Sunday, February 28, 2010

Walking the Streets of Afghanistan

U.S. Army Capt. Caleb Phillips, with Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 8th Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, patrols the streets of Spin Boldak, Afghanistan, Feb. 24, 2010.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tax Help for Our Troops

Military trying to make filing tax returns a less stressful for troops

Troops and eligible civilians can have their tax returns filed electronically — for free — at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance centers now open at bases across Europe.

Hours, walk-in services and other offerings vary from base to base, though. So Navy Lt. Jocelyn Loftus-Williams has one universal suggestion: “The best way is to call the legal office and schedule an appointment,” she said in a telephone interview Thursday.

Army and Air Force officials also suggested that taxpayers contact individual tax centers for service details.

Loftus-Williams, the Navy region site coordinator for VITA centers, said six Navy centers in Europe and the Middle East processed about 2,900 claims last year.

“We’re going to anticipate the same number this year,” she said. There wasn’t a last-minute rush last year and Navy centers should have adequate personnel to handle late filers. But those who file earlier have more time to adjust if problems arise.

Americans living in military communities overseas generally have two months to file beyond the April 15 deadline. And some of those deployed have even longer than the June 15 date. But Loftus-Williams said there are a number of factors involved and exemptions are not always granted.

Appointments can vary from half an hour to a few hours, depending on the individual claim. Taxpayers need to bring all appropriate documents, and those vary greatly depending on circumstances. Generally, documents include W-2 forms, 1099 forms for bank interest and previous income tax returns. Those who own property or receive income from other sources need to have documents to show that.

Loftus-Williams said servicemembers who have dependents need to bring Social Security numbers − and often the actual cards – in order to claim them. Those filing for deployed spouses need to have special powers of attorney to do so.

One key change for this year is the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act. The measure, signed by President Barack Obama last year, allows military spouses to retain their state of residence when they move to new locations with their active-duty spouse. Because taxes vary from state to state, Loftus-Williams said the act would provide savings for some spouses.

She said experts are available at legal offices or tax centers to answer individual questions.

IRS has tax tips for troops and families
1. Moving expenses — If you are on active duty, and you move because of a permanent change of station, you can deduct the reasonable unreimbursed expenses of moving you and members of your household.

2. Combat pay — If you serve in a combat zone as an enlisted person or as a warrant officer for any part of a month, all your military pay that month is not taxable. For officers, the monthly exclusion is capped at the highest enlisted pay, plus any hostile fire or imminent danger pay received.

3. Extension of deadlines — The time for taking care of certain tax matters can be postponed. The deadline for filing tax returns, paying taxes, filing claims for refunds, and taking other actions with the IRS is automatically extended for qualifying members of the military.

4. Uniform cost and upkeep — If military regulations prohibit you from wearing certain uniforms when off duty, you can deduct the cost and upkeep of those uniforms, but you must reduce your expenses by any allowance or reimbursement you receive.

5. Joint returns — Generally, joint returns must be signed by both spouses. However, when one spouse may not be available due to military duty, a power of attorney may be used to file a joint return.

6. Travel to reserve duty — If you are a reservist, you can deduct unreimbursed travel expenses for traveling more than 100 miles away from home to perform your reserve duties.

7. ROTC students — Subsistence allowances paid to ROTC students participating in advanced training are not taxable. However, active-duty pay — such as pay received during summer advanced camp — is taxable.

8. Transitioning back to civilian life — You may be able to deduct some costs you incur while looking for a new job. Expenses may include travel, resume preparation fees, and outplacement agency fees. Moving expenses may be deductible if your move is closely related to the start of work at a new job location, and you meet certain tests.

9. Tax information — IRS Publication 3, Armed Forces’ Tax Guide, summarizes many important military-related tax topics. Publication 3 is available for download at or may be ordered by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

SOURCE: Internal Revenue Service

Be aware of changes that may affect your return
U.S. military personnel should be aware of a few changes that could affect their 2009 tax returns. According to the IRS, changes include:

-Earned income credit. The credit has increased for people with three or more children and for some married couples filing jointly. Also, the maximum amount of income you can earn and still claim the earned income credit has increased. You may be able to take the credit if you earned less than $43,279 ($48,279 for married filing jointly) if you have three or more qualifying children; $40,295 ($45,295 for married filing jointly) if you have two qualifying children; $35,463 ($40,463 for married filing jointly) if you have one qualifying child; and $13,440 ($18,440 for married filing jointly) if you do not have any qualifying children.

