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.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Marine Christmas Operations Order

I found this on facebook and thought it was soooooo super awesome I had to share.
Semper Fi and Merry Christmas!
via Harold F. Koempel

Christmas Operations Order

1. An official visit by LtGen Santa (NMI) Claus is expected at this headquarters 25 December. The following instructions will be in effect and govern the activities of all personnel during the visit.

A. Not a creature will stir without official permission. This will include indigenous mice. Special stirring permits for necessary administrative actions will be obtained through normal channels. Mice stirring permits will be obtained through the Office of the Surgeon General, Veterinary Services.

B. Personnel will settle their brains for a long winter nap prior to 2200 hours, 24 December. Uniform for the nap will be: Pajamas, cotton, light, drowsing, with kerchief, general purpose, camouflage; and Cap, camouflage w/ear flaps. Equipment will be drawn from Supply Officer prior to 1630 hours, 24 December.

C. Personnel will utilize standard field ration sugar plums for visions to dance through their heads. Artificially sweetened plums are authorized for those in their unit weight control program. Specifications for this item will be provided by the servicing dining facility.

D. Stockings, wool, cushion sole, will be hung by the chimney with care. Necessary safety precautions will be taken to avoid fire hazards caused by carelessly hung stockings. Unit safety Officers will submit stocking hanging plans to this headquarters prior to 0800 hours, 24 December, ATTN: S-4, for approval.

E. At the first sign of clatter from the lawn, all troops will spring from their racks to evaluate noise and cause. Immediate action will be taken to tear open the shutters and throw open the window sashes. S-3,OPS Plan (Saint Nick), Reference Enclosure No. 3, paragraph 6c, this headquarters, will be in effect to facilitate shutter tearing and sash throwing. NCO’s will familiarize all personnel with procedures and are responsible for ensuring that no shutters are torn open nor window sashes thrown open prior to start of official clatter.

F. Prior to 2400, 24 December, all personnel will be assigned "Wondering Eye" stations. After shutters are thrown open and sashes are torn, these stations will be manned.

G. The S-4 Officer will assign one each Sleigh, miniature, M-66, and eight (8) deer, rein, tiny, for use of LtGen Claus' driver who, IAW current directives and other applicable regulations, must have a valid SF 56 properly annotated by Driver Testing; be authorized rooftop parking and be able to shout "On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen, up Comet, up Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen."

2. LtGen Claus will enter quarters through standard chimneys. All units without chimneys will draw Chimney Simulator, M-6, for use during ceremonies. Chimney simulator units will be requested on Engineer Job Order Request Form submitted to the Furniture Warehouse prior to 24 December and issued on DA Form 3161,Request for Issue or Turn-in.

3. Personnel will be rehearsed on shouting "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night." This shout will be given on termination of General Claus' visit. Uniformity of shouting is the responsibility of NCO’s.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Belated Thank You

Last year, Leslie and her family made extra Christmas cards to be sent off to our troops. I realize it's been a year since Leslie and her family sent the cards, but I never thanked them.... better late than never, right? I know Emily Post says I have up to one year to write my thank you's... whew I'm just in time.

Thank You Leslie Bobb, Leslie's children, and her mother, Mary Anne Herbel for thinking of and supporting our troops during the holidays! 
Last week I had my sixth month dental appointment and cleaning. I see the same Dental Assistant every visit. This visit when I walked in, my Dental Assistant said to me, "Before I forget, you were the one who informed me on the needs of our Wounded Warriors and because of you, I donate to them every year. So thank you."

Just goes to show you, you never know who is listening, and how serious they will take you. A simple conversation about me participating in the annual Valour-IT fundraiser has turned into education and action for an otherwise uninformed civilian. 

Who have you talked to lately? With the drawdown of Iraq, and thousands still in Afghanistan as well as other hostile Middle Eastern countries, it's not time to forget our men and women. 

Remember... Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Iraq Drawdown

I have a lot of mixed feelings and questions about the Iraq drawdown. Over at War Retreat they have a post that shows information regarding Veterans who have served in Iraq, their families, and their lives now. There are even pie graphs for those who like pictures. Just remember, these are not just numbers, THESE ARE PEOPLE. People who have served multiple deployments, have PTSD, have lost a loved one to war, or a family that's lost a loved one to suicide. Check it out. Our Veterans and Active Duty need us, don't let them down.

