color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: January 2006

Monday, January 30, 2006

What Zawahiri really said...

"I am among the Muslim masses."
You mean you're cowering with your tail between your legs among the innocent people in the hopes that it will protect you from the American military... Are you cowering in a rat hole? You and your ilk know no honor. You shield yourself behind women and children and innocent men. You are pond scum.
"You liars, greedy war mongers, who is pulling out from Iraq and Afghanistan?"
I predicted this so long ago... that when we did what we said we'd do (i.e., leave when the Iraqis could defend themselves), that the terrorists would all claim we were retreating... so laughable. They fool no one but themselves. Personally, al-Zawahiri, you'd be better off facing the barrel of an American soldier's gun than an Iraqi's (seems our soldiers have a different sense of restraint). We know propaganda when we see it (after all, we've watched American politicians for many years...)
"My second message is to the American people, who are drowning in illusions."
We have no illusions: War is hell. It is a long and difficult struggle. We have fought evil before. We know evil when we see it. You are evil. You need to die.. or be captured and stand trial for the evil you do. You and OBL. It is you who live in the land of make believe. Truce?
"We don't negotiate with terrorists," Vice President Dick Cheney said [at the time of the OBL tape]. "I think you have to destroy them."
My sentiments exactly.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Matthew 7:15-23
We are [trying to] bring democracy, freedom, prosperity, equality... What does Zawahiri and al-Queda bring?
And Ben Stein responds to Joel Stein... Thank you, Ben. Saints in Armor indeed. Thank you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


We Need YOU To Help Eddie Ryan!

Wounded Marine sniper Sgt. Eddie Ryan will soon be ready to come home (in about six to eight weeks), but his home is not ready for him.
The Ellenville High School graduate was shot in the head in a friendly fire incident in Iraq April 13. The two bullets, one to the brain and one to the jaw, left Eddie seriously impaired. He speaks haltingly. He cannot walk on his own yet, though the family hopes that will eventually happen. He gets around in a wheelchair.
Doctors at Helen Hayes Rehabilitation Hospital in West Haverstraw tell the family that Eddie's stay there could end in as soon as six to eight weeks.
Eddie could go to a rehab facility with a lower level of care, but that won't happen.
"I made him a promise that from Helen Hayes, he was coming home," said his father, Chris Ryan. "That's what he wants to do."
You can DONATE and read more at Eddie's Website.
I have followed Eddie's story for a long time... Helen Hayes Hospital is along the Hudson River on Route 9W not very far from where we lived in New York... part of what we might call "the old stompin' grounds." I truly feel for this family -- their home in Ellenville is at least an hour (on a really good day with no traffic and no bad weather) from HHH. I have sent an inquiry to Homes For Our Troops.Org in the hope they can offer the Ryans some assistance. And I hit the PayPal button on Eddie's site...
h/t Andi and Melinda for reminding me of Eddie... and reminding me again how lucky we are... Noah is...
Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Run on over to ANDI'S WORLD and read all about how Code Pink got outsmarted by the FreeRepublic (FReepers)! And if you don't know who Code Pink are, be sure to go to The Redhunter's site and read all about these despicable people -- these Pinko's actually gave $600,000 to the terrorists in Fallujah (no, I'm not kidding!) and these are the same people that Congressman Murtha has now "partnered" with... sad, very sad...

But Code Pinkos off the WR corners where our soldiers enter is just absolutely awesome news!

Now our wounded heroes won't have to be assailed by those mindless, annoying pinkos!!!

WHOOOOHOOO! Way to go FReepers!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Operation Iraqi Children

Children are the future of the world... Michael Yon writes another moving piece about work being accomplished by soldiers in Iraq to help the children there. Get over to Michael Yon's and read of the wonderful work being done and browse the pictures... and support Operation Iraqi Children. Here's a link to a video of OIC in action.
And then spread the word!
And don't forget OPERATION LOVE OUR TROOPS. Send a Valentine to our troops AND help set a world's record.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Between Two Worlds

365 days ago, I stood at Fort Benning and hugged my son and his buddies as they deployed to Iraq. Back then, we were told to plan for an 18-month deployment, but if they were home in 15 months it would be a gift. That they are home in 12 is a miracle in my book.

I have recently come to the conclusion that when you have someone deployed, you live in two worlds: "This" world and "That" world. In This World, everything goes on as normal. You go to work (for those that work), do the laundry, clean the house, pay the bills...… You know -- all the things "normal" people do.

But we're not normal. We also live in That World -- the world where the telephone ringing in the middle of the night is normal 'cause it's morning over there. The world where news is everything and vague reports of improvised explosive devices can raise your heart rate 10 beats a minute and unconfirmed reports of soldiers' deaths can cause you to inhale involuntarily. The world that can fall apart in an instant when the caller ID says it's Fort _____ or there's a knock at the door and the chaplain is standing there.

