Military Families


08 Aug 2011 11:01 pm

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It’s still really hot in Arkansas. Fires are still burning. I had to go to the river to find a scene like the one above.

Which is the sky and which is the earth?

I needed to look on peaceful water after the news of this weekend. The horrible news that America’s best were taken down by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Two of the Navy Seals came from Arkansas.

What made my soul bleed was the fact that in the initial press reports an “unnamed official” confirmed that those who were killed were from Seal Team 6 and the 160th Avn. Bde., which is the special ops aviation unit. This “unnamed official” asked not to be named because the families had not yet been notified. I could just imagine the agony the families were in knowing that one of their own was most likely killed. In this email to Instapundit John Lucas explains his disgust at the Obama administration official’s callous attitude toward the military families who were waiting for that knock at the door.

I ache for those families - the Mothers, the Fathers, the Wives, and the children. Life will never be the same.

“I do not know the dignity of their birth, but I do know the glory of their death,” General MacArthur said in his West Point address in 1962, speaking of the fallen American soldier. “They died unquestioning, uncomplaining, with faith in their hearts, and on their lips the hope that we would go on to victory. Always for them Duty, Honor, Country. Always their blood and sweat and tears as we sought the way and the truth and the light.”

“However horrible the incidents of war may be,” MacArthur went on to say, “the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country, is the noblest development of mankind.”

Here is a link to help the families of the fallen.

Bad news all around. We’ve been attacked from without and from within. Our economy was downgraded this weekend which was not really surprising. Obama played the blame game today which was also not surprising given that the man either doesn’t have a clue how to lead or has planned this “change” all along.

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America the Beautiful has been brought down low and how fortunate that Gov.Rick Perry was praying for her this weekend. We need bold leaders who are not afraid to stand up for their beliefs and we need prayer.

Especially prayers for the families of our valiant fallen heroes.

22 Nov 2008 08:00 am

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The Iraq War is over and we have won. Really.

America has won.

Zombie Time Declares it.

We have won the war even though there is nothing to be found about this fabulous news at MSNBC or ABC News or CBS News or CNN or even Fox News.

Here is the Google news results page if you enter “the war in Iraq is won.”

Not much, huh?

One has to scroll down eight links to a Blogger News Network link which reads Psst…the war is won

Everything else on the google page is essentially anti-military, anti-Bush or pro-Democrat. That’s the way it’s gone since a few months after the War in Iraq began.

But still, after all that, the Iraq war is essentially won.

Abraham Lincoln, our nations’ sixteenth president and one of our very greatest is being pegged by the media as an Obama look-a-like as they play pin the tail on the Democrat donkey just elected.

Lincoln, a president who spent all of his time in office dealing with the tragedy of a divided nation, and the bloody carnage of a Civil War, suffered deep anguish throughout his days in the White House, along with personal family tragedies and so much extreme hatred from so many regions of our country that it eventually led to his assassination.

The medias’ outrageous attempt to cast Barack Obama in the pantheon of Abraham Lincoln is ridiculous.

That Obama’s election is an historic first is true but everything else is for future historians to analyze and write about, not for todays’ reporters to wax poetic. Obama’s only just visited the White House, he hasn’t moved in yet.

The eight years of Bush Derangement Syndrome suffered gladly in some quarters of the media and the Democrat party has caused such deterioration that they are to the point that they would rather deny victory than admit the truth that the Commander in Chief and the troops have won the war.

This has to have taken a toll on President Bush but you’d never know it from his gracious public appearances.

Let’s roll back.

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“I hear you, America hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us soon.” ~ President George W. Bush

Remember him? The man who warned our enemies in the days just after September 11th that they would soon hear from us?

They did hear from us.

And now one theater in the war on terror is wrapped up.

Iraq is won.

Where are the ticker-tape parades Sissy Willis asks? The media which is now consumed in an all out search for a grandious presidential comparison to Barack Obama (who after all hasn’t accomplished anything of note as of yet except being elected president) can’t seem to take time to report this fantastic news.

Could it be that since Iraq is won and the Commander in Chief is still President Bush the media are waiting until Obama takes the oath of office in January before they declare that the war is really and truly won? Will Obama get on Air Force One and plant some pebbles on a beach somewhere in Iraq? The man who did nothing but try to lose that war?

“THE WAR IS OVER AND WE WON:” Michael Yon just phoned from Baghdad, and reports that things are much better than he had expected, and he had expected things to be good. “There’s nothing going on. I’m with the 10th Mountain Division, and about half of the guys I’m with haven’t fired their weapons on this tour and they’ve been here eight months. And the place we’re at, South Baghdad, used to be one of the worst places in Iraq. And now there’s nothing going on. I’ve been walking my feet off and haven’t seen anything.”

November 22nd, 2008 will be celebrated in many quarters as Victory in Iraq Day. Our family will be celebrating as we had not one, but two family members who were deployed to Iraq and thankfully, came home safely from the war victorious then and victorious now.

