WWII Army Nurse Speaks on War and Remembrance

9974-Flag__D_ScMarcia Snow was a WWII Army Nurse stationed in England. This Saturday, September 28, 2013, Marcia will be speaking at the Twinsburg Library at 11 AM. Stop by to show your support and to hear Marcia’s story about being a nurse during the war.

Eighth Graders Write About Veterans

a7fb87ca8d25424bbdc2584a228793e1453d7e6c_500Give a warm welcome to my special guests Caroline, Isabel, and Justin, eighth graders from St. Francis Xavier Elementary School in Medina, Ohio. These students wrote essays sharing what Veteran’s Day means to them.

Caroline Baker loves music, art, playing the piano, and spending time with her family. Her classmate, Isabel Cooper is a member of the Drama Club, Student Council, and Future Teachers of America. Isabel enjoys writing, music, spending time with her family as well as playing volleyball for the school CYO team.

Their current Student Council President, Justin Austin describes himself as “a fun-loving student who is actively involved in my school community.” Besides being a Student School Ambassador, Justin participates in the Power of the Pen, Math Club, Drama Club, and National Junior Honor Society. Outside of school, he enjoys playing soccer and being active in Boy Scouts.

Caroline speaks for all the students,” I cannot thank veterans or those currently serving enough. My classmates and I truly appreciate all that you do. Thank you!”

Their teacher, Mary Anne Mayer is co-editor and wrote the chapter, “The Year Our Children Went to War,” in Love You More Than You Know Mothers’ Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War.

Caroline wrote an essay about her grandfather entitled the “Bravest Volunteer.” The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor is what completely persuaded my grandfather and the men he worked with to volunteer to join the Army. He received nine bronze stars serving in invasions during WWII all over the world.

 My grandfather watched men fall all around him, not having time to look back. He was too busy laying down wire to communicate through radio. His job was vital to having an advantage, so that the plans during battle would be understood more clearly.

It is one thing to celebrate Veteran’s Day, and another to know what it means. Although my grandfather is deceased, my family and I have not forgotten the incredible service, dedication, and sacrifice that he has given to our beautiful country. It is no mystery that the reason for our freedom is because of these extremely brave men and women that step forward to defend our nation.

 Isabel also wrote about her grandfather in “A Hero in my Heart.“ My grandfather enlisted in the Army when he was twenty-two years old. He wanted to join the Army, so that if war ever did break out, he could be trained to fight and be ready to go. He said, “ I joined the Army in case I was ever needed.”

 While he was in active duty for two years, my grandmother was at home thinking about what her fiancé was doing at the base. My grandmother told me a story of how my grandfather had given her a promise ring, showing how much he would be thinking of her while away. 

 After my grandfather was discharged from the Army, he married my grandmother, Lucille Kay, the love of his life, on August 16, 1958. This summer, they will be celebrating their fifty-fifth wedding anniversary. He spent thirty-five years installing telephone poles, helping raise two kids, babysitting his grandkids, and spending six years serving our country. 

 That is what I think of when I think about my grandpa. He is a strong man for what he did in his life and I do not think he would be the same person he is today, if he had not been in the Army. 

 Now, I get to spend time with my grandfather every Sunday. I love my grandpa and the stories he tells, the way he laughs, and the funny dances he does when we are all sitting around the table. I love everything about my grandfather and the person that he is inside and out. This is why my grandfather is a hero in my heart.

 Unlike super heroes in the movies, a real hero is the person who puts their life on the line for others. Soldiers, sailors, Marines – these people are the real deal, observes Justin Austin in his essay “The Real Deal.”

 They go out and see the horrors of war. These brave and courageous souls walk through battle zones knowing that at any moment death could come to them. They know this, but they still go out into war to protect this wonderful nation so that we might call it home.

They fight so that we might keep the freedoms we are given as United States citizens. They fight to keep us safe from the evil our enemies try to inflict on us. They fight so that all of us can go to bed at night not having to worry about an attack on our homes. They fight so we can go about our lives in our usual manner. This is what our veterans so bravely do for us.

 If you ask them how they feel, most would respond by saying that they were just doing their job. Veterans are our superheroes, no matter how humbly they may object. They will always be my heroes and even if I can’t tell each of them personally, I will know it in my heart and mind. Thank you for teaching me what a superhero really is and for your service to this grateful nation. We are forever in your debt for your heroic acts.

 Caroline, Isabel, and Justin, thank you for sharing your thoughts and for honoring our veterans for their service.


Saying Good Bye

Today we said good bye to my girlfriend’s father, Reginald E. Vernon, a WWII Navy veteran laying him to rest at Hillcrest Memorial Park, Hermitage PA.

We drove into the cemetery down the Avenue of Flags and were greeted by the amazing sight of 444 of our countries flags sparkling in the sunlight.

The Honor Guard of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6233, West Middlesex; and VFW Post 5286, Farrell; and American Legion Post 432, Wheatland delivered military honors to Mr. Vernon. Three rifle volleys were fired and three casings were placed into the folds of Mr. Vernon’s flag. God bless you Reginald E. Vernon for your faithful service to our country and your family. May you rest in peace.

