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.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day In Pictures

My seven year old boy described the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day as the following;
Memorial Day is to celebrate the dead Veteran's. Veteran's Day is to celebrate the living Veteran's. In cased you are still confused here are some cartoons to help you with the true meaning of Memorial Day.

USBA: Remember Memorial Day

USBA Remember Memorial Day 2011 is a painfully honest compilation of images rendering what the majority of American's think Memorial Day represents.... and the truth for the rest of us. It's not very long and most definitely worth your time. At the end there is a place for you to enter email addresses to share it with all you know, and you should.

Check it out. Spread the word.

Friday, May 27, 2011

What is Memorial Day?

Memorial comes from the latin word memorialis meaning serving as a reminder. The definition of Memorial is a structure or event established to commemorate a person or an incident. Memorial Day is a day to remember those who gave their lives for our country.  Every person who enjoys the freedoms America has to offer should be grateful to those who fight, have fought, and have lost their lives protecting America.

Sonia Roads visits her son, Lance Corporal Tyler A. Roads

Why is Memorial Day important?

Memorial Day is a national day of remembrance.  A day to honor, grieve, and share the memories of those who have fallen. When I asked an active duty Marine what Memorial Day meant to him,  he told me it is deeply meaningful for him.  He remembers the service of his Great-grandfather as well as his fallen brothers in his Marine family.

I think my friend who is a retired Sailor said it best when he said, "Freedom isn't Free, because Freedom is never paid for... it is only rented." Men, women, and their families have been paying the rent of freedom on our behalf for years.  Memorial Day is the day we say thank you by honoring their sacrifice.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial 

The Korean War Memorial

The Women's Memorial

How can the average citizen show gratitude on Memorial Day?

Fly the American Flag proudly at half mast from dawn until noon. Go to a local Memorial Day Parade and ceremony at the cemetery.  Visit a local monument. (If my small practically nonexistent town has monuments I'm sure yours does too.... check it out.) The Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts preform flag placement in the cemeteries in my area, they always need help and it's a great way to get children involved in a positive way.  I have found flag placement in cemeteries to be fulfilling as young children take pride not only in their flag, but in those who died fighting for it.

None of the above activities takes a full day, so there is still plenty of time for that family BBQ or run up to the lake.  My point? There is no excuse for not paying proper respects and honoring the fallen of this great country.

Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom.

President Truman's promise at the WWII Memorial. 

If you haven't gone to The Five Days of Remembrance to honor someone this Memorial Day, do it now. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Five Days of Remembrance to Honor Memorial Day

The purpose of Five Days of Remembrance is to honor the sacrifice, service, and memory of those who have protected our great nation.  Beginning May 25th, leave a comment below with the name, rank, country, and service branch of the person, or military working dog whose sacrifice and service is to be remembered and honored. Share as much as you're comfortable about your service member, be it their story, a memory, or just tell us who you're remembering these next few days.

Please only honor one person per comment, but feel free to honor as many people as you wish.  All Americans have our honored dead to remember this holiday weekend. Connections need not come from personal relationships, but can also be born of touching stories shared on the news, from friends, and from family. Looking over the Medal of Honor Citations will yield stories of heroism and dedication to duty like none you've seen before.

Please leave your email, or other contact information in with your comments because at 6pm PST all comments will be given a number, and using one entry will be issued a $25 gift card courtesy of 

Remember and Honor Their Sacrifices for our Freedom. 

Click here to see more

Update: The winner of the Medals Of America $25 gift card is Daniel who shared Sgt Erwin's story with us. Thanks to all of you who took the time to participate. For those of you readers who contacted me to say you just weren't ready to share those you've lost, no worries.  Take your time. I'm not going anywhere.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Remembering The Dogs Of War

Dogs have been man’s best friend for hundreds of years.  They have played the role of protector, defender, hunting companion, and family member.  Since dogs are intelligent, they are perfect partners for helping mankind in a variety of ways.  A dog’s sense of smell is renowned; in fact it is so remarkable Japanese researchers are currently conducting a potentially life saving study where dogs diagnose cancer in humans.  Dog’s brains and noses are clearly built for pursuing, tracking, and stalking prey.  Whether the pray is a rabbit, a pheasant, a missing person, a German in World War II, narcotics, or explosive components, dogs are the perfect weapon to accomplish the mission. 