All of our troops, living and dead deserve the credit for this wonderful and very hard work.

The Anchoress wasn’t afraid to say it: President Bush was right.

I will say it again. President Bush was right. He was steadfast. He didn’t quit. He listened to the Generals. He listened to John McCain. He may have even gotten Osama. Some of us suspected it back in 2002.

President Bush honors and continues to honor our troops and our country despite the slings, arrows and missiles aimed at him. Someday history will acknowledge that he was right although I fear that none of us will be around to see it.

But that’s okay. May the blooming of Iraq continue.

All good things take time. One day there will be histories written of the steadfast men and women who left home and hearth for deployments sometimes extended longer than expected but they kept at it, sometimes grumbling but always faithfully doing their duty, and achieving their mission. This generation, many of them the grandchildren of the Greatest Generation may have learned something from their grandparents.

May God Bless these amazing young Americans. May God Bless our Troops. May God continue to Bless and Keep those who are still in harms’ way.

May America Honor All of Them.

Soldiers will always be my heroes.

As we celebrate our victory we must remember those who gave their all in the fight. The following are just a few of the band of brothers and sisters….

Spc. Erich Smallwood

Maj. Andrew Olmsted

Army Spc. Dustin Fisher

Sgt. Buddy James Hughie

Sgt. Michael James Stokely

The Long Gray Line’s Final Roll Call

Here is the Stars and Stripes’ Honoring Valor Site

Here are my fellow bloggers who are today marching in a virtual ticker-tape parade celebrating Iraq Victory Day. Take a trip to see each one.

Gateway Pundit

Blackfive

Little Green Footballs

Rantburg

sisu

Because No One Asked

Dog Opus Blog

Oh No, Another Conservative Blog

Who Is John Galt?

Gathering of Eagles (national)

Gathering of Eagles New York

Gathering of Eagles North Carolina

Stop the ACLU

The Surfing Conservative

Civilian Irregular Information Defense Group

The Foxhole

Lighthouse on the Right

Arming Liberty

Uncle Sam Ate My Baby

Down Is Up

Foreign and Domestic

WOT Daily

The Blog of Record

Serr8d’s Cutting Edge

Army Wife: Rants from Ft. Livingroom

Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

Rochester Conservative

The Daily Blogster

I Call BS!

Macker’s World

Something should go here, maybe later

Nice Deb

The Bronze Blog

AZresident

The Irascible Chef

Sharp Right Turn

TigerHawk

Tman In Tennessee

Thunder Pig

Sith by Sithwest

OutOfTheBlue

Anti-CAIR

Marooned in Marin

Thoughts Enroute

More Weight

Anti-Strib

The Jack Knows

Red State Rumblings

High Plains Blogger

Air Force Pundit

Fallback LGF

Liberty for USA

Diary of a Madman

The Rumbler Report

D.C. Thornton

Lock and Load

Fat Angie

Gegenkritik

Oedipal Beatdown

Conservative Action Network

A Herd of Turtles

Penny’s Potpurri

Sayyad al Wahabiyya

Brain-Surgery With Spoons

American Syndicalist Party

Broadsides

Public Secrets

Freedomplow

Toxic Taxation

Berman Post

HumbleInfidel

The Inquisition

Pax Parabellum

CrossFit Camp Pendleton

Freedom Watch

American Truths

Destination OBX

Fearless Dream

Theodore’s World

The Cool Blue Blog

Life With Monkeys

Woody’s Place

Wild Weazel

The Atheist Conservative

King’s Right Site

We are the Grizzwolds

redc1c4

Instapundit

Confederate Yankee

The Jawa Report

Ed Driscoll

Facebook group for Victory in Iraq Day

Barking Moonbat Early Warning System

Exurban League

Noblesse Oblige

Protein Wisdom Pub

Black & Right

Johnson County Republican Party

Winefred’s Well

Still Unbounded

The Liberty Boys

Atlanta ROFTers

Tennesseefree.com

This is Scooter Country

The Crescent Moon

From My Position…On the Way!

Letters to a Dying Dream

Blogs for Victory

RealChoice

EagleSpeak

HXC Christian.com

Conservative Diggs

zomblog

Erica Marceau

Pirate’s Cove

Let’s Get It Right

Cmblake6’s Weblog

What Bubba Knows

RightwingSparkle

NavyWife

Psycmeister’s Ice Palace!

Stable of Zionist Hore #2

Conservative in Seattle

Karridine Delivers

LifeoftheMind

ahavafriend

Zim’s View

I Am, Therefore I Think

Patriot Missive

USS Neverdock

Dan Cirucci

The Conservative Contessa

The Four Rs

Wake up America

The C-Square

Sarge Charlie

Red-Hot Right

Echoes in Eternity

American Infidel

buckferkeley

supporting the troops

One Model Place

The Dumber Ox

The Lightning News

BackyardConservative

2nd Exposure

DailyAviator

Lindy’s Blog: Where Mom is Always Right

Comics Pundit

No Clever Pseudonym

Free Frank Warner

The Digital Hairshirt

The Blue Pelican

Krigsblogg

Nothing But the Facts

Gegenstimme

Environmental Republican

Irons in the Fire

no blood for sauerkraut!

