Thursday, January 14, 2010

The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten…

-- Calvin Coolidge

Last night I watched a movie that made me cry all the way through it. You might be thinking it was some uber chick flick, but let me assure you, it was far from it. I don’t know if you remember an email from a few years ago that circled the globe about the Marine Lt. Col. who escorted a fallen Marine home to Wyoming. It was called “Taking Chance”. I remember it well. I cried every time I read it, and I read it every time it came into my inbox.

Last night, I watched the HBO movie of the same name, "Taking Chance”. I don’t have HBO, so didn’t even know this had been made into a movie. I found it on my Netflix and I am so glad I did. I loved it. Kevin Bacon played the Lt. Col. who escorted PFC Chance Phelps home to his family, after he was killed in Iraq. He did an awesome job. Lt. Col.  Strobl and  Kevin Bacon, that is.

Even though I was very familiar with the story, it brought home to me the importance of all our military personnel. It doesn’t matter whether one has been in combat or behind a desk. Every job they do is an important one.

It also reminded me that even though it’s not in the headlines every single day like it was at the beginning, we still have military personnel in the four corners of the globe and they are in danger every day. They are there for us and for countries who are too small to stand up for themselves. We also have military personnel right here in America. Don’t think for a minute because they’re not over “there” that their jobs are any less important.

I am a Marine Mom.

My son is proud of his job and the country he stands for. My son has seen combat (more times than this mom cares to think about), my son has worked behind a desk. And my son has escorted his fallen brothers home. I am proud of him as he performs each of these jobs.

I couldn’t help but think of him as I watched this movie. Every single thing they do is for the respect and dignity of the person who gave everything he had for his country. I pictured my Marine, as he did what I would consider to be the hardest job of the Corps, taking a young man home to be laid to rest. He shared with me stories similar to what I saw in this movie, how people were kind and respectful. How he was moved by what he saw in the hometowns.

My hope in sharing this with you, is not to wait until one is on his final journey home to be kind and respectful. Be kind and respectful now. Be thankful for them. Be proud of all of them. Our military is awesome. No other country has what we have. Men and women, a lot of whom make this their whole life, work hard to protect our country and do the jobs that some most of us aren’t cut out for. It isn’t for everybody, that’s for sure. But for those who volunteer, in my eyes, you’re all heroes. Thank you.

I encourage you to read the story of “Taking Chance” , you can find it here.

9 comments:

  1. Wow! Wonderful post! And I can't imagine there would be many people out there that don't agree with your sentiment. I wish people, including myself, wouldn't forget what these military personnel and their families are sacrificing for our country.

    So for any service men or women (or their families) that are reading this, thank you for your service!

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  2. What a great tribute Dawn! I often think of all the troops taken away from their famillies and how hard that must be.Eespecially when you get deployed 2 and three times to a war zone. That's a hero.

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  3. I'm at work, so I can't read the story 'cause I know I'll cry, but I'll read it as soon as I get home. Thanks for making sure that people don't forget what our soldiers do for our country. I still think about how you handed out those cards in the airport. That will stick with me forever.

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  4. Thank you to The Marine and all the others who put their lives on the line to defend ours.

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  5. I watched the movie and was touched beyond words. My own mother told me of the young man that accompanied my brother home for his burial after being killed in an "accident" on Guat. Bay back in the 70's. She said this young man stayed by my brother and pledged to help my mother with any need she had. What a gift to a soldier, and family. I wish I knew who this young man was......after all these years, I would like to thank him. My mother is older and unable to remember many details (mixed blessing) of this time.

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  6. I loved this and thank you for writing it in honor of our Military personel. Such respect I have for all of them.