Friday, December 16, 2011

UNBROKEN By Laura Hillenbrand ~ Book Review

When I originally bought Unbroken I had no idea what it was about. I supremely enjoyed Laura Hillenbrand's book Seabiscuit so I bought the book hoping I would enjoy it as much as I enjoyed her first book.

Unbroken showcases the life of Louis Zamperini. I'm ashamed to say I had no idea who Louis was, what his accomplishments were, or his story of survival before reading Unbroken. Unbroken is the type of survivor story that makes you think over and over again, How did he live through that? Hillenbrand sets the foundation for Louis strength in his resourceful childhood and family dynamics. Louis strength and determination help him achieve his goal of running in the 1936 Olympics as well as help him survive 47 days adrift at sea in an inflatable raft with two other survivors from his plane with no water, provisions, and sharks jumping into the inflatable raft in an attempt to eat the survivors.  After surviving the impossible, Louis and his pilot Phil reach land, only to be captured as Japanese POW.

The Japanese did not consider any Allied forces as Prisoners Of War but instead unarmed combatants, therefore they did not adhere to the Geneva Convention regarding treatment of POWs. The treatment of POW's by the Japanese was cruel to say the least. They were tortured, beaten, starved, enslaved, and were the victims of medical experiments.

The hope, teamwork, and compassion the POW's felt for each other is exposed through Hillenbrand's words. The support and love of the Veterans for each other after their release is just as present. Louis post war life and battle with PTSD is explored as well as how he recovers.

This is an amazing must read book that should be on everyones shelves. Once I started reading, I was held in its grip until the very last page. Louis, Phil who was his pilot, and all of the other POW's stories are an amazing story of survival demonstrating the Unbroken American Spirit.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Can PTSD Affect Your Immune System?

I recently ran across the article PTSD Invokes Sex Different Immune Responses, which was a study done back in April of 2011. The basis of the study was to determine if Men and Women who have PTSD immune systems respond differently than people who do not have PTSD. Many studies have shown that PTSD physically affects the brain, so why not the immune system?

This article suggest that immune systems in women with PTSD are affected, where as men's immune systems are not affected. The study wasn't big enough for anything more than suggesting this to be true, more research needs to be done. However, being a woman with PTSD who has developed some serious immune problems since being diagnosed, well I think this study has some weight. I guess only time will tell.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Devastation, Life, and PTSD

As I have posted here before, I have been battling PTSD for 8 years.  No, it’s not military related, as I’ve never served in the military. PTSD is not military exclusive it’s trauma exclusive. 

Christmas Eve 2010 was the first day of this dreadfully long year of 2011.  This year has throttled me with loss, death, betrayal, and lies in every aspect of my life.  Most times I feel as if I’m drowning in Jell-O wishing someone would throw me some fruit to use as a floatation device.  Having new triggers surface doesn’t do much for my sunny personality either.  I know I’m irritable, easily agitated, and withdrawn.  It doesn’t help that I’m constantly haunted, making the most mundane tasks difficult and frustrating.  Of course, I can’t let anyone know how I really feel, I’m SUPER MOM amongst many other titles.  I have responsibilities; I don’t have time for this.  Living in a secluded area means help is as close as 2 hours away.  Then there is the fact even doctors don’t know what to do with me, unless you count drugging me out of my gourd as a treatment plan. 

Who am I? I am a natural disaster.  Life as I knew it is over never to be the same.  I am now tasked with building a new life from the rubble around me, a task that seems more than a little terrifying. 

What has helped as I go through the rubble of my life deciding what pieces to keep and what pieces to throw away? Yoga.  Don’t laugh.  A reflection in Yoga The Iyengar Way by Silva, Mira and Shyan Metha says, “Emotions sway the mind from moment to moment, disturbing steadiness and peace.  Yoga opens and stabilizes your center, making the mind strong, able to withstand emotional strains.”  I have to agree, and I think the ladies over at War Retreat would agree as well.  War Retreat is an organization, which helps local yoga groups help Veterans.

Because I am so close to this topic, it is difficult to write about, so instead I am posting links to some of my favorite articles over at War Retreat.  I encourage you to bookmark War Retreat and visit them often. 

