color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: December 2006

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Please Bring Peace as Soon as You Can. Amen.

I expected that the older I got the greater my perspective would be on people and events in my life. Now that I am into my 50’s, I can look back into my teens and 20’s and at one or two significant events in my 30’s, but there are whole stretches of time that I feel that I have lost the ability to look at anything with true perspective.

For instance, before I turned 50, I never gave much thought to when or how I would experience the end of my life. Now I find that there are days when I suffer the panic of thinking, “What if I only have 25 more years or 30?” The other day I watched it snow and found myself thinking that all those snowflakes were days of my life that had passed and I had the distinct urge to reach out and stuff the snowflakes back up into the sky.

I have come to realize that these days the events in other people’s lives affects the perspective I have in my own life. I find the view of things in their true relationship or importance gets harder to see the older I get and the older our children get. Each year I try and reflect on the year just passed -- to look at the good and the bad of the year, the sweet and the bitter. Last year, as the New Year was about to turn, I reflected on the Old Year and all of its blessings. This year I wanted to write something wise… meaningful about the year ready to pass, but I find that I am too distracted by the future and the events that will unfold.

Yes, 2006 had many blessings: DH and I are happy, healthy and content. The oldest son “J” married and we are blessed with a new daughter “G” and her two daughters (that would be A1 and A2) -- now our granddaughters. We giggle right along with them when they call us Grandma C and Grandpa J. And while this son had a number of “surge” deployments (Navy speak for “get packed -- you’re sailing”), he arrived back safe and sound on our hallowed shores each time. He has extended his Navy contract: now beginning his 10th year of service to the people of the United States.

Noah had his ups and downs this year. He continues to be plagued by residual aches and pains in his neck and back; his ears still ring with church bells now and again and he has only recovered a portion of the hearing he lost in the big VBIED attack (that would be the one that sent him to Landstuhl and home.) He also received intensive treatment (finally!) for his severe PTSD and seems to be doing better (but that’s a very long road). He stunned us all when he married a new love rather soon after meeting her this past autumn (that would be new daughter “M”), but we have grown accustomed to the idea of the youngest son being married. We observed their commitment to one another during their extended Christmas visit with us and they and we are very hopeful for a long and happy future. Of course, they had one more Christmas gift for us: a grandchild will arrive late summer 2007!! Sooner than they had planned, but cheerful news nonetheless!

While I try to conjure philosophical tidbits and reflections on the outgoing year, I find that I am more consumed with the approaching year and this robs me of perspective. Not only are we filled with the anticipation of the new baby, we are also teeming with anxiety and apprehension for our military children: another deployment announced for Noah’s Army division and the call for moving naval assets to the Middle East. I spend more time than I should worrying about the next deployment which, of course, is driven and made unnerving by all the worry and sorrow of the last one. We (sorta, kinda) know the time frame for the 2007 deployment (ok, would that be OIF5? Are they still giving them numbers? I’ve lost track… and if I’VE lost track, imagine the average American who either can’t or won’t follow the War!) Every time I hear the pundits talking about the possibility of increasing the number of troops to Iraq, my worry is heightened that they might accelerate this next deployment. I am not ready… I will never be ready.

Already there is an aura of melancholy knowing that it is unlikely that Noah will witness the miracle of his child’s birth; it makes me mawkish just remembering the joy of holding my children when they were born while acknowledging that Noah may have to wait months to hold his child. I am troubled that his young wife will be expected to go through the most joyful moment of her life without the man with whom she shares her life. I know that this is a sacrifice made by many of our fighting men and their families ‑‑ and I have always found it sad -- but in this case the pain clutches me and I hurt for these children of ours. While that is my perspective, M (who is a former soldier) and Noah accept this as part of their life in the military. Of course, they hope Noah can be there, but are uncomplaining if he cannot.

In an effort to better myself, in the New Year I will attempt to overcome other people’s WDS: War Derangement Syndrome. It’s a subset of Bush Derangement Syndrome and is companion to DvRS: (Dems v. Repubs Syndrome) and LvCS (Liberal v. Conservative Syndrome)… and the ever-oppressive MSMS (Mainstream Media Syndrome -- also known as “TSIFD: the sky is falling disorder”.) I’m tired of the anti-everything reporting. I’m worn-out by the reporting of opinion as fact (not to mention the unreliability of the actual reporting itself.) Being assailed simply for my view on one topic drains me. Any topic. Are there not pro-choice conservatives or anti-choice liberals? Are there not pro‑victory Democrats? People who insist that everything has to be somebody’s fault exhaust me. I’m weary of conversations and news coverage that begin with, “The _________ (President, Democrats, Republicans, Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds, Liberals, Conservatives… pick one), followed by anything derogatory, negative, judgmental or that indicates absolute conflict. Just tell me what the news is and I'll decide if it’s bad or good news and if it’s anyone’s fault.

