color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: November 2009

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Our Mr. Virgil

Back in 1999, the family made a decision to get its first dog. I was working from home, the oldest children were out of the house and there was just Noah, so we said, "OK, what the heck... it won't hurt to look. We got our Miss Java. A year later I took a position with a Manhattan law firm and after a few months, we decided that Java needed a companion as she seemed so lonely. So off we went to the animal shelter and found this scruffy looking chow-shepard mix.

He sidled over to the kennel door and licked my hand. He bared his teeth -- but it was not in aggression, but that "smile" chow-chows do. We put him on a leash and walked him... that was all it took to convince us that he was meant for us. We have never regretted it a single day.

He was a dog that probably should never have been adopted out. He was the original junkyard dog -- literally. He had been malnourished and was food aggressive most of his life with us -- NEVER try to take food or a bone from him once he had it in his mouth! He didn't much care for most other dogs and some people -- although it was hard to tell how he would react, so we always took caution when out with him. But once Virgil was your friend, he was your friend.

He LOVED chasing squirrels. When we lived in New York, we never had a squirrel or ground hog in the back yard once Virgil came to live with us! He loved baths. Most dogs are not fans of being bathed -- Virgil couldn't be kept out of the tub! In fact, when we lived in a house with tubs that had shower curtains, when someone got in the shower, he would ease first his nose into the shower, then one leg, then the other... and before you knew it, Virgil was in the shower WITH you!

And he loved being groomed -- whether it was brushing him or clipping his thick dark fur for the summer months -- he would sit contentedly and finally fall over as you combed through his fur. But don't ever try to clip his nails -- Lordy! If you brought out the clippers, he would move to the furthest corner and give you a, "Don't even think about it -- I'm serious!" growl. And he only growled when he meant it.

But his most favorite activity was what we called "surveying the castle grounds". When we lived in New york, our rear deck was a full story above the ground; you could see our yard and all the surrounding yards and streets from the top step of the stairs to the yard. He would spend hours sitting on that top step surveying all his world... and being sure it was safe for his pack. Same when we moved. Even yesterday as he sat on the top step overlooking our property, he managed to leap up, assume the "don't mess with me" stance and give a few hearty barks as a jogger passed by on the trail behind before he had to lay down to conserve his waning strength.

He never much cared for veterinarians... our vet in New York (who was a close friend) used to ask whenever we made appointments for the dogs, "Is this the good dog or the devil dog?" (always said with affection... he had Chow-chows). But he came to love Dr. Smith, his vet here... and because Dr. Smith had a death in the family, and has been away these past few weeks, most recently, he befriended Dr. Baxter (after many visits and many tries LOL).

He never seemed to like children -- often saving his wildest barking for them. Since we didn't have many details about the first year of his life, we weren't sure what the genesis of that dislike was, so we were always especially careful not to bring him anywhere there might be children. When Thomas came to live with us we became especially vigilant, but our worries were for naught -- Virgil and Tom bonded and Virgil became protective of the littlest pup in the pack. I know because Tom is just 2 that he will soon forget Virgil, but he will notice his absence. Even while Virgil was hospitalized earlier this week, he asked every day, "Whar Birgil?" and put his little hands up in a questioning pose. Virgil was really Tom's first dog.

Back in May, just after we had to have our Miss Java euthanized, our Mr. Virgil was diagnosed with Cushings Disease. He had all the tests and he did not have adrenal tumors, so likely pituitary in nature. Virgil had already developed chronic pancreatitis and chronic bowel inflammation besides his thyroid problem; since his Cushings symptoms were moderate, we decided (along with our vet) to not administer the harsh medications for Cushings. With or without treatment, the life expectancy is the same, so why make Virgil miserable? Three weeks ago, his appetite (which has always been VORACIOUS) diminished to half, and two weeks ago to nothing. Tests revealed that he had also developed diabetes. After a hospital stay and unsuccessful treatment, his appetite still had not returned. We kept him here at home and comfortable as long as we could... and as long as Virgil wanted.