As for me, I will shower and dress, even when I don’t feel like it.  I will channel my inner Little Engine That Could as I climb mountains ahead.  I will take all of my broken pieces and I will breathe as I slowly discover the new pieces of me and how they fit together using yoga to calm my mind.  

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Marine's Gratitude

This morning I got the following letter from SSgt. W. a Marine currently serving in Afghanistan. I wanted to share.
Ms. Divine, 

I just wanted to say thank you for your package that was received today.

Knowing that we are loved and supported is half the battle and reminds
us what we are fighting for. 
I personally love going through pictures that kids have sent in.  It
reminds me of my own children. 
Unfortunately I don't have a whole lot of wall space to display them
proudly.  But I am going to put them on display in a binder or on a clip
board.  Thank you for your kind words. 

Have a Merry Christmas and A happy New Year. 

Semper Fidelis, 

SSgt W
SSgt W's letter illustrates how important it is for Americans of all ages to support our troops anyway we can. It means the world to them, to know WE care and they are NOT FORGOTTEN. I encourage you to make an extra Christmas card this year and send it downrange, or send it to me and I'll make sure it gets into the hands of a service member. It only takes a moment, and it means more than you'll ever know.

Remember.... Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meet A Veteran Day Media Coverage

For those of you who don't know, I live in a uniquely small town. How small do you ask? Small enough the newspaper, The Lassen Times is published once a week. All stories have to be submitted Thursday by noon, and the paper is delivered the following Tuesday. Oh... and did I mention the newspaper is free? One might think with such a small paper the names, places, and basic facts of the stories are accurate.... well I'll just say we get what we pay for.

As is the case every year, Veterans Day is widely celebrated in the local paper. This year, Words For Warriors had two pictures from Meet A Veteran Day included in their collage of Veterans Day celebrations.

I know the writing is small under the photos in these pictures, but the paper gave the credit of Meet A Veteran Day to the Janesville Faculty.  Janesville Faculty have gone out of their way to thank me for the assembly. I have also received much gratitude from Veterans.  Even though the paper got it wrong... again... I feel honored to have put the assembly together and look forward to next years assembly.


Their Sacrafice. Our Freedom.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Meet A Veteran Day Student Artwork

Students at Janesville School created some amazing artwork for the Meet A Veteran Day Assembly. Some teachers had their entire class participate, others offered extra credit, and some students had so much pride they created several pieces. The theme was "Patriotism." Below is a few examples of the patriotic artwork the students made.
This flag is approximately 6 feet wide and 8 feet long. It is made from the APE after school program participants hand prints.

Semper Paratus!

Semper Fi!

This We'll Defend!


Honor, Courage, Commitment

A students message to his Uncle.

This hand print flag and the artwork below was courtesy of the kindergarden class.

Art work donned the walls of the gym as well as the front of the stage.

 Below is a few of my favorite pieces of student art. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Meet A Veteran Day School Assembly

The goal of Meet A Veteran Day at Janesville School was to say Thank You For Your Service to our local Veterans and encourage direct communication between the students and the Veterans. I'm proud to announce the event was a success and here's what success looks like...

Students and faculty preparing for the flag salute.
The Veterans and I salute the flag.
Katie, a student at Janesville ROCKED the Star Spangled Banner.
A Janesville Student Body Officer read a Never Forget message explaining the symbolism of the POW/MIA table.
Janesville Students listened to their questions being read by Student Officers then waited patiently for the Veterans answers. 
Thanks to the Veterans who answered the students questions. Some were family members of Janesville Students. 

Corporal Barron, fresh from Afghanistan brought some of his gear for the students to see and try on.

From the students I have had a chance to talk to, they loved hearing the answers the Veterans gave to their questions. One student's question directed to the Navy asked if they'd ever been swimming in the water and what kind of fish they saw.  The answer was quite fascinating as the Navy man was in charge of retrieving a torpedo and just before he and his men got into the water the ship signaled there were SHARKS! Luckily, they retrieved the torpedo and no one was hurt. 

I hope to make Meet A Veteran Day an annual event at Janesville School. I would like to thank Subway and Janesville Parent Teacher Organization for helping to sponsor the event. I would also like to say thank you to my friends, Sheri D., Tawyna M., Donna K., Shannon M., Delia B. Kanani, Amanda M., Janesville Student Body, and the Janesville Faculty. Meet A Veteran Day was a success because of all of you. 

