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HONOR THE FALLEN...

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Hey Gar,

I have to say that it is always very difficult for me to read these citations. Each time I feel the pain in my stomach, the buzzing in my ears and cotton on my tongue. The tears well in the corners of my eyes, and finally slide down my face to the floor. My wife asked me why I read these since they make me so emotional and, "seem to hurt you so much."

It came to my lips without me even realizing I was saying it. "Because these citations must be read, remembered and honored. They are the very blood of patriots that have paid the highest sacrice for a people and society they belonged to and believed in, us." She just kinda looked at me, put her hand on mine and said, "I love you."

Thanks for these posts Gar. - Terry

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Hey Gar,

I have to say that it is always very difficult for me to read these citations. Each time I feel the pain in my stomach, the buzzing in my ears and cotton on my tongue. The tears well in the corners of my eyes, and finally slide down my face to the floor. My wife asked me why I read these since they make me so emotional and, "seem to hurt you so much."

It came to my lips without me even realizing I was saying it. "Because these citations must be read, remembered and honored. They are the very blood of patriots that have paid the highest sacrice for a people and society they belonged to and believed in, us." She just kinda looked at me, put her hand on mine and said, "I love you."

Thanks for these posts Gar. - Terry

A great post Terry...thanks for sharing your feelings..."read..remembered..and honored" so true!!

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Here are scenes of actual footage of WW11...as you watch just remember that nearly all of the

people in these films are now dead...these are the folks that kept this country free for the

last 65 years...after the film ends click the thumbnails at the bottom of the screen for more

action....

http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=9dR3h2HdnBQ

http://enka2.netorage.com:9711/harddisk/user/lyk36/mumess/376-macarthurjap.htm

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Not all of DC was shut down during the blizzard...

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True dedicated Americans!!!!

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All

Just thought that I might share a little something from overhere in Kandahar Afghanistan that you may not be aware of. When one of our soldiers is killed in combat or dies of wounds here prior to his being shipped home for his final rest, they lower all the US Flags on the base and preform a RAMP Ceromony. The flags remain at half mast until the hero is flown off the instalation then and only then are they raised up to Full Mast. It is a sobering sight to say the least, but it also shows the respect that his or her fellow soldiers show our fallen heros.

May God grant them the peace and serenity as we commit our fallen comrads into his loving arms, and may there be a day when Old Glory is never lowered to Half Mast Again.

Very Respectfully

RANGERMG

Tim

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A very humbling post by one of many American warrior hero's RANGERMG....

Be careful...stay safe and thanks for the post Tim....

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As you wake up across American this Sunday morning as free

Americans because of people like these in this post...thank

them and not the ones in Washington,D.C. that at this moment

may be taking away many of the freedom these boys died for...

Six Boys And Thirteen Hands...

"Each year I am hired to go to Washington, DC, with the eighth grade

class from Clinton, WI where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I

greatly enjoy visiting our nation's capitol, and each year I take some

special memories back with me. This fall's trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This

memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the

most famous photographs in history -- that of the six brave soldiers raising

the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima,

Japan, during WW II.

Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed

towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue,

and as I got closer he asked, 'Where are you people from?' I told him that

we were from Wisconsin. 'Hey, I'm a cheese head, too! Come gather around,

Cheese heads, and I will tell you a story.'

(James Bradley just happened to be in Washington, DC, to speak at the

memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his

dad, who had passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses

pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to

share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible

monuments filled with history in Washington, DC, but it is quite another

to get the kind of insight we received that night.) When all had gathered

around, he reverently began to speak. (Here are his words that night.)

'My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on

that statue, and I just wrote a book called 'Flags of Our Fathers' which is

#5 on the New York Times Best Seller list right now. It is the story of the

six boys you see behind me.

"Six boys raised the flag. The first marine putting the pole in the ground

is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the

Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team. They were off

to play another type of game. A game called 'War.' But it didn't turn out to

be a game. Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands.

I don't say that to gross you out, I say that because there are people who

stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You people

need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old

- and it was so hard that the ones who did make it home never even would

talk to their families about it.

(He pointed to the statue) 'You see this next marine? That's Rene Gagnon

from New Hampshire. If you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this photo

was taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a

photograph...a photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that in there for

protection because he was scared. He was 18 years old. It was just boys who

won the battle of Iwo Jima . Boys--Not old men.

The next marine here, the third marine in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike

Strank. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these marines. They called

him the 'old man' because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would

motivate his boys in training camp, he didn't say, 'Let's go kill some

Japanese' or 'Let's die for our country.' He knew he was talking to little

boys. Instead he would say, 'You do what I say, and I'll get you home to

your mothers.'

Arizona. Ira Hayes was one who walked off Iwo Jima. He went into the White

House with my dad. President Truman told him, 'You're a hero' He told

reporters, 'How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island

with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?'

So you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having

fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only

27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes He had images of

horror in his mind. Ira Hayes carried the pain home with him and eventually

died dead drunk, face down at the age of 32 (ten years after this picture

was taken).

'The next marine, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop,

Kentucky. A fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told

me, 'Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General

Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down.

Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night.' Yes, he was a

fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When

the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the

Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother's

farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning.