Yesterday he was tired. Hard for him to stand and walk. But he could still wag his tail whenever we entered the room. This morning, we knew it was time. His breathing was labored and he was exhausted. He still wagged his tail. As I had with Java just a few months back, I snuggled up next to him on a quilt brought from home, held him in my arms and told him how much we loved him... and how happy we were that he had come to live with us... and just how happy he had made us. And I meant it. Virgil always let us know -- whether we had been out of the room for 10 minutes or away for weeks -- how happy he was to see us!! As much as we always let Virgil (and Java) know how grateful we were that they shared our lives, Virgil (and Java) always let us know in their wagging bodies and gleeful yips and barks that they, too, were glad to be here with us.

Today, as I had with Java, I stroked him and told him about all the family's favorite dogs that would be waiting to jump and play with him... and he sighed a deep sigh and pressed his nose to my cheek and gave me a last kiss... and I asked him to wait for me at the Rainbow Bridge...

Rainbow Bridge


VIRGIL, July 4, 1999 - November 28, 2009

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.

There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals that had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent; her eager body quivers. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.
The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....


Thursday, November 19, 2009


MILITARYBOOTS.COM is running this contest... and I, for one, cannot wait to see the pictures and hear the stories! I am certain there will be many, "So there I was... no sh*t..."

Your boots have endured everything you've thrown at them. Drilling. Marching. Combat. Miles upon miles through never-ending plains, scorching deserts, and urban jungles. Whatever your boots' story may be, we want to see 'em.

The Converse Military Boots For Life Contest is searching the planet to find the oldest, most worn-out set of boots. The more battered and tattered, the better. Whether you've crawled through swamps or scaled mountains, you could own the winning pair...and score a LIFETIME SUPPLY OF CONVERSE BOOTS!

Submit a photo of your boots along with a brief story telling us why your boots are in the world's worst condition. Send your entry to by March 31, 2010.

Show the world what it's been like to walk a mile or 20 in your boots. And be rewarded for your effort!

Win a free pair of Converse military boots every year for the next 20 years, courtesy of

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

PBS/Point of View: Regarding War

Our son has been home from war four years and medically discharged for two. His reintegration has not been without its roadblocks and setbacks but, for the most part, like a significant majority of veterans, his life has moved forward — not always in ways he imagined, but forward nonetheless.

No surprise in the lessons we have learned: the people who have helped him the most in his continuing journey have been his family, friends and the veterans' community — especially "The Bridge Builders," described by poet Will Allen Dromgoole as those who cross the chasm and stay to build a bridge for those that come behind.

New posts are up at PBS/Regarding War... including a Vietnam Vet's take on his PTSD... I could use some comments LOL everyone else wants to give "attaboys" to the huffington post people blogging there... so chime in if you feel the urge


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans' Day 2009

I want to salute the veterans in my family...

My Dad L. (Army), my husband J. (Navy), my sister P. (Marines), son E. (Navy) and son N. (Army).

And saluting those still serving...

Son J. (Navy) and nephew Steve (Air Force).

From the oldest to the youngest, they have served in WWII, Vietnam, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Thank you all. You do us proud.

Watch "The Way We Get By" on PBS Tonight

Today is Veterans Day, the one day out of the year that is specifically designated as a time to honor those who serve our country. But Bill Knight, Jerry Mundy, Joan Gaudet and the rest of the Maine Troop Greeters honor veterans and military members throughout the year by greeting them at a tiny airport in Bangor, Maine. In fact, they've greeted over 900,000 soldiers to date! These senior citizens have take it upon themselves to greet every troop plane arriving or departing Bangor, which is the last and first piece of U.S. soil many GIs will see before and after their deployments.

The Way We Get By, which tells the stories of Bill, Jerry and Joan, airs tonight on PBS at 9 PM (Check your local listings).

In connection with the premier of "The Way We Get By", PBS online has relaunched its "POV - Regarding War" site and I will be contributing my thoughts and responding to readers' comments for the next next few months. The site's relaunch is an effort to bring a wider audience to the experience of military service -- especially on Coming Home -- as seen from the Point of View of a Vietnam War veteran, an Iraq War veteran, a military spouse, and a mom.