The Individualizer

TechnoChitlins

Nebulous Continuum

Take Our Country Back

The Conservative Radical

Zion Beckons

Antihippies

Soldiers’ Angels Germany

Paul Ibrahim

jweaks on Squidoo

Marie’s Two Cents

The Other Club

The Anchoress

Beyond the Veil

Michigan Taxes Too Much

Once More Into the Breach

When you finish this parade know this, we live in the land of the free and the home of the brave chiefly because of the sacrifice of our valiant military of the past, the present and the future.

God bless you, the reader.

04 Nov 2008 12:04 am

This political season brings to mind the years (1999-2002) we lived in Heidelberg, Germany and had the grand Armed Forces Network cable channel which included: the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America and that other network. (can’t think of the name) AFN ran the Today Show and The View twice daily. For entertainment there were a lot of down market sitcoms that I found boring.

Even though Fox News had been on the air for quite some time we were still in the Clinton years and there were no media outlets that were not approved by the Clinton administration except for one hour of Rush on the radio network.

Then there was CNN International. It was beyond awful.

I chose to watch the Sky News Network. (I enjoyed Sunday Live with Adam Boulton) Then there was a funny little British channel I enjoyed watching. I think it was the BBC, and during the day there were interesting shows about gardening. When I wasn’t perusing the news on the internet down in the basement of the house, I watched the gardening show. One day, for some reason, the host was talking about fertilizer and suddenly the screen froze on some very fresh looking, manure, i.e. stable dung. I tried to change the channel but it wouldn’t change.

I shrugged my shoulders and went outside for a walk. (this was my year of freedom, traveling, shopping and fun)

When I came back inside, the television screen was still frozen. I did some laundry and read a book. Later I checked Fox News on the internet and read my email. My daughters were coming to visit us soon for their college break and I was excited.

Late that evening, when my husband came home, I pointed to the television screen. He looked at the stable dung and turned the television off. He turned it back on. It was still there. He tried to change the channel and couldn’t. We had no other television in Germany and didn’t want to buy another one over there.

My husband put in a DVD of Horatio Hornblower and we watched it.

I remember, I made steak, baked potatoes, dilled salad and steamed broccoli.

After we turned it off he put the television screen back on.

The stable dung was there again.

So it stayed. It became familiar. I noticed that our cat, Captain would watch it sometimes, then yawn, turn around and lick himself.

When the girls were due to arrive I drove to Frankfurt to pick them up. This was their first trip to Germany since they were babies. I was excited to show off our house to them. We had big plans to travel that summer.

After the girls checked out their rooms and the house and had settled down into the living room one of them glanced at the television and took a second look.

“Mom.” Charlotte said, “Is there something wrong with the T.V.?”

I looked up at the television and then back at Charlotte and said, “Oh no. There’s nothing wrong.”

Charlotte said, “Well, there’s poop on the screen!”

“That’s the gardening channel.” I said.

Charlotte made an attempt to change the channel and couldn’t do it either.

We spent so much time traveling that summer it didn’t matter that our television had a screen load of manure. Not when we had been to Paris, London, Dublin, Kilkenny, Zurich, Salzburg, and Rothenberg.

When I think about that television screen of dung I see the out-of-their-minds, Keith Olbermann, and Chris Matthews, and all of the rest of the supposedly, objective news reporters on the three networks, MSNBC and CNN. These people are just as frozen in their idealogies as that German television screen and many Americans have bought into their sales pitches.

One day when we turned on the television the manure was gone, we could change the channel and the girls enjoyed watching South Park in German.

Today the military and their families in Europe and elsewhere enjoy much more freedom of choice in their entertainment and news selections.

Hopefully, the American people will see through the dung of the polls, the press, the execrable exit polls and that Charlatan, Barack Obama and get out and vote for John McCain tomorrow.

UPDATE:

Man Parks Manure Near Democrats’ Campaign Office to Protest Obama.

That is a true headline.

Terry Reed, who owns a construction and excavation company in Whitehall, parked the trailer near the office on Saturday. He also posted a sign in the manure mocking Obama’s “change we can believe in” slogan as “a load of crap.”

“I think Obama’s plan is just one big old poop sandwich and we’re all going to have to take a bite,” he said.

I’m sorry, but this makes me smile.

21 Oct 2008 04:27 pm

The Anchoress has a prayer request up. The kind of prayer request that brings immediate tears to the eyes.

The Anchoress writes:

I cannot tell you his name - but if you could storm heaven for “Beloved and his family” at this time - for miracles if God wills them, for peace and consolation if not. The need is great. Please keep these people “in your pockets,” so to speak. Perhaps offer something up for their behalf, keeping this in mind: Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church…(Colossians 1:24)

Go there. Don’t look away please.