Those neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

'The next marine, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John

Bradley, from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised. My dad lived until

1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Cronkite's producers

or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say 'No,

I'm sorry, sir, my dad's not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is

no phone there, sir. No, we don't know when he is coming back.' My dad never

fished or even went to Canada . Usually, he was sitting there right at the

table eating his Campbell Soup.

'You see, like Ira Hayes, my dad didn't see himself as a hero. Everyone

thinks these marines are heroes, 'cause they are in a photo and on a

monument. My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin

was a caregiver. In Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died.

And when boys died in Iwo Jima , they writhed and screamed, without any

medication or help with the pain.

'When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a

hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, 'I

want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are theones who did

not come back. Did NOT come back.'

'So that's the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima, and

three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in

the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out,

so I will end here. Thank you for your time.'

Suddenly, the monument wasn't just a big old piece of metal with a flag

sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt

words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero

for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.

We need to remember that God created this vast and glorious world for us to

live in, freely, but also at great sacrifice.

Let us never forget from the Revolutionary War to the current War on

Terrorism and all the wars in-between that sacrifice was made for our

freedom.

Remember to pray praises for this great country of ours and also pray for

those still in murderous unrest around the world.

STOP and thank God for being alive and being free at someone else's

sacrifice.

God Bless You and God Bless America....

REMINDER: Everyday that you can wake up free, it's going to be a great day.

One thing I learned while on tour with my 8th grade students in DC that is

not mentioned here is that if you look at the statue very closely and count

the number of 'hands' raising the flag, there are 13. When the man who made

the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said the 13th hand was the

hand of God.

Great story - worth your time - worth every American's time.

AMEN TO THIS!!

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A very good read, I learned something about the statue that was missing in my life!

I thanks all who have served for my being able to post this smiley!!

smiley-flag-static-002.gif

Skip

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Got this from a friend this morning, and I have to share it with you Garimpo - and all:

Ann Margret....

This is a good counter-balance story to the Jane Fonda Vietnam Woman Of The Year story.

Viet Nam 1966

Richard, (my husband), never really talked a lot about his time in Viet Nam , other than he had been shot by a sniper. However, he had a rather grainy, 8 x 10 black and white photo he had taken at a USO show of Ann Margret with Bob Hope in the background that was one of his treasures.

A few years ago, Ann Margret was doing a book signing at a local bookstore.. Richard wanted to see if he could get her to

sign the treasured photo so he arrived at the bookstore at 12 o'clock for the 7:30signing.

When I got there after work, the line went all the way around the bookstore, circled the parking lot, and disappeared behind a parking garage. Before her appearance, bookstore employees announced th at she would sign only her book and no memorabilia would be permitted.

Richard was disappointed, but wanted to show her the photo and let her know how much those shows meant to lonely GI's so far from home. Ann Margret came out looking as beautiful as ever and, as second in line, it was soon Richard's turn.

He presented the book for her signature and then took out the photo. When he did, there were many shouts from the employees that she would not sign it. Richard said, 'I understand. I just wanted her to see it.'

She took one look at the photo, tears welled up in her eyes and she said, 'This is one of my gentlemen from Viet Nam and I most certainly will sign his photo. I know what these men did for their country and I always have time for 'my gentlemen.''

With that, she pulled Richard across the table and planted a big kiss on him. She then made quite a to-do about the bravery of the young men she met over the years, how much she admired them, and how much she appreciated them. There weren't too many dry eyes among those close enough to hear. She then posed for pictures and acted as if he were the only one there.

Later at dinner, Richard was very quiet. When I asked if he'd like to talk about it, my big, strong husband broke down in tears. 'That's the first time anyone ever thanked me for my time in the Army,' he said.

That night was a turning point for him. He walked a little straighter and, for the first time in years, was proud to have been a Vet. I'll never forget Ann Margret for her graciousness and how much that small act of kindness meant to my husband.

I now make it a point to say 'Thank you' to every person I come across who served in our Armed Forces.. Freedom does not come cheap and I am grateful for all those who have served their country.

If you'd like to pass on this story, feel free to do so. Perhaps it will help others to become aware of how important it is to acknowledge the contribution our service people make.

Don't be too busy today...

Share this inspiring message with friends and family.

On behalf of those who DO appreciate all that you did for us,

thank you to each of you who receive this message who have served or are serving our country in the armed services or any other service.

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Christine Correa

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I remember when one of the news networks ran a very good clip of

Bob Hope and Ann Margaret doing that show and I remember her sitting

on the edge of the stage and singing to the troops just in front

of her....why can't someone like her that is deserving to be woman

of the year be nominated?...instead of a traitor!!!

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SEAL Dies in Combat in Afghanistan

March 20, 2010

The Virginian-Pilot

A Navy SEAL from Virginia Beach died Thursday of injuries sustained in combat in Afghanistan.

Chief Petty Officer Adam Lee Brown, 36, a decorated combat veteran, was fatally wounded during a battle with heavily armed militants, according to a statement Friday from Naval Special Warfare Group 2 at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.

He was a recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

"Adam Brown was a brave American patriot and fantastic Navy SEAL," the Navy statement said. "We are

deeply saddened by this tremendous loss of a fellow brother in arms and teammate."

Brown, a native of Hot Springs, Ark., joined the Navy in 1998. He had been assigned to various East Coast SEAL teams since April 2001 and was deployed in combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was a graduate of Lake Hamilton High School in Pearcy, Ark., and attended Arkansas Tech University, where he played football.

