color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: September 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Wanna Take a Ride? Blog World & New Media Expo 2009

My friend and fellow military blogger Laughing Wolf has a challenge he'd like you to help him with:

Well, I love a challenge and now have quite a large one on my plate. It seems that the folks at Blog World & New Media Expo (Las Vegas, NV Oct. 15-17, 2009) think we can get 200 people to the milblog track, and is willing to back that with up to 200 free memberships!! He has challenged me to get the word out to as many military members (current and veteran), milbloggers, milblog readers, military supporters, and others as possible, particularly in the California, Arizona, Nevada region.

So first, anyone currently serving or former service who drops Laughing Wolf a line at blake at with BWE09 Registration in the subject line, and tell him in the body who they are, he/she will get a code for a free registration!!

Second, all milspouses, spousebloggers, milparent, milparent bloggers and military supporters can also get a code if they do the same!!! And I see on the BWE site that the Hilton has an awesome $69 room rate until Oct. 1.

So if you have an interest in new media (twitter, face book, flickr, etc.) and blogging -- especially military-related -- AND you want a great weekend in Vegas, you need to contact LW asap.

Do it. It's a great experience!!

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Friday, September 18, 2009


Matthew Currier Burden. Matt Burden to some. Blackfive to others. He's taken the plunge. He's running for the Illinois House of Representatives from the 41st District.

I personally have known Matt for a number of years. He and I have exchanged emails and we have had long talks. He was% one of the first people to contact m after Noah was wounded in Iraq. He put Soldiers' Angels in touch with us so that Noah would have whatever he needed (including hugs and clothing) when he arrived in Germany.

Matt is a special man. He served his country both as an enlisted Army soldier and as an officer. He is a military blogger (actually, the largest).

He is a family man. He has a great wife and two wonderful kids.

He was the editor of The Blog of War (to which I contributed and essay).

He works tirelessly for wounded warriors (Soldiers' Angels, among many organizations) and in defense of warriors' legacy (Warrior Legacy Foundation). And that's in addition to his full time job and milblogging.

He is kind, caring, intelligent, and a no nonsense kind of guy. He describes himself as a Reagan Conservative. Above all, Matt Burden is HONEST. If we're going to change this country back to what it should be, start with little steps. This is one of them.

VOTE FOR MATT BURDEN (but only if you live in his district)

Donate what you can. $10 or $25...

I'm only sorry that I do not live in Illinois any more, but Matt makes me proud to say I am a native Illinoisan.

The only complaint I have is that Matt has set his sights (for now, at least) too low in running for the Illinois State Legislature. I personally think he should run for the U.S. Senate seat!!



Matt, we are so proud of you!!! You are JUST what Illinois needs!!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

For Maggie45 and My Other Peeps...

allergies = puffy eyes

helping grandpa

wonderful... happy... funny... delightful... he makes our hearts smile

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Friday, September 11, 2009

It's 9-11. Patriots' Day. A Day of Remembering.

I will be attending a 9-11 Memorial this evening in our town. This is the t-shirt I'll be wearing.

I'll stop by church earlier in the day. A tradition... my visits the first 3 anniversaries were to St. Patrick's Cathedral on 5th Avenue in Manhattan... as I had visited St. Pat's on 9-11-01 as fighter jets skimmed the top of the skyline overhead and the Nation waited to know just who had attacked our country that day.

I told my personal story of what it was like in Midtown Manhattan and in the days that followed HERE on the 5th Anniversary.

Absolutely be sure to read the stories of Rick Rescorla -- an incredible man and HERO who saved THOUSANDS of lives that day. HERE. HERE. HERE. HERE.

Be sure to read some of the stories of the 2,996 who died that day. Those that were murdered that day -- many of whom were NYPD and NYFD from our neighborhood and the surrounding communities.

And I get that some people are idealistic -- or perhaps naive -- and want to honor the dead and those who eagerly served on and after 9-11 with good deeds, but that whole day of "service" thing should have been 9-10 or 9-12.

9-11 is a day of mourning. A day to remember those who died. A day to remember that this country was ATTACKED. A day that still evokes the images of mothers and fathers (sons and daughters) leaping to their death; of people screaming to be saved from the smoke that burned their lungs and the fire that burned their skin; of the firefighters who strode to their deaths in those buildings; of the thousands of families who first, wondered, and then had their hearts ripped from them as it became clear that there would be no survivors. It became a macabre ritual to open our suburban paper each morning and read on page 3, "The following remains from the World Trade Center have been identified..." Every day. FOR 13 MONTHS.

Sorry, but as I told a friend who forwarded a suggestion that we all pray to overcome our "petty differences" in the world, I didn't think 2,996 deaths that day (or the tens of thousands that have been murdered worldwide by extremists) to be "petty"... and that it will take me a lot longer than eight years to approach forgiveness. As a Christian I guess I should be working on it, but I'm working on my other imperfections first.

And if anyone has the audacity to tell me that my shirt conveys the wrong message (as had been suggested to one of my sons who wore his shirt earlier this week), I will tell them that not only is it my right to wear it, but they'd be wearing this shirt, too, if they bothered to educate themselves about the enemy. And if you want to know how long these terrorists have been at war with US, see HERE.

We must remember. Never forget.