Lastly, I would like to say to ALL Active Duty and Veterans THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Meet A Veteran Day-Coming Together

For those of you who don't know, Words For Warriors is putting on an assembly at Janesville School on Thursday, November 10th called Meet A Veteran Day. We first announced it here. I am proud to say this event is coming together.

One of those friends I'd like to thank is Kanani from The Kitchen Dispatch . Kanani was nice enough to send Army Flair which will be given to the winners of the student art contest.

I would also like to send much gratitude to my friend and Blue Star Mom Sheri D.  Sheri and her Mr. Subway own the local Subways and have thrown in 10 coupons for free sandwiches to sweeten the pot!

The Air Force Recruiter was out of the office today.  The Army Recruiter was rushing out the door, and the Marine Recruiter gave me a cute smile. 

But the NAVY recruiter..... 

That's right there's so much you have to turn your head sideways.

There will be pictures, perhaps the local newspaper, and hopefully video to cover this 1st Annual Meet A Veteran Day. I'll keep you posted! 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ssgt Robert B. Cowdrey- Flight Medic and Angel

Picture from the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade facebook page for Ssgt Cowdrey's Memorial Ceremony

Ssgt Robert B. Cowdrey was serving his fourth deployment. He served as a Combat Medic with C Company "Dust Off" 3rd Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade. Task Force Poseidon.  He died in combat operations on October 13 in Afghanistan.

I can't find any words for this Soldier or his family. Only that he has been described as an angel who came from up above to help the wounded. I believe he is still an angel, up above, looking down on all those he loves, especially his wife Jill of 17 years and his three sons.

Here are some links about Brian's life, his work, and those who love him.

This link shows pictures of Brian at work in February 2010 in Marjah, Afghanistan when he was apart of the U.S. Army Task Force Pegasus team. All Eyes Photo Blog at

Quentin, Brian's little brother believes Brian died doing what he loved.

Read what U.S. Army Maj. Grahm Bundy of Sussex, Wis., and Task Force Talon Dust Off Commander had to say about Brian.  At the bottom is a list of his awards, which illustrates his loyalty and valor. DVIDS-NEWS 

Here are the pictures posted through the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade facebook page of Brian's memorial service. *Tissue Alert*

My friend at War On Terror News posted the last interview Brian gave Fighting For A Life and a statement from the Cowdrey family. Honor Brian's family and his memory by reading it. RIP SSG Robert B. Cowdrey

My friend, Laughing Wolf at BlackFive has a fantastic memorial post about Brian. The post includes a video made my Brian's youngest son after Brian's death. Go see it. GOD SPEED SSG ROBERT B. "BRIAN" COWDREY 

The blogger who goes by Assoluta Tranquillita is a close friend of Brian's. You can see her words, and those of others who love Brian. SSG Brian Cowdrey Who Shall I Send?

You will note I have a Warrior Remembrance Wall on the upper left corner. These are Soldiers and Marines that have had some personal impact on my life who I want to honor and remember. Brian is one of them. May God bring peace to his family and friends.

Chief Warrant Officer II U.S. Army, Richard "Dick" Muirhead

Photo courtesy Kristina Divine

Perhaps some of you remember the post back in January called Mom You're Crazy. This is where I bought groceries for a talkative Vietnam Veteran who's name I never got. The mans name is Richard "Dick" Muirhead. He was born February 19th, 1947 in Albany N.Y. On September 14, 2011 he lost his battle with cancer.

When I met him that day in Safeway, he was all smiles telling my boys about flying Huey's. Turns out he's a decorated Vietnam Veteran who served a second tour in Vietnam because "his brothers were there."  My children looked at Chief Warrant Officer II Dick Muirhead as if he wore a cape defending the less fortunate, and they were right to do so.

My boys and I attended Dick's funeral on Saturday, September 24th, 2011 as a member of the Patriot Guard Riders. Even though I joined the PGR over a year ago, I hadn't been able to attend a Memorial Service since becoming a member. Dick Myrhead's funeral was my first mission with my boys at my side.  It was an experience I will never forget, as I will never forget Dick Muirhead.