He is survived by his wife and two children, who live in Virginia Beach, and his parents.

A funeral service will be held Wednesday at Hot Springs Baptist Church. There will be a private service in Hampton Roads.

At The Last Call

.

Tap the drum slowly

Like a heartbeat at rest

Soft play the cadence

For one of the best

.

Gone on ahead

To make the way clear

For you and me, Brother

For those they held dear

.

Their duty is done

On this mortal coil here

They go to an earned rest

Where they have no more fear

.

Let us hold to their gift

And remember them well

Holding this country high

For which in blood they fell

.

Our duty to keep it

As free as did they

Who gave all for us

Such a price they did pay

.

Those who would take it

We must fight here at home

And keep their last gift

So free spirits may roam

-Trike

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The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give it to those who would not.

Thomas Jefferson

Tough reading, but a poignant point.

_____________________________

Burial at Sea

By LtCol George Goodson, USMC (Ret)

In my 76th year, the events of my life appear to me, from time to time, as a

series of vignettes.. Some were significant; most were trivial.

War is the seminal event in the life of everyone that has endured it. Though

I fought in Korea and the Dominican Republic and was wounded there, Vietnam

was my war.

Now 42 years have passed and, thankfully, I rarely think of those days in

Cambodia, Laos, and the panhandle of North Vietnam where small teams of

Americans and Montagnards fought much larger elements of the North

Vietnamese Army. Instead I see vignettes: some exotic, some mundane:

*The smell of Nuc Mam.

*The heat, dust, and humidity.

*The blue exhaust of cycles clogging the streets.

*Elephants moving silently through the tall grass.

*Hard eyes behind the servile smiles of the villagers.

*Standing on a mountain in Laos and hearing a tiger roar.

*A young girl squeezing my hand as my medic delivered her baby.

*The flowing Ao Dais of the young women biking down Tran Hung Dao.

*My two years as Casualty Notification Officer in North Carolina, Virginia,

and Maryland.

It was late 1967. I had just returned after 18 months in Vietnam. Casualties

were increasing. I moved my family from Indianapolis to Norfolk, rented a

house, enrolled my children in their fifth or sixth new school, and bought a

second car.

A week later, I put on my uniform and drove 10 miles to Little Creek,

Virginia. I hesitated before entering my new office. Appearance is important

to career Marines. I was no longer, if ever, a poster Marine. I had returned

from my third tour in Vietnam only 30 days before. At 5'9", I now weighed

128 pounds - 37 pounds below my normal weight. My uniforms fit ludicrously,

my skin was yellow from malaria medication, and I think I had a twitch or

two.

I straightened my shoulders, walked into the office, looked at the nameplate

on a Staff Sergeant's desk and said, "Sergeant Jolly, I'm Lieutenant Colonel

Goodson. Here are my orders and my Qualification Jacket."

Sergeant Jolly stood, looked carefully at me, took my orders, stuck out his

hand; we shook and he asked, "How long were you there, Colonel?" I replied

"18 months this time." Jolly breathed, you must be a slow learner Colonel."

I smiled.

Jolly said, "Colonel, I'll show you to your office and bring in the Sergeant

Major. I said, "No, let's just go straight to his office." Jolly nodded,

hesitated, and lowered his voice, "Colonel, the Sergeant Major. He's been in

this job two years. He's packed pretty tight. I'm worried about him." I

nodded.

Jolly escorted me into the Sergeant Major's office. "Sergeant Major, this is

Colonel Goodson, the new Commanding Office.. The Sergeant Major stood,

extended his hand and said, "Good to see you again, Colonel." I responded,

"Hello Walt, how are you?" Jolly looked at me, raised an eyebrow, walked

out, and closed the door.

I sat down with the Sergeant Major. We had the obligatory cup of coffee and

talked about mutual acquaintances. Walt's stress was palpable. Finally, I

said, "Walt, what's the h-ll's wrong?" He turned his chair, looked out the

window and said, "George, you're going to wish you were back in Nam before

you leave here. I've been in the Marine Corps since 1939. I was in the

Pacific 36 months, Korea for 14 months, and Vietnam for 12 months. Now I

come here to bury these kids. I'm putting my letter in. I can't take it

anymore." I said, "OK Walt. If that's what you want, I'll endorse your

request for retirement and do what I can to push it through Headquarters

Marine Corps."

Sergeant Major Walt Xxxxx retired 12 weeks later. He had been a good Marine

for 28 years, but he had seen too much death and too much suffering. He was

used up.

Over the next 16 months, I made 28 death notifications, conducted 28

military funerals, and made 30 notifications to the families of Marines that

were severely wounded or missing in action. Most of the details of those

casualty notifications have now, thankfully, faded from memory. Four,

however, remain.

MY FIRST NOTIFICATION My third or fourth day in Norfolk, I was notified of

the death of a 19 year old Marine. This notification came by telephone from

Headquarters Marine Corps. The information detailed:

*Name, rank, and serial number.

*Name, address, and phone number of next of kin.

*Date of and limited details about the Marine's death.

*Approximate date the body would arrive at the Norfolk Naval Air Station.

*A strong recommendation on whether the casket should be opened or closed.