In This World, holidays are a day off or a reason to shop. In That World, holidays are markers of time passing... merely milestones until homecoming. First we got through Valentine's Day,… then Easter (telling ourselves that they'll be home next Easter), then Memorial Day (oh how we'll celebrate next Memorial Day!), Independence Day (we'll have the best barbecue next 4th!), Labor Day, Columbus Day...… just marking time in That World... the World where you live between goodbyes and hellos until it's goodbyes again.

In This World, birthdays and anniversaries, the births of children, the marriages of friends and family are celebrated with a degree of sadness because your soldier is not here... your soldier is in harm's way. Can you ever truly celebrate in This World when your heart is mostly in That World? We do but only because we are forced to live in This and That World.
We live in This World where the ringing phone is just a ringing phone -- an annoyance, an interruption... but we are forced to also live in That World where we curse because the phone does not ring often enough or can bring unhappy news... where 21st century technology is a tether to That World but which we curse in blackout or busy times when we are plunged into unwanted silence.

In This World, shopping is a normal every day activity, but because we also live in That World, it is a lifeline to our soldier: shopping for the things they need...… the things they like..… the things that tie them to home -- to us...… tie them to This World and learning that soft toilet paper or their favorite brand of salsa may be more priceless than gold in That World.

In This World there are 24 hours in a day, but because we also live in That World, we live a parralel 24. As we progress through our days in This World, we are calculating the time in That World and conjuring up pictures of what our soldier is doing at that moment. When we eat we wonder if they had a hot meal today...… when we shower we wonder if they had hot water for a shower or whether it was a water bottle rinse off...… we wonder if the mail even got through today. In This World, "Where did the time go?" is a simple phrase. In That World, it is a blessing that the hour or day went quickly because in That World time passes excruciatingly slow --… especially those last few days until that plane touches down and the senior officer yells, "Dismissed!"

In This World, you are brave, tough, and supportive and you dare not admit to many that in That World you are also weary, frightened, worried sick, and lonesome for your soldier and sometimes you cry about it for him and for you.

In This World, you smile politely when someone asks about the yellow ribbon pin or the purple "For Those Who Serve" bracelet you wear... and you smile broadly when they ask you to thank your soldier for their service in That World.
In This World you wonder why people clap when David Letterman or Jay Leno say hurtful things about the War while your soldier fights nobly in That World for their right to say it. In This World you find that you talk back to the television a lot and that you stop watching or listening to Senators and Representatives and clueless celebrities who can't seem to put aside their partisanship long enough to see the effect some of their mindless statements have on those that live in That World and are fighting That war. In This World you wouldn't dream of challenging someone demanding that we cut and run, but because we also live in That World, we have no qualms about telling them that they don't know their butt from an indentation in the Earth's surface and thoughtfully answer all their rote mumblings about oil, lies, wealth, WMD -- and when they spout "We support the troops" -- we don't hesitate to ask them to prove it!

Before this deployment, I thought that once our son -- once Our Guys -- were home, I would return to living in just one world -- This World. However, now that the deployment is over, I have come to realize that a part of me will always live between the two worlds. That World is now an integral part of This World for me... as it is for many others.

In This World, your friends are those you know in your neighborhood and from the PTA or Lions Club meetings. For the families of those deployed, our friends in This World include everyone that understands all too well That World: friends that are serving, those that have served, the families of those that are deployed, have been deployed or are deploying and the people that really do support them... always ready with a helping hand, an encouraging word, a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold in good times and bad. That World is a big world inhabited by a large family of which I am proud to be a member and for which I will forever be grateful.

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
Welcome to readers from NavyMoms, iVillage, Military Girlfriends -- and a Special Welcome to the Rakkasan community!

Thursday, January 12, 2006


Vinny arrived HOME tonight quite unexpectedly!!! Seems when they got to Kuwait for their special detail, they were told that some other unit had picked up the work AND THEY WERE GETTING ON A PLANE TO GO HOME!
Someone checking over a manifest at the Rear D called Noah at the last minute and said, "Aren't you waiting for R... ? Well, he's on the flight landing in 5 minutes!"
Noah grabbed up some of the other Guys, they hopped in the car and drove like maniacs over to the airfield... On the way, I get this phone call with Guys laughing and all talking into Noah's cell all at once telling me they were going over to get Vinny... the last of my "sons" to come home!!
As soon as he was BOTGUS (boots on the ground U.S.), he called just like he'd promised. I was laughing and squealing and must have sounded like a school girl! They were off to tip a few pints... said they owed seven guys a few brews... and pictures of Benford, Bohling, Watkins, Corban, Hardy, Byrd and Summers standing with their brothers at the bar flashed through my head... and it brought a smile to my lips and a tear to my eye. I told them to be safe (like I always do)... told them I loved them... they said they loved me, too...
I thought I would be OK when Vinny got home... thought I was over the "homecoming rush"... but as soon as I got off the phone, I bawled like a baby as the enormity of this year crashed over me.
I clutched my cross and thanked the Lord for bringing our Guys home safely...
Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Men Will Cheer, The Boys Will Shout...