Solon VFW Hosting Vietnam Moving Wall

When my son was deployed, he wrote, “I wonder if I will make it back?” When Thomas Bulanda, VFW quartermaster, viewed the 433 names of the members of his Marine Corp 3rd Battalion 4th Regiment inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall he said, “You wonder how you got through the war alive and why these guys didn’t.” Thomas also said,” I cried a lot when I went down there (Washington, D.C. and saw the original wall) and it’s hard for a Marine to say that.”

Thomas, according to an article in the Chagrin Valley Times, will be coordinating the effort to bring the half size replica of the moving wall to the Solon, Ohio post 1863 on July 26-30, 2012. An opening ceremony will take place on July 26th.

John Devitt, a veteran, came up with the concept of the Moving Wall. The mission is all about remembering the more than 58,000 people who died in service to their country.  Join me this summer in remembering and honoring our veterans at the Moving Wall. Stop by and say a prayer.

Preamble of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The Little Ring from the Coast Guard Academy

At the Coast Guard Academy, there is a tradition of ordering the ‘little ring’ to be given to the woman in the cadet’s life, whether it is their mother, grandmother, or girlfriend. The little ring is a smaller version of the class ring that cadets can order in their 3rd class year. On one side of a center stone is an eagle with the Coast Guard crest and on the other side is the cadet’s class crest. My brother gave his little ring to our mother, choosing her favorite stone, turquoise.

As I have gotten older, I have realized how much of an impact my brother has had in my life. When I was a child, he was just the older brother that I bugged, tagging along after, getting in his way. I didn’t realize then how much he impacted my thought and decision-making process. My brother once told me, “To be early is on time, to be on time is late, and to be late is to be in deep trouble.” I have never forgotten it and I am early to things as often as I can be.

There are times when I am unsure and confused and I talk to my brother, asking his opinion and advice. My brother, now a Coast Guard Academy graduate is stationed in Alaska with his wife, who is also an Academy graduate. For the past year, I have been dating someone, who happens to be a Coast Guard Academy graduate as well. It is very important to me that my boyfriend and my brother meet.

I am an independent woman, working my way through the beginning of my life, but there are days that I really miss my brother. I can honestly say that if it were not for him, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Because of all that, I said yes without any hesitation when my mother offered to let me wear the little ring. Now, I always have something with me to remind me of my brother.

Carol Dooley, my guest columnist is a college student born and raised in the Midwest. She is currently working on a history major with a minor in museum studies. She gives a nod to her Dad for that interest, as he has always been a military history enthusiast.  Family means everything to Carol and she is a stronger person because of the mutual support that exists in her family.

Thank you Carol for sharing your wonderful story. Many blessings to you , your boyfriend, and  your family as you continue on your journey in life.

Welcome Home Daddy

Aydan holds a sign standing as tall as his five year old self can stretch. He wants his Daddy to be sure to see it.

The Ohio National Guard’s 112th Engineer Battalion is home from a year long deployment in Afghanistan.

SFC Brian Gillum hugs his wife Katie and was welcomed home by his two boys.  Thank you for your service! We are so glad you are home!

Dog Cries for Joy

Hank all dressed up for Halloween.

Not only human family members miss our deployed troops. This sweet video shows a dog crying for joy when reunited with its owner, who just returned from a year long deployment. (Look for the sign in the video.)

In Love You More Than You Know, Mary is the author of the story “My Heart and Hank”.  Mary tells how she  took care of her deployed soldier’s dog, Hank. ” The last time my son was on leave, Hank ran up to him and licked him frantically and never left his side. It was obvious there was a bond between them that would never change. No orders, deployments, distance, or even the enemy can ever change the fact that Hank sits and waits until his master comes home.”

What Our Soldiers Do For Us

My friend, Angela told me a story. She attended a funeral last week. The man that passed away had a son that was deployed. This soldier was unable to make it home for his father’s funeral.

The pastor held a cell phone in his hand. He said, “This might seem strange to conduct a prayer service holding a cell phone.” The deployed soldier was on the line and was able to hear his father’s funeral service.  Angela said, “You could hear this young man say amen and follow along with the prayers.”

Because he was deployed and protecting us, this soldier was unable to attend his father’s funeral.  God bless him and his family.  We are blessed by the sacrifices made everyday by our troops and their families.

Pause and Give Tribute at 3 PM Local Time

Please join me in a National Moment of Remembrance on Memorial Day. 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.

The National Moment of Remembrance, initiated by NGL in 1997, and officially established by Congress, asks Americans wherever they are at 3 p.m., local time, on Memorial Day to pause in an act of national unity. In this shared remembrance, we connect as Americans.

Giving All for the USA

Mary Jane Kashkoush & Mike

I mailed a letter today at the post office in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.  On May 7, 2008, President Bush signed Public Law no-224, naming the Chagrin Falls Post Office in honor of Sergeant Michael Kashkoush. We lost this wonderful man to war. My daughter, Meme went to school with Michael.

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.

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 the sacrifices and pray for the gold star families.