-First-time homebuyer credit. The credit has been extended and expanded. There are special rules for members of the U.S. armed forces.

-Hope Credit (American opportunity tax credit). The maximum amount of the Hope credit has increased to $2,500 per student; the credit can be claimed for the first four years of secondary education; generally, up to 40 percent of the credit is a refundable credit; and the term “qualified tuition and related expenses” now includes “course materials,” like books, supplies and equipment.

By Kent Harris, Stars and StripesStars and Stripes
Online Edition, Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Congratulations, Son!

On February 26, 2008, my youngest son made the first step of his journey as an Airman.

John was an 18 year-old kid, as he boarded the plane to Lackland, AFB, In six short weeks I was introduced to my son, the man. The physical changes I saw at the Airman's Run, were obvious. It wasn't until sitting with him at a picnic table and listening to him share his thoughts of the previous six weeks, that I learned of the inner growth taking place. He gained a new 'presence'.

Over the past two years, each visit home reveals a new level of confidence and maturity. He has certainly has become more 'buff' as well.

I am so deeply proud of my son. In my heart I know he is where he is meant to be, doing what he is meant to be doing. A mom cannot ask for more.

Congratulations, John on this special anniversary. Two Years as a United States Airman! Good job, good job!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

To Stand or Not To Stand, That is the Question...

ACLU: Girl didn't need to stand for pledge
Family, ACLU seek apology from school officials

A Roberto Clemente Middle School teacher shouted at a 13-year-old girl and had her escorted by police officers to the principal's office after she refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance for personal reasons, the girl's mother and an American Civil Liberties Union attorney said Tuesday.

Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman Dana Tofig said the teacher violated state law and school system policy by ordering the student to stand.

"That's a violation of our regulations, and we're in the process of rectifying the situation," Tofig said.

The eighth-grade student will receive an apology from the teacher, he said. Tofig said he could not comment on whether the teacher or any administrators or other staff members will be disciplined because it is a personnel issue and that he did not know what other measures would be taken besides having the teacher apologize.

Under a 1943 Supreme Court decision, students do not have to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance or salute the flag.

On Jan. 27, the student, now 14, remained seated during the school's daily recitation of the pledge, her mother said. The mother and the ACLU declined to identify the girl, saying she was deeply embarrassed by the event and was humiliated by fellow students in her classroom after the teacher told her she was required by law to stand. The mother also declined to give her name.

The ACLU and the mother as well as the school spokesman also declined to identify the teacher.

The girl did not stand for a personal reason and not a political one, her mother said.

Regardless of the reason, the Constitution, state law and the county's handbook are clear that students do not have to stand for the pledge, according to the attorney for the ACLU who is representing the girl.

"The law is crystal-clear that a public school cannot embarrass or harass a student for maintaining a respectful silence during the Pledge of Allegiance," said Ajmel Quereshi, an attorney for the ACLU of Maryland.

"While expression of patriotism in unsettling times is a worthy and admirable emotion, the Supreme Court says that patriotism is best honored by venerating the civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution and not by punishing or ridiculing those whose views might differ from our own."

After the teacher demanded that the girl stand and she declined, he ordered her to leave the classroom, Quereshi said. In the hallway, the teacher threatened her with detention and sent her to the counselor's office. The next day the student again refused to stand, and the teacher had two school police officers escort her to the principal's office, Quereshi said.

When the mother called the school for help with the teacher's behavior, an acting principal, Carrie Reed, told her that her daughter should apologize for her defiance to the teacher, the girl's mother said. The girl had apologized twice, her mother said. Reed did not return calls for comment.

Under an 1871 Maryland Court of Appeals decision, students and teachers cannot be compelled to say the Pledge of Allegiance. The county's own student handbook also states that students cannot be required to say the pledge.

"No one will be permitted to intentionally embarrass you if you choose not to participate," according to the handbook.

Bob Ouellette, commander of the American Legion Post 295 which serves Germantown, said the pledge is important, but he did not take a position on whether the girl should have stood or not. As part of its mission, the American Legion issues information on proper flag etiquette.

"As veterans, we served so that Americans have freedom of speech and a free society," Ouellette said when called Tuesday. "We believe that the Pledge of Allegiance and ‘The Star-Spangled Banner' are an integral part of keeping our society free. It serves to remind individual citizens of their duties to ensure liberty and justice for all."