Yes, there are divergent views -- but how did it get so far down in the gutter?? In the New Year I will tune out any statement that begins in such a manner. I will change the television or radio station or click off the blog sites that insist we need to be divided as a nation. I will refuse to patronize or engage those who attack people simply because they do not hold the same opinion. I will write to elected officials who engage in attack rather than debate. I’m sick of it I tell you. Heaven knows there is enough real fighting going on in the world without finding things that we don’t agree on to separate us. We all need to make a little more effort to find those things we have in common... or at least stop short of mistreating others because they don’t agree with you.

On a happier note, in the New Year I will continue

to cherish my dear family; to honor those that have raised their hand and said, “This I'll defend” and who do it at great sacrifice to themselves and their families;

to thank police, firefighters and emergency personnel who put it on the line for my family and me every day;

to treasure my friends new and old.

And I pledge to remind my legislators -- federal, state and local -- every time I get the chance to do the right thing and to return civility, cooperation and ethics to the governmental and legislative processes. I know it’s a tall order, but we have to start somewhere.

This New Year I wish good health; boundless joy; good fortunes; and limitless, unconditional love for my family and my friends (that includes you!)

And Peace. I wish for Peace everywhere. This year, more than ever, my heart, mind and soul yearn for Peace. So please join in my prayer, “Dear [God] [or whatever name you may call Him], Please bring Peace to our world as soon as you can. Amen.”

Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Cover of Esquire? Just Too Kewl!!

Oh My Gosh! Go Read This! Just how cool can you get?? WHOOOHOOO!

The cover of Esquire Magazine? Way to go Sgt. Bryan!!

And thanks, Lioness for passing on the story...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Three Kings at Walter Reed

Major Chuck Zeigenfuss relates the tales of three selfless warriors recovering at Walter Reed... he calls them Three Kings. You just have to go read the stories of these soldiers and their grit & determination...
Thanks, Chuck for telling their stories!! These are people we should know. Thank you Ross, Stephen & Bruce!!

Friday, December 22, 2006

An Early Christmas Gift...

For Christmas 2004, Noah came just weeks before his deployment in OIF3. He couldn't be with us last Christmas as he was working at Fort Benning after being returned to duty after his wounding and was preparing for the return of his unit (Our Guys) early in '06. We were particularly pleased that he could spend this Christmas with us as he is slated to return to the battlefield in '07...

So Noah arrived from Ft Benning safe and sound to spend Christmas with us... and he brought along an early Christmas present... his new wife, M!

she's sweet and they are happy and devoted to each other... she's a delightful addition to our family!!
So one "old" son, one new daughter!

And this is for Sean and Heather... snow here in Northern Arizona... just enough to give us the hope of a white Christmas in the pines (it will warm this afternoon and be gone, but it sure is pretty while it lasts!)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Where Do We Find Such Women?

Recently, I attended the funeral of Private Reece Moreno, a Third Infantry Division soldier killed in Iraq. In the Patriot Guard Riders flag line, I stood next to Samantha, a local mother of a 3ID soldier and also the mother of a serving US Marine. At the funeral, we spoke briefly to Reece's mother, Regan, and told her to always remember that what her son had chosen for his life was important... that he was important.

A few days after the funeral, I was contacted by Lori, another local mom of a 3ID soldier and she asked if I would accompany her to present the Gold Star banner from Gold Star Mothers of America to Regan and Private Moreno's family. I said that I would be honored.
Today, Lori and I visited Private Moreno's mother and stepfather and Lori presented Regan with her banner, which they promptly hung proudly in the front window of their home.
Of course, there were tears -- more of that liquid love straight from the heart to our eyes -- as we embraced and talked of Reece. Regan proudly told us of his love for the Army, for his brothers and sisters, for his nieces, for his friends. She shared with us a video the family had made of Reece with pictures and the video of Reece's high school band... of he and his best friend Taylor. It was a priviledge to watch this video and see the tiny baby cradled in his mother's arms grow to a chunky toddler, to a strapping young man, to the proud young soldier.
The video contained three songs -- one picked by Reece's mom, one picked by his fiancee, and one picked by his sisters -- James Blunt's "You're Beautiful". Turns out that just before Reece deployed, the whole family took a vacation to Nevada together just to have fun and to hang out... and one of the last memories his sisters have of Reece was all of them singing that song and laughing in the car on that last vacation together.
When we left, we reminded Regan that if she needed anything -- another mom to cry with or a shoulder to lean on or someone to vent the anger that will come -- we would be there for her.
Today, Regan received this from someone she works with and she said it brought her much comfort, so I share it with you:
Death is Nothing at All