I hope you will tune in and see "The Way We Get By" and stop by the POV site and read and comment on the conversations there. People not only will have the opportunity to comment on the contributions on the "Conversations" area, but to share their own stories, as well.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dear CNN: That's NOT What He Said (Again)

You need to read Greyhawk's coverage of a blatant distortion of the truth that CNN and now other news organizations are spreading.

The TRUTH: The soldier said he clearly heard Hasan shout, "Allah Akbar" when he began firing last week at Ft Hood... the adrenaline made the soldier forget he was SHOT -- it did NOT make him forget what Hasan said.

To you at CNN: you are either the world's worst reporters of news (ok, that's true) OR you blatantly rewrote the Private's interview because you didn't want to hear what he said (yeah, I get that you do that, too). Maybe it's both. And neither of those is speculation.

Please go over and read... HERE. And tell your friends... and family... and tell them to tell their friends and family... Do not let CNN excuse or canonize the TERRORIST MURDERER who killed American citizens... American soldiers.

And I urge you to read the story of the U.S. Naval Academy Midshipmen who were "punished" for being male and white... no matter that they worked harder and longer than many others to make the Naval Academy Color Guard... but were yanked and replaced before their appearance at the World Series for a more "diverse" looking color guard... even though those others selected may have been less qualified. Srsly. If it shouldn't be about color (as so many tell me), THEN IT SHOULD NOT BE ABOUT ANYONE'S COLOR!!

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Monday, November 09, 2009


I know you'll be celebrating Veteran's Day this Thursday. But if you are looking for an extra way to honor our Veterans, this might be up your alley.

Major League Baseball and Welcome Back Veterans are asking people to share their message of thanks to American veterans:

They will be displaying many of the messages on the Welcome Back Veterans website, and making sure all of them are sent to Veterans themselves -- to show them how much we all stand behind them.

Hope you can take a second to take a look and join the movement.

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

We Remember

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

A Hero's Salute... and Ralph Peters Ft. Hood's 9/11

11/7/09: Updated below the legend with an opinion of Ralph Peters. Thank you, Ralph. A timely message!

A first responder to a lone gunman's attack at Fort Hood Nov. 5 renders honors at retreat after aiding his fellow soldiers. U.S. Army photo

Our hearts are heavy... Our prayers and thoughts are with our sons and daughters and their sons and daughters at Ft. Hood.

Be sure to read Greyhawk's initial reporting on those who were killed yesterday... and be sure to check back at Mudville Gazette often for updates.

New York Post

Fort Hood's 9/11


On Thursday afternoon, a radicalized Muslim US Army officer shouting "Allahu Akbar!" committed the worst act of terror on American soil since 9/11. And no one wants to call it an act of terror or associate it with Islam.

What cowards we are. Political correctness killed those patriotic Americans at Ft. Hood as surely as the Islamist gunman did. And the media treat it like a case of non-denominational shoplifting.

This was a terrorist act. When an extremist plans and executes a murderous plot against our unarmed soldiers to protest our efforts to counter Islamist fanatics, it’s an act of terror. Period.

When the terrorist posts anti-American hate-speech on the Web; apparently praises suicide bombers and uses his own name; loudly criticizes US policies; argues (as a psychiatrist, no less) with his military patients over the worth of their sacrifices; refuses, in the name of Islam, to be photographed with female colleagues; lists his nationality as "Palestinian" in a Muslim spouse-matching program, and parades around central Texas in a fundamentalist playsuit — well, it only seems fair to call this terrorist an "Islamist terrorist."

But the president won’t. Despite his promise to get to all the facts. Because there’s no such thing as "Islamist terrorism" in ObamaWorld.

And the Army won’t. Because its senior leaders are so sick with political correctness that pandering to America-haters is safer than calling terrorism "terrorism."

And the media won’t. Because they have more interest in the shooter than in our troops — despite their crocodile tears.

Maj. Nadal Malik Hasan planned this terrorist attack and executed it in cold blood. The resulting massacre was the first tragedy. The second was that he wasn’t killed on the spot.