The girl has stayed home from the school since the end of January because she felt humiliated by the teacher, her mother said. Other students called her daughter "stupid" after the teacher told her she was required by law to recite the pledge, the mother said.

"My daughter loves school," her mother said. "All of her teachers tell me how wonderful of a student she is, how her manners are well mannered. They enjoy having her in her classes."

After Reed told her that her daughter should apologize and not the teacher, the mother contacted the ACLU for help. On Feb. 6, the ACLU wrote a letter to the school system seeking an apology and an explanation to the girl's classmates to ease the girl's return. An attorney for the school system responded that the school officials would not meet with the mother if she had ACLU attorneys present, Quereshi said.

A Pledge of Allegiance issue arises about once or twice a year at schools across the state, but in every case in the past, the school system has quickly resolved the issue, said ACLU spokeswoman Meredith Curtis.

Tofig, the school system spokesman, said he was not aware whether school officials refused to meet with the girl if an ACLU lawyer was present and therefore could not comment.

But her mother said the way the teacher "bellowed" at her daughter was inappropriate under any circumstance, and school officials should have acted.

"It's an even bigger problem because he did it to a child in front of a group of other children," the mother said. "On top of that, the school didn't protect her. I thought they would protect her, and that's why I let her go to that school. I was disappointed." Staff writer Meghan Tierney contributed to this report.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I've known and respected Bob Ouellette for many years. He was an AirmanMom guest blogger, last year. His quote, "We believe that the Pledge of Allegiance and ‘The Star-Spangled Banner' are an integral part of keeping our society free. It serves to remind individual citizens of their duties to ensure liberty and justice for all." says it all!

Roberto Clemente Middle School is a nearby school; this article hit close to home so it was a must-share item! What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Best Ford Commercial EVER!

Thanks to my Military-Mom friend, Susan for sharing this with me.
(please pause my playlist on the right sidebar)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bright-Eyed Beauty!!!

I have no idea where the last three years have gone!
I also have no idea how there was life before Bright-Eyed Beauty!
She is my daughter's second daughter, a classic middle-child.
This sweet girl has her mother's eyes and her father's colorful personality.
Beauty defines the word contradiction. Her free, independent spirit keeps her busy playing and talking as though nobody else in a room...then she will climb on my lap and ask if we can do the "Baby Dance" (Nana snuggles her real tight, rocking and singing 'You are my baby'). Moments later, she jumps up and leaves you in the dust!

At times when I think of Bright-Eyed Beauty, Billy Joel's song, "She's Got A Way" comes to I attached the lyrics below.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Bright-Eyed Beauty!
You have filled the hearts of all who know you, with joy which has never been known before. May you always fly like a bird and snuggle in your nest.
I love you so, my Bright-Eyed Beauty.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

She's got a way about her
I don't know what it is
But I know that I can't live without her
She's got a way of pleasin'
I don't know why it is
But there doesn't have to be a reason anywhere

She's got a smile that heals me
I don't know what it is
But I have to laugh when she reveals me
She's got a way of talkin'
I don't know why it is
But it lifts me up when we are walkin' anywhere

She comes to me when I'm feelin' down
Inspires me without a sound
She touches me and I get turned around
She's got a way of showin'
How I make her feel
And I find the strength to keep on goin'
She's got a light around her
And ev'rywhere she goes a million
Dreams of love surround her ev'rewhere

She comes to me when I'm feelin' down
Inspires me without a sound
She touches me, I get turned around oh oh oh

-Billy Joel

Monday, February 22, 2010

New Cammo Uniform Has Been Approved

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Feb. 19, 2010) -- Starting this summer, Soldiers sent to fight in Afghanistan will wear an Army Combat Uniform with the "MultiCam" pattern instead of the standard-issue universal camouflage pattern.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh made that announcement Feb. 19, after the service conducted a rigorous four-month evaluation of various uniform patterns to determine what could best protect Soldiers in Afghanistan.

The new uniforms are of the same material and cut that Soldiers are already wearing in the Army Combat Uniform or ACU. It is the camouflage printed on the fabric that will be different. The change allows commanders in Afghanistan to have more options in deciding how best to equip their Soldiers.

"As a material provider, I want to be responsive to the Soldiers I support," said Col. William E. Cole, project manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment. "I want to give commanders options, I want to be responsive to Soldiers. That is what we were trying to do -- we're working to give (them) more options."

The uniforms bearing the new pattern, like the latest ACUs, are fire resistant. They are officially called the Fire Resistant Army Combat Uniform.