19 Jun 2008 01:01 am

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What a moving experience it was.

I couldn’t possibly count all the packing boxes that went into the many military moves of the Donoho family. Thirty years of life in the military was enlightening, fun, tedious, maddening and glorious. We never really took a vacation during all those years. The vacation would invariably occur during our permanent changes of station. We would take cross country trips with loaded cars, pets in tow and somehow managed to make it fun.

After the one five-year period we lived in Indiana during which our children were in the early grades in elementary school, we moved every year or two years thereafter. I will always treasure Indianapolis and West Lafayette, Indiana for those precious years. There was always something interesting going on. Our children loved the Childrens Museum in Indianapolis.

We’ve lived in the far north and near the equator. We lived next door to a house where pro-Noriega police were planning a coup and we lived on a post where deer would appear in the front yard. We absolutely loved living in a house built by the Buffalo soldiers and for six months we more than lived on a beach.

We spent two tours in Germany, the first, early in my husband’s career and the second when my husband was nearing retirement. The travels were more enriching during the last tour because our children were older. We all discovered how much we liked travel by train.

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Afternoon in Germany

And yet, often we didn’t realize how much we liked a place until we saw it in the rearview mirror. Such is life, I suppose.

But the moves themselves were memorable and once or twice very disheartening. I will never forget the time we were moving from Fort Eustis. When the packers came in our house my heart fell. The packers were so illiterate they couldn’t spell the simplest words on the boxes and I caught a few throwing the packed items into the containers.

I gathered up all of our silver, the family Bible, photo albums and other precious things and packed them myself and put them aside. These possessions would not go into storage. We drove them in our big van all the way to Arkansas to leave with our parents.

Thank heavens we did that. After we had spent two years in Panama and had moved to Fort Drum, New York, on the very day we were to receive our household goods the inspector came out to our house and told my husband that all the things we had left in storage might not arrive because the storage company had gone bankrupt and whatever wasn’t stolen had been left out in the rain.

Missing was the beautiful oriental rug we had bought in Germany on our first tour, the old American flag with the forty eight stars that my husband had inherited from his late grandfather and many other things. Our heirloom dining room furniture was water damaged and warped; the living room sofa and chairs had rust stains all over them and the legs were broken off. It was a mess. We had no living room or dining room furniture to speak of and making matters worse, we were expected to entertain because my husband was a battalion commander.

A battalion command is a big deal in a military family. It was quite an achievement in my husband’s Army career. To prepare for the command both my husband and I attended a course at Fort Leavenworth. We met a lot of great people, some of whom were also headed to Fort Drum.

So, my expectations that we would be able to get settled quickly were dashed. Material possessions aren’t all that important of course, but the government had let us down. I wanted to find out why the storage facility had gone bankrupt and learned that it had filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Somehow, no one in the huge bureaucracy thought it important to let military families know that their possessions were at risk.

Then I discovered all the governmental red tape. We first had to file a claim with our own insurance before the government would let us even file a claim with them. Luckily our insurance would cover loss and water damage. I had to document everything and luckily I still had our photo albums and receipts since I had stored that with our parents. But the whole enterprise of dealing with the government bureaucracy took months to do. Once I got around to filing our claim with the government I discovered that all items would be depreciated.

The damaged furniture was unusable so it was put in the garage. We had to keep it around for insurance purposes.

We had our first battalion party in an empty living room and dining room.The food was excellent though (if I say so myself) and we used our old rattan outdoor table and chairs we had bought from the Indians in the interior of Panama. So we had plenty of floor space and everyone was happy with the food and drink.

It was months before we had furniture. Fort Drum is seventeen miles from Watertown, New York and I only found one nice furniture store there. Another town twenty five miles away had an Ethan Allen. We had to go to Syracuse to find a replacement for our oriental carpet. That was fun of course but meanwhile, my husband had been deployed to Somalia. My daughters and I made all the selections.

Along the way our cat family expanded. We had found Abbey in Panama at a U.S. government run humane society and a year after we got to Fort Drum we added Sabby. Then, one cold winter night Captain arrived. Pattertwig, our dog and Sabby really got along well.

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Our kids were in junior and senior high school during our two years at Fort Drum. Our son was a senior at the Catholic High School in Watertown and (while his Dad was in Somalia) he had convinced me to let him drive our ten year old van to school a few days a week instead of having to take the bus. We had 224 inches of snow that first winter. Upstate New York road workers really kept the roads clear. The school system never called off school because of the weather and, thankfully, our son drove safely.

I had to make those kind of command decisions that winter and luckily when my husband finally returned home he liked the furniture, our kids had kept up their grades and Drew hadn’t had any car accidents.

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We lived in this house just down the hill from Quarry Heights in Panama

Getting back to our move from Fort Eustis, Virginia to Panama. After we had cleared our quarters we decided for economic reasons to stay in the guest house at Fort Eustis. It was an old building but our quarters had a suite with a bedroom and living room. At first, we settled in happily.

