Honoring the Sacrifice of our Fallen

Joe grandma flagGive a warm welcome to my special guest Marin Auth, an eighth graders from St. Francis Xavier Elementary School in Medina, Ohio. Marin wrote an essay sharing her thoughts about Memorial Day.

Marin is 14 years old. She will be attending Walsh Jesuit High School in the fall. She enjoys playing soccer and basketball. Marin is active in National Junior Honor Society, Drama Club, and Math Club. Her art has been exhibited in the Medina Community Center. Marin’s grandfather, Stan, fought in WWII. She honors him and all soldiers, sailors, and Marines with her essay.

Her essay in part reads:

Memorial Day is a truly important day recognizing and honoring all those brave souls that went and fought for freedom and didn’t come back. To become a soldier, you have to have incredible physical and mental strength.

Every soldier makes sacrifices to defend our county. They leave their families, friends, and everything they once knew.  They will give up their life in a split second.  We must remember all of those that had the courage to fight for our country and didn’t make it back.  They are the ultimate definition of sacrifice.

This day is for all those who endured the sweat, grit, dirt, grime, and know firsthand the horrific events of war. This day is for all those who rebuilt towns, villages, hopes, and dreams. This day is for all those soldiers who died fighting for the freedom we take for granted today. This day is for ALL those soldiers who DIED defending our country. We are forever grateful to them, and owe a debt of gratitude.

Marin, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Please join me in a National Moment of Remembrance on Memorial Day, at 3PM local time. Carmella Laspada, the founder of No Greater Love, asks us all to pause and remember our American heroes. We owe our American way of life to those who gave their lives for our freedom.

A Happy Ending: Storybook Ball Helps Foreign Students Learn About US Military

Give a warm welcome to my guest, Chris Stiehl, a writer, speaker, teacher and consultant in market research and strategic planning. Chris has taught courses in Statistics, Psychology & Market Research at schools including UCSD and Harvard. Thank you Chris for your generosity and for giving your students the opportunity for this real life experience of learning about and helping our deployed troops.

chris S students

Foreign Students Learn About American Military

I teach marketing and market research at UCSD Extension in San Diego. For one of my classes, the students and I choose a charity or business to help. Since the organizations we choose cannot afford their own marketing department, the students become their marketing department for the term and write a marketing plan for that charity or business.

This term, we selected United Through Reading and helped to promote their major fundraiser, the Storybook Ball. United Through Reading provides deployed parents the opportunity to be video-recorded reading storybooks to their children, which eases the stress of separation. The USO ships the recording and a copy of the book to the troop’s family back home. The family is encouraged to take photos of their children watching the recording and mail those back to their deployed service member to complete the circle of communication.The program helps to keep families tied together, while the soldier, sailor or Marine is away.

The students volunteered to help with the ball and were invited to attend. We had hoped to have an impact on the Ball, however volunteering had a great impact on my students as well. We watched as Laura Bush addressed the crowd via video. We listened as Marines described their morale as being lifted, when leaving the battlefield to go read to their children back home. We saw video of the kids getting excited to open their package and view the DVD from their deployed parent. There was not a dry eye at the Ball, as the children rushed the TV to kiss daddy and greet him reading to them.

I have attached a photo of my students and myself attending the Ball. They had a great time. As you can see, the students are from all over the world (Japan, Korea, China, Brazil, Switzerland and France). Without exception, they learned a lot about America and Americans that night. Several have told me how appreciative they were of the opportunity to help. They gained respect for the men and women in the US military, as well as the spouses and children back home.

These students are going home, now that the term is over. They will remember the Storybook Ball for the rest of their lives, as they do not attend such events in their countries. They made it clear to me that they understand America is fighting for freedom, not just in the US, but everywhere.


Happy 4th of July! Today at church we had an appeal from Father Joseph, a missionary priest from Uganda. Father commented that he had read books and seen many movies about our country.  Through his eyes, as a first time visitor to the USA, he saw all of the beauty and abundances in our lives. Father Joseph said, “God has blessed your country.”

Thinking of all of our blessings, I teared up as we sang “America the Beautiful”.

O beautiful for spacious skies, For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties, Above the fruited plain!

O beautiful for heroes proved, In liberating strife.
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!

. . . America! America!
God shed his grace on thee

We are blessed with many freedoms. Read Regina Brett’s column today. My thoughts are included. God bless America.