Tuesday, September 08, 2009


On Friday, September 11th, 2009, an American flag should be displayed outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States. Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this eighth anniversary of one of our country's worst tragedies. We do this to honor those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.

In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds.

So, here's what we need you to do.

(1) Forward this information to everyone you know (at least 11 people). Take a moment to think back to how you felt on 9/11 and let those sentiments guide you.

(2) Fly an American flag of any size on 9/11. The flag should be flown at half-staff or with a black banner (ribbon) tied to the end of the pole if your flag doesn't lower.

Honestly, Americans should fly the flag year-round (we do at our home), but if you don't, then at least make it a priority on this day.

Thank you for your participation.

God Bless You and God Bless America!

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Friday, September 04, 2009

Cruelty Without Excuse

You can start at Blackfive and The Mudville Gazette for a roundup and background info.

Every parent has the same nightmare. The specifics of the nightmare may vary, but the heart pounding message is the same: your child is somewhere and he (or she) is injured... they are in pain. They cry out for you. But you are not there. You cannot get there. You cannot help them. You cannot be there to hold them... help them... comfort them.'s.nightmare.

I have lived through a deployment... and I know that parents worry 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don't care how old that child is. It matters not how many times they have deployed. It doesn't matter that they may have children themselves. You worry. You always worry.

I have said many times that it is hard to be a soldier's mom. Or a Marine's.

I have received that phone call telling me that my son had been wounded. I have lived through a night of waiting for headlights to appear in my driveway... to see two soldiers standing at my door. I have lived through a night of begging and bartering with God to please let my son live. We found some comfort that night by telling ourselves that our wounded son was not alone, but was with people who would be there with him and for him... who would ease his pain and comfort him. I comforted myself with images of my son being tended to and cared for by people who cared whether he lived or died. Not once did I try to picture what his wounds might look like.

I have also written about iconic images and how a journalist/photojournalist can select images to convey their own private opinion... and I offered alternate images to illustrate.

So now we see that some uninformed, disrespectful ________ who calls herself a journalist was taking pictures while embedded with a U.S. Marine unit in Afghanistan snapping away during an attack and who continued photographing while a young Marine died. That Marine was Lance Corporal Joshua M. Bernard. But the DISGRACE is that the AP opted to publish photos of LCpl Bernard as well as noting the gruesome details of his death that left no doubt in the minds of those who care that he was suffering and in pain as he died on a road far from his family. Far from the parents who not only dreamed the nightmare but who now, thanks to these photos, must live with the proof. There is no comforting them. There will be no telling his mother the lie that we mothers would so willingly accept as truth -- that he died instantly and felt no pain.

I know that no matter how hard we try, we all go to the "dark place" on occasion when our soldiers (Marines, Airmen, Sailors) are deployed. But I guarantee you that we never imagine our loved ones as that photo depicts.
Publishing the photo intensified the family's pain and grief. The death of a child weighs on parents heavily as being unnatural in the order of things and Mz Jacobson and the AP have made that weight heavier and even harder to bear.

Adding insult to this injury, Julie Jacobson justifies the taking (and I presume the publication) of the photos with the lame-ass, self-serving,
To ignore a moment like that simply ... would have been wrong. I was recording his impending death, just as I had recorded his life moments before walking the point in the bazaar. Death is a part of life and most certainly a part of war. Isn't that why we're here? To document for now and for history the events of this war?
to which I will repeat what I once blogged to the editor of the NYT,
I resent your thinking that we’re stupid enough to believe your little horseshit speeches about “I did it for you.”

To Mz Jacobson and to those at the AP I say: no parent should ever be subjected to the cruelty of that photo. That may not have been your intent, but that was the effect. Especially after the family specifically asked that you not publish the photo of their mortally wounded son. You have assured that the family of this honorable Marine will forever have the gruesome image you presented to them burned in their hearts and their minds.

Isn't it bad enough that this young man is dead? Wasn't it enough that those parents had to answer the door? And not only is LCpl Bernard subject to contempt and ridicule by some in the world (just one such incident would be more than he deserved), his death is being used by you to undermine the very thing for which he died... for something in which he believed!! Who the hell are you to decide that this one death -- the death of this mother's precious and beloved son -- should be the image you choose to promote your message... to represent what YOU believe represents the war?? Need I ask the last time you photographed and printed the photos of the women and children whom the Taliban have slain??

I wish I had not been so prescient back when the despicable excuse for a Secretary of Defense proposed lifting the ban on photographing the caskets of our war dead, when I said,
To those who say they wish these photos so that the "public" can show their respect for the dead, I say, if it takes photos of flag-draped caskets to inspire someone to mourn our war dead, “respecting” the dead is not their intention.
Is there some monetary or political profit to be made on the dead? Yes, I see.

To Mz Jacobson and the AP: your publication of these photos under these circumstances had absolutely nothing whatever to do with showing the world that death is a part of war; it was politically and financially motivated. And your thoughtless, insensitive actions intensified the grief of LCpl Bernard's family. You didn't submit the photo to honor him or to record his bravery for posterity. You didn't do it for him or his family. You did it for you.

And frankly, if Mz Jacobson really wanted to showcase the horror of war, perhaps she should volunteer to stand in front and die to make the point, and have HER death photo published for HER parents and family to pour over. I'm sure I can find a shitload of volunteers willing to help her in her endeavor. I'm sure the AP would oblige with the publication.