Everyone was asleep when around two a.m. the smoke/fire alarm in the ceiling right above our bed went off. We all woke up. Our youngest daughter, Charlotte was sick with fever and a stomach virus. Her precious sleep was disturbed and brought on more moans and misery. My husband tried to get the alarm shut off but it just kept wailing. We checked to see if there was any smoke but there wasn’t any sign of a fire. We waited for the firemen to arrive. They checked out our rooms and decided that there was no fire, we just had a faulty fire alarm. They left. We went back to bed.

One hour later, the fire alarm went off again. The firemen came again. They would not disconnect the fire alarm but checked it out and informed us that it wouldn’t go off again. Of course it did. It went off every hour for the rest of the night.

We named that guest house Hotel Hell. We didn’t stay there another night.

Our van and my husband’s car was loaded and ready to go so we put Pattertwig and the kids in the cars and headed west to Arkansas.

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Little houses representing the many places we have lived perch on the bookshelf

I focus a lot on our two year tour at Fort Drum, New York. For me, it was one of my most enriching experiences in our thirty years of Army life. Perhaps it was because I didn’t work for those two years and had a lot of time to enjoy watching it snow, being with the kids and experimenting with recipes for all the parties we had. Being a Battalion Commanders wife required that I get involved in the military community, the Family Readiness Group and the battalion. I made so many friends with the wives on the post. We played bridge, were in a bowling league (I love to bowl but am not very good) and attended lots of meetings. I was vice president of the Volunteer Support Fund. I learned a lot through that endeavor.

One of my friends did lots of arts and crafts. She made the little houses representing almost everywhere we had lived shown in the above photo. I held parties for the wives and families in my husband’s battalion. I also did what I could to make their lives better. Sometimes all I could do was console.

While my husband was in Somalia his Executive Officer’s son, a yearling at West Point, was in a terrible auto accident with a group of cadets who were on their way back to West Point from Florida after Spring Break. Billy lost his left arm and two other cadets were killed. That was very hard. I still think of that time with sadness. Billy was an outstanding cadet but because he lost his left arm he had to leave West Point at the end of his yearling year. He was determined not to let the loss of an arm stop him. He spent time at Fort Drum on the golf course. His exuberant personality was an inspiration to all of us. Billy went on to finish college and is very successful.

Our children were growing up. My son was headed to West Point when we moved in June of 1994 to Fairfax, Virginia. My husband headed to the Pentagon. I became a fifth grade teacher at Washington Mill Elementary School in Alexandria, VA. We loved living near our nations’ capital and enjoyed our trips into Washington D.C.

Because the Clintons were living in the White House we didn’t take a tour.
A snub to Hillary, yes.

She was reported to have remarked during the eighties that she would “pass on a tour of the White House” during the Reagan presidency until “nicer people” lived there.

I became friends with a lady who lived in Alexandria most of her life and her son was a student in my fifth grade class. She and her husband had an annual Christmas tradition of going on a White House tour. She told me that after the Clintons moved into the White House she questioned a tour guide about the beautiful Italian creche that was always on display during the Christmas holidays at the White House but she didn’t see it in its usual place. The tour guide whispered to her that because Hillary didn’t want to insult Muslims she hadn’t allowed it to be displayed.

Our two years in Fairfax, Virginia went by fast and before we knew it we were on the road to Carlisle, Pennsylvania. My husband was in one car and the girls and I and our three cats and dog were in the van. It was raining. When we arrived at the Army War College and our little house in Smurf Village I was shocked to discover that the movers were moving our furniture into the house during the rain. Our white sofa was covered with plastic but it was sitting on the lawn.

The house was very small but we were so leery of any storage facility we decided to go with all of our stuff. Somehow we managed to make it all fit. The house had five levels. A basement was the first level and the L shaped living room and dining area with a tiny, walk-in kitchen was on the second level. Upstairs were two bedrooms and a bathroom. Third level. One level up, was another bedroom and bath and then up in the attic was another bedroom. Fifth level. It was a tiny little house stacked up like a wedding cake and we loved living in it.

Being in Pennsylvania for that one year was fun. Our son was a little closer to us, it only took four hours to drive to West Point. We brought him home every chance that we could. Our oldest daughter was off to college at Washington and Jefferson, a drive that took three hours. I spent a lot of time on the road and was able to view the exquisite beauty of the state. We went to the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia that year, and Army won in a very exciting game.

Many memories were packed into that one year. Before we knew it, it was over and we were heading to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, one of my most favorite posts. We had lived there years before during my husband’s first tour. Going back was thrilling. We lived on the quadrangle, where all the historic houses built by the Buffalo Soldiers were. Our house on Chickasaw Road was about one hundred forty years old, had five bedrooms, front stairs, back stairs, two fireplaces, a screened in porch and a kitchen with two ovens. There were hardwood floors throughout and built-in bookcases. Our house had a plaque on the wall in the front hallway which listed the names of all the officers who had lived there. After we left our name was added to it.