May your family find peace as you've been reassigned to duty in heaven.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Meet A Veteran Day

Veterans Day is a little less than a month away, Words For Warriors is doing their part by holding Meet A Veteran Day at Janesville Union School on November 10th from 1:30 to 2:30 pm.  This will be an event where select students will get to ask questions of Veterans from the various Wars.  Words For Warriors is also supplying school curriculum for any teacher who would like it. The curriculum is from The History Channel event Take A Veteran To School Day.

The goal is to help educate students on who Veterans are, why they are important, and how to thank a Veteran. If anyone would like more information, please feel free to contact me. I am very excited about this major school event and will keep you all posted!

Note: The above poster is available for free download and printing at

Friday, October 7, 2011

Captain Jack Randal's Rules For Raiding

While writing book reviews for the first two books in Phil Ward's Raiding Forces Series, which you can read here and here, Captain Jack Randal's Rules For Raiding have not only stuck with me, but I've been guilty of quoting them a time or two, so I thought I would share these rules with those who have not read Those Who Dare or Dead Eagles.  

Randal's Rules For Raiding
Rule 1. The first rule is there ain't no rules.
Rule 2. Keep it short and simple.
Rule 3. It never hurts to cheat.
Rule 4. Right man, right job.
Rule 5.Plan missions backwards (know how to get home.)
Rule 6. It's good to have a Plan B.
Rule 7. Expect the unexpected.

Major Jack Randal Rules is displayed on the first page of Dead Eagles for those who need refreshing. It occurred to me while reading Dead Eagles, Major Randal's Rules apply to everyday life. Take Rule 1 I've found even when I played by the rules, not everyone else does. Whether it's trying to control a pack of sugar crazed children while substitute teaching on Halloween, or talking to your husband it's always better to keep it short and simple, hence Rule 2.  Rule 3 Cheating in the books is more about taking whatever tool/weapon/person to tip the scales of advantage. In life I'd interpret it to mean use what tools you have to your advantage. Nepotism isn't always a bad thing. Discounts at a restaurant because you're good friends with the owner is nice too. Just remember to pay those favors back when you're able.  Rule 4 Right man, right job. This is a rule I think every person in an authoritative position should have tattooed on their brain. If one is truly utilizing the right man (or woman), right job theory without thought about involving ego, well just imagine the possibilities... 
Rule 5 Plan missions backwards (know how to get home) doesn't literally apply to the majority of the population of earth.  However, if you take it on a theoretical basis Rule 5 could be interpreted as, never forget where you came from, how you got where you are, and why you're going in the direction you're heading.  I found in life Rule 6 It's good to have a Plan B is an absolute must. In fact, if you add children into the factor I wouldn't stop at Plan B. More than once I've made it to Plan K. If you've spent much time around children this needs no explanation. Rule 7 Expect the unexpected ties into Rule 6 and also valuable in life. I have been waylaid by the unexpected in pretty much every aspect of my life at some point. Sometimes the unexpected is pleasant, other times it's not.

What do you think of Captain Randal's Rules?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gold Star Mother's Day

Gold Star Mother's Day is the last Sunday in September every year.  I've been thinking about what to write for Gold Star Mother's Day for over a month. Why is this post late? Because of an unexpected three dog emergency that occurred early Sunday morning after my oldest sons 8th birthday camp out party. The true nature of an emergency means leaving with only what you have on your persons. Sadly my lap top was not on me at the time of the emergency for the three unexpected days I had to spend in Reno, which is in the next state and an hour and a half drive, hence a belated posting.

I have met a few Gold Star Mothers, and I still have no idea what to say to them. The thought of losing a child is so devastating that I can't bear to even think about it. So what does one say to a Mother who's lost a child? "Thank you for your sacrifice" not only seems inadequate, but also unsuitable.  I personally don't know what my reaction would be if someone thanked me for the sacrifice of one of my children but I'm not sure it would be positive.

I was debating on the proper words to say to a Gold Star Mother  beginning my long drive home with three alive, but still sick doggies when I saw this truck driving in front of me.

This Nevada registered truck also had a Gold Star Family license plate. If this truck would have pulled into a shopping center, I would have followed. I would have approached. I would have admitted I have no idea what to say to a Gold Star Family member, but that I wanted to express my heartfelt sympathy for the loss their son.