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
whatever we were to each other
that we still are
call me by my old familiar name
speak to me in the easy way
which you always used
put no difference in your tone
wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together
pray smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
without the trace of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
it is the same as it ever was
there is unbroken continuity
why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you
somewhere very near
just around the corner
All is well
-- Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918)
Canon of St Paul's Cathedral
We have always wondered where we find such men as Reece... and today I wonder where we find such mothers who raise such men, send them to war... and show such dignity and pride when they return... and when they die. Where do we find such women like Regan.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


You Are Invited...

to participate in the wreath-laying ceremony and activities at Arlington National Cemetery, or at any of the locations across the Country on

Thursday, December 14th, 2006

*see location list for specific times and schedule.

A Moment of Silence will be held at ALL locations at Noon EST(sharp).

How can you get involved?

We hope you will be able to join us at Arlington National Cemetery or one of the other participating locations across the Country.

For those not able to attend, please pass the word that there will be a Moment of Silence at Noon EST, where people all across the Nation will stop and share a silent thank you, to all those who serve, to all we've lost, and to their families who will be without loved ones this holidays.

Please Print and Share - Help us spread the word!
More info HERE

Friday, December 08, 2006

Blog Survey

Just a few more days to repond to this survey... it's an interesting one and only takes a few minutes... Go ahead... participate!

I and 99 other bloggers are participating in a comprehensive Blog Study. As a part of this study, the researchers would like to have my readers answer a few questions. If you're so inclined, I would appreciate it if you would take a few moments and answer some questions.
Answers are confidential.

As part of their human subjects protocol, they keep your identity completely anonymous. At some point they will report on the general findings, but will not associate any particular answer with either the blogger or any of the bloggers' individual readers.

I'm very interested in the results of this study. Click here, and select "Soldier's Mom" from the dropdown menu if you'd like to participate.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

I love decorating our tree... I have made ornaments for the children since they were young. Many of the ornaments capture all the major life events of the year -- braces on, braces off, graduations, driver's license, first fender bender... OIF. Some years, they are simply the most elegant ornaments I could find and then scripting names and years in liquid gold or silver. This might be the year that I finally fulfill the original intent -- to provide each of the children "their" ornaments for their homes and trees (after the tree comes down, of course.) I'll post pics of some of those ornaments before Christmas... right now I have to go bake (more).

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dear America

Dear America,

Tomorrow we will bury one of your sons. He is not the first -- Lexington... the Marne... Corregidor... Normandy... Pusan... Khe Sahn... Khafji... Takur Ghar... Fallujah.... Ramadi... As hard as is it to accept, he will not be the last. It does not matter that you did not know him. It is important that you know his name. Pvt. Reece David Moreno. Age 19 years, 17 days. Killed in Balad, Iraq. Part of the U.S. Army's proud 3rd Infantry Division... 92 Engineer Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade. Son of Regan and Al.
Reece graduated high school early just to be able to enter the Army immediately after his 18th birthday. He has two brothers Luke and Joshua and four sisters, Michelle, Melinda, Amy and Amber. He had a fiancee, Chelsea. Family. All his friends and family said that they loved to hear him laugh... and that he spent a lot of time making them laugh.
The local newspaper offered in an editorial for Reece entitled, "Soldier epitomized America's best"
It's those people who have the moral integrity and fortitude to leave all those dear friends to serve their country in a faraway, hostile place.
And it's those who love life whose passing hurts the most.
As the aircraft carrier skipper in "The Bridges at Toko-Ri" mused after the loss of a key pilot, "Where do we find such men?"
America, to her credit, has many of them, and she can be very proud of Reece Moreno.
The Patriot Guard Riders escorted Reece from Phoenix to Prescott last evening. More PGR will form an honor guard and flag line tomorrow for his service and his burial -- with full military honors -- which will be attended by many. I will be one. I feel it an obligation -- and an honor -- to let Reece's family know that there are many who value Reece's sacrifice. I did not birth this son, but I feel him a son. He served in my son's Division, and they are all brothers. So tomorrow I will honer this brother... this son -- America's son. Later tomorrow evening, the town where Reece lived 18 of his 19 years will light the Court House and Town Square in celebration of Christmas... and in that lighting we will affirm that all that Reece loved and all that he served to defend will continue just as Reece would have wanted.
America, tomorrow we will bury one of your sons. Please take a moment to stop by the Memorial Page and the Legacy Page and leave a message of condolence and support for Reece's family.
Copyright Some Soldier's Mom 2006. All rights reserved.