The boy's family lived over the border in North Carolina, about 60 miles

away. I drove there in a Marine Corps staff car. Crossing the state line

into North Carolina, I stopped at a small country store / service station /

Post Office. I went in to ask directions. Three people were in the store. A

man and woman approached the small Post Office window. The man held a

package. The Storeowner walked up and addressed them by name, "Hello John.

Good morning Mrs. Cooper.."

I was stunned. My casualty's next-of-kin' s name was John Cooper! I

hesitated, then stepped forward and said, "I beg your pardon. Are you Mr.

and Mrs. John Cooper of (address.)?"

The father looked at me-I was in uniform - and then, shaking, bent at the

waist, he vomited. His wife looked horrified at him and then at me.

Understanding came into her eyes and she collapsed in slow motion.

I think I caught her before she hit the floor.

The owner took a bottle of whiskey out of a drawer and handed it to Mr.

Cooper who drank. I answered their questions for a few minutes. Then I drove

them home in my staff car. The storeowner locked the store and followed in

their truck. We stayed an hour or so until the family began arriving.

I returned the storeowner to his business. He thanked me and said, "Mister,

I wouldn't have your job for a million dollars." I shook his hand and said;

"Neither would I."

I vaguely remember the drive back to Norfolk. Violating about five Marine

Corps regulations, I drove the staff car straight to my house. I sat with my

family while they ate dinner, went into the den, closed the door, and sat

there all night, alone. My Marines steered clear of me for days. I had made

my first death notification.

THE FUNERALS Weeks passed with more notifications and more funerals. I

borrowed Marines from the local Marine Corps Reserve and taught them to

conduct a military funeral: how to carry a casket, how to fire the volleys

and how to fold the flag.

When I presented the flag to the mother, wife, or father, I always said,

"All Marines share in your grief." I had been instructed to say, "On behalf

of a grateful nation...." I didn't think the nation was grateful, so I

didn't say that.

Sometimes, my emotions got the best of me and I couldn't speak. When that

happened, I just handed them the flag and touched a shoulder. They would

look at me and nod. Once a mother said to me, "I'm so sorry you have this

terrible job." My eyes filled with tears and I leaned over and kissed her.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION Six weeks after my first notification, I had another.

This was a young PFC. I drove to his mother's house. As always, I was in

uniform and driving a Marine Corps staff car. I parked in front of the

house, took a deep breath, and walked towards the house. Suddenly the door

flew open, a middle-aged woman rushed out. She looked at me and ran across

the yard, screaming "NO! NO! NO! NO!"

I hesitated. Neighbors came out. I ran to her, grabbed her, and whispered

stupid things to reassure her. She collapsed. I picked her up and carried

her into the house.. Eight or nine neighbors followed. Ten or fifteen later,

the father came in followed by ambulance personnel. I have no recollection

of leaving.

The funeral took place about two weeks later. We went through the drill. The

mother never looked at me. The father looked at me once and shook his head

sadly.

ANOTHER NOTIFICATION One morning, as I walked in the office, the phone was

ringing. Sergeant Jolly held the phone up and said, "You've got another one,

Colonel." I nodded, walked into my office, picked up the phone, took notes,

thanked the officer making the call, I have no idea why, and hung up. Jolly,

who had listened, came in with a special Telephone Directory that translates

telephone numbers into the person's address and place of employment.

The father of this casualty was a Longshoreman. He lived a mile from my

office. I called the Longshoreman' s Union Office and asked for the Business

Manager. He answered the phone, I told him who I was, and asked for the

father's schedule.

The Business Manager asked, "Is it his son?" I said nothing. After a moment,

he said, in a low voice, "Tom is at home today." I said, "Don't call him.

I'll take care of that." The Business Manager said, "Aye, Aye Sir," and then

explained, "Tom and I were Marines in WWII."

I got in my staff car and drove to the house. I was in uniform. I knocked

and a woman in her early forties answered the door. I saw instantly that she

was clueless. I asked, "Is Mr. Smith home?" She smiled pleasantly and

responded, "Yes, but he's eating breakfast now. Can you come back later?" I

said, "I'm sorry. It's important. I need to see him now." She nodded,

stepped back into the beach house and said, "Tom, it's for you."

A moment later, a ruddy man in his late forties, appeared at the door. He

looked at me, turned absolutely pale, steadied himself, and said, "Jesus

Christ man, he's only been there three weeks!"

Months passed. More notifications and more funerals. Then one day while I

was running, Sergeant Jolly stepped outside the building and gave a loud

whistle, two fingers in his mouth...... I never could do that..... and held

an imaginary phone to his ear.

Another call from Headquarters Marine Corps. I took notes, said, "Got it."

and hung up. I had stopped saying "Thank You" long ago.

Jolly, "Where?"

Me, "Eastern Shore of Maryland. The father is a retired Chief Petty Officer.

His brother will accompany the body back from Vietnam....."

Jolly shook his head slowly, straightened, and then said, "This time of day,

it'll take three hours to get there and back. I'll call the Naval Air

Station and borrow a helicopter. And I'll have Captain Tolliver get one of

his men to meet you and drive you to the Chief's home."

He did, and 40 minutes later, I was knocking on the father's door. He opened

the door, looked at me, then looked at the Marine standing at parade rest

beside the car, and asked, "Which one of my boys was it, Colonel?"