All the other houses had only four bedrooms. Our house had a story behind it. In the early nineteen hundreds a chaplain and his family lived in our quarters. He had a moonshine still and one day it exploded, causing a lot of damage. When the house was repaired one of the bedrooms was divided in two. I loved that old story.

Life during the two years we lived at Fort Sill was bitter sweet. My husband lost his parents within four months of each other. That was the reason we went to Fort Sill. My husband was being groomed to be a general but he chose to pass on that and move to Fort Sill because it was the closest post we could get to in order to be near his father, who had terminal cancer. We spent many hours on the road to Fort Smith.

The second and last year we were at Fort Sill I suffered empty nest syndrome. Our youngest daughter was off to college. Fortunately, she chose the University of Oklahoma which was only a two and a half hour trip. I took trips up to the University on Thursdays to take Charlotte out to lunch. Meanwhile our son had graduated from West Point in 1998 and was attending his Officers Basic course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Our oldest daughter, Kate was in her third year at Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania. I took road trips up to Pennsylvania to see her.

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Washington and Jefferson College

In August, 1997, my parents went with us to take Kate back to school. We took two cars because we were going to leave one of them with Kate. When we were driving through the outskirts of St. Louis I looked in my rearview mirror to check on my parents and they were nowhere to be found. This was the days before cellphones. I pulled over on the shoulder of the road, waiting and hoping to see my parents in the car and after about fifteen minutes of wondering what in the world I would do if we had lost them, we saw the car coming down the interstate.

Traveling with my parents has always been an interesting but sometimes flustering experience. On the way home my dad wanted to stop at every antique shop on the way. It was fun but sometimes frustrating for me because I wanted to get back on the road. By the time we returned home the van was loaded with items that would go into their antique shop.

I loved walking around Fort Sill. We lived on the old quadrangle and the parade ground, where all the military ceremonies took place, was just across the street. Atomic Annie was just a few blocks away. The guardhouse where Geronimo was held was nearby.

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The Donoho House

Thirty years went by as fast as thirty minutes. It seems like it was just this morning that my mother-in-law Martha Ann presented me with a copy of The Army Wife.

The military life stays with you. We moved back to our hometown and found employment. Our children live near us and we are surrounded with all of our family. I still love giving parties, pulling out all the German china, Polish artist signed pottery and French tablecloths.

Still, Summer feels funny if we are not traveling somewhere and I find myself going through all the old photographs of places we have lived. I look around the rooms of our house and have the urge to pack it all up. Moving was not so much fun but the places we lived and people we met all over our country, in Europe and Panama taught us, enriched us, enlarged our minds and made us appreciate our country.

I miss it.

06 Jun 2008 01:46 pm

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Eisenhower speaks to 1st. Lt. Wallace C. Strobel and Company E, 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division on the evening of June 5th, 1944.

D-Day, June 6th, 1944

Google celebrates the birth of Baroque artist, Diego Velázquez instead of commemorating D-Day.

Ironically, Velázquez’ daughter was an ancestress of Marquises de Monteleon, including Enriquetta Casado who in 1746 married Heinrich VI, Count Reuss zu Köstritz and had large number of descendants among German aristocracy, among them Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, father of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

I remember D-Day. So do many Americans. Six months after the Normandy Invasion came the Battle of the Bulge.

My Uncle Ed was there. Perhaps the attic bound uncle of Barack Obama tried to teach him about the valor, fidelity and sacrifice that it took to win World War ll but seemingly, it didn’t take.

Why take the opportunity to knock Obama in a D-Day post?

He claims the mantle of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Here is the prayer the late President Roosevelt delivered to the nation on June 6th, 1944.

My Fellow Americans:

Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest — until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment — let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace — a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.

Amen.

Franklin D. Roosevelt - June 6, 1944

24 May 2008 11:18 am

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CARROL COPELAND • TIMES RECORD Darby Junior High School students Kaheem Spann, left, and Miguel Castorena attach an American flag to a pole before raising it Thursday morning at the U.S. National Cemetery. About 60 Darby students put up 300 large U.S. flags, 50 state flags and more than 12,000 small U.S. flags on individual graves. The annual Memorial Day service will be at the cemetery Sunday at 2 p.m.

How to teach Junior High students to love and respect our American heritage? Take them to the National Cemetery to raise American flags on Memorial Day. It is there that they will learn that Americans will die for their freedom.

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Waldo Fisher salutes after placing a flag at the headstone of his son, Dustin, at the U.S. National Cemetery in Fort Smith on Thursday. Fisher, a civics teacher at Darby Junior High School and president of Chapter 467 of the Vietnam Veterans of America, led a group of about 130 Darby students, who placed flags on the 10,325 headstones of deceased veterans and decorated the site for a Memorial Day observance Sunday at 2 p.m. Army Spc. Dustin Fisher was killed while serving in Iraq on May 24, 2005.

