A Christmas Surprise from Pete Maizitis

flag ornament

Pete Maizitis sent me a Christmas surprise! I met Pete and his wife, Irene at A Celebration of the Arts this September (2012) in Bedford, Ohio. Pete had his video camera and asked if he could interview me.

I was in the author tent signing copies of Love You More Than You Know Mother’s Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War. The result was the wonderful surprise of this video with radio legend, Larry Morrow.

Pete said, “Irene is mailing off your book to my sister and brother in law in Florida. They have two boys overseas. Safe so far …I know they will enjoy the book and relate to the many others in the same situations.”

Thank you Pete for the interview and the cool video! Many blessings and prayers to you, your nephews, and your family for a Happy and Healthy New Year!

Welcome to the Ohio Blog Association Swap:Being a Tourist in Your Own Town

Follow my Blog Tour November 11-19, 2012. Click here to enter free giveaways  (November 11-25) of eBook copies of Love You More Than You Know Mothers’ Stories About Sending Their Sons and Daughters to War.

Welcome my blog swap partner, Jen stopping by from the Ohio Blogging Association‘s All State Blog Swap. Thanks to Alicia for organizing today’s swap. For a full listing of blog swap participants, please visit Poise in Parma.

Being a Tourist in Your Own Town

Hi! I’m Jen and I write a blog called Why CLE?. Each post on my blog is meant to give you another reason why Cleveland is a great place to live, work, eat, and play. Today I’m here to talk to you about being a tourist in your own town.

So often, we get busy and we forget to take the time to appreciate what’s right around us. Cleveland has so many great landmarks and tourist attractions. When was the last time you went to any of them? Probably when someone was visiting from out-of-town, right? Hopefully this list reminds you of all the cool “touristy” spots Cleveland has to offer that you should take advantage of, even when someone isn’t visiting:

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum 

Probably Cleveland’s best known and most talked about tourist attraction, the Rock Hall boasts an impressive collection of memorabilia from the 1950’s to present celebrating rock ‘n roll music.

Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument 

This monument, located in Public Square, commemorates the bravery of soldiers and sailors from the Cleveland area. There are programs and tours throughout the year, including a holiday lighting ceremony and Santa at the Monument on November 24.

University Circle

There is something for everyone in University Circle, from the Cleveland Museum of Art to Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra, to the Cleveland Botanical Garden.

James A. Garfield National Historic Site

Learn more about this Cleveland-area resident President and tour his home and grounds. There is a museum and planned activities throughout the year.

Great Lakes Science Center 

Fun for kids of all ages, the Great Lakes Science Center offers hands-on exhibits, an Omnimax theater, and the NASA Glenn Visitor Center.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo 

From the African Elephant Crossing to the Rainforest and all the exhibits in between, the Zoo will amaze and delight you as if it were your first visit.

Lolly the Trolley Tours

This is a fun way to see the city and learn more about Cleveland’s history. Lolly the Trolley has regularly-scheduled individual tours and is also available for group events.

This is just a sample of some of the wonderful “tourist” attractions in Cleveland that we’re lucky to have so close to home. So, grab your camera, adopt a leisurely pace, and be a tourist in your own town!

Thanks to Janie for sharing her blog space with me today!

Shiny Dog Tags in Rome Garden Belong to Ohio WWII Soldier

Photo from Lesley Blake

Imagine the surprise of the gardeners in Italy that found something shiny in their garden. Imagine the surprise of  Nellie Baranek in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, when she received the package containing the shiny dog tag of her late husband, Army Sgt. Mike Baranek.

Jim Carney of the Akron Beacon Journal wrote, Its next journey (dog tag) will take it to another battlefield of sorts.

The dog tag will be sent to Canada, where the veteran’s granddaughter, Tammy Mahoney, 41, will clasp it as she receives chemotherapy and radiation treatment for breast cancer in Niagara Falls, Ontario.

“I was very close to him,” said Mahoney, a Stow-Munroe Falls High School graduate and mother of three children. “By having this near me, hopefully it will get me through this.”The Baranek family learned the dog tag had been found a few days before Mahoney officially was diagnosed with cancer. Tammy feels like the dog tag is a message from her grandfather saying, “Here I am. I am watching over you,”

Tammy will hang on to her grandfather’s dog tag that he wore in battle as she battles cancer. God bless Tammy on her road to recovery and healing.