UPDATE: ALL BUT ONE OF THE GUYS ARE HOME!! Rob, Mike, Kevin, Pat all arrived... but our Guy Vinny is still in the Sandbox... he volunteered to take a special detail... might be home some time next week.... So, still waiting... but this morning's phone call sure was glorious!! Nothin' like, "Hey, Ma!" to get your day started!

OMG! Our Guys are on a flight scheduled to land at 4:00AM tomorrow!!!
Our Guys are coming home!!! OMG! OMG! (Breathe... breathe...)
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give him a hearty welcome then,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The men will cheer, the boys will shout,
The ladies they will all turn out,
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.

The old church bells will peal with joy,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
To welcome home our darling boys,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The village lads and lassies say
With roses they will strew the way,
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.

Get ready for the Jubilee,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
We'll give the hero three times three,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
The laurel wreath is ready now
To place upon his loyal brow,
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.

Let love and friendship on that day,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
Their choicest treasures then display,
Hurrah! Hurrah!
And let each one perform some part
To fill with joy the warrior's heart,
And we'll all feel gay
When Johnny comes marching home.
Words by "Louis Lambert" aka Patrick Sarsfield GilmoreMusic from an Old Irish Folk Song

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Happy Pictures

(no, no word from Our Guys yet... maybe tomorrow or Thursday.... ) but here are some pics of homecomings...

a Vietnam Vet welcomes 3ID soldiers... they are there every flight to welcome them home
the buses... and those are just people passing by waving to the buses...

husband and wife reunited at last!!

one HAPPY couple

what would a homecoming be without the Band??

she was a newborn last he saw his child

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

(These photos published with permission.)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Another homecoming picture (one of the first of 3ID to arrive just after Christmas....

And there are lots of wives and Moms waiting today at Fort Benning... and as if waiting weren't hard enough, there have been flight delays -- rain (of all things!) in the Middle East... and we heard snow in Ireland?? So it just adds to the anticipation... To give you a closer look, there are times when we are following almost minute by minute on the (private) 3ID message Board... and it's like this EVERY DAY...
all the flights are delayed girls...please call rearD before you go down to the airfield

Ashley said their's was delayed about an hour...

one at 5:20pm and the next about 8pm I believe

Ashley got her call ARRIVING TODAY!!! between 4 and 5pm!!!! yippppppppeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Mama: ladies they're almost there !!!!! just got a text message from Ashley... still waiting she says HURRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY......

Mama: I'm trying to spin that clock as fast as I can !!!!! hours....only hours...

Mama: Ashley watch WTVM...tonight... they interviewed her.... and she is still waiting.... minutes... only minutes..

Mama: 5 mins she says !!!! that is only 300 seconds !

Army3IDMom: oh my gosh .. I'm afraid to leave the computer... SO EXCITING .... (breathe... breathe...)

and there are still 2 flights scheduled to arrive yet today... It really is wonderful!! I'm getting such a kick out of the young married couples... and it's so joyful to hear the stories of how excited the kids are to see their Dads... Redeployment! Don'y ya just love it???

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Oh Where Oh Where...

Head on over to the Mudville Gazette and learn how to send a Valentine's Day message to our troops -- AND help set a Guinness World's Record at the same time!

(Apologies... to the little dog that used to be in this song... new lyrics

Oh where, oh where have my soldiers gone
Oh where, oh where can they be?
With their hair cut short and their deployments long
Oh where, oh where can they be?

Still waiting... none on the 5:00AM flight... maybe later today... maybe later this week...

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Following the Yellow Brick Road...

From WTVM television - Columbus, GA...

More than one thousand Third Brigade soldiers will be returning to Fort Benning Monday, after a year long deployment in Iraq. The soldiers will arrive on four different flights.


Not sure if any of The Guys will be in that group... but I'm hoping... since I saw that one of the Guys had been online earlier this morning (my time) for the first time in more than a week (since they moved from buildings to tents to allow their replacements to move in), I'm hoping that means they might be in Kuwait rather than still in Iraq... Wishing and hoping and thinking and praying.... [Update: I just learned that all of Our Guys are in Kuwait!!! Don't ask me how I know (smile) but I know!! WHOOOHOOO! YIPPPEEE! YippeeAyyyYayyeKayee!]

