Army Wives, 173rd version

You probably heard about the show Army Wives that aired from 2007-2013. As an army wife, there were things about that show that made me laugh, that I agreed with, that made me cry. And then, of course, there were plenty of things that made me shake my head at how Hollywood can really take something too far – but I bet you’ve never heard of The Battle Hard wives of the 173rd.

Maybe one day, you will. Maybe one day, we’ll share our stories for the world to see. I know that long ago, in my introduction and reasons for blogging, I said I wouldn’t be naming my military appreciation by name, but this time I have permission. I won’t share¬†all their names – the first wives I encountered in Italy many years ago. But at least one hero among them: her name is Colleen Wood.

In the lives of many army wives, this woman’s name will always be held in a place of honor. If there was a purple heart for keeping spouses sane, caring for single soldiers, running amazing FRGs, holding the hands of newly arrived ladies in the face of uncertain and difficult deployments, making difficult phone calls to the states, and later continuing to carry the banner of support years after her duties are fulfilled, I have to be completely biased and say there is only one FRG leader that would take all. And how does she do it? And still be mom to 3 boys, love and support her husband, be a teacher and friend, and balance life’s ups and downs? I don’t know, maybe she’ll write a book one day and tell us ūüôā One token that she has contributed recently was by starting a journal for The Battle Hard Wives¬†for us to remember that very uncertain deployment to Iraq, now over 10 years ago.DSC02658.jpgI’m the latest Battle Sister to have this priceless journal in my living room. I’ll be adding stories of my own to our thoughts, reflections, tears, encouragement, rants, and whatever else comes out of our hearts and fills the pages, after some of those feelings have lain dormant for a while. When Colleen first took the time to reach out to us all, get the wives connected again, and set out on her mission of a joint journal, I did not really understand how important and impactful this will be. We went through a life changing event together: sending our husbands and loved ones on a deployment that began with the first jump into combat for the 173rd since Vietnam, with so many unknowns in being part of the initial invasion that our need for each other was stronger than our military connection had already¬†begun by¬†already being stationed overseas. We relied on each other so much in those 13 months. And now, we are remembering.12295478_10208420553731345_6430159626114761740_n.jpgColleen Wood, I hope you know how much of a hero you are in our hearts: and I hope we can let you know how much we appreciate all you’ve done and continue doing by sharing our stories and reaching out to others with the same care.

My Veteran’s Day Tribute

I wanted to honor our Veterans today. What better way than to share what they had to say? Be their voices, stand with them, and honor them with our words and actions. Thank you to all who have served.

“I realized that if I don’t just respect and remember and honor the boys who were there with me, nobody’s going to.”
Richard R. DeLeon, Tayninh, Vietnam.

RICHARD R. DELEON

As a medic in Vietnam, Richard DeLeon, who had prided himself as a street-tough New Yorker, saw things he would never see in Manhattan. What impressed him most was the camaraderie the men felt for him and one another, the kind of fierce loyalty that drove his best buddy to rescue the lone survivor of a copter crash at the risk of his own life. DeLeon had a difficult time readjusting to civilian life, especially when he saw how cavalier his co-workers on Wall Street were about the casualties of war.

“Every soldier learns in time that war is a lonely business,” wrote Matthew Ridgway, one of America’s great generals, who served in World War II and Korea. In the face of Ridgway’s accurate observation is any soldier’s sense that in battle, the man on your right or the man on your left could be the man who saves your life. Here are the stories of veterans who came to understand that, as lonely a business as war can be, the camaraderie planted in basic training and nurtured through the hardships of the battlefield is a powerful weapon against fear.”

quoted from “Experiencing War” the Library of Congress Veterans History Project site, as are the other quotes below. Go visit the site Forever A Soldier book highlight

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A photo story of Normandy

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One of the many small roads out the beaches that have been renamed for a fallen soldier

U-boat and Memorial at Utah Beach

U-boat and Memorial at Utah Beach

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A bunker at Utah Beach

Pont du Hoc

Pont du Hoc

Memorial at Pont du Hoc

Memorial at Pont du Hoc

Stone sayings at Pont du Hoc

Stone sayings at Pont du Hoc

This trip I find very difficult to put into words. Over the three days we were in Normandy, France, back in July we saw and experienced so much history.

The only thing I want to say about this trip in words instead of pictures is this: if you have never gone on an historical vacation, particularly one where it speaks of human bravery and sacrifice, it is a sacred and sobering experience that everyone should have. To stand in the places where men – thousands of men – gave their lives for what they believe on behalf of others, to look out on the never-ending stones at the cemetery, and to hear the stories retold on our jeep tour of both fear, failure, and victory was something I can’t quite capture to relate to you, even if I shared every word from my journal. So take the time in your lifetime to visit such a profound place whether it be Operation Overlord in Normandy, France, the Battle of Corregidor¬†in the Philippines, the battlefields of the American Civil War, or some other site where men have fought sacrificially and bravely. Let the magnitude of loss make you grieve. Let the stories of bravery and sacrifice make you inspired. And let the unlikely tales of mercy make you contemplate the same mindset (for one such specific tale that we heard, visit a link to the church of Angoville-au-Plain to hear about 2 medics in a church near¬†St. Mere Du Mont).

the crosses at the American Cemetery

the crosses at the American Cemetery

our amazing Jeep tour with Jean Ferroliet

our amazing Jeep tour with Jean Ferroliet

the church in Angoville-au-Plain

the church in Angoville-au-Plain

Memorial at Omaha Beach

Memorial at Omaha Beach

Our personal memorial with my husband's jump boot on Normandy beach. We did not leave the boot there, but we wanted to remember in a photo at least the place where so many brave men set their feet for the last time in their lives. Honor the fallen. Remember how they gave their lives for other's freedom.