The decision to use the MultiCam pattern came after the Army evaluated its effectiveness at providing camouflage protection in Iraq. That was done, in part, by consulting with nearly 750 Soldiers who had deployed to Afghanistan. Those Soldiers participated in a "photo simulation" study administered by the Army.

Additionally, feedback from Soldiers who have already worn the uniform in Afghanistan was used to make the final decision. About 2,000 Soldiers were involved in tests to see how effective patterns such as MultiCam and UCP-Delta were at providing concealment in the varying terrain of Afghanistan.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

As We Walk Through Our Sunday...

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”--Psalm 23:4

After being dropped off by a Chinook, Comanche Company, 1/23 Inf. Soldiers work their way through a field to a small village in the Diyala province on February 17, 2010.
May Almighty God protect each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Daughter's Random Thought...

My daughter is a blogger. K has a gift for writing, truly gifted. K has chosen to keep her blog private, so we will respect her wishes. Her blog is a creative journal of her life as a wife and mommy of three daughters. How I wish I had the technology to upload photos of my kids growing up and type a quick paragraph to remind me of special moments... Instead, I was a crazed mom of four who is eternally thankful for the public school system, to provide me with photos of my youngest son! (it is not easy to be the fourth of four!)

But I digress..... K wrote a touching post, which she titled '20 years'. She paints the picture of our kitchen after dinner...K, B and Marie doing their nightly chores while I wash the dinner dishes at the sink, singing along to the 'boom-box'. After dinner, she recalls a tired momma with a bad perm and blue eye-shadow singing her little baby to sleep while rocking him in the same rocking chair she rocked her eldest daughter....20 years later, a momma with little ones, who enjoys jammin' in her kitchen...quietly rocks and softly sings to her youngest the same rocking chair. Yes, the same rocking chair her momma rocked and quietly sang her babies to sleep..............

Thank you, K.
A beautiful post.
I am so very proud of the momma my baby has become!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

With Permission, I have attached the words of my daughter.
K, I love you so!

20 years.

every night. dinner just ended. i am clearing off plates, bj is sweeping the floor, erin is cleaning the table & my mom is doing dishes at the sink. love songs & dedications with glen hollace (why did you go off air glen?????) on 97.1 is playing on the old gray boom box located on the counter next to the fridge. my mom is singing to every song and dancing. no, she does not know every song, but still sings along. : ) sometimes we dance & sing along with her. sometimes we roll our eyes and discuss how we will never do such things when we are a mom.

a tired looking mom sitting in an old rocking chair purchased in 1978. she rocked her firstborn in that chair. now, she is rocking her newest little one to sleep in it. singing softly.

take out glen hollace, the perm and the blue eyeshadow and really, could be my mom in 1990 or me in 2010. i just thought it was kinda special when it hit me - she was 31 years old 20 years ago with a little baby (my brother john) just like i am 31 with a little baby.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold

Marine from Canton Township killed in Afghanistan

Canton Township -- A Marine from Michigan who would have turned 22 on St. Patrick's Day has been killed in Afghanistan.

The remains of Cpl. Jacob H. Turbett were returned Monday to Delaware's Dover Air Force Base.

His wife, Crystal, said he grew up in Canton Township. She said the military told her he died Saturday.

Other details were not available, and his wife said funeral plans were incomplete.

Turbett wrote on his Facebook page that he was a 2007 graduate of Canton High School and was serving as a combat engineer. His unit was based at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Turbett had talked about joining the military early on, said Mark Pogliano, an assistant principal.

"That always sounded like his game plan," he said. "He took going into the service very seriously."

Later, after graduating and training, Turbett returned to the school for a visit wearing his uniform, Pogliano said. "He was a polite, quiet, nice young man."

Before serving in Afghanistan, Turbett was stationed in Okinawa, Japan, with the 9th Engineer Support Battalion. He also spent time in Iraq and Bangladesh, said Donald Brunson, who served with him.

Regardless of the setting, Turbett loved seeking diversions in his down time -- searching for a pizza place or playing "Rock Band" and "Guitar Hero" video games. "He was always fun to be around," said Jeremy Roark, a corporal who served with him. "He was always having a good time."

Besides his wife, whom he wed in 2008, other survivors include his parents, Richard and Sheila; and two siblings, Joeseph and Jaime, according to his Facebook page.