The single minded focus dogs demonstrate while stalking, combined with their unfaltering loyalty make them ideal partners with militaries around the world.  Since 2005 bomb or IED sniffing dogs have increased exponentially in Afghanistan.  Currently the United States, Australia, Canada, and Great Britain all use dogs to detect IED’s in Afghanistan.  The importance of the “Sniffer dogs” mission, to save lives, fused with the troops ability to bond with the dogs is evident by the presence of several veterinary clinics to ensure the Sniffer dogs health. 

Sniffer dogs wounded in action have been treated as true brothers and sisters in the military family.  Canine units have been given the same priority as injured NATO troops.  In cases of extreme emergencies the dogs have been medivac to the Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit (MMU) where dogs have received life saving major surgery.  The MMU surgeons have agreed to treat the dogs when certain surgeries are too complex for the small veterinary clinics.

When a Sniffer dog is killed in action, he is mourned like a true brother.  After an in theater memorial service, the sniffer dog is received back to it’s country with honors.  If the dog’s handler is also killed in action, the two are buried together.  Staying true to “Never Forget” the Afghanistan War Dog Memorial Project has been established.  Mahor Donna DeBonis, who served as a Veterinary Officer at Kandahar Airfield in the Summer of 2009 founded the Afghanistan War Dog Memorial.  The current mission as stated on facebook is, “To create and build a War Dog Memorial lodged at Kandahar Air Field by September 11 to pay tribute to the War Dog Lives lost in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.  The Memorial was built for the dedication ceremony OCT 2009. It is maintained by the US Army Veterinary staff on duty at KAF.”  The plaques for the memorial were donated by Cheryl Musket of the AMEDD Museum at Ft. Sam Houston.  Albert Staniforth, a Canadian Civilian Contractor and SGT Wes Stewart contributed their labor to the effort.

Some might wonder, Is it necessary to have a war dog memorial?  A British paper reports that Sniffer dogs and their handlers are HVT or High Value Targets.  The Taliban are seeking out these teams with focused snipers since they have been impacting the efficiency of Taliban IED’s. Read the story of  Lance Corporal Liam Tasker and his Sniffer dog Theo to see the impact these teams have in country and around the world.

With the approach of Memorial Day, I ask you to extend your thoughts, prayers, and thanks to honor the brave IED Sniffer dogs that have lost their lives saving our children and Afghan children from IED’s. 

For a photographic history of dogs in the military around the world check out The Dever Post Dogs Of War

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Where Have I Been?

I've been having fun....
I was at the Milblog Conference on April 29th and 30th where I met The Sniper as well as a number of other bloggers on my Blog roll. I was so excited I forgot to get photographic proof of the others. Oh and Spockgirl.... I told John Lilyea from This Aint Hell, But You Can See It From Here that you would send the check for the hug. 

This is Household 6 Diva she is an Army Wife, a Mom, and a fantastic photographer! She has a ton of great links and a few of her post made me cry... or I might have had something in my eye. 

This is Mark Willis. He Debuted this song at the Milblog Conference. Listen to it. 

After the Conference I decided to explore as much as I could of Washington D.C. and Virginia. 

I got a stranger to take my picture. Thanks stranger!

Gettysburg was overwhelming. A must visit for everyone.

This stranger got me with my eyes closed. Not all strangers are equal.

The Korean War Memorial was one of my favorites.

Another Stranger took my picture. 

I witnessed the changing of the Guard three times. Amazing.

Six names where added to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial while I was visiting.

A middle school leaves a note at the Vietnam Wall.

The Women's Memorial.

Went to LOTS of museums. Got to see stardust. 

I got to hold a centipede.

It taste like chicken.

Visited the USS Wisconsin in Virginia Beach

Being six feet tall I learned I'm not built for a Battleship. I was very grateful for the hard hat, which I think I made look pretty good.

Look out, I'm in the Captain's chair preparing my guns...

The Navy guys on the tour couldn't help point out the difference between their guns and...

And the Marine guns on the ship.

I found this in the gift shop.... ouch.

The Nautilus museum next to the USS Wisconsin has a ton of military history.

I got to show my super mom strength and save a small child from this car.

I'm home now.... planing for next years vacation.