More homecoming stories from the Third Infantry Division... WHOOOHOOO!! Note that the local veterans -- mostly Vietnam Vets and Gulf War -- are at EVERY single homecoming. Makes my heart sad to know that the Vietvets didn't get their homecomings as they should have... but the 3ID wives and moms are inviting these Vets to their parties for their veterans to thank and honor them! (That's one of the soldier's Moms waiting with the vets... GO MOM!!)

Greetings! If you are receiving a copy of this email it is because you are a special person in my life and during the past year you've listened to me, supported me when I was worried and scared, and prayed for a safe return of my brother, Kyle.

Well, I'm happy to report.......HE'S ON AMERICAN SOIL!!!!!

In true Army style we weren't informed of the date he would be returning, but a 'window' of dates. Apparently, they are supposed to notify the families 24 hours before the arrival of our soldiers and they didn't. My Mom and I decided to drive to the base in GA and wait for them. It's a 12 hour drive and the first scheduled flight of soldiers was scheduled to arrive at 7:30pm so we left at 5am (or something around there - I was still asleep since I NEVER get up before 9am). While sitting in a traffic jam in Atlanta we received a call that Kyle would be arriving that night and was definitely on the manifest. Later we were notified that he was on the 12:30am flight, which is good since the traffic in GA and extreme storms slowed our journey.

(This pic is not Kyle... but baby Noah son of Tarsa and Shaun!)

We arrived in GA and received our first call from Kyle as he was standing in his first American airport in Maine. He said there were veterans of WWII, The Korean, and The Vietnam war there to greet them. Kyle and his friends were so excited to see American soil that they decided to kiss the ground. However, there was too much snow so they decided to buy a beer instead. We told Kyle we had arrived in GA and asked if there was anything he wanted and his only request was for a 6 pack of beer. Do you see a theme? Apparently, they hadn't been able to drink this past year.
After my Mom and I settled into our hotel room we went to the home of a friend who was waiting for her husband to return on the same flight. Everyone was very caught up in the moment. Her kids had made signs covered in glitter and there were huge bundles of balloons everywhere. The house was abuzz with a number of people who were also waiting for their husbands, boyfriends, etc. We found out that Kyle's flight was delayed and his arrival time was now approximately 2:30AM.
Around 12am, we went to the gym to wait for the soldiers. I can't describe the excitement and anticipation waiting for their arrival. There was a person who informed us of what was going on prior to seeing the soldiers. We were notified when their plane landed (gym started to get louder with excitement), when they had boarded the buses and would be arriving in approximately 1/2 hour (yet louder), when one of the busses broke down (moans and groans from the crowd), and when the soldiers were transferred from the broken bus to a working one (back to excitement).
More and more people arrived at the gym and the time was now 2:30am. Everyone was so excited. The army band was now playing upbeat music and TONS of kids were running around waiting for the return of their fathers. There were also a lot of babies who had never seen their dad (these soldiers had been gone for a year).
The military police escort the buses (there were 600 soldiers) to the base. 15 minutes until they arrive. 10 minutes until they arrive. Louder and louder were the people and the band. 5 minutes and everyone was told to enter the gym and take a seat. The soldiers wouldn't be allowed to enter the gym until everyone was inside. Well this 5 minutes extended to a good 10 and all I could do was stare at the door where we were told they would be entering. Every person that walked through that door was a disappointment because they weren't a soldier in a uniform. There were photographers coming in and out of the staging area for the soldiers. Finally, about 15 minutes later, one soldier (in uniform) popped his head around the corner. At this point, my heart is racing, my hands are shaking and yup, I'm in tears. Tears of anticipation. Is that possible? Well, it was for me.
The band started playing a march and I SWEAR.....we waited a good 5 more minutes. I fixated on that door with my camcorder handy. I didn't want to miss any of those soldiers as they walked through that door to a gym full of screaming family member, vets, and well wishers. It was almost 3am and you would never have known by looking at all the faces around me. I wasn't the only one crying.
AND THEN THEY ENTERED............THE SCREAMING WAS UNREAL AND THAT WAS JUST ME. I started shaking (which is apparent from the video I made). They all looked alike. Uniforms, helmets, backpacks. 600 of them. They lined up into 20 lines and I knew I'd never be able to find Kyle, but I didn't care. He was in the gym somewhere. And eventually I'd find him. THEN we saw him. He was actually in front of one of the lines. What are the chances, but it happened. I panned in on him and even though I shook I could still tell it was him.
Once all the soldiers had entered we stood for the Star Spangled Banner. Then someone (apparently someone of importance) spoke for exactly 27 seconds. We were told after the singing of two Army songs we would be released to locate our loved ones. We were given a warning about getting to the floor of the gym. The top row was told they WOULDN'T be the first one to the floor so be patient. Thankfully, I was in the third row and only women and children were spared of my pushing and shoving to get to the soldiers.
After the singing of the songs it was 'ready, set, go'. I knew where Kyle was so I was going to run right to him. Well, that didn't happen. Unbeknownst to us (until later), Kyle said all he saw was a crowd of people running towards him and all he wanted to do was get out of the way. I don't know how long it took, but it felt like forever. According to the camcorder (which was still running) it was at least 2 minutes. I kept seeing EVERYONE reuniting with someone and yet my Mom and I were running all over the floor trying to find him. AND WHEN I DID.........all I could do was scream (as if I hadn't done enough of that already). The rest is a fog, but according to the tape I ran across the gym floor into his arms. Screaming and crying. The biggest elephant tears I've ever cried. I can't remember the last time I cried for joy and relief. He was finally back!!
Here's a video of that homecoming from the local news... (click "Excitement Runs High at Late Night Homecoming" under Featured Videos)
how about another?? ("Mama" is one of the Moms on the Support 3ID private forum who has spent the year taking care of all her "chicks"and is the unofficial contact for everyone that needs a proverbial hand to hold while waiting -- she's a treasure!)
I got a call on Wednesday from Shane stating that he would deffinately be in on Thursday. We were orginally told that he would be flying into Hunter at 3:45 a.m., but we all know the Army and how things do tend to change. Well, we finally got a call from Rear D and was told that he would be arriving at 8:00 a.m. Well I was on pins an needles until I got the call from Shane when he was in Ireland that made it real that he would be ACTUALLY coming in. We get up bright and early on Thursday morning, (yea like I actually slept) and got ready to head up to the post.
We made it to Cotrell Field around 6 in the morning. Where we sat and waited, I paced. I called Mama to let her know when the plane had landed at Hunter, we all hollered and thank the LORD that they were safe on American Soil. We then about an hour later got the call they were on the buses on on their way, the whole crowd exploded, then the countdown began, to which I am calling Mama and being told to breath... when the buses got there I LOST IT!! Mama still telling me to breath. I did get a picture of the bus that Shane was on as it rounded the corner. It seem liked forever for them to unload the buses and march on the field. I have pictures... They march on the field and I am waiting in the spot where my husband told me to meet him. They do the talking and singing of "Dog Face Soldier" [that's the 3rd Infantry Division song - listen here] and the Army song, and then they TOLD US TO GIVE OUR HEROS A WELCOME HOME, I am waiting and then THERE HE COMES... WE RUN, WE HUG, WE KISS, and WE CRY... IT WAS AWESOME... I had a friend there with us also that had no family there, and we gave him a Hero's welcome also.. WE ARE SO THANKFUL TO YOU ALL, THANK YOU FOR THE PRAYERS, EVERYTHING...
Keyboard not wet enough? Well, then watch this video... (click - Soldier Proposes to Girlfriend at Homecoming)

