IF NOT ME THAN WHO

Embed from Getty Images

 

 

“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.

Advertisements

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.

tablet03

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
Embed from Getty Images

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

Embed from Getty Images

“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.

Embed from Getty Images

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

Save

Join the Voice of Mothers: Pray for Peace

In honor or my friend’s son who is deploying today, I ask for prayers. I am re-posting this article. My dear friend Katherine Harris Szerdy surprised me with this beautiful book. I wanted to share the first entry with you from Mrs. Leila Atwood Foust. Ninety-four years later the prayers from mothers are the same. Please pray for our troops and their families. Pray for peace.

God Bless America

Embed from Getty Images

As my son said, first time out of country,”We don’t know how lucky we are!” Thank you to our troops. God bless America.

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is Coming Home

Embed from Getty Images

Join me in celebrating the release and homecoming of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl after being held for five years of captivity by the Taliban. His parents said they could hardly wait to wrap their arms around their only son.

Here is a time line of what has happened in the five years Bowe has been missing. Bowe was promoted twice during his captivity. Bowe was traded for five detainees from Guantanamo Bay.

In an article by Matt Smith and Barbara Starr, driving the current effort, according to the U.S. official, is Bergdahl’s poor health and concern a full troop withdrawal from Afghanistan at year’s end would essentially close the door an any rescue attempt.

Please pray for Bowe and his family. May they have courage, faith, and strength on his road to recovery.

Memorial Day: Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

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 Mother’s Day

The Most Important Person
on earth is a mother. She
cannot claim the honor of
having built Notre Dame
Cathedral. She need not. She
has built something more
magnificent than any
cathedral—a dwelling for an
immortal soul, the tiny
perfection of her baby’s
body…The angels have not
been blessed with such a
grace. They cannot share in
God’s creative miracle to bring
new saints to Heaven. Only a
human mother can. Mothers
are closer to God the Creator
than any other creature; God
joins forces with mothers in
performing this act of
creation… What on God’s
good earth is more glorious
than this: to be a mother?
—Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty

10258334_10202060562101391_8493517750042631103_n