I stayed a couple of hours, gave him all the information, my office and home

phone number and told him to call me, anytime.

He called me that evening about 2300 (11:00PM). "I've gone through my boy's

papers and found his will. He asked to be buried at sea. Can you make that

happen?" I said, "Yes I can, Chief. I can and I will."

My wife who had been listening said, "Can you do that?" I told her, "I have

no idea. But I'm going to break my ass trying."

I called Lieutenant General Alpha Bowser, Commanding General, Fleet Marine

Force Atlantic, at home about 2330, explained the situation, and asked,

"General, can you get me a quick appointment with the Admiral at Atlantic

Fleet Headquarters? " General Bowser said," George, you be there tomorrow at

0900. He will see you.

I was and the Admiral did. He said coldly, "How can the Navy help the Marine

Corps, Colonel." I told him the story. He turned to his Chief of Staff and

said, "Which is the sharpest destroyer in port?" The Chief of Staff

responded with a name.

The Admiral called the ship, "Captain, you're going to do a burial at sea.

You'll report to a Marine Lieutenant Colonel Goodson until this mission is

completed... "

He hung up, looked at me, and said, "The next time you need a ship, Colonel,

call me. You don't have to sic Al Bowser on my ass." I responded, "Aye Aye,

Sir" and got the h-ll out of his office.

I went to the ship and met with the Captain, Executive Officer, and the

Senior Chief. Sergeant Jolly and I trained the ship's crew for four days.

Then Jolly raised a question none of us had thought of. He said, "These

government caskets are air tight. How do we keep it from floating?"

All the high priced help including me sat there looking dumb. Then the

Senior Chief stood and said, "Come on Jolly. I know a bar where the retired

guys from World War II hang out."

They returned a couple of hours later, slightly the worst for wear, and

said, "It's simple; we cut four 12" holes in the outer shell of the casket

on each side and insert 300 lbs of lead in the foot end of the casket. We

can handle that, no sweat."

The day arrived. The ship and the sailors looked razor sharp. General

Bowser, the Admiral, a US Senator, and a Navy Band were on board. The sealed

casket was brought aboard and taken below for modification. The ship got

underway to the 12-fathom depth.

The sun was hot. The ocean flat. The casket was brought aft and placed on a

catafalque. The Chaplin spoke. The volleys were fired. The flag was

removed, folded, and I gave it to the father. The band played "Eternal

Father Strong to Save." The casket was raised slightly at the head and it

slid into the sea.

The heavy casket plunged straight down about six feet. The incoming water

collided with the air pockets in the outer shell. The casket stopped

abruptly, rose straight out of the water about three feet, stopped, and

slowly slipped back into the sea. The air bubbles rising from the sinking

casket sparkled in the in the sunlight as the casket disappeared from sight

forever....

The next morning I called a personal friend, Lieutenant General Oscar

Peatross, at Headquarters Marine Corps and said, "General, get me out of

here. I can't take this anymore." I was transferred two weeks later.

I was a good Marine but, after 17 years, I had seen too much death and too

much suffering. I was used up.

Vacating the house, my family and I drove to the office in a two-car convoy.

I said my goodbyes. Sergeant Jolly walked out with me. He waved at my

family, looked at me with tears in his eyes, came to attention, saluted, and

said, "Well Done, Colonel. Well Done."

I felt as if I had received the Medal of Honor!

A veteran is someone who, at one point, wrote a blank check made payable to

'The United States of America for an amount of up to and including their

life.'

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no

longer understand it.'

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A young wife with deep heart wrenching pain that she'll carry

for the rest of her life...

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To young to comprehend it all but old enough to feel the pain

of never again seeing or talking to his Dad....

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Mesa soldier killed on duty in Afghanistan

An Arizona soldier has been killed in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense said Tuesday that Sgt. 1st Class Glen Whetten of Mesa was killed Friday near Kandahar when enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive devise.

The 31-year-old Whetten was assigned to the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, in Fort Riley, Kan.

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These always get to me....

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Bill Mauldin stamp honors grunts' hero.

The post office gets a lot of criticism. Always has, always will.

And with the renewed push to get rid of Saturday mail delivery, expect complaints to intensify.

But the United States Postal Service deserves a standing ovation for something that's going to happen this month: Bill Mauldin is getting his own postage stamp.

Mauldin died at age 81 in the early days of 2003. The end of his life had been rugged. He had been scalded in a bathtub, which led to terrible injuries and infections; Alzheimer's disease was inflicting its cruelties. Unable to care for himself after the scalding, he became a resident of a California nursing home, his health and spirits in rapid decline.

He was not forgotten, though. Mauldin, and his work, meant so much to the millions of Americans who fought in World War II, and to those who had waited for them to come home. He was a kid cartoonist for Stars and Stripes, the military newspaper; Mauldin's drawings of his muddy, exhausted, whisker-stubbled infantrymen Willie and Joe were the voice of truth about what it was like on the front lines.

Mauldin was an enlisted man just like the soldiers he drew for; his gripes were their gripes, his laughs were their laughs, his heartaches were their heartaches. He was one of them. They loved him.