If you come across a Gold Star Family member I encourage you to say something. I've been told from one Gold Star Mother, if you speak from the heart you can't go wrong.

You can read about the life of PFC Nicholas R. Wilde here

If you knew PFC Nicholas R. Wilde and have any pictures of him, I'm sure his family would appreciate you adding them to his Memorial album

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Dead Eagles- The 2nd Book In The Raiding Forces Series By Phil Ward

Dead Eagles is the second book by Phil Ward which will be released this November 2011. Major John Randal and his diverse team of covert operatives are back with more missions, more fire power, and more seemingly impossible assignments.

Dead Eagles is an exciting historical fiction page turner.  It has the perfect balance of military humor, military strategy, and social economics facing the British in World War II.  It is clear Phil Ward has brought his life experiences as a decorated Commissioned Combat Veteran and a former Army Ranger School Instructor through the many colorful characters placed in complicated, problematic, and unfavorable situations.

Dead Eagles is a delightful read and my favorite so far in the series.  I'm looking forward to Phil Ward's next book in the series. You can read my review of the first in the series Those Who Dare here.

Visit Phil Ward's official site at

Monday, September 19, 2011

A US Army Medic Wounded Warrior

Sgt. Brian Christopher Jergens, from Oklahoma is 22 years old and his wife is 18 years old. They were married a month before Sgt. Jergens left for Afghanistan. Sgt. Jergens, a medic was one of three riding in a Humvee when it was struck by and IED, unfortunately he was the most severely injured. He lost both of he legs below the knee, his ring finger on his left hand, a broken arm, a cracked vertebra, abdominal injuries to the extent doctors removed his spleen. Doctors also had to control the swelling of his brain.

It was only just recently, in the end of August that Sgt. Jergens opened his eyes for the first time at the hospital in San Antonio, Texas to the joy of his wife, Jennifer. He hasn't been able to talk yet, but he is able to track objects with his eyes, and his wife says he is very aware of his surroundings.

Sgt. Jergens followed in his fathers foot steps of enlisting in the Army to be a medic. His father, Sargent Major Brian Keith Jergens has been temporarily assigned to a post near his son who was recovering in Texas until today.  Sgt. Jergens was flown to California to continue his recovery at the Palo Alto VA today, September 19th. The Patriot Guard was on hand to support this wounded warrior and in welcoming him to California.

This warrior and his family has a long tough road to recovery in front of them. If you would like to read updates about his recovery his wife has set up a web page there is also a facebook group

I wish I could have personally been able to meet Sgt. Jergens to welcome him to California, it would have been an honor. In fact it is an honor to have him and his wife in California. I hope and pray he has a full recovery.

Thanking A Vietnam Veteran

Today while standing in a decent sized line at the Pharmacy there were two gentlemen sitting in chairs waiting for their names to be called. One man was lifting his sleeves and pant legs showing off his ink. He pointed to his arm saying, "This is from when I was in the service." Then proceeded to list off a division, and a unit I didn't quite catch. The other man asked, "Vietnam?" The man said yes, quickly moving on to the next tattoo.

Soon my name was called, I had my items, and as I walked past I stopped in front of the Vietnam Veteran and said, "Thank you for your service." He said, "What?" I smiled, "I over heard your conversation, Thank you for serving our country." The man's face turned hard, his gaze steely. I continued to smile, "I truly appreaciate all you've done for me and my family by serving in the military." The mans face softened a little, he gave me a slight head nod and a slit of a smile, "You're very welcome."

I thank people for their service all the time, this man is the first Veteran to look at me sternly, questioningly, defensively.  It makes me wonder if I'm the first person to sincerely thank him for his service and sacrifices.

The Veterans Awareness Coalition has a wonderful article titled What is a Vietnam Veteran. I encourage you all to read it.

Former Governor Schwarzenegger signed a State Assembly Bill 717 two years ago making March 30th Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, but shouldn't everyday be thank a Vietnam Veteran Day?
Photo Courtesy Kristina Divine

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Constitution Week 2011

Photo courtesy Kristina Divine

About 224 years ago a group of traitorous rebels gathered, wrote, signed, and agreed to the Constitution of The United States of America. Or was it a crowd of oppressed farmers who fought for their freedom from an intolerable monarchy?

