How the Stars Look Tonight

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STARS AND STRIPES

The 4th of July is a day for picnics and backyard barbeques,

Parades on Main Street

People handing out miniature American flags.

We wear red, white, and blue

As we sit on quilts laid out like stripes at Freedom Park

Watching the fireworks booming and shining in the night sky,

We think about how the stars in the sky look

To our beloved  soldiers tonight.

Give a warm welcome to my special guest today, teacher and poet, Ann Magee. She lives in southern NJ. Ann has an identical twin sister and her husband has an identical twin brother!  She and her husband are celebrating 21 years of marriage. The Magee’s have three kids aged 10, 12, and 14 years old.

Ann says, “Substitute teaching is all I can manage right now, in addition to managing my children’s schedules and my own volunteer schedule–I teach Art Goes to School in our district, volunteer at the Middle School Library, and I’ve been the yearbook photographer and coordinator (ie I do everything) for our Elementary School for the past 10 years. Ann is an avid scrap-booker and cook.

Thank you, Ann for your beautiful words. God bless our troops and their families.

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Students Send Thousands of Cookies Overseas

Nothing says “home” like cookies–chocolate chip, peanut butter, and sugar cookies! The 25,000 soldiers from the 4th Battalion of the 401st Army Field Support Brigade couldn’t believe their eyes when they started receiving shipments of thousands of cookies in the remote regions of Afghanistan during their deployment. The sweet treats were sent with love from Kenston High School’s Interact Club.

Follow the lead of these teenagers. Show our troops you care!  Jean Bonchak, in her article in the New-Herald gave this information. Those wishing to send letters or snacks to the 4th Battalion of the 401st Army Field Support Brigade should address them to 4-401 AFSB, KAF; ASMC-LSE, BN XO; APO AE 09355.

Honoring an 85 Year Old Veteran

Michael Parker, Jackie Montgomery, Heather Ligus Photo by Donna Schneider

The room was filled with senior citizens, some in wheel chairs, some with canes, all with smiles. On September 11 this year, I was fortunate to be at a Celebration of Honor held at the Pearl Crossings Retirement Community in Strongsville, Ohio. My friend, Nadine asked me to come help sing patriotic songs for the ceremony.  Her husband, Dr. Walt George is the Medical Director of Crossroads Hospice, which sponsored the event.

The Celebration of Honor was for patient, Michael Parker, who served as a Merchant Marine and then in the Air Force during WWII. Thirty other residents, who were veterans were also honored. Nadine shook hands with one of the veterans and said, ” Thank you for your service.” He responded, “I didn’t expect this.” Nadine said, “It’s about time you got some recognition.”  This veteran said, “That’s not the reason I served.”

Kathy Holt, a Crossroads volunteer, did a beautiful job playing patriotic songs on her flute and stirred everyone to sing along. Another highlight for me was when one of the veterans at Pearl Crossings played The Marine Corps Hymn on his harmonica in honor of his friend, a Marine and also a resident.  The events of 9/11 were remembered with a moment of silence. Jackie Montgomery, Army veteran and hospice volunteer, handed out certificates, small flags, hats, and pins to the other veterans for their service. We are grateful for our veterans. May God bless you all.


“Do The KIND Thing” Honor the Military

A KIND bar  is my favorite healthy snack food! I especially like the peanut butter dark chocolate plus protein bar and the dark chocolate cherry cashew plus antioxidants bar.

Now that I know about the companies KINDING MISSION,  I like them even more. The company designates the first Tuesday of each month as KIND Tuesday. Their site says, “It’s usually the nuts that change the world.”

“Each month, we challenge our KIND community to carry out a specific KINDING Mission on the first Tuesday of the month (a.k.a. KIND Tuesday). If enough people sign up (click to accept the challenge)  to complete that month’s KINDING Mission, we carry out a BIG KIND Act for the world.”

The challenge this month (before July 5th at midnight) is to give a thank you note to someone who protects you.  If the challenge is met, KIND will supply nearly half a million KIND bars to military bases across the country. Celebrate our independence and thank a soldier that protects you! Do the KIND thing!

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

110 Years Old:The Last Surviving U.S. Veteran of World War I Dies

My grandmother, Jenny Troha told me a story about how she was in love with a soldier and that they were going to get married when he got back from the war (WWI) . He never returned. Jenny ended up marrying my grandfather, Matt instead of her soldier.  I was never able to ask Jenny for more information about her soldier as she died unexpectedly a short time later.That was thirty two years ago. This storyabout the last surviving soldier of WWI made me think of Jenny and all those soldiers that have gone before us and given their lives for freedom’s sake.

The last US surviving veteran of WWI, Frank Buckles died on Sunday. Frank convinced an Army recurituer that he was 18 years of age in 1917, when in reality he was only 16 1/2 years old.  The article states:

When asked in February 2008 how it felt to be the last of his kind, he said simply, “I realized that somebody had to be, and it was me.” And he told The Associated Press he would have done it all over again, “without a doubt.”

Love Letters in the Snow:Honoring Fred and Clarie Martin

Nothing is left. Their home is gone, after an early morning explosion far from any battle field. The story of what happened on February 7,2011 is hard for their remaining family to grasp. Two beloved people gone in an instant.

The Martin’s dog, Jake survived. A journal was found in the snow. It contained love letters Fred had written to Claire while he served in the Vietnam War.

A cousin, Thomas J. Snee wrote a poem about these letters saying in part:

Letters in the Snow

Bound with love,

Written in time of war and separation

Only to be found in sorrow and desperation

To death do we part, given us to remind

to separate is only a passing . . .

Fred and Claire’s great love surround their children, grandchildren, and family. Passionate about life, they traveled, enjoyed music, and nature. It is fitting that the celebration of their lives and great love be held on February 14th, Valentines Day at 11 a.m. Stony Hill Church, 2756 Stoney Hill Road, Medina. Military burial will follow at Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery. Above all, love survives.
On line condolences at www.waitefuneralhome.com

Adopt-A-Family sign up asap

Just received this invitation from Pam Potts at Operation Homefront Ohio.

Sign up for the holidays.  The ADOPT-A-FAMILY program allows donors across the state to ‘reach out and give back’ to our young military families by helping to provide food and presents for the holiday. As families sign up we match them with donors which helps ensure a warm and caring holiday for all.

Requirements for Military Families:

  • Must be Active Duty
  • Must be E1-E6
  • Must be currently residing in Ohio

If you’d like your Military Family to be adopted this holiday season, click here to sign up.

If you’d like to sign up to Adopt a Military Family, click here to sign up.

Questions, please contact Rebecca Drobnick  614-446-7906

rebecca.drobnick@operationhomefront.net

Only Child is Home!

Good news. Karen Phelps, author of “Only Child” in Love You More Than You Know, just emailed that her daughter is home (last night) from Iraq! Thank you Major Jen for all your good work. We are glad you are home!

Only Child

Karen Phelps, author of “Only Child” in Love You More Than You Know, received an update from Major Jen who is currently deployed. Major Jen says that engineering is a universal language. “Only engineers can look at a big pile of rocks for 10 minutes in 110 degree weather and carry on a valuable discussion on the type, size, cut, and quality as it applies to different types of pavement.” Thank you Major Jen for all your good work.  Be safe.

Karen asks for prayers for her daughter and all of our soldiers.

Major Jen and Karen Phelps