He never held back. Sometimes, when his cartoons cut too close for comfort, his superior officers tried to tone him down. In one memorable incident, he enraged Gen. George S. Patton, and Patton informed Mauldin he wanted the pointed cartoons -- celebrating the fighting men, lampooning the high-ranking officers -- to stop. Now.

The news passed from soldier to soldier. How was Sgt. Bill Mauldin going to stand up to Gen. Patton? It seemed impossible.

Not quite. Mauldin, it turned out, had an ardent fan: Five-star Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied forces in Europe . Ike put out the word: Mauldin draws what Mauldin wants. Mauldin won. Patton lost.

If, in your line of work, you've ever considered yourself a young hotshot, or if you've ever known anyone who has felt that way about himself or herself, the story of Mauldin's young manhood will humble you. Here is what, by the time he was 23 years old, Mauldin had accomplished:

He won the Pulitzer Prize. He was featured on the cover of Time magazine. His book "Up Front" was the No. 1 best-seller in the United States .

All of that at 23. Yet when he returned to civilian life and he grew older, he never lost that boyish Mauldin grin, he never outgrew his excitement about doing his job, he never big-shotted or high-hatted the people with whom he worked every day.

I was lucky enough to be one of them; Mauldin roamed the hallways of the Chicago Sun-Times in the late 1960s and early 1970s with no more officiousness or air of haughtiness than if he was a copyboy. That impish look on his face remained.

He had achieved so much. He had won a second Pulitzer Prize, and he should have won a third, for what may be the single greatest editorial cartoon in the history of the craft: his deadline rendering, on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, of the statue at the Lincoln Memorial slumped in grief, its head cradled in its hands. But he never acted as if he was better than the people he met. He was still Mauldin the enlisted man.

During the late summer of 2002, as Mauldin lay in that California nursing home, some of the old World War II infantry guys caught wind of it. They didn't want Mauldin to go out that way. They thought he should know that he was still their hero.

Gordon Dillow, a columnist for the Orange County Register, put out the call in Southern California for people in the area to send their best wishes to Mauldin; I joined Dillow in the effort, helping to spread the appeal nationally so that Bill would not feel so alone. Soon more than 10,000 letters and cards had arrived at Mauldin's bedside.

Even better than that, the old soldiers began to show up just to sit with Mauldin, to let him know that they were there for him, as he, long ago, had been there for them. So many volunteered to visit Bill that there was a waiting list. Here is how Todd DePastino, in the first paragraph of his wonderful biography of Mauldin, described it:

"Almost every day in the summer and fall of 2002 they came to Park Superior nursing home in Newport Beach , California , to honor Army Sergeant, Technician Third Grade, Bill Mauldin. They came bearing relics of their youth: medals, insignia, photographs, and carefully folded newspaper clippings. Some wore old garrison caps. Others arrived resplendent in uniforms over a half century old. Almost all of them wept as they filed down the corridor like pilgrims fulfilling some long-neglected obligation."

One of the veterans explained to me why it was so important:

"You would have to be part of a combat infantry unit to appreciate what moments of relief Bill gave us. You had to be reading a soaking wet Stars and Stripes in a water-filled foxhole and then see one of his cartoons."

Mauldin is buried in Arlington National Cemetery . This month, the kid cartoonist makes it onto a first-class postage stamp. It's an honor that most generals and admirals never receive.

What Mauldin would have loved most, I believe, is the sight of the two guys who are keeping him company on that stamp.

Take a look at it.

There's Willie. There's Joe.

And there, to the side, drawing them and smiling that shy, quietly observant smile, is Mauldin himself. With his buddies, right where he belongs. Forever.

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Hero's...patriots...and just plain darn good folks come from all

walks of life...like this entertainer extrodnair....

http://www.vietnamexp.com/morestories/MarthaRaye.htm

Most of the old time entertainers were made out of a lot sterner stuff than today's crop of activists and whiners.

The following is from an Army Aviator friend who takes another trip down memory lane:

It was just before Thanksgiving '67 and we were ferrying dead and wounded from a large GRF west of Pleiku. We had run out of body bags by noon, so the Hook ( CH-47 CHINOOK) was pretty rough in the back. All of a sudden, we heard a 'take-charge' woman's voice in the rear.

There was the singer and actress, Martha Raye, with a SF ( Special Forces) beret and jungle fatigues, with subdued markings, helping the wounded into the Chinook, and carrying the dead aboard. 'Maggie' had been visiting her SF 'heroes' out 'west'.

We took off, short of fuel, and headed to the USAF hospital pad at Pleiku. As we all started unloading our sad pax's, a 'Smart-Ass' USAF Captain said to Martha.... Ms Ray, with all these dead and wounded to process,there would not be time for your show!

To all of our surprise, she pulled on her right collar and said.....Captain, see this eagle? I am a full 'Bird' in the US Army Reserve, and on this is a 'Caduse' which means I am a Nurse, with a surgical speciality....now, take me to your wounded. He said, yes mam'.... Follow me.

Several times at the Army Field Hospital in Pleiku, she would 'cover' a surgical shift, giving a nurse a well-deserved break.

Martha is the only woman buried in the SF (Special Forces) cemetery at Ft. Bragg.

Hand Salute!

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A brave little hero here...AM I A FIREMAN YET?

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In Phoenix, Arizona, a 26 year-old mother stared down at her 6 year-old son, who was dying of terminal leukemia.