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

USO Volunteers Are Faithful to Our Troops

When my son was deployed, all I could do was pray and send my love in packages from home.  The volunteers at the USO in Bainbridge, Ohio show up every week to pack boxes to send to our remaining troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. In an article from the Chagrin Valley Times, Joan Demirjian tells about the volunteers  including John and Beverly Magyar who say, “We love the troops, and we want to do something to help them.”

Noel Burr, volunteer coordinator for the Bainbridge USO, wrote a chapter, “What’s a Mother To Do?” in our book, Love You More Than You Know. The program is in need of donations  as “the USO is facing rising postal rates, with the cost now at $13.45 per box.”  Other items that are needed include: trail mix, dried fruit, coffee and tea packets, small packages of cookies and crackers, candy, gum, fruit and applesauce in small containers, plus personal items. If you can help, call 440-338-7221 for a list of requested items or to make a donation. Do what you can to help our troops.

Red Platoon Praying For Chardon

Picture from wkyc Channel 3 photo gallery.

I was teaching high school in 1999 in Hudson, Ohio, when the Columbine shootings took place. My students and I were shaken to our core. The students asked that we keep the door to the classroom locked during class.

My heart cries with the parents and students of the Chardon High School shootings. I am shaken again. Their school is only a few miles from our community.

Middle school students from my parish, Holy Angels Catholic Church, participated in a mass this past week holding Daniel Parmertor, the first victim of the shooter, in prayer. The students signed posters of support and love for Chardon students.

As a choir member, I was honored to be able to sing for this service. After mass, Fr. Dan our pastor, told us that they had just received news that a second student had died. Demtrius Hewlin and Russell King were the second and third victims.

The tragedy has made international news. I love this picture from the Channel 3 photo gallery. Our troops are praying for the Chardon community too. Please hold the parents, students, and community of Chardon, Ohio in your thoughts and prayers. Remember our troops. Thank you.

Warren Henry Music Helps Sooth the GI Blues

A locally owned music store in Chagrin Falls, Ohio does more than just talk about their motto of “musicians helping musicians”. They help put songs in the hearts of deployed soldiers by sending them donated guitars.

We have teamed up with the USO for this service project.  Bring in any guitar that has been sitting unused to donate, and we will clean-repair-restring it as needed.  Then the USO will help us get the instrument to a deployed service member from NE Ohio at no charge to them.  Your old guitar will never be more appreciated than in the hands of someone so far from home.  What better could there be way to say “thank you” and spread the gift of music!  We are also accepting cash donations to pay for accessories like extra strings.

Give the gift of music and bring your used guitars, gathering dust in your closet, to Warren Henry Music, 49 W Orange St. Chagrin Falls, Ohio or phone 440-247-0300. You will leave with a song in your heart for having helped our courageous servicemen and woman so far from home.

Wave the Flags the 3/25 is Home!

Several moms wrote stories about their Marines from the 3/25 in Love You More Than You Know.  These brave troops have their boots on the ground at home after seven months of deployment! The second wave of Marines from the 3/25 will return at the end of March.

Suffering heavy casualties on their previous tour in Iraq, we are so grateful that our prayers have been answered and all have returned safely from Afghanistan.

Watch this emotional video from Fox 8 as families are reunited. A young father meets his baby son for the first time saying there is nothing better than  holding him and kissing him in person! Welcome home and thank you for your service.

3/25 Homecoming

Afghanistan: Mike Bowersock’s Blog

Mike Bowersock’s blog  says ” thanks to the Ohio National Guard 112th Engineer Battalion for letting us tag along and take a small peak into the lives of those who are helping make our lives better. Thanks. MGB.”

Mike traveled to Afghanistan and will start stories on Febuary 28,2011 about these brave soldiers and their families left behind. Thank you Mike for telling their stories.

How Catholic Digest Brought Us Together

Mary Anne Mayer’s story, My Son The Marine is in this month’s Catholic Digest. The article also tells how we reconnected by sharing stories about our sons’ military service.

Click Soldier[1]to read the story.