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Friday, January 06, 2006


Worrying and Worrying...
Saw the headline "Military: 11 G.I.s Die in Iraq Thursday" at FoxNews and just about sucked all the air out of my office. Don't know where Our Guys are at the moment, but there's nothing that chills me faster than to see "A U.S. Marine and soldier died in the attack by a homicide bomber... in Ramadi..." Praying for the families of all these Heroes... frettin' after the "boys"....
As for Jury Duty...
It was a DUI case. Allegations were that the guy had a .15 blood alcohol level at 2 hours post-arrest and .08 4 hours post-arrest. He had plead Not Guilty. So for the purpose of voir dire, the judge introduces himself and the prosecutor and the defense attorney (to determine whether any of the jury pool knows any of these people.) When it is the young public defender's turn to speak, she introduces herself and then begins by saying, "Well, the defendant is not here.. I'm not sure why he is not here... I'm not exactly sure where he is...." (Note to young defense attorneys: NEVER EVER voluntarily admit that you do not know where your client is or why he isn't there! We were all thinking -- okay, he jumped bail... he's sleeping one off... Up until that time, we just figured he was excused from the proceeding.
In the voir dire questioning, the judge -- a very cool guy -- is asking a series of questions and has asked any prospective juror to raise their hand if their answer is no to any question. When he gets to the question, "In order to be a juror, you must be a United States citizen and you must have a full and complete command of the English language." After seeing that no one has raised their hands, he says, "I've often wondered about that question... If you didn't understand English, how would you know what I was saying?"
About 45 minutes into empaneling a jury, the bailiff hands the judge a note and the judge (did I tell you he was a very cool guy?) says to the PD, "Your client's here," and turns to all of us assembled in the court room, "and with that we'll take a short break. Don't wander none too far." We were all chuckling about the defendant, "Uh-oh... somebody's in trouble for being late... I'll bet he gets his ears pinned by the Judge!"
10 minutes later, they call us back into the court room, we notice the defendant is now present, and the questioning of potential jurors begins again. Five minutes later, the PD hands the bailiff a note, who in turn, hands it to the Judge. The bailiff promptly announces, "Will everyone please leave the court room and wait in the outer room?" (when the defendant rose to leave, the bailiff points his finger at the guy and says, "Except you.") After exchanging quizzical looks, we exit the court room, whereupon five minutes later, we are all summoned back into the courtroom.
The Judge announces, "Ladies and Gentlemen, a defendant may plead guilty at any time during the court proceeding and this defendant has exercised that right. Thank you all for your service. You are welcome to stay and view the balance of this proceeding, but you are also free to leave." Most of us left -- some agreeing to reassemble at Starbucks down the road since it was just past 9:30 in the morning -- we all having been summoned to appear at the ungodly hour of 8:00AM.
Now our County Court House is a huge, commanding building and has very large staircases to the outside. As a number of us, including a rather petite and frail looking woman close to 80 I'm sure, made our way to the staircase, someone wondered why the guy waited until that day to plead guilty; I surmised that perhaps he had waited to see whether the police officers showed up to testify in the hopes of a dismissal and a number of people concurred. Then this frail, tiny woman handsomely announces, "The little a***hole -- you'd think he could have plead guilty yesterday so we wouldn'ta had to get up so dang early to be here today!" I'm sure they heard us all laughing blocks away!
My Dear Mother-in-Law
Say a few prayers for my dear 87-year old Mother-in-Law who is very ill and has been hospitalized with (at the moment) unknown maladies. DH is headed back to his tiny home town outside Chicago at 0-dark:30 tomorrow. Missing him already.
Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bulletin Boards and Jury Duty