Although her heart was filled with sadness,

She also had a strong feeling of determination.

Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up &

Fulfill all his dreams. Now, that was no longer possible...

The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's dream to come true.

She took her son' s hand and asked, 'Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up? Did you ever dream of what you would do with your life?'

Mommy, 'I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up.'

Mom smiled back and said, 'Let's see if we can make your wish come true.'

Later that day she went to her local fire Department in Phoenix, Arizona, where she met Fireman Bob, who had a heart as big as Phoenix!

She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be possible to give her 6 year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, 'Look, we can do better than that. If you'll have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll make him an honorary Fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards!

And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform for him, with a real fire hat - not a toy -- one with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we wear and rubber boots.'

'They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix, so we can get them fast.'

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Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck.

Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station. He was in heaven.

There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day, and Billy got to go out on all three calls.

He rode in the different fire engines, the Paramedic's' van,

And even the fire chief's car.

He was also videotaped for the

Local news program.

Having his dream come true,

With all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy, that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.

One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone - began to call the family members to the hospital.

Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a Fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and

Asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition.

The chief replied, 'We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes. Will you please do me a favor?

When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce over the PA system that there is not a fire?'

'It's the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room?'

About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy's third floor open window--------

16 fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's roomWith his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they LOVED him.

With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and said,

'Chief, am I really a fireman now?'

'Billy, you are, and the Head Chief, God, is holding your hand,' the chief said.

With those words, Billy smiled and said, 'I know, He's been holding my hand all day, and

The angels have been singing.'

He closed his eyes one last time.

My instructions were to send this to at least four people that I wanted God to bless and I picked you.

Please pass this to at least four people you want to be blessed.

This story is powerful and there is nothing attached.. PLEASE do not break this pattern; uplifting stories are one of the best gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot of rewards. Let's continue to uplift one another~

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True Story

Love to all....

Verify the story on snopes: http://www.snopes.com/glurge/fireman.asp

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Pam Murphy, widow of actor Audie Murphy, was veterans’ friend and advocate

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Pam Murphy, the widow of Audie Murphy, was involved in the Sepulveda VA hospital and care center over the course of 35 years, treating every veteran who visited the facility as if they were a VIP. Pam Murphy died last week at the age of 90

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By Dennis McCarthy

After Audie died, they all became her boys. Every last one of them.

Any soldier or Marine who walked into the Sepulveda VA hospital and care center in the last 35 years got the VIP treatment from Pam Murphy.

The widow of Audie Murphy – the most decorated soldier in World War II – would walk the hallways with her clipboard in hand making sure her boys got to see a specialist or doctor — STAT. If they didn’t, watch out.

Her boys weren’t Medal of Honor recipients or movie stars like Audie, but that didn’t matter to Pam. They had served their country. That was good enough for her.

She never called a veteran by his first name. It was always “Mister.” Respect came with the job.

“Nobody could cut through VA red tape faster than Mrs. Murphy,” said veteran Stephen Sherman, speaking for thousands of veterans she befriended over the years.

“Many times I watched her march a veteran who had been waiting more than an hour right into the doctor’s office. She was even reprimanded a few times, but it didn’t matter to Mrs. Murphy.

“Only her boys mattered. She was our angel.”

Last week, Sepulveda VA’s angel for the last 35 years died peacefully in her sleep at age 90.

“She was in bed watching the Laker game, took one last breath, and that was it,” said Diane Ruiz, who also worked at the VA and cared for Pam in the last years of her life in her Canoga Park apartment.

It was the same apartment Pam moved into soon after Audie died in a plane crash on Memorial Day weekend in 1971.

Audie Murphy died broke, squandering million of dollars on gambling, bad investments, and yes, other women.

“Even with the adultery and desertion at the end, he always remained my hero,” Pam told me.

She went from a comfortable ranch-style home in Van Nuys where she raised two sons to a small apartment – taking a clerk’s job at the nearby VA to support herself and start paying off her faded movie star husband’s debts.

At first, no one knew who she was. Soon, though, word spread through the VA that the nice woman with the clipboard was Audie Murphy’s widow.

It was like saying Patton had just walked in the front door. Men with tears in their eyes walked up to her and gave her a hug. “Thank you,” they said, over and over.The first couple of years, I think the hugs were more for Audie’s memory as a war hero. The last 30 years, they were for Pam.

She hated the spotlight. One year I asked her to be the focus of a Veteran’s Day column for all the work she had done. Pam just shook her head no. “Honor them, not me,” she said, pointing to a group of veterans down the hallway. “They’re the ones who deserve it.”

The vets disagreed. Mrs. Murphy deserved the accolades, they said. Incredibly, in 2002, Pam’s job was going to be eliminated in budget cuts. She was considered “excess staff.” “I don’t think helping cut down on veterans’ complaints and showing them the respect they deserve, should be considered excess staff,” she told me.

Neither did the veterans. They went ballistic, holding a rally for her outside the VA gates.

Pretty soon, word came down from the top of the VA. Pam Murphy was no longer considered “excess staff.” She remained working full time at the VA until 2007 when she was 87. “The last time she was here was a couple of years ago for the conference we had for homeless veterans,” said Becky James, coordinator of the VA’s Veterans History Project.