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  7. First ma'am, from a retired Army First Sargent and Combat Medic, "Semper Fi." 22+ years and don't regret a day. My Comradesare my family. My wife of 37 years feels the same way. I am fortunate enough to work as Executive Director for a company called Alorica that has a special division called AloriCares that hires ONLY Disabled Veterans for work-from-home customer service positions. In addition, I now have my 501c up and running. "Hold the Line" is dedicated to supporting the Disabled Veterans ans their families. I am fortunate having served 4+ years in Vietnam, then Panama, then Desert Storm among other travels, to have survived to fight another day. Now disabled myself I fight in a different war. One to protect our veterans. We must NEVER forget the sacrifices they have made. As you say, desk jockey, jet jockey, leatherneck, or grunt, they all served. Each day we should start with a silent prayer to those that gave all and Thos that have, and are still, serving to protect us and our way of life. My thanks go out to each and everyone of them and their families who also sacrifice. Watch us grow at www.Hold-the-Line.com

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  8. Wow, thank you so much for writing this! And thank you to all who commented. I came upon your blog after hearing the Calvin Coolidge quote the other day and wanting to research it. I am a Private First Class Soldier in the Army that enlisted with a passion to serve in Afghanistan, not only for the betterment of the lives of Afghans, but with the belief that if we defend freedom for our neighbors that live far away, that it will promote the continued freedoms that Americans have today.

    Your viewpoint is rare, but it is true: regardless of what our path or title is (the jobs we hold), we were brave enough to sign that dotted line to take us wherever Uncle Sam asked. For me, that meant six months of abuse and neglect by my own leaders and health care workers after getting injured at Fort Jackson, SC. I had suffered much in my life, and was very prepared to face an enemy that would desire my death, but I was not prepared for betrayal and needless sufferings by my own countrymen who should have cared for me.


    Afterwards, I was sent home without pay and unable to walk or bring in income. It's been that way for 7 months now. Like most civilians who easily get some kind of "workers' compensation", there are programs that are supposed to come through for us, like the VA, but it is so backlogged I haven't heard from them, so instead of rehabilitating, I have spent these months in a stressful scurry to keep the roof over my head, taking on further debts and slowing my healing progress.

    Charities have denied my requests for help because I don't hold a "veteran" status yet, since I have not deployed and have not served 6 months active duty yet. I served 5 months and 19 days active duty and my leaders made sure I was out of there before allowing the possibility of such status (I am now in the hands of the Reserves). At this point when I am told of a new charity to seek help from, as desperate as I am, I almost don't want to ask anymore, since the denial hurts more than never having asked in the first place. I don't want to believe that my own country that I committed to protect and to serve, is not there for me.

    I am telling you my back story so you can then understand where I am coming from when I say, "thank you" for seeing my sacrifice. I have not at all mentioned all my losses, even the close friends I lost who did not support me, and all my other personal dreams that have fallen to the wayside because I dreamed of a better place for others in this world first. And other times when kind civilians say "thank you" to me when they hear I am a Soldier, I shy away from such praise, feeling unworthy of not having been to war yet. But yes, there are different kinds of sacrifices that we must endure, just by volunteering. I just wanted to shed light on that, not to be negative about our military because there is so much good, but to shed light on the fact that our active duty military needs help from the outside and inside to become a better place and to leave behind ignorance and tearing each other down - we don't have time for it. I don't think we can become better unless caring civilians like you all help us change either by joining us or teaching us that we are cared for and how to care for each other, because it is rarely taught here. In fact, it is killing us... literally. (note the on-going suicide rates within the military, averaging one a day, and from what I hear, is more than the total numbers of deaths from the War on Terror itself).

    It is by God's grace and my relationship in Christ that I have not fallen to suicide, but I can assure you that I understand why others do it. It's enough to be hated by your enemy, but to be forgotten, abused, neglected, let down, or betrayed by your fellow countrymen is reason enough for a Soldier to question what good is there to live anymore... "Why fight anymore?" is the question of the fighter.

    (to be continued in next post... hitting max character count...)

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    1. (continued from previous post)

      ...My heart breaks at such circumstances, and I ask that America join me in what I'm calling the "War on Suicide", in which we can start to repair the "cracks" in the military in which our servicemembers fall through, and it needs to start by changing the attitudes of drill sergeants and health care workers at places such as Ft. Jackson that lay down the negative attitudes of beating down on Soldiers who are already injured. Yes, Basic Combat Training needs to be tough, but it should not go as far as abuse after one is injured, and it should never let go of the heart of the fact that we need to be a united people if we ever hope to be victorious together. Not only a united military, but one with our fellow civilians as well.

      Thank you so much for caring and being one of those civilians.

      God bless all of you that care. Please... never stop. We need you.


      (Hadassah_416@yahoo.com)

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