This is a picture of the bulletin board above my desk. I was noticing how many pictures of handsome young men in and out of uniform I have on there (smirk). Also nieces, nephews, sons, friends' sons, friends of sons, daughter, sisters, brother, friends... And it's just about time to take down the map of all the original FOBs (Forward Operating Bases). DH and I were originally horrified that such a detailed map of the US positions was available on the internet -- but it was published in Stars & Stripes believe it or not. That's the Prayer to St. Michael (Patron Saint of Soldiers and Sailors) tacked just above Baqubah -- Noah's first location... and that's the St. Crispin's speech from Shakespeare's Henry V in the lower right corner... and the Prayer Chain for Our Military in the upper left... and the "I am a small and precious child" poem just to its right... I'll move lots of these things to the set of things I have accumulated for Noah over the course of the deployment. Earlier today I came across a summer newsletter that mentions five soldiers being promoted... one of those soldiers was Noah. Of the other four, one is still deployed, two (including Noah) were wounded in the same attack and both are home, and the two others were killed in action. Also in the newsletter were pictures of Sgt. B and Sgt. S, both of whom were also killed during this deployment. A new set of shivers.
So I have jury duty starting at 8:00AM tomorrow (I usually roll out of bed about 9:30! (hey, I'm retired!) so this calls for a stop at Starbucks on the way.) Most folks resist jury duty but I see it as one price of citizenship. If you want a judiciary that works, then you gotta do your part.
Hope at least it's an interesting case -- might be fodder for some blog posts. All I can say is it better be a short trial and that I better not be on jury duty when my Guys call to tell me they're home (grrr). So if posting is light the next few days, chalk it up to civic duty
Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Will The Post Print This?

From CRAZY POLITICO'S RANTINGS today... He asks all bloggers to go to his site and copy the whole piece to give it wide dissemination in the hopes that the Post will be "fair and balanced" and tell the other side...
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Will The Post Print This?

In yesterday's Washington Post, and editorial piece called "A Life Wasted" was printed, written by the father of a Marine who was killed in Iraq. I have no idea what it's like to lose a child in a war, but I have lost shipmates to terror. So while I mourn his loss, I disagree with Mr. Schroeder on Iraq being a waste.

A few weeks ago, the father of Sgt. Stokely wrote an article for Mudville Gazette on the loss of his son. He has expanded that article, and submitted it to the editors of the Washington Post as a rebuttal to Mr. Schoeder.

In hopes of fairness, and equal treatment of both points of view, I hope the Post will print his editorial piece also. He has given me permission to post here what he sent to the editors.

I thought I'd share my thoughts as the dad of an American Soldier killed in action four plus months ago, very near in time to Mr. Schroeder's son. My son was standing cover flank for two buddies checking out a suspicous location in the roadway while on patrol at 2:20 A.M. 16 Aug when an IED exploded. He was the only one killed. Two other soldiers suffered serious injuries and are now home on permanent medical leave and both are expected to make full recoveries after they finish med rehab and surgery.

Read (and copy) the rest... Crazy Politico's Rantings: Will The Post Print This?

