Share Your Stories

We would be honored to have you share the stories of your very own heroes! We believe that writing our stories helped us deal with the swirling emotions we felt when our sons and daughters were deployed.

Please go to the Welcome tab at the top of the page for information on telling us your story. Katherine is the mother of two soldiers. Her story is about her daughter’s deployment and what it is like to live a year without your daughter in your arms. God bless our servicemen and women. Bring them safely home to those who love them.

A Year Without by Katherine Harris Szerdy

Thursday Janurary 27, 2010 On Oprah

Check out Thursday’s show on Oprah: The Bravest Families in America with First Lady Michelle Obama, Tom Brokaw and Bob Woodward.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of our book, Love You More Than You Know will be donated to charities benefiting wounded veterans:

ReMIND.org, a Bob Woodruff Foundation initiative for injured service members and their families.

The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund will also receive donations.

A Chance to Get Involved

Here is a military pen pal site dedicated to help service members get connected with civilians who want to be military pen pals. We know about the difficult task our military men and women face in overseas deployments – they are separated from family and friends for long periods of time. MilPals.com brings people here at home in touch with military friends around the world. We have identified web sites that support military penpals; scroll down for a list of military pen pals web sites. Visit these sites and find out how you can become a military pen pal and show your support for our troops. Most sites welcome both civilian and military pen pals.

Marine Looses Limbs

The stories in Love You More Than You Know give you a bird’s eye view of how mother’s coped with the bravery and sacrifices made by our children for our country. (A portion of the proceeds from the book are donated to two charities for wounded veterans.)

In the Lake County News-Sun, “Marine’s Long Road to Recovery” by Diana Kuyper, tells the story of Marine Cpl. John  Peck, 25 years old,who was critically wounded in Afghanistan on May 23, 2010.

Cpl. Peck says, “Give a damn about your troops. Don’t just say it. Stop griping about the little crap in your life. There is so much being done by our military for your benefit, and nobody understands its extent unless they see it themselves or a loved one goes through it. Put your little differences aside and care about someone else besides yourself.”

This young Marine is hoping for a double arm and hand transplant. John we pray for your continued recovery. Thank you for your words of wisdom.

In the Spirit of Honor

I received a letter from Beatrice Mitchell, an 81 year old mother of a Vietnam veteran.  She sent me some articles and documents saying,”I offer this in the spirit of honor due our military men and women and their families whose sacrifices will always remain unmeasurable.”  This poem is written by Beatrice. Please hold our servicemen and women and our veterans in prayer, especially those who are not able to be home for the holidays.

Vietnam’s Pieta

She carried him gently, without haste

In her arms to his resting place.

Things that could hurt him

And things he could break

She kept out of reach when her babe

Was awake

“Don’t talk to strangers nor accept a treat

Look both ways before you cross the street

And stay out of puddles on your way to school

Remember to follow the Golden Rule.”

A young man now, on his way to the prom.

A boy only yesterday, where had the years gone?

“Look out for that curve on old Mill Road.

Drive carefully son and don’t overload.”

Her prayers for him that also blessed us,

She whispered for him as he left on the bus.

The unshed tears that shown in her eyes

Were bravely withheld through her smiles and goodbyes.

Like great birds that hover when life’s returning to dust

The Black Hawks of mercy did not for flesh lust

When after the battle they plucked from the ground

The dead and the wounded from Vietnam.

No cautions for him on Mill Road today.

His car moved slowly as he passed that way

In a heavy box, draped in triad hue

They carefully folded the red, white, and blue

And placed it in her arms, now with tears on her face

She carried it gently as a babe to his resting place.

Michael Marks-Soldier’s Christmas

Aaron and his wife and child

I was able to IM (instant message) my friend, Sergeant First Class Brian on face book yesterday.  He is stationed in Afghanistan and left his two small boys and wife to serve.  Brian this poem by Michael Marks is dedicated to you and Aaron, Eddie, Katelyn, Zack, Philip and all of our wonderful servicemen and women deployed at this time. May God bless you and keep you safe until you can come home to our waiting arms. We miss you.

 

A SOLDIER’S CHRISTMAS
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
my daughter beside me, angelic in rest.Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep
in perfect contentment, or so it would seem.
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream. 

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
and I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

“What are you doing?” I asked without fear
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
to the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
then he sighed and he said “It’s really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night”

“Its my duty to stand at the front of the line,
that separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,”
then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red white and blue… an American flag.

“I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home,
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,
I can carry the weight of killing another
or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers
who stand at the front against any and all,
to insure for all time that this flag will not fall.”

“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone.
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
to know you remember we fought and we bled
is payment enough, and with that we will trust.
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”

© December 7, 2000 by Michael Marks
Author’s Note: A Soldier’s Christmas was the first in this series of patriotic writings, drafted on Pearl Harbor Day 2000 when in the wake of the 2000 Presidential Election our nation saw the right of US Armed Forces personnel openly questioned and debated. I felt it unconscionable that at the onset of the Christmas season, those serving to defend our nation would hear anything but our love and support. It is our challenge to stand for their rights at home while they stand for our lives and safety overseas. This poem went out and quickly spread around the world in emails, letters, magazines. I received letters from Marines in Bosnia, soldiers in Okinawa, from a submariner who xeroxed a copy for everyone on his sub. Moms wrote, dads, brothers and sisters. I have saved and cherish every letter and set out to continue writing throughout the year.

 

Start a New Tradition

Amidst the baking of pumpkin muffins, the mashing of potatoes, and the basting of the turkey, remember not only to count our blessings but remember those that are serving and protecting us.

As we welcome family from near and far, start a new tradition for Thanksgiving.  Set an extra plate at your table to remind us of our troops unable to be home with their families and friends during the holidays. 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!

Join the USO “Thanks from Everywhere “Campaign

I just added a message of thanks to our troops. The USO’s map already shows messages from 30,000 caring people. (You can search for messages by area code.)

“This is such a great way”, says Rose McGowan, “to give our troops some inspiration and comfort. Though many of them will spend Thanksgiving far from home and their families, I want them to be able to look at a map that’s lit up with notes of gratitude — from everywhere in the country.”

To send a message of thanks click here.

Shipping for the Holidays

Please send your packages for our servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan by Nov. 21. See info below. Packages are such a boost to their moral.

Other deadlines for arrival by Dec. 25 are Nov. 26 for space-available mail; Dec. 3 for parcel airlift mail; Dec. 10 for priority mail and first-class mail, letters and cards; and Dec. 18 for express mail military service.

Holiday packages and mail headed for Iraq and Afghanistan must be sent a week earlier than the deadlines above, Postal officials say. Express mail military service is not available to those destinations.