In Afghanistan, Taliban fighters stepped up counterattacks Monday against Marines and Afghan soldiers in the militant stronghold of Marjah, slowing the allied advance on the third day of the offensive.

Also Monday, NATO said five civilians were accidentally killed and two wounded by an airstrike when they were mistakenly believed to have been planting roadside bombs in Kandahar province.

-The Detroit News

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday Hero 02/17/2010

Capt. Ferris W. Butler
Capt. Ferris W. Butler
U.S. Army

Capt. Ferris W. Butler, former platoon leader with D Company, 214th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain, 2nd Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Drum, N.Y., talks to the Soldiers at Morale, Welfare and Recreation east Feb. 5 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Butler, a Port Tobacco, Mass., native, participated in Operation Proper Exit, which brings Veterans who were injured in Iraq back to the country to revisit the area and share their stories.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Talking Tuesday

I've often heard that to win the war you have to win the "hearts and minds".
What does this mean to you?
Do you agree?

Your turn......

Saturday, February 13, 2010


U.S. soldiers of the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, stand next to a Stryker armored vehicle in the Badula Qulp area, west of Lashkar Gah, in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010. This unit is operating in support of a U.S. Marine offensive against the Taliban in Marjah area.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When I first saw this photo, it struck me as to how many soldiers are fighting for us. So many unknown faces.

Yet... day after day, week after week, month after month...these brave soldiers are there for me. My face is unknown to them.

We are faceless to one another; yet my heart is filled with gratitude.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Love Lowe's

Lowe’s Companies, Inc. announced this week that it is expanding its support of the military by offering an all day, every day 10 percent discount to all military personnel who are active, reserve, retired or disabled veterans and their family members, with a valid, government-issued military ID card.

All other military veterans will receive the discount on the Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans Day weekends.

“Lowe’s was founded on the heels of World War II by veterans Jim Lowe and Carl Buchan and has always been a supporter of the military,” said Larry D. Stone, Lowe’s president and chief operating officer. “The year-round discount program is one way we are reaffirming our commitment to the thousands of men and women who are serving throughout the world, as well as their family members at home.”

The discount is available on in-stock and Special Order purchases up to $5,000. Excluded from the discount are sales via, previous sales, and purchases of services or gift cards.

While Lowe’s has had a military discount program in the past during select times of year, the new policy will allow those who are serving to benefit from the discount whenever they need it the most.

“What a great way to say thank you,” said Sloan Gibson, president and CEO of the USO. “We salute Lowe’s for the company’s commitment to helping military personnel and their families who served and continue to serve our nation.”

The USO was also selected as one of the beneficiaries of the Lowe’s Employee Giving Campaign in January. This initiative allows Lowe’s employees to donate directly from their paychecks to support those who are serving our country.

In addition to offering military discounts at specific times during the year, Lowe’s has extended benefits for its employees serving in the military and offers employment opportunities to military personnel after their military service has ended. Currently, more than 12,000 Lowe’s employees are military veterans or reservists.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

DustStorm in Afghanistan

U.S. Marines walk during a dust storm in a U.S Marines camp near the town of Marjah in Nad Ali district of Helmand province February 8, 2010. (Reuters)

May Almighty God protect our soldiers.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wednesday Hero 02/10/2010

This Week's Post Was Written By Mark In Honor Of His Wife's Grandfather

Marvin Glenn & His Wife, Christina
Marvin Glenn & His Wife, Christina
U.S. Navy

Marvin Glenn was born in Oklahoma, joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1939, and married his wife of over 60 years. Marvin enlisted in the Navy in 1944, becoming a member of the Greatest Generation. He chose to serve, despite being exempt due to a heart murmur. He went on to serve on the Escort Carrier USS Copahee. After his discharge Marvin became a brick layer, a job he continued to perform until he was 82 despite only having one eye. Along with being a brick layer, Marvin maintained a garden which he and his wife used to provide for themselves, and those in need. The life Marvin lived, in service to others, inspired his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and anyone who came to know him. Marvin was laid to rest in Henryetta, Oklahoma on January 16, 2010, at the age of 92, with full military honors.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
Wednesday Hero Logo

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Talking Tuesday

Oh. My. Goodness.

As most of you know, I live in the state of Maryland. Last Friday a snowstorm moved into the Mid-Atlantic area dumping 30 inches of the white stuff on our quaint little town, when it was all said and done on Saturday night. Hubster and I shoveled about 8 inches on Friday night. Our driveway is about 90 feet long, so the remaining 22 inches of snow was shoveled on Saturday and Sunday. Monday we tackled the sidewalk, front porch and the ten steps leading to the front door. Today, we are expecting an additional 10+ inches of snow.