Mike Stokley was a HERO to me and a Nation, and his father Robert is fast becoming a personal hero of mine.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Single Digit Midgets...

So Noah's LT landed in the U.S. today along with a few other soldiers from his Fire Team (Noah did not get to actually see the LT or the SGT 'cause he was driving a few Ft Stewart soldiers home who accidentally got placed on the Ft Benning plane -- hey, it's the U.S. wherever they land!) This is the LT that was the recipient of Melinda's 18 DOZEN out-of-this-world homemade chocolate chip cookies... So WELCOME HOME, LT JW and SGT J and the other Able Co. Guys!
Here's a little video of one of today's homecomings...
And here's some accounts of homecomings from a private 3ID message board...
The parents of this young soldier Brian live across the country and could not be there to welcome their son, so one of the soldier's spouses -- who has never met the parents or the soldier -- went to the plane IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT to be sure someone was there...
S -- I know you know but...HE' S HOME !!!!! K was there for Brian.. Standing on a chair screaming LOUD & CLEAR !!!! Brian was so excited to have someone there for him... then he asked WHO ARE YOU?? lol... She went with L... I might be a bit off on here as I don't think I'm completley awake... the main thing... he's home... SAFE AND SOUND ! K wants me to let everyone know... if you have a soldier coming in and you can't be there... let her know and she will be there for you !!!! ok now its back to bed for this ol' gal !!!!! WELCOME HOME BRIAN!!!! many many hugs and kisses & thanks to you both !!!!
and here was his Dad's response
I can tell you now that K is one stand up lady in my book!! J. and I are so appreciative that K was there for Brian... K called me this morning at four fifteen our time which is three hours behind the east coast. I got up at two-thirty which was five-thirty on the east waiting to hear. K you are the best! I appreciate your willingness and sacrifice to go and meet someone you never knew. I also want to thank D for getting in contact with you, as both of you are tops with me. I could write a book of how I feel and knowing my son is out of harms way now it is like someone just let the air out of a balloon. I feel tired now and I am sure Brian is also exhausted. I guess I better get off of here and call Brian's granddad and uncles or they will hang me. Again K, you are top kick in my book and I so much appreciate you for being there for Brian.
Here's another... this wife's husband is due home later in the month but she goes to as many homecomings as she can just to be sure everyone has someone....
I went to the 3:15 homecoming today...

what a sight! the news was there... so cool!
Hi-lites: one gal tried to run across the field in heels, finally kicking them off, when she reached her man, she just dove at him and wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist, all in a dress, it left no doubt that the fruit of the loom guys were still at her house LMAO! nice thigh high hose though!... she remained that way across the field... the jaws of life could not have pried her loose! oh it was exciting to see... nobody cared how they looked or what was seen when it came time to grab their soldier, including me... I was just happy to see so many happy faces!!!!
I got to see my friend Mike... I had him paged and he was happy someone was there to give him a hug!
now the thing that got to me the most was there was a soldier there with a cane... his group returned today... he showed me his injury and talked of being lucky to be alive and the pain of leaving his band of brothers... it is hard and yet comforting to see a soldier cry... I watched as he sought out each and every one of them and the relief on their faces that he was ok, too was just priceless... that is love at it's finest...something I will never forget!
And this from a soldier's wife T who went with her baby son N... and "R" is one of the other wives that T met on this support site...
I walked into the gym with N. and started crying, like a big goober. Then I sat down, then the band came, then I saw R and yelled, "R!" Then the guy talked, then he said that they were on Ft. Stewart. The whole time my legs were bouncing up and down. Then they came in, and I couldn't find him. Then the guy said that we could get them... R kept N and I took off, in a sea of DCU's... I couldn't find him, then I heard my name T... so I turned around and he was THERE!!! The world stopped for a long time, it was so right. Then R brought N to us, who was crying for his DADDY. He looked up at S with those eyes and went RIGHT TO HIM. It was terrific. Then R and S met, and we left, loaded the car, had to come to the house to get something for one of my soldiers and went to McDonald's and now he's showering... it was so great!! I will remember it forever. Thanks so much everyone, this was a great day/night.

There is no closer family than the families of those deployed...

And we're still counting down for the rest of Our Guys... but they are into the single digits or really close (we think -- since we don't have an actual comfirmation of their dates -- that's against OpSec)... but the Brigade Commander S. said the plan was to have every one of the Brigade home by about mid-month... and you know the Army never changes its mind or changes plans or planes... but DANG it's close!
Even with Noah home, seems I'm still waiting on that phone call that starts, "Hey, Ma!"
Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 02, 2006

God Bless Them - Every One

I had another post ready for today... but my high school girlfriend Gail (whose son is a Navy pilot and currently stationed in a hot zone) sent this to me and it moved me just as much as it affected her... so I wanted to share it with all of you. God Bless the Levins and God Bless America! What a great country we live in!