Hasan survived. Now the rest of us will have to foot his massive medical bills. Activist lawyers will get involved, claiming "harassment" drove him temporarily insane. There’ll be no end of trial delays. At best, taxpayer dollars will fund his prison lifestyle for decades to come, since our politically correct Army leadership wouldn’t dare pursue or carry out the death penalty.

Maj. Hasan will be a hero to Islamist terrorists abroad and their sympathizers here. While US Muslim organizations decry his acts publicly, Hasan will be praised privately. And he’ll have the last laugh.

But Hasan isn’t the sole guilty party. The US Army’s unforgivable political correctness is also to blame for the casualties at Ft. Hood.

Given the myriad warning signs, it’s appalling that no action was taken against a man apparently known to praise suicide bombers and openly damn US policy. But no officer in his chain of command, either at Walter Reed Army Medical Center or at Ft. Hood, had the guts to take meaningful action against a dysfunctional soldier and an incompetent doctor.

Had Hasan been a Lutheran or a Methodist, he would’ve been gone with the simoon. But officers fear charges of discrimination when faced with misconduct among protected minorities.

Now 12 soldiers and a security guard lie dead. 31 soldiers were wounded, 28 of them seriously. If heads don’t roll in this maggot’s chain of command, the Army will have shamed itself beyond moral redemption.

There’s another important issue, too. How could the Army allow an obviously incompetent and dysfunctional psychiatrist to treat our troubled soldiers returning from war? An Islamist whacko is counseled for arguing with veterans who’ve been assigned to his care? And he’s not removed from duty? What planet does the Army live on?

For the first time since I joined the Army in 1976, I’m ashamed of its dereliction of duty. The chain of command protected a budding terrorist who was waving one red flag after another. Because it was safer for careers than doing something about him.

Get ready for the apologias. We’ve already heard from the terrorist’s family that "he’s a good American." In their world, maybe he is.

But when do we, the American public, knock off the PC nonsense?

A disgruntled Muslim soldier murdered his officers way back in 2003, in Kuwait, on the eve of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Recently? An American mullah shoots it out with the feds in Detroit. A Muslim fanatic attacks an Arkansas recruiting station. A Muslim media owner, after playing the peace card, beheads his wife. A Muslim father runs over his daughter because she’s becoming too Westernized.

Muslim terrorist wannabes are busted again and again. And we’re assured that "Islam’s a religion of peace."

I guarantee you that the Obama administration’s non-response to the Ft. Hood attack will mock the memory of our dead.

Ralph Peters’ latest novel is "The War After Armageddon."

George, Laura Bush visit wounded Hood soldiers

The Associated Press
Posted : Saturday Nov 7, 2009 10:05:55 EST

FORT HOOD, Texas — Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, visited wounded soldiers and their families near the site of the worst mass shooting on an Army post in the United States.

The Bushes made their private visit to Fort Hood’s Darnall Army Medical Center on Friday night. Bush spokesman David Sherzer said in an e-mail that the couple thanked Fort Hood’s military leaders and hospital staff for the “amazing care they are providing.”
2:45PM THE PRESIDENT and THE FIRST LADY depart The White House en route Camp David - South Lawn

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009





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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Attention SecNav!!! Calling all Sailors!!!

OK, what's with the Navy guys??? You can't all be deployed!! We're waaayyy behind the other services!!!

Come on, let's get on board here! Navy won this little competition last year, and I just know we can again!


Please donate to this worthwhile cause of providing laptop computers to wounded military...

Project Valour-IT helps provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptop computers and other technology to support Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries. Items supplied include:

Voice-controlled Laptops - Operated by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, they allow the wounded to maintain connections with the rest of the world during recovery.

Wii Video Game Systems - Whole-body game systems increase motivation and speed recovery when used under the guidance of physical therapists in therapy sessions (donated only to medical facilities).

Personal GPS - Handheld GPS devices build self-confidence and independence by compensating for short-term memory loss and organizational challenges related to severe TBI and severe PTSD.

Please give what you can... even $5 goes a long way to get us to our goals.

Note: while this is a friendly inter-service competition, money donated is used to assist members of ALL services branches...

GO NAVY!!!!!

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