Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day!

Happy Veteran's Day!

To all those in all branches of our military, present, past, and passed on.

I am going to repost a blog I originally wrote three years ago, because I don't think I could say it any better today than I did then.


(Repost...originally written & posted on Myspace on date listed below)
Friday, January 12, 2007

Patriotism & Thankfulness

In my previous blogs I've tried to be somewhat comical, but today I'm going to be serious.Given Pres.Bush's recent decision to send more troops to the Middle East, and the apparent terror attack on the US Embassy in Greece, I thought you might need to see another side of me.
My patriotism.

I was born and raised in tiny Leeds, Alabama, a city east of Birmingham just off I-20. Yes, that is also the home of basketball legend, Charles Barkley, ( a really nice guy once you get to know him, as most of us from Leeds do. He truly lives up to his quote "It's not what you have, it's what you give back.") but that is a story for another day.Leeds has been recognized as a City of Valor, having more decorated war veterans than any other city of it's size, in the country. (

This distinction includes three Medal of Honor reciepients; Henry "Red" Erwin, Alford Mclaughlin, & William R. Lawley.

Bill Lawley was my grandfather's cousin and a boyhood companion.Read more about him here ( )

One of my favorite stories of their friendship, was when he accidently shot my grandfather in the leg, while chasing a wounded rabbit. My grandfather carried that bullet the rest of his life. He'd tell the story, then rub our fingers along the side of the bullet, lodged just to the inside of his shin, above his ankle. I always thought it was a funny little story.

I do not recall ever seeing Alford McLaughlin, outside of pictures, but I remember vividly the first time I ever met Red Erwin. Severely burned from a phosphorous bomb, he barely resembled anything human. His face was disfigured, he was missing his nose and an ear and only had two fingers on one hand. When I was small, I was terrified of him. He personified what the boogeyman might actually look like. It was not until I was older, when I learned how he was injured, that I understood and appreciated his sacrifice. When he would come into the store I worked at in high school, I remember he was quiet and kind, and had very nice blue eyes.

In November of 1999, Alabama legislature named Highway 119 "Medal of Honor Highway" and dedicated it to these heroes.( )

Everytime I hear the National Anthem played, I cry a little. Always have. Have you ever noticed that it was written during and about the heat of battle? I am reminded, each time, of Americans that have fought for this country and my freedom.Military families currently top my prayer list.They are what is keeping our military going. So many parents, both mothers and fathers, are currently serving our country. Families having to get by, day to day, with their loved one so far away.

I wonder if they are hurt by some of the things they see other American's saying about the war. The crass, insensitive comment made by John Kerry springs to mind. I know I'm ashamed to admit people like him are Americans too. I wonder if he thinks about that when he hears the National Anthem.

If freedom was something that everyone had to work for, like a salary, do you think that we'd appreciate it a little more?

The Lawley family boasts a long line of military service: not only my grandfather, but all his brothers, my father, and brother as well. My husband's family has a rich military history also.My husband, his father, an uncle and both grandfather's also served our country. I am certain they followed the example of generations before them, who felt it was not only a duty, but an honor.This dedication to service is also found in the families of my friends. My best friend's father lost his leg in Vietnam, before she was born. Even though I see him often, I can't begin to imagine what that was like.Cyndi has never known him any other way.

Cyndi, Darling Hubby, Me...we all learned early on, what is probably the most valuable lesson any American could learn: our freedom isn't free.I take a lot of things for granted in my life, but that fact is not one of them. I wonder if the war protesters realize that they have the right to assemble freely and protest, because someone died for it? Or may die for it tomorrow.

I have friends in all branches of service, all across the globe. Some are in harms way as you read this. Some are unpacking from their assignments, some are packing for deployment.Cyndi's little brother Sean will soon be deployed to his second tour of duty in the Middle East. Here at home are his wife and three small boys, ages 6,4 and the youngest nearly 2.Over Christmas, we talked about his first tour. He told me about not being able to shower for nearly two months; having to burn their clothes because of a possible bio-threat; sand in everything; the unimaginable heat and the surprising cold; going for weeks with no mail, then getting a month's worth all at once. He was different from the person I used to know. Harder somehow. As he spoke, it was all I could do not to cry and grab him and hug him and tell him thank you, over and over again.

I know that there are people right now, boarding buses somewhere with their little signs, to go and demonstrate about Pres. Bush's latest decision. And that is all well and good for them.But I challenge them to use just a portion of that energy to say "thank you" to someone preserving that freedom of speech.

As for my family from Moody,AL, we would like to say THANK YOU to our military personnel. We are praying for you as you serve.

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