Philadelphia Daily News, December 22, 2005
By Ronnie Polaneczky

AND NOW, in time for the holidays, I bring you the best Christmas story you never heard.

It started last Christmas, when Bennett and Vivian Levin were overwhelmed by sadness while listening to radio reports of injured American troops."We have to let them know we care," Vivian told Bennett.

So they organized a trip to bring soldiers from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital to the annual Army-Navy football game in Philly, on Dec. 3.

The cool part is, they created their own train line to do it.

Yes, there are people in this country who actually own real trains. Bennett Levin - native Philly guy, self-made millionaire and irascible former L&I commish - is one of them.

He has three luxury rail cars. Think mahogany paneling, plush seating and white-linen dining areas. He also has two locomotives, which he stores at his Juniata Park train yard.

One car, the elegant Pennsylvania, carried John F. Kennedy to the Army-Navy game in 1961 and '62. Later, it carried his brother Bobby's body to D.C. for burial."That's a lot of history for one car," says Bennett.

He and Vivian wanted to revive a tradition that endured from 1936 to 1975, during which trains carried Army-Navy spectators from around the country directly to the stadium where the annual game is played.

The Levins could think of no better passengers to reinstate the ceremonial ride than the wounded men and women recovering at Walter Reed in D.C. and Bethesda, in Maryland.

"We wanted to give them a first-class experience," says Bennett. "Gourmet meals on board, private transportation from the train to the stadium, perfect seats - real hero treatment.

"Through the Army War College Foundation, of which he is a rustee, Bennett met with Walter Reed's commanding general, who loved the idea.

But Bennett had some ground rules first, all designed to keep the focus on the troops alone:

No press on the trip, lest the soldiers' day of pampering devolve into a media circus.

No politicians either, because, says Bennett, "I didn't want some idiot making this trip into a campaign photo op."

And no Pentagon suits on-board, otherwise the soldiers would be too busy saluting superiors to relax. The general agreed to the conditions, and Bennett realized he had a problem on his hands."I had to actually make this thing happen," he laughs.

Over the next months, he recruited owners of 15 other sumptuous rail cars from around the country - these people tend to know each other - into lending their vehicles for the day. The name of their temporary train?

The Liberty Limited.

Amtrak volunteered to transport the cars to D.C. - where they'd be coupled together for the round-trip ride to Philly - then back to their owners later.

Conrail offered to service the Liberty while it was in Philly. And SEPTA drivers would bus the disabled soldiers 200 yards from the rain to Lincoln Financial Field, for the game.

A benefactor from the War College ponied up 100 seats to the game - on the 50-yard line - and lunch in a hospitality suite.

And corporate donors filled, for free and without asking for publicity, goodie bags for attendees:

From Woolrich, stadium blankets. From Wal-Mart, digital cameras. from Nikon, field glasses. From GEAR, down jackets.

There was booty not just for the soldiers, but for their guests, too, since each was allowed to bring a friend or family member.

The Marines, though, declined the offer. "They voted not to take guests with them, so they could take more Marines," says Levin, choking up at the memory.

Bennett's an emotional guy, so he was worried about how he'd react to meeting the 88 troops and guests at D.C.'s Union Station, where the trip originated. Some GIs were missing limbs. Others were wheelchair-bound or accompanied by medical personnel for the day."They made it easy to be with them," he says. "They were all smiles on the ride to Philly. Not an ounce of self-pity from any of them. They're so full of life and determination."

At the stadium, the troops reveled in the game, recalls Bennett. Not even Army's lopsided loss to Navy could deflate the group's rollicking mood.

Afterward, it was back to the train and yet another gourmet meal - heroes get hungry, says Levin - before returning to Walter Reed and Bethesda.

"The day was spectacular," says Levin. "It was all about these kids. It was awesome to be part of it.

"The most poignant moment for the Levins was when 11 Marines hugged them goodbye, then sang them the Marine Hymn on the platform at Union Station.

"One of the guys was blind, but he said, 'I can't see you, but man, you must be f---ing beautiful!'" says Bennett. "I got a lump so big in my throat, I couldn't even answer him."It's been three weeks, but the Levins and their guests are still feeling the day's love.

"My Christmas came early," says Levin, who is Jewish and who loves the Christmas season. "I can't describe the feeling in the air. "Maybe it was hope.

As one guest wrote in a thank-you note to Bennett and Vivian, "The fond memories generated last Saturday will sustain us all whatever the future may bring."

God bless the Levins. And bless the troops, every one.

Yes, God Bless them, every one.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

2005 MILbloggies

Thank you to all of you that voted for my blog. And congratulations to all the other winners!