November there were two weeks this wonderful lady stayed with me as we waited for the birth of my second child.  During that time she shared stories with me of her childhood. Stories I will always cherish.  Speaking with her friends and family I heard more stories, not just of her life, but of her husband's life, (a man I missed the privilege of meeting) and their life together. It was then I realized their "his-stories" and the lessons in them live on in us, the people they loved.
History is important.  It is important to write it down so it may be shared with current and future generations with accuracy.  Which is why I think the Veterans History Project is important.
The Veterans History Project has been funded by Congress to collect first hand stories, correspondence, and documentation about World War I, World War II, Vietnam, Korea, The Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, and Iraq. There is even a program for High School students to use the Veterans History Project as a Senior project before they graduate.
I think the Veterans History Project is important to us as a Nation. It can help inform the masses with first hand knowledge about what a our Veterans experienced. It can bring younger generations closer, helping to dissolve the disconnect between themselves and Veterans around them. It can be a living monument to those who came home, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. It can help ensure that no one is forgotten. 
To those family members who have their parents and grandparents war memorabilia and don't know what to do with it, look into this project.
To you Veteran's out there, I encourage you to look into this project so you may tell your "his-story" your way, instead of letting someone else tell it for you. Being a Veteran automatically makes you a part of history.
Tell your story.

To learn more about the Veterans History Project please click here.

If you are interested in this project and want help, contact me. I will gladly help anyone.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Honor The Fallen of Afghanistan

As American's there are times we are guilty of believing the War On Terror, or September 11 only affected us.  This of course is not the case. Other countries lost loved ones on September 11th, and they most certainly have lost son's and daughter's in the War On Terror.  There are currently 45 Countries fighting in Afghanistan, not including the USA.
Thanks to my friend at Spockgirl Musings, we can all go to Fallen Canadians to view a list with pictures of the 151 proud Canadian's who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan. 
There have been 22 Australian's killed in Afghanistan. You can honor them by looking here
Since 2001 there have 322 British killed. You can honor them here. 
The Fallen of the United States of American can me honored here. 

The following is a complete list of coalition casualties as of Aug. 31, 2010
USA 1,192
UK 332
Canada 151
France 49
Germany 47
Denmark 36
Spain 30
Italy 27
Netherlands 24
Australia 21
Poland 20
Romania 15
Norway 9
Estonia 8
Sweden 4
Czech Republic 3
Hungary 3
Latvia 3
Portugal 2
South Korea 2
Turkey 2
Belgium 1
Finland 1
Jordan 1
Lithuania 1
New Zealand 1
Georgia 1
For a total of 1,985 son's and daughter's who have left behind family who misses and loves them. Each and everyone deserves our respect no matter what country they were born in or fought for.

Monday, September 13, 2010

National POW/MIA Recognition Day

The third Friday of September is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. It is a day of Remembrance for those who have yet to come home; and the families who await their return.
According to the DOD there are 81,864 POW/MIA's who need to be Remembered.  Who have families waiting for closure of some sort.  There are several ways to show our Countries Son's are NOT FORGOTTEN. You can fly a POW/MIA flag, wear a shirt like the one below found at Ranger UP.

(It should be noted that a portion of the proceeds from the Ranger Up POW/MIA shirt will be donated to the National League of Families to continue the fight to bring every last man home. Now if the guys at Ranger UP would only make the shirt in women's sizes.**I would like to note as of September 16 Ranger Up now offers the MIA/POW shirt in women's sizes.) 

This new POW/MIA poster from the DoD can be ordered here along with prior years posters.  Memorial Bracelets can be found at various sites on the internet with the name of a POW/MIA. You might even have a family member with a Memorial bracelet from the 1970's when they where first worn.

If none of the above options work for you, at the very least you can wrap a black cloth around your upper arm in Remembrance.  When someone asks why you're wearing a black arm band, tell them it is in Honor and Hope for those who have not made it home. NEVER FORGET.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


I saw this truck driving around. This kind of Patriotism deserves a shout out. Thank you in helping spread the message to Support Our Troops, our Warriors who are fighting and sacrificing so much.