Memorial Day:Remembering Those Who Serve & Served

Being an Army wife for 4 years gave me a special glimpse into military life. I am so proud that my husband has served, I’m so proud to know the many other men and women who have served and I’m so proud of this country even.

Our little family right before Jeremy deployed to Afghanistan in 2009
Team RWB
Team Red, White and Blue

I caught a news story this past week about a group called Team Red, White and Blue. Their mission is “to transform the way wounded veterans are reintegrated into society when they return from combat and exit their position in the Active Duty force or National Guard”. One of the men in the group said that above anything, what they want the average American citizen to know and realize is that these soldiers and veterans do what they do for us, and they would do it again.

The majority of soldiers Jeremy and I came into contact with will tell you that they signed up because ultimately, they want to serve their country. They really do make this radical life decision for us. And many of them paid the ultimate sacrifice. Death and sacrifice are a part of daily life for a military family. You hear of lost loved ones from your neighbor, your friend, your fellow-wives and sometimes, it even happens to you.

This Memorial Day, our family is meeting Sgt. Dale Griffin’s family in Terre Haute, Indiana. Jeremy became friends with Dale while they were in the L.E.S. (Language Enabled Soldiers) program at Ft. Lewis where they studied Arabic for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 9 months. It was a grueling program and Jeremy loved how “Griff” could crack jokes with him. They were class clowns and regularly stirred up trouble with the professors.

Dale’s Stryker was driving through a dry river bed in Afghanistan when an Afghani man tripped the wire buried beneath it. Everyone in the Stryker was killed. Everyone.

It was awful.

The families of these wounded men have continued to live their lives and I think it’s important that we thank them, that we remember them and continue to tell their stories.

For those of you in WA, you can be a part of Lisa Hallet’s organization, Wear Blue Run to Remember. Lisa’s husband, Captain John Hallet, was Jeremy’s commander and was killed in Afghanistan while traveling back from a humanitarian effort. They had gone to a village to distribute vaccinations to people. On the way back to base, their Stryker was baited and an explosive was set off as they drove over a culvert or ditch. Lisa has turned her heart wrenching grief into an opportunity to continue to live life while forever remembering the loved ones they’ve lost. WBR2R’s mission is “to establish a running community that serves as a living memorial to the service and sacrifice of the American Military.”

Jeremy and I both come from a long line of brave men who have served in the military. My Grandfather, Robert Douglas, Jeremy’s Uncle, Lloyd Perry, his great Uncle Ivan Nevil, his Grandfathers, Jay Hall and Vernon Nevil all served proudly.

So today, I thank these men, I thank my husband and I thank the husbands of my current military friends. Thank you:

Rande Henderson
Eric Knight
Chris Damron
Matt Moorehead
Brian Zangenberg
Scott Tillman
Patrick Casey
Dan Boyle
Benjamin Varner
Ryan Rains
The Morgan Family
The Herken Family
Matt Shirkey
The Jefferes Family
The Weaver Family
Ben Boyle
The Feicht Family
Gary Lewis
Larry Redelsperger
Jason Sunderson
Jay Kennedy
The Hewitt Family
The Clemons Family
Stephen Seward
The Kisley Family
The Ross Family
Brian McCleod
KC Mitchell
The Norquist Family
The Hallett Family
Kelly Wilson
The Reynolds Family
Jason Boren

Thank you for fighting for freedom and for us. I remember you. We remember you. We love you!

Adventures at the Local Library

Today was supposed to be another on-again/off-again stormy day. I have been meaning to take the boys (and myself!) to the local library to get cards and a lovely stash of books to keep us busy. Cooper is reading and I was so exicted to get him some of those early reader books to help boost his confidence in reading.

Before going into the library I remind my children what we discussed the night before about the rules of the library. It has been quite a while since we’ve been and they needed a bit of a refresher.  Quiet voices, no running, general calmness and nice manners, etc. You know, the whole speech…

We go inside and get our new library cards (one for each of us just to make it extra fun) and then we move to the children’s section. The boys had a blast playing quietly with the toys and picking out books. They were so great! A few times I had to remind them to use their quiet voices even though I knew they were really excited about all these great books we were getting. We packed our things and Mommy headed over to her side of the library to quickly grab a couple books.

I found my treasures (travel books for researching next year’s big 10-year anniversary celebration vacation!) and we stood in the check out line. By now, my boys are so excited they can hardly stand it. But they are playing it cool and just softly telling me which books they can’t wait to read first when we get home.

The gal checking the books out mentions something to me (a.k.a. my attention is momentarily pulled from my wiggling kiddos) and as I listen I pass a small bag of books to Chase. He didn’t scream or even shout, he just used a normal kind of voice to say “Oh, heavy”.  A lady next to me in line laughs at his cuteness and smiles in a genuinly sweet way at the boys and then I hear it, “SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Some older man is shushing my child VERY dramatically and sort of spitting as he does it. He GLARES at me and then shakes his head in disgust.

My boys are doing nothing wrong. They are standing there, patiently waiting for me and my two-year old makes one comment in a non-whispered tone about his bag being heavy and that constitutes a dramatic shushing? Really?

So I look at this man and say to him, “Excuse me? They need to learn somehow.” And I make sure he knows I am talking to him. He looks at me with the same look of total disgust and dramatically annunciates, “Well you have to TEACH them”. I looked at him with my boldest Mommy face, eyebrows highly raise, gave a little oh-no-you-didn’t head bob and said back to him “I DID teach them, he is TWO”.

At this point, I think he realized that I’m about two seconds from walking over to him (I stepped a bit forward as I said this) and punching him in the nose if he continues to challenge and judge my parenting all because my little two year old commented that his books were heavy. He backed down, (good choice buddy) and I continued on my merry little way with my children.

Now, I did remind my children that at the library we need to keep our voices in check the ENTIRE time we are there. But I also commended them on what a good job they did.

How in the world will we teach a love for books, reading and learning if we don’t let our kids try? The library is a place you have to be taught to love and taught to respect.

The guy continued to be rude to the poor lady at the check out counter. All the other people smiled nicely at me in line and looked at me like “you go girl”.  I can tell you I was highly tempted to take the issue further. My blood was boiling. But I checked myself, reminded myself that Jesus and my children are watching me and decided that I had said enough. I then patted myself on the back for having the guts to say ANYTHING to this rude guy.

It did however, remind me that my superpower would be lasers coming out of my eyes…Ahem…