Our personal memorial with my husband’s jump boot on Omaha beach. We did not leave the boot there, but we wanted to remember in a photo at least the place where so many brave men set their feet for the last time in their lives. Honor the fallen. Remember how they gave their lives for other’s freedom.

Memorial Day, again

Hey, folks. I guess I tend to follow holidays and special days. They give us landmarks in our lives that keep the days from slipping one into the other without distinction,¬†I think. And as Memorial Day comes around again, I realize a few things: first, the year has gone by so quickly! And secondly, this for me personally is one of the more serious and important holidays that I solemnly want to be sure to recognize….and give back what I can. So first, read this re-blog. Then, help me do something special this weekend:

(original post, here) MAY 26, 2014

Have a Memorial Day…

                                Remember the Fallen…

                                                                                Remember their Families…

I was speaking with my dad at the end of the day; my husband, kids, and I had finished our day with a few tribute videos, standing to the National Anthem, and praying for the families who have lost loved ones. My husband can number friends among those fallen in the recent years, as can I. My dad almost said ‚ÄúHappy Memorial Day‚ÄĚ then said, no that is not fitting. We talked about how it should be said: Respectful Memorial Day, Appreciate Memorial Day, Consider Memorial Day‚Ķ and then we came to a thought at the same time.¬†Have a Memorial Day. If you took time to consider the fallen, show respect for those who gave all, and made your gratitude and appreciation visible by either wearing a patriotic symbol, having a moment of silence, saying a prayer, or visiting a cemetery, you did just that….

Don’t ever stop standing. And thank you to the men and women who continue to do just that.

(present day)

So I had shared some other thoughts last year about the political temperature and how our media and even government seem to forget the importance of the men and women who give all. But this year I have a different focus, and I’m asking for your help.

soldiers-memoriesThere is a song I’ve written called SOLDIER’S MEMORIES. Here’s what you can do: over the weekend, every sale of this single on iTunes I will donate to The Green Beret Foundation. Also if you are a veteran who has lost dear friends or a family member, I want to give you the song for free.¬†Just send me an email letting me know, and I’ll send you a free download. click HERE to email me directly for that. For everyone else, click HERE to purchase the song. And to all included, have a Memorial Day. God bless.

Aushwitz 70th Anniversary of Liberation

Please honor the memories of those who suffered and those who gave to free the suffering. Yesterday marked the 70th anniversary of the largest concentration camp being liberated. Here are some articles that are a good way to contemplate this day in history:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-30996555

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/auschwitz-survivor-gena-turgel-walked-out-gas-chamber-alive-n293496

http://www.ushmm.org/information/exhibitions/online-features/special-focus/liberation-of-auschwitz

http://time.com/3683841/auschwitz-anniversary-seventy/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/11371755/Auschwitz-70th-anniversary-of-concentration-camps-liberation-in-pictures.html?frame=3177689

A brief and humorous event in the life of a military wife living overseas

conversation between my mother and I on Facebook
oh bother….I’m on the stupid Skype phone trying to
get thru to the nm dmv so I can renew my driver’s license.
Just got an email saying the pelisse will no longer be lenient
with expired licenses and will be hauling people off to jail
and impounding their car. no exagerating. mine expired nov ’14
¬†at least I have my arizona license still that’s good until 2048 –
¬†but it’s got my maiden name so I think I’ll bring that
around with me including my marriage certificate

oh no but that would be difficult for them to do long distance!!
I guess I can do it online, but I went to fill in the info and it tells
me I have some outstanding citation in another state so I have to call.
not happy

outstanding citation!! wow.. you are in trouble with the LAW!!
going on 9 minutes on hold –
wasting Skype money and listening to the same
irritating line of music and being told that mvd online
has no wait time….well I’d use it if i could!!!
I know!!! I’m either wanted in the states or
chancing going to a german prison!!!! ah!!!!!!!

oh no… you have not been praying for a new ministry have you… like a woman’s prison ministry…

LOL
man, no, but I think I’ll stop digging into
info on persecution. this is tough enough
now I’m stressing that I will be on hold so long
it’ll use up my minutes before someone even
answers the dang line!!!!!