Regardless of your view point, the Constitution of the United States was ratified and has been held up as the supreme law of the land for more than 200 years. In President Obama's official proclamation announcing September 17th as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day as well as the week starting September 17th through September 23 National Constitution Week he states,
"Americans are defined not by bloodlines or allegiance to any one leader or faith, but by our shared ideals of liberty, equality, and justice under the law.
Americans should be vigilant in remembering what our forefathers risked and lost in order to fight for ideas of liberty, equality, and justice. Americans need to bear in mind the ideas our nation was founded on  are under constant attack and it is up to us, Americans to fight for liberty, equality, and justice. 

Today America is in a precarious place with economic decay, unemployment soaring, and ten years of war weighing us down, circumstances which bond us with our forefathers who signed the Constitution. If you haven't read The Constitution of the United States recently, I encourage you to do so.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

POW/MIA National Recognition Day- Never Forget

Copying of this poster is encouraged by the DPMO. Feel free to share.
According to the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) statistics, which where updated as of the writing of this post: 73,787 men are still missing from World War II, there are 7,985 service members unaccounted for from Korea, and 1,682 men are waiting to come home from Vietnam.  (Some remains have been recovered and are under going DNA testing for identification.) There were 49 service members listed as POW/MIA during Desert Storm, all 49 souls have been accounted for, the last man was laid to rest in 2009. The DPMO collaborates with several government agencies and countries in Asia to locate and confirm the remains of warriors spanning past conflicts and wars.

Every 3rd Friday of September is POW/MIA Recognition Day in the United States of America, how many citizens know this? How many children in school are taught to remember those who've yet to make it home? How many cities and towns hold POW/MIA ceremonies of some kind? Or even fly a POW/MIA flag? Why should Americans, who've been at War for ten years care about those past Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen who have been missing and could dead after all this time?


Because the motto "Leave No Man Behind" is not a hallow phrase spoken flippantly. There are families and loved ones of 83,454 warriors who are waiting for closure and peace of mind.  That means there are thousands of Fathers, Mothers, Brothers, Sisters, Sons, Daughters, and Grandchildren who are waiting for word of their loved ones fate. They are plagued with questions....

What if they are still alive?
What happened to them?
If they are dead, how did they die?
Will they ever be found?
Will I ever be at peace?

The Warriors who have yet to make it home deserve Honor, Respect, and Remembrance of a nation they fought and served. The remains of 29 men have been identified and laid to rest in 2011 according to the DPMO. If you would like to read the names and in some cases learn a little about the men please click here. 
Copying of this image is encouraged and welcomed.
How can you honor those still missing? You can fly a POW/MIA flag tomorrow, Friday September 16th. If you discover a government building not flying the flag, you can kindly remind them flying the POW/MIA flag has been written into law. You can download this free 2011 POW/MIA Remembrance Day poster, post it as your profile picture on your social media accounts like facebook and twitter. You can have copies of the poster (per the DPMO website that offers the posters, for free) and display them in your home, office, or apartment building as a reminder to all Americans. You can wear a black arm band, explaining when asked that you are doing your part in making sure the POW/MIA's sacrifices will Never Be Forgotten. You can ask those around you at work, or school to take a moment of silence at 10 am on Friday, September 16th in honor of those Warriors and their families awaiting their arrival home.

Remember.... Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom.

Words For Warriors is hosting a Moment of Silence of Facebook, you can join the event at

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The 10th Anniversary Of The 9/11 Attacks

I realized today that my children, who are about to turn 6 and 8 years old have never lived in peace time America. This broke my heart just a little. What else brakes my heart? Every time I'm introduced to a Gold Star family member. If anyone knows adequate words to say to someone who's lost a child, a spouse, a sibling, or a parent please let me know. Saying I'm sorry for your loss seems completely deficient.

But I digress....

Ten years have passed. Ten years of War. We've had two presidents. Gas prices have gone from approximately $1.50 per gallon to $3.89 per gallon where I live. The government developed new agencies like Homeland Security, and the TSA to supposably keep us safe from future terrorist attacks. There are fewer and fewer signs of patriotism in everyday life as civilians without military connections grow weary. I fear such apathy will develop into only vowing to never forget once a year, instead of being diligent about remembering the lives lost on that September day, and every day since. When I say remember and never forget I don't just mean American lives, American's were not the only passengers on those planes or in the WTC. See a previous post Never Forget. Thousands of Coalition lives have been lost in the last ten years as well.