Waldo Fisher is now retired from teaching Civics at Darby but he continues in his quest to honor America’s fallen, including his own son.

A couple dozen Darby Junior High students were busy placing flags at the national cemetery in Fort Smith this morning.

These volunteers were dressing up the cemetery in preparation for Memorial Day ceremonies on Monday. Former Darby teacher and Vietnam vet, Waldo Fisher started this annual project 18 years ago when the national cemetery was having problems getting enough volunteers to place the flags.

“18 years later we are here again and we will be here as long as I’m alive, hopefully this program will go on forever,” said Waldo Fisher, retired Darby teacher.

Fisher says the students are picked by their teachers and they must display good citizenship through out the year to qualify. He says the goal is to teach them responsibility and respect.

The video is here.

William O. Darby Junior High School is named for the late Gen. William O. Darby, founder of Darby’s Rangers which evolved into the US Army Rangers. Darby was born and grew up in Fort Smith and graduated from West Point in 1933. He is well remembered and honored here.

27 May 2007 04:06 pm

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On the morning of Memorial Day, May 30th, 1962, I was sleeping in because school was over and I had completed the sixth grade. My mother came into the room and whispered my name. I ignored her, thinking, “she’s forgotten school is out. I can sleep in.”

When my Dad came in the room, and said, “Laura Lee.” I noticed his voice cracking. I sat up in bed, rubbing my eyes, wondering what was wrong. I opened my eyes and saw Daddy’s face. His eyes were red and he was crying.

“We lost Cookie this morning.” Daddy said.

Cookie was our beautiful, black cocker spaniel and the best dog that ever lived. My parents got her right after they married, so Cookie was, from the beginning, part of the trinity in my life: Father, Mother and Cookie.

When we were tasked to write essays or reports at school I invariably wrote about Cookie.

Cookie was very affectionate and gentle with all of us. She tolerated my youngest brother when he was little. He had a habit of sucking his thumb and holding his ear. I wasn’t a good influence in getting him to quit because I thought it was so cute. When anyone was sitting next to him instead of holding his own ear, he would hold theirs. So, Cookie also tolerated Guy’s ear holding habit.

She also welcomed the new pets that came along, the cats, the goat, the chickens, and our horse, Scout. Scout didn’t like dogs because a neighbors’ dogs had once chased him in the back pasture, running him up against the barbed wire fence.

One day, when Scout had the run of our yard he backed Cookie up against the house.

Cookie had a habit of making her rounds through the neighborhood early in the morning. On Memorial Day, 1962, our newspaper boy knocked on the door, waking up my parents to tell them that he had found Cookie lying in the middle of the street, right in front of our house.

She hadn’t been hit by a car, so Daddy surmised that she had had a heart attack. She was sixteen years old.

The morning was full of tears. All of us were heartbroken. Daddy went out to the backyard and dug a grave on the mound, a high place in the yard. We had buried one of our beloved cats, Frisky, there. He chose the spot right in the middle of the mound. My little sister went into the back pasture and cut a tiny cedar tree to place at the foot of the grave. Daddy carved Cookie’s name into a tree branch and fashioned a cross, placing the Tiger Lillies that Cookie loved in the intersection of the two branches.

When we laid Cookie to rest Daddy said a prayer and spoke of the blessing that Cookie had added to our lives. I remember hearing the term, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away,” for the first time. On one side of the house the tiger lillies bloomed. That was Cookie’s favorite sleeping spot. The tiger lillies are still blooming today as if in remembrance of the little black dog that found comfort beside them.

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The lonely Tiger Lillies still bloom.

That was the first Memorial Day that hurt. Back then, Memorial Day was an actual fixed day in the calendar. There were no three day weekends. I was supposed to go to a Sixth Grade party at my friend, Paulette’s house. I could stay only a few minutes.

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The little cedar tree, planted by my sister, now towers over the mound. We’ve always called it The Cookie Tree. The ice storm of 2000 damaged it considerably, but it still stands as an enduring memorial to the little dog we loved.

Our family had taken us to the Oak Cemetery on Memorial Days before, but this was a time in between wars; the Vietnam War hadn’t yet caught hold in the American psyche.

We had been taken to visit the graves of our great grandparents on earlier Memorial Days and on that Memorial Day, 1962, we were planning to visit Oak Cemetary, where my grandfather, Guy Smith Webster had been buried just a year before. That was my first big heartbreak, he was the grandfather I followed around like a puppydog.

We didn’t make it that year. After burying Cookie that morning the day was pretty much spent in tears. Tommy Across the Street was watching us gather around the grave and told his mother that he thought our grandmother must have died.

In future years I was to learn the true meaning of Memorial Day. Back then I thought Memorial Day honored any and all dead and on every subsequent Memorial Day our family always thought of Cookie.