im sorry
yay!!!
I’m able to get an email and fill it out she
shows nothing that says I have a citation

there you go!!
did you see my status? hee hee
(we take a short break from this conversation to allow the reader to see 'my status'):
  • “did you know that many mvd transactions are now available online? just go to http://www.mvd.newmexico.gov…that is IF you don’t have some bogus citation in some un-named state stopping you from getting your license renewed…and are now sitting on a stupid iPad via Skype listening to the same line of awful music and the same ‘helpful’ information for the past 10 minutes. this is fun. this is me hoping to get my license renewed via phone??? I hope. since the alternative is apparently chancing getting hauled to German prison by some police¬†who decides to stop me for not wearing my seatbelt only to find out my license expired and makes my overseas license invalid…I mean, I always wear my seatbelt…er”

    Kathryn Jaramillo  yuck! Hope you get it straightened out!
    29 mins · Unlike · 1
  • Melissa Solecki¬†Yes! I was able to renew mine over the phone and they emailed me a temporay license. WAY better than taking 5 kids to the MVD. Here’s hoping you don’t get hauled off to prison!!!!
    27 mins · Edited · Unlike · 1
  • Melissa Roland¬†yeah, a trip 14 or so hours on a plane with 2 kids would be no fun either. but after being on hold 18 minutes the nice lady has a special military spouse form she’s emailing me. sigh of relief right here
    26 mins · Like · 4
  • Melissa Roland¬†oh geez….with 6 attachments. well, I was going to go to bed; guess not for a while
    24 mins · Like · 1
  • Melanie Lynn Kertley¬†and she wants it in triplicate!
    22 mins · Unlike · 1
  • Melissa Roland¬†oh I am SOOO happy right now. after looking at the different attachments: they want my name signed in blood with two witnesses taking a video, a complete physical done by a real doctor with notes and notarizations, an autograph from all of my husband’s commanding officers….well that might be a little exaggerated, but nonetheless, I was discouraged. THEN I tried the website again: badaboom! online app done and license in the mail! phew!
    and now, back to our previous snooping of conversation....

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Christmas Wrapping Comes in Cardboard

unnamedAnd if you are connected to the military, especially if you’ve been stationed overseas, you know exactly what I mean when I say that. So here is my tribute to the people behind the mailed gifts, those precious boxes that we call Care Packages.

Through the years, I’ve sent my share of care packages, to both Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of those first ones were over a Christmas ten years ago, complete with a mini-tree and little tiny ornaments. And of course my own excitement in receiving boxes from home, from loved ones while we lived in Italy.

And now, I’m the recipient again: and I want to say a big public thank you to my mom and dad, my best friend, my husband’s family – for taking the time to fill a box with goodies, stand in line at a post office, and get it all done in time to sit under my tree and tantalize my kids with thoughts from stateside.

Do you know someone who’s far away from home? Well, if you didn’t get a Christmas Care Package out, those kinds of things are much appreciated ANY time of year. Your time and energy spent buying and mailing little goodies can brighten a soldier or his family for much longer than you’ll be wishing people around you ‘season’s greetings’ and ‘Merry Christmas.’

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We the People

As we celebrated 4th of July yesterday, it was a

very special time. The base here in Germany did

a great job. But I have one thing that I have to say

that didn’t go so very well:
american_flag_at_sunset_208343

When the fireworks started for the end of the celebration, the music did not reflect the reason. Instead of patriotic songs that embody the celebration of our Independence day, the tunes varied from latin pop to electra to a couple instrumental American melodies, but then back to “I’m sexy and I know it.” I was angered, disappointed, and even spoke out about it at first. As did two of the ladies who were with me. When the inappropriate ¬†songs started, we ¬†sang over it at the top of our lungs, “God bless America” and then “Your’e a grand Ol’ Flag.” At first it seemed to have an effect. That’s when about 9 minutes of songs meant for a 4th of July fireworks began. But then the music took a turn again – we just sat and shook our heads.

 

Why does this matter, you may wonder? I’ll tell you why it¬†is important: because when we allow even small be-littlings such as these to taint the sacredness of the value of our freedoms, our justice and our liberty that was fought for and died for by so many, we are leaving room for someone else to speak for us and take those rights away. It’s just an example of what is happening in our country as people continue to be silent and be willing to suffer unnecessary abolishment to our liberty and freedom.

33-1196545384¬†There are many strong words that can be said, and have been said, concerning this important day in American History, and how we should celebrate it. I ran across a blog though that I feel already says it so well, so please go visit Holly’s site and read her post in it’s entirety. But I’ll quote a few things she had to say about the 4th of July here:

“…as the tide of radical Islam spreads rapidly and our government continues to fail our trust, this year is as good as any to remember “We the People.”…We the People can do anything. ¬†In this so-called information age, the common person is as uninformed as ever….We the People have grown accustomed to a government that grows more tyrannical every day. ¬†We accept overreaches of our government, breaches of the Constitution, and the decaying of our values because they are not gross in comparison to the last overreach, breach, or decay….¬†The “He” we face today is that bulbous, stinking, out of control federal mass that recreates and mutates into an uglier, more sinister cancer all the time. ¬†Wake up. ¬†Talk with your family and friends. ¬†Get informed. ¬†This is the only way to reverse our course in a prudent and peaceful way.”