Thursday, November 10, 2005


Thanks to my mother, our family learned early to honor those that serve. We attended Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans' Day parades in our town...

some years we sat and cheered from the curbs as we waved our American flags, while in other years we participated as Girl Scouts, pep squad members, cheerleaders. After the Vietnam War, honoring our service people was not particularly celebrated and, in many towns, the parades were discontinued because no one came to cheer the Veterans.

When we had children of our own, we took them to the parades... we cheered the vets, we saluted the flag. We waved at ships arriving home with fathers and sons on deck and mothers and wives smiling and crying on the pier.
We attended many wreath laying ceremonies at our war memorial on the grounds of our county court house in New York and cheered from the court house lawn on Main Street (really) as the Veterans' paraded by. The large court house square, the large military community and the community's patriotism were key factors in our choice of the town we now live in. Paying homage to those that serve is the least we can do... a few minutes from a whole day set aside to honor our Veterans.
I sometimes think that even without the influence of DH's career (he had finished his 25 years and started his second career by the time the oldest was entering high school), our patriotism and our respect for our service members might have influenced our sons' choices to serve in the military. We could not be any prouder of them.
This Veteran's Day we will not be able to attend the ceremonies and services in our new home town, because we'll be paying our deepest respects to the family of a fallen Hero, Tommy Byrd... one of Noah's comrades and close friends killed in an IED attack in October. This young man's wife thought it appropriate to bury him on Veteran's Day. Noah will fly cross country to render him all the honor and respect he deserves for his sacrifice.
I'm not sure I won't completely fall apart when I speak to the parents of this fallen Hero. Just the thought of his mother having to say a final good bye to her son makes me weep now. It's impossible not to know that it could just as easily have been me bidding farewell to one of my sons... to Noah. The horrible sadness that came over me the night we learned Noah was wounded now pokes at my heart, stabs at my eyes. It will be impossible not to feel guilty that my son is here and her's is not. Impossible to find words to comfort the young widow who spent the 10 months her husband was in Iraq making plans for the rest of their lives...
"We are so sorry" is insufficient to express how heavy my heart really is, how grateful I am for this man's service, how proud I am that he volunteered to protect his country and all that he cherished. I'll never be able to convey how much I appreciate this soldier's friendship with my son, how much my son loved being his friend and how much he misses him. What can I possibly say to this soldier's brother? It's true what they say -- there are no words yet invented that can convey what we feel for these parents, for this wife... for all the parents, all the wives, the brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles, friends of our lost Heroes.
But on Veteran's Day, we each have the opportunity -- the obligation -- to thank all the Soldiers, the Marines, the Sailors, the Airmen, and the members of the Coast Guard who have served and are serving to protect us -- fought or just stood on the Wall.
To all those that raised their hand, swore the oath and said, "This we'll defend", from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you.
Bottom of my boots sure are gettin' worn
there's a lot of holes in this faded uniform
My hands are black with dirt and so is my face
I aint never been to hell
but it couldn't be any worse than this place.
Tell my wife don't worry 'cause I know what to do
it makes you feel better sometimes, but don't know if it's true.
I know if I die it's just my time to go
but I pray to God every day that I may get back home.
Well when you've seen what I've seen
things don't seem so bad
quit worrying 'bout what you aint got, thank God for what you have
'Cause I could be raising my family in this place
but I was born an American
by God's Amazing Grace.

From Luke Striklin's "American By God's Amazing Grace" copyright 2005

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved.


At 11/10/2005 8:08 AM , Blogger Rachelle Jones said...

tell each of them, thanks you...

At 11/10/2005 8:58 AM , Blogger Quilting Goddess said...

Thank you for another great post. I would like to take the time to say thank you for your writings they show great insights to what it is like to be apart of a military family. I have never been part of this kind of family nor will I ever personally know anyone who is in the service, but I want to express my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to your son and all others serving in the military. Eventhough I am a proud Canadian and 110% support Canadian troops everywere, I wanted to let you and your son know that I am very thankful for all that the United States are doing in Iraq. In Canada we call November 11th Remberence Day, and I will have special thoughts and prayers for your family and your son and the friends he has lost in Iraq. God Bless and Thanks you.

At 11/10/2005 10:23 AM , Blogger Stacy said...

Again SSM, you have written such a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing the lovely pictures of your family with us.

I also want to thank all the soldiers. They are our true heroes.

I will be thinking of you and your family tomorrow. You will find the strength to make it through tomorrow the best you can.

You guys will be on my mind a lot tomorrow. I will go back again and take friends from England to the Healing Fields so that they will be able to go back to their country knowing how the USA supports their troops and vets. I will pick up the flag for Noah and mail to you on Monday.

You guys have a safe trip, and give Noah a big hug for me.

At 11/11/2005 2:44 AM , Blogger Call Me Grandma said...

Hi SSM, please tell your family that, I say, "THANK YOU!" for serving our country. May God bless them always.
Have a safe trip SSM.

At 11/11/2005 6:52 PM , Blogger LoveMyTanker said...

Beautiful family! Thank you to all of you for your service and support of our military branches and this great country!

At 11/12/2005 1:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your blog. Our soldier will be leaving Iraq this December. It is a long hull and heavy load for us waiting at home but it is easy when we thing about what our loved ones go through while deployed. I wish I could thank them all personally for their service and dedication to our country.

My grandmother raised me and always asked me to get her a nice poem for Memorial day, 4th of July and Veterans Day, so she could read it at the programs they had in our town. She passed away and this year for Memorial day I wrote a poem that I know she would have loved to read. I hate war but as long as evil men walk this earth we will need our soldiers. I will always stand behind them while they are stand up for me. Thanks Noah.

Don't Hide That Flag

It's been a while since he's been back home
He never meant to leave you there all alone
He told his mama I know your worrying about me
I'm just being the Man you raised me to be

The guys and I don't like being here but we must
Stand up and fight for a cause that is just
Tell the folks back home to enjoy their liberties
while these people here are dying just to be free

She told him

We will rock for America with our Red white and Blue
We will rock for the world because we love them too
We will rock for freedom until you get back home
We will Rock for our soldiers so they remember they are never alone

Mom if you meet a soldier one day at your front door
Just always remember what I signed up for
Be nice to him mom he's my brother in arms
He sure don't want to bring you any harm

We are a unit that can never be broke
we live by what all our past heros wrote
If you have a chance one day to meet this G.I.
Make sure to tell him that his brother Casey, says Hi.

She also told him

We will rock for America with our Red white and Blue
We will rock for the world because we love them too
We will rock for freedom til you get back home
We will Rock for our soldiers so they remember they are never alone.

I don't have to tell you Mama I love you so much
look down I also love that flag that you clutch
Better men than me die so no one can torch
don't hide that flag put it on your front porch

When you look at old glory that's me in that wave
saying hi to you so that you will always be brave
Don't cry mama I died for our liberty
I died being the Man you raised me to be

and tell my brothers

We will rock for America with our Red white and Blue
We will rock for the world because we love them too
We will rock for freedom til you get back home
We will Rock for our soldiers so they remember they are never alone.



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