Five years later, when the Vietnam War was raging, a close friend of our family, Butch Cecil, was killed in action on July 14th, 1967 in the Quang Tri Province.

Butch was laid to rest in the oldest National Cemetery in the country, The U.S. National Cemetery in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

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My Uncle Max was always a towering figure in my life. He was a great athlete who played with my Dad on their Fast Pitch Softball teams. He was the pitcher who many times hurled no-hitters and helped take their team to four straight state championships. He was later nominated for the Fast Pitch Softball Hall of Fame.

Uncle Max entertained us when we were kids by playing the violin, making us laugh with his funny jokes and doing smoke tricks with his cigarettes. I didn’t know when I was young that he had also served in the Pacific Theater in World War ll as a tail gunner. One day when I was a teenager Uncle Max quietly brought out his World War ll photo album.

In future years the veterans of wars in our family would be laid to rest in the National Cemetery. My precious Uncle Max, my father-in-law, C.C, both World War ll vets, and my husband’s grandfather, Riley Nolan Donoho, who served in World War l.

I was blessed to know my uncles and father-in-law; they were steadfast men who left home to go to war and, thankfully, came home safely. They lived through the wars, had families and helped them to grow up.

Butch Cecil and a million other combat veterans, lost in our nations wars, gave their all. Those in the military today continue to give their lives for our country in the War on Terror. I learned this weekend that one 875th Engineers’ soldier was killed and another wounded this past Saturday in Iraq.

In this age of three-day weekends, Memorial Day seems to have lost its meaning. Many Americans don’t find it convenient nowadays to find time to pause to honor our American War dead. It’s just not in the three-day weekend schedule. There are the picnics, the traveling, the cookouts and all the rest.

Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public’s nonchalant observance of Memorial Day.” — VFW 2002 Memorial Day address

The news media brings us articles on how to keep sunburn at bay, barbecuing greener and The Indianapolis 500.

Little of the coverage focuses on the sacrifice of the combat veterans who served our country. If it’s covered at all, it’s to present the body count, not the heroic acts and progress made in our war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s just another day to many Americans, just as it was to me when I was young. I only knew it as the sad day that my dog, Cookie died. Most Americans celebrate the Memorial Day weekend as just another day off work.

It’s so much more. Memorial Day fills me with gratitude for the many fine Americans who have defended our country by giving their all. It makes me sad for all of the families who’ve lost their precious loved ones. It’s bittersweet because, while many of us have family members doing their duty in harms way, a multitude of Americans aren’t even aware that the war is ongoing, and our troops could use the support of all of us. On Memorial Day this year, none of us should sleep in, it’s not just another day to play, it’s a day to honor the best and bravest of all Americans.

Sisu understands the reason why we, as Americans, owe our every sunrise to those who made it possible.

Lorie Byrd at Wizbang has a Memorial Day Roundup.

UPDATE:

Final Roll Call

Blackfive has a Memorial Day Thank You from those left behind.

When I was a little girl, I loved to hear Kate Smith singing, God Bless America. I still love to hear her sing it.

“This year, with the war clouds of Europe so lately threatening the peace of the entire world, I felt I wanted to do something special - something that would not only be a memorial to our soldiers - but would also emphasize just how much America means to each and every one of us … The song is ‘God Bless America’; the composer, Mr. Irving Berlin. When I first tried it over, I felt, here is a song that will be timeless - it will never die - others will thrill to its beauty long after we are gone. In my humble estimation, this is the greatest song Irving Berlin has ever composed … As I stand before the microphone and sing it with all my heart, I’ll be thinking of our veterans and I’ll be praying with every breath I draw that we shall never have another war…” — KS introducing “God Bless America” on her radio show, Armistice Day, November 11, 1938


Cox & Forkum commemorates Memorial Day here.

On this Day of Memory, we mourn brave citizens who laid their lives down for our freedom. They lived and died as Americans. May we always honor them. May we always embrace them. And may we always be faithful to who they were and what they fought for.

President Bush today at Arlington Cemetery.

Take time to remember the three members of the Weapons Intelligence Flight lost during their Iraq deployment.

18 Mar 2007 04:18 pm

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There is joy in Wide Awake Cafe-ville this weekend because our son is home for his two week R&R from Iraq.

He reports that things are definitely looking up in Iraq. They sure are here!

04 Sep 2006 12:07 pm

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Some of us have the luxury today to shop for bargains, take in some movies, or simply get together with friends and family. Unfortunately, Labor Day is no holiday for our troops…..stateside or overseas. My son and brother don’t get this day off, they are training for war and working sixteen hour days.

They are always on alert in our warzones.

Please consider visiting Soldier’s Angels to help lift up the spirits of our troops. Many of our soldiers overseas never receive letters or packages to help remind them that someone at home is thinking of them.

Also, please remember the troops (and their families) we’ve lost during this long fight here.

Hat tip: Hugh Hewitt

Lorie Byrd at Wizbang writes that there is some good news coming out of Iraq.

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