Pam wanted to see if there was anything she could do to help some more of her boys.

Funeral services for Pam Murphy will be held Friday at 2:30 p.m. in the chapel at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles.

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http://www.audiemurphy.com/welcome.htm

ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY.

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A Poem Worth Reading

He was getting old and paunchy

And his hair was falling fast,

And he sat around the Legion,

Telling stories of the past.

Of a war that he once fought in

And the deeds that he had done,

In his exploits with his buddies;

They were heroes, every one.

And 'though sometimes to his neighbours

His tales became a joke,

All his buddies listened quietly

For they knew where of he spoke.

But we'll hear his tales no longer,

For ol' Bob has passed away,

And the world's a little poorer

For a Soldier died today.

He won't be mourned by many,

Just his children and his wife.

For he lived an ordinary,

Very quiet sort of life.

He held a job and raised a family,

Going quietly on his way;

And the world won't note his passing,

'Tho a Soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth,

Their bodies lie in state,

While thousands note their passing,

And proclaim that they were great.

Papers tell of their life stories

From the time that they were young

But the passing of a Soldier

Goes unnoticed, and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution

To the welfare of our land,

Some jerk who breaks his promise

And cons his fellow man?

Or the ordinary fellow

Who in times of war and strife,

Goes off to serve his country

And offers up his life?

The politician's stipend

And the style in which he lives,

Are often disproportionate,

To the service that he gives.

While the ordinary Soldier,

Who offered up his all,

Is paid off with a medal

And perhaps a pension, small.

It is not the politicians

With their compromise and ploys,

Who won for us the freedom

That our country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger,

With your enemies at hand,

Would you really want some cop-out,

With his ever waffling stand?

Or would you want a Soldier--

His home, his country, his kin,

Just a common Soldier,

Who would fight until the end.

He was just a common Soldier,

And his ranks are growing thin,

But his presence should remind us

We may need his like again.

For when countries are in conflict,

We find the Soldier's part

Is to clean up all the troubles

That the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honour

While he's here to hear the praise,

Then at least let's give him homage

At the ending of his days.

Perhaps just a simply headline

In the paper that might say:

"OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING,

A SOLDIER DIED TODAY."

Pass On The Patriotism!

YOU can make a difference

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Subject: Memorial Day

MAY GOD BLESS THIS AIRLINE CAPTAIN:

He writes: My lead flight attendant came to me and said, "We have an H.R. on this flight." (H.R. stands for human remains.) "Are they military?" I asked.

'Yes', she said.

'Is there an escort?' I asked.

'Yes, I already assigned him a seat'.

'Would you please tell him to come to the flight deck. You can board him early," I said..

A short while later, a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier. The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us.

'My soldier is on his way back to Virginia,' he said. He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words.

I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the flight deck to find his seat.

We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into our flight I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin. 'I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying, is on board', she said. She then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left. We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home to Virginia .

The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane.. I could hear the desperation in the flight attendants voice when she asked me if there was anything I could do.. 'I'm on it', I said. I told her that I would get back to her.

Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher directly on a secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the dispatcher.. I explained the situation I had on board with the family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he would get back to me.

Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher. We were going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family. I sent a text message asking for an update. I saved the return message from the dispatcher and the following is the text:

'Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is policy on this now and I had to check on a few things. Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft. The team will escort the family to the ramp and plane side. A van will be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family. The family will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal where the remains can be seen on the ramp. It is a private area for the family only. When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the ramp and plane side to watch the remains being loaded for the final leg home. Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans. Please pass our condolences on to the family. Thanks.'

I sent a message back telling flight control thanks for a good job. I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to pass on to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, 'You have no idea how much this will mean to them.'

Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and landing. After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area. The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were told that all traffic was being held for us.

'There is a team in place to meet the aircraft', we were told. It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached our gate, I asked the copilot to tell the ramp controller we were going to stop short of the gate to make an announcement to the passengers. He did that and the ramp controller said, 'Take your time.'

I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake. I pushed the public address button and said, 'Ladies and gentleman, this is your Captain speaking I have stopped short of our gate to make a special announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect. His Name is Private XXXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life. Private XXXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today is Army Sergeant XXXXXXX. Also, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you.'

We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our shutdown procedures. A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door. I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do not see. I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft.

When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly started to clap his hands. Moments later more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft was clapping. Words of 'God Bless You', I'm sorry, thank you, be proud, and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle and out of the airplane. They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be with their loved one.

Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I had made. They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again, but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier.

I respectfully ask that all of you reflect on this event and the sacrifices that millions of our men and women have made to ensure our freedom and safety in these United States of AMERICA .

Foot note: As a Viet Nam Veteran I can only think of all the veterans including the ones that rode below the deck on their way home and how they were treated. When I read things like this I am proud that our country has not turned their backs on our soldiers returning from the various war zones today and give them the respect they so deserve.

I know every one who has served their country who reads this will have tears in their eyes, including me.

Prayer chain for our Military... Don't break it!

Please send this on after a short prayer.. Prayer for our soldiers Don't break it!

Prayer:

'Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen..'

Prayer Request: When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.

There is nothing attached. Just send this to people in your address book. Do not let it stop with you. Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, & others deployed in harm's way, prayer is the very best one.

GOD BLESS YOU!!!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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