We Give Honor to Those Who Gave All

Mike flag CFHS

On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes of a mighty naiton!

~Thomas W. Parsons

Today, we honor the brave men and women, who gave their lives for us serving in the United States Armed Forces. At Chagrin Falls High School, a small memorial honors graduates who died in service to their country.

Mary Jane Kashkoush is our own Gold Star mother.  Her story “Perchance to Dream” is in Love You More Than You Know. Her beloved son, Sergeant Michael Kashkoush lost his life in Iraq. Michael was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. My daughter, Meme went to school with Michael.

On May 7, 2008, President Bush signed Public Law no-224, naming the Chagrin Falls Post Office in honor of Sergeant Michael Kashkoush.

Mary Jane said, “This process of grieving and reconnecting to life is like trying to tune into a station on a car radio, the dial-in-knob kind, with static coming over the airways. . . My heart aches. . . Home is where the heart is, and my Mike is always with me.”

We remember their sacrifices and pray for Gold Star families on this Memorial Day.

Happy New Year

May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
And may God’s angels protect you the whole year through.

Part I Hearing Voices: 6 Steps I Used For Creating An Anthology

This is how I created my anthology. It is a labor of love dedicated to the two veterans in my life, my father and my son.

Love You More Than You Know: Mothers’ Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War lets the voice of mothers be heard.  God bless our troops and our military families.

Joseph Vayo 18 yrs old 1942 grandfather of Joseph Reinart:Joseph Reinart 21 yrs old 2002: Edmund Reinart,  32 yrs. old 1942 grandfather Joseph Reinart

IF NOT ME THAN WHO

 

 

“IF NOT ME THAN WHO?” are the words on the grave stone of Travis L. Manion, a Marine. Brendan Looney, a Navy Seal, was Travis’ best friend. Both died defending their country. They now rest side by side in Arlington Cemetery.

On Memorial Day, we honor the brave men and women, who gave their lives for us serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Mary Jane Kashkoush is our own Gold Star mother.  Her story “Perchance to Dream” is in Love You More Than You KnowHer beloved son, Sergeant Michael Kashkoush lost his life in Iraq. Michael was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart. My daughter, Meme went to school with Michael.

We remember their sacrifices and pray for Gold Star families on this Memorial Day.

Update: The Story Continues

Update: This is what the art installation looks like for Kathy’s quote at Sarasota National Veterans Cemetery in Florida at the Patriot Plaza funded by the Patterson Foundation.

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Brad, Kathy Sargent,Andy copy

Brad, Kathy, and Andy

Andrew, Timmy, Bradley

Please give a very warm welcome to my guest, Kathy Sargent. Kathy, author of the chapter “Army Mom, Serving in the Silent Ranks” in Love You More Than You Know is the proud mom of three military sons. A quote from Kathy’s chapter is being used in a public art instillation at Sarasota National Veterans Cemetery in Florida to inspire and honor our military families. Congratulations Kathy. You and your sons make this world a better place.

The story continues….Timothy’s wish to join the Army, has come true. He is a trained combat medic with an expert field medic badge. He has followed his brothers, and his dreams.

Bradley, is now married to a beautiful former soldier, Maria. They have been blessed, and have blessed me with a darling granddaughter, Isabella. Currently, Bradely and Maria are living in South Carolina, but I have been informed that they will be moving to Alaska in the near future.

Andrew is now married to a beautiful soldier as well. Her name is Jess. They are raising my two granddoggers, Lupa; a German Shepherd, and Odin; a Golden Retriever. Andrew and Jess are currently living in Georgia. Andrew was forced to retire from the Army due to medical issues. This was hard for him, as he really enjoyed what he was doing. With the support of family and friends, I believe Andrew will be just fine.

Things have changed a lot with me, but have also stayed the same. I still worry about my soldiers, especially Timothy since he will be going back for a second tour of Afghanistan.  I’m thankful that I have my older sons to explain things to me, especially the former combat medic. But it still bothers me that I can’t protect my son.

I continue to read labels at the grocery store, and I notice others who do the same, with tears streaming down their faces. I show them my service banner pin on my jacket, smile, give them a hug and thank them for their service, as well as the service of their family member. I share things that pack and travel well, and just try to be there for them. Once you go on the journey of having a child deployed, you understand.

Prayers please for Timothy and all of our deployed service men and women.

A Tradition Based on Love

Over the river, and through the wood,
To Grandmother’s house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow. Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather’s house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for ’tis Thanksgiving Day.
~Lydia Maria Child

There is nothing more I love than getting together with my children and grandchildren. We have a tradition at holidays. As we welcome family from near and far,  we set an extra plate at our table to remind us of our troops unable to be home with their families and friends during the holidays.

Amidst the baking of pumpkin muffins, the mashing of potatoes, and the basting of the turkey, remember not only to count your blessings, but remember those that are serving and protecting us.Thank God for these brave men and women and all the freedoms we have. May God bless our servicemen and woman, our veterans, and our families and friends.  Happy Thanksgiving!

 

To Our Veterans: Thank You

“The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.”
Jeff Miller

We are proud of those who serve our nation, past and present. We are proud of those sons and daughters that we know by name and those we know by heart.They are all our children. Words are never enough to explain the depth of gratitude we owe these brave men and women.

I am proud to say that my son, Sgt. Joe Reinart is a veteran. My Dad, Joseph Christophe Vayo was a veteran. Thank you to all who have served and for your many sacrifices. We are so proud of your commitment to us. We love you more than you know.

I Will Dance At Your Wedding and Sing to Your Children

When my son, Joe was deployed to Iraq in 2004, he wrote us a heartfelt letter after the loss of one of his fellow soldiers and several of his own brushes with death. A part of the letter said:

joe uniform Iraq

I think a lot of nights, restless nights, of the days to come.  I ponder and daydream of the good and the bad and the anxiety weighs on me like a ton of bricks.  Will I make it back?  Will I be so different from when I left?  What will I do with my life?  Will I be successful?  Will I be happy?

I answered him back: I will dance at your wedding and sing lullabies to your children. Joe made it back in 2005. My wedding prediction came true. I danced at his wedding.

joe dance

Now, it is with great joy that I ask you to join me in celebrating the birth of my new grandson. Thank God for our blessings. Congratulations to my son and his amazing wife, Katie.  I composed a lullaby and I will sing to baby Joey.

baby joey