Now that you have the weather update for our region...let me say, I. LOVE. SNOW! There is nothing more beautiful, than snowflakes falling to the ground at night. Falling snow is so pristine and so graceful. I could watch it snow for hours and fact that is exactly what Hubster and I did. Hubster works for Uncle Sam and the snow in our area has been so paralyzing to traffic and Metro, he has not been to work since last Thursday!

So, here's today's Talking Tuesday.....
What is your favorite season? What is your favorite winter memory? Do you go bonkers when house-bound for a week or more? Do you mind that AirmanMom chose to talk about snow today?

Your turn.............

This photo was taken Friday night, after Round One of shoveling.

We had hoped Round Two of shoveling would get the job done. Not!

Once the shoveling was done, it was time to play! Our mutt, Luke had too much fun chasing snowballs! He is confused at times, thinking he is a retriever.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Good Night, 'Army George'

Many times I have mentioned what an honor it is to welcome home our troops at BWI.I've been a volunteer with Operation Welcome Home for about two years. Every single time I attend an event, my heart pounds harder at the sight of the first soldier coming through the security doors. Welcoming home our soldiers is such an emotional experience...knowing these brave men and women placed themselves in harm's way for me, for us!

As awesome as it is to shake the hands of our soldiers and thank each of them for their has also been a thrill to meet the other volunteers. We work together to fill 'goodie' bags which are given to each Service Member. We stand around sometimes for hours, when a plane is delayed...talking, sharing what brings us to meet our returning soldiers, learning of each other's family and military service. We all love our country, we love our soldiers.

Sadly, one of our most animated volunteers passed away on January 23rd. Please take a few moments to read the story which the OWH homepage posted:

George Miskavage, affectionately known to many of us as “Army George” met his Supreme Commander on January 23, 2010. The Operation Welcome Home (MD) team sends its prayers and thoughts to his family and friends during this time of grief. He was a dedicated volunteer who came to many OWHMD events, a true patriot and veteran who served in both the Korean and Vietnam War.

With a genuine smile on his face, and “fist-bumps”, he personally thanked each Soldier, Marine, Airmen and Sailor who passed him by, with a warm and enthusiastic “Welcome home”. A service will be held on Saturday Jan. 30, 2010 at 10am at Saint Mary of the Mills Church, 114 Saint Marys Place, Laurel, MD 20707-4098.

The Warrior Watch Riders have planned to escort him to his final resting place in Pennsyvania. published a wonderful article about George’s support to OWHMD last November.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

For Laurel resident George Miskavage, it's not about the flashbulbs, cameras, microphones and general hoopla that greets military men and women as they arrive at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.

For Miskavage, who volunteers with Operation Welcome Home Maryland, it's about the hugs from proud parents, kisses from wives and husbands and smiles from children who've missed their parents.

Miskavage, 79, is one of dozens of volunteers who show up at BWI to welcome troops as they arrive back in the United States from overseas assignments.

For three years now, volunteers with the program have staked out a spot at the international arrivals gate at BWI -- sometimes twice a week, sometimes upwards of five times -- to await the British Airways flights carrying troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, Italy, Greece and Germany.

The returning soldiers walk through the gates to the sights and sounds of 30 to 40 people, including volunteers and family, applauding, holding signs and giving out goodie bags filled with bottled water, cookies, pretzels and sweets.

"This is the land of the free because of the brave," Miskavage said as a serviceman awaiting his wife's arrival walked by. "We can never and should never forget that, and I think we need to let these guys know that we know that."

Miskavage first heard about Operation Welcome Home from a fellow parishioner at St. Mary of the Mills Catholic Church.

Carol Silvoy said she had talked with Miskavage about his own service in the Army. Then, last year, she encouraged him to come out to help with an Operation Welcome Home event.

"I just thought it would be something nice for him to take part in," she said. "Something he could appreciate as a veteran."

"I went out there the first time, and it brought me back for a second time. And that brought me back the third time and fourth time and next thing you know, it's been a year," Miskavage said.

Miskavage said he quickly threw himself into it after seeing the dedication of the volunteers at the airport.

Silvoy, a former employee for Northwest Airlines who used to help coordinate flights for soldiers at Fort Meade, said that much of that dedication is rooted in a sense of gratitude that everyone with Operation Welcome Home feels toward the soldiers.