I asked one of my friends who has been on multiple deployments and lost friends what September 11th meant to him. He said, "It shows the myth is busted. America is not invulnerable. We need to always be vigilant."

Here are some other blog postings and articles I think are valuable. I encourage you to read them, as they each have a different perspective on September 11th.

An Unlikely Hero  by Rebecca Liss, Slate Magazine. 
I personally believe this is an unfit title, but the story brought a tear to my eye.
Semper Fi

Sorrow and Resolve  by Maryann of Soldiers' Angels Germany.
I've had the privilege of meeting Maryann. She speaks as poignantly as she writes.

A family remembers: Hero of 9/11 gave life to save thousands by Jess Wisloski, NYC editor Yahoo News.   
This title says it all. It is a family friendly version of Rick Rescorla's actions on 9/11.

Rick Rescorla - BadAss Of The Week
I have to post a warning for profanity, but this blog goes into Rick Rescorla's couragous military history from England to America to 9/11. The word Hero doesn't quite encompass what Rick Rescorla was.

Talismans, 9-11 and #PTSD by Mikey Piro, ptsdsurvivordaily.
An officer who lost family in the towers remembers.

Ten Years Gone  by Tom Sileo The Unknown Soldiers.
An interesting juxaposition between 9/11 and the recent helicopter tragedy that killed 30 in Afghanistan.

9/11: On Kindness  by Kanani. The Kitchen Dispatch
A unique look at compassion sparked by 9/11.

Patriot Day 10 Years Later The American Legion

9/11 + 10 Years: Fears Realized  by WOTN Editor, War On Terror News

Honoring Sgt Chad Frokjer

Image Credit to Sandra Oshiro
Sgt Chad Frokjer a Minnesota resident was killed in action by an explosive devise on June 30th 2011 in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He was an experienced Marine on this third deployment. He served with the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Pendleton. Governor Jerry Brown of California and Governor Mark Dayton of Minnesota ordered all State Flags and American Flags flown at half mast in Sgt. Frokjer's honor on July 9, 2011.

Like so many Marines, Sgt Froker found out he and his wife were expecting a son, Eli their first child while he was deployed. Eli will now learn about his father from his fathers Marine brothers, sisters, and family as they will not meet in this life. Eli is expected to arrive sometime this month.

My fellow blogger Glory, Guts, and Glitter attended High School with Sgt. Frokjer. It is very difficult for her to write about Chad, but she has made two attempts. In her post Update Shmupdate
she mentions the loss of Sgt Frokjer and her personal way of honoring his memory and family.  On August 11th she honors Sgt Frokjer on his 28th birthday. Here is an excerpt.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I began making bracelets to help raise money for his wife Leslie (whom I've never met) and their unborn son Eli.  But I see this as more than a fundraiser.  I remember a Sesame Street book my mother read to me as a child.  Bert was having a hard time remembering to do something, so he tied a string around his finger to help him not forget.  To me, these bracelets are that string around Bert's finger.  I'll never forget the last message I received from Chad on Facebook, jokingly telling me I was stupid for trying to get back into the Marine Corps.  (Many Marines tend to have a love/hate relationship with the Corps.  It's a tough job with a lot of bullshit at times, but I don't know any Marine who would trade in their years of service for something else.  Chad loved what he did.)  Not only are these bracelets a reminder of the sacrifice Sgt Frokjer made for us, but a reminder of all who gave their lives for our country.
For those faithful readers of my blog, you know I honor the fallen every chance I get. I have given a donation to the family and have received a large number of bracelets. My plan is to hand them out as thank you for donations of postage, supplies, and for the children who draw pictures, and write letters for me to send off. I have also promised I will share with every recipient of a bracelet Sgt Chad Frokjer's story. His memory will always live on.

Semper Fi!

This flag flew in Afghanistan by My Master Jedi Marine in 2010. You can read that post here. It seemed appropriate to use a flag that a fellow Marine gave me to honor Sgt Frokjer.