"It's just our opportunity to say, 'Thank you,' to these people that give it all. That opportunity is everything," she said.

More important to Miskavage, though, is seeing the looks on the faces of the soldiers as they walk through the doors, and the smiles on their families' faces.

"They see each other and smile and it just makes your day," he said. "We talk about the soldiers, but the mothers and fathers and spouses and children -- they're the warriors."

Jane Helveick, who also volunteers with Miskavage, said she is driven by the hope that she makes the soldiers truly feel as though they're at home, even if they still have to hop on another flight to reach their final destination in the U.S.

"They don't always have a smile on their face when they get off the plane," she said. "Then they see all the people and hear the applause and they get a big smile, even if it's just for a minute."

Miskavage said that's a major reason why he threw himself fully into Operation Welcome Home.

A veteran of both the Korean and Vietnam wars, Miskavage said he remembers how he and his fellow troops were greeted -- or not -- when he returned from Vietnam in 1969.

He holds no bitterness toward the protesters that often awaited returning veterans, but it engendered in him a desire to make sure that soldiers coming home now would feel welcomed.

"It's payback time," he said. "It's time to make sure someone is there to say, 'You're doing a great job.' "

Miskavage doesn't make it out for every flight -- he still keeps Sundays for himself -- but he did make it out for every flight the week of Veterans Day this month.

While more than 300 people, including press, showed up to greet soldiers on Veterans Day, Miskavage said he preferred the experience of a Nov. 13 flight, which was greeted only by Welcome Home volunteers and families of soldiers.

On his volunteer days, Miskavage arrives at the airport about two hours before a flight lands, to allow time to talk with some of the families awaiting loved ones, put up signs and posters and put together goodie bags.

Sometimes he finds soldiers checking in for their return flight overseas.

"I like to talk to them and let them know that I know how they feel," he said. "You look over the rail and see a guy hug his wife while you're checking your bags to go where he just came from. Those are the guys we can't forget. They're serving this country, too."

One of the families Miskavage spoke with on Nov. 13 was from Elkton. "It's a nice feeling to be able to welcome her home like this," said Terri Ward, whose sister-in-law serves in Baghdad with the Navy.

Ward's son, Jeffrey, agreed. "I haven't seen Aunt Margaret a lot, so it's a very good feeling to know she'll get this kind of welcome."

On Nov. 13, a Welcome Home organizer asks Miskavage to help personally welcome every service member as they come through the doors. And so, one-by-one, he tells 200-plus men and women "welcome back" as they share a fist-bump for a handshake.

Only uninjured soldiers fly through BWI and are greeted by Operation Welcome Home; those soldiers that are returning for medical care most likely return via Andrews Air Force Base.

After about an hour, as families embraced and other soldiers milled about the airport USO facility, Miskavage reflected on his one-on-one moment with each trooper.

"This is the best. I never let myself cry in front of them, but seeing families reunited -- it just gets me," Miskavage said. "I'm just glad to be here to see this, and not at Andrews."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

'Army George'...go rest high on that mountain. Your work on earth is done.
May God Bless this true patriot!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Fridays at the Pentagon

Mornings at the Pentagon

McClatchy Newspapers

Over the last 12 months, 1,042 soldiers, Marines, sailors and Air Force personnel have given their lives in the terrible duty that is war. Thousands more have come home on stretchers, horribly wounded and facing months or years in military hospitals.

This week, I'm turning my space over to a good friend and former roommate, Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who recently completed a yearlong tour of duty in Iraq and is now back at the Pentagon..

Here's Lt. Col. Bateman's account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Weblog of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for America Website.

"It is 110 yards from the "E" ring to the "A" ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here.

This hallway, more than any other, is the `Army' hallway. The G3 offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army! Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz.. Friends, who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew.

Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area.

The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares. "10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained and hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.

"A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class.

"Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little more wilder perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden ... yet.

"Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier's chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.

"Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal, or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.

"11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. My hands hurt. Please! Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway - 20, 25, 30. Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.

They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.

"There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband's wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son's behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past.

These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years.

"Did you know that?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thanks to my sweet friend, K for passing this along to me!

Friday, February 5, 2010

East Coast Monster Snow Storm!

Guardsmen Prepare for Second Major East Coast Storm
By Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
Special to American Forces Press Service

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 5, 2010 – Schools are closing, weekend activities are being cancelled and the federal government here will shut down four hours early today, but the National Guard is on duty in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia in anticipation of a major winter storm.

About 660 Guardsmen have been activated for a storm that is expected to dump up to 28 inches of snow and bring high winds to the northern and western parts of Virginia and then continue north up the East Coast this weekend.

"This storm will bring severe weather to many parts of Virginia,” said Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. “As the storm affects your area, please stay off the roads and contact local authorities if help is needed."

McDonnell declared a state of emergency Feb. 3, and the state’s Department of Military Affairs is staging more than 400 personnel from the Virginia Army and Air National Guard and Virginia Defense Force at key locations in the commonwealth.

If needed, the DMA will bring an additional 100 personnel on duty when the weather picture and state and local support requirements become clearer, according to a news release from the state.

“We are moving DMA personnel into position in order to be on standby for possible missions to assist state and local emergency response organizations with rescue and transportation operations,” said Army Col. Rob McMillin, a Virginia National Guard joint operations officer.

Personnel were expected to be in place yesterday and to be ready for duty this morning, Guard officials reported.

McMillin stressed that the Virginia National Guard receives its missions through the Virginia Department of Emergency Management to assist state and local emergency response organizations and is not able to respond to direct support requests from the public.

“During the winter storm in December 2009, we received calls directly from citizens, and we are not able to respond to those requests.” McMillin said. “We urge people who need assistance to make a request through their local dispatcher or 911 services, and that request will be forwarded to the DMA when appropriate.”

McMillin said the initial plan is to place Virginia National Guard personnel with Humvees on duty at locations throughout the commonwealth.

This is the third time since the middle of December the DMA has called up Guardsmen for weather-related duty. The DMA had nearly 250 soldiers, airmen and members on duty throughout southern Virginia on Jan. 29 and 700 on duty after a storm that began Dec. 18.

In Maryland, the National Guard has pre-positioned its forces and equipment to provide support to civil authorities. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is expected to declare a state emergency later today.

“The Maryland National Guard always stands ready to support the governor and the citizens of Maryland,” said Army Lt. Col. Charles Kohler, the state public affairs officer. “We provide essential, lifesaving services when local and state response capabilities are overwhelmed, including the capability to provide transportation, shelter, food, water and medical support.

He added that the National Guard has 34 armories across Maryland that also will be used to support this ongoing operation.

In the District of Columbia, Washington Mayor Andrew Fenty declared a snow emergency this morning. The National Guard will provide 12 Humvees and 60 soldiers to help in implementing the district’s Snow Emergency Management Plan.

In Delaware, Gov. Jack Markell is prepared to declare a state of emergency, his spokesman said. If needed, the Delaware National Guard will be mobilized.

In South Dakota, 16 Guardsmen are still on duty helping to re-establish road and utility infrastructure and conduct search-and-rescue operations as required by local authorities. The state experienced strong winter storms with high winds, snow, and freezing rain on Jan. 23, and more than 2,000 residents are currently without power throughout the state.

National Guard missions normally performed during snow operations include assisting local law enforcement with transportation and evacuation, distribution of supplies, road clearing and snow removal, search and rescue, security and law enforcement airspace coordination, aircraft support and patient evacuations, airspace coordination, and sheltering assistance.

(Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke serves at the National Guard Bureau. Army Maj. Cotton Puryear of the Virginia National Guard contributed to this report.)

May Almighty God protect those who protect us!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

War Games

A US Marine wears combat camoflage as he participates in the annual combined military exercise Cobra Gold 2010 at a Navy base in Rayong province on February 4, 2010. About 14,000 military personnel from six nations, South Korea, Indonesia, Thailand, US, Singapore and Japan, are involved in the largest US-led war games in the Pacific, ending on February 11, 2010.

May Almighty God Bless and Protect each and every Airman, Soldier, Sailor and Marine!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Thank You Once Again, Sears!

Sears Once Again Supports U.S. Military Veterans by Teaming Up With AMVETS for 'Operation Blanket'

Sears continues its longstanding commitment to members of the military this winter by collecting blankets to help provide warmth to homeless veterans

HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill., Feb. 1, 2010

With the final months of winter upon us and some of the coldest temperatures yet to be faced, it is important for Americans to remember those who do not have a warm home, 23 percent of whom are military veterans(1). At a time when these veterans need help the most, Sears is rallying support for them. Today the retailer announced it has teamed up with AMVETS to support "Operation Blanket," a program created to collect blankets that will be
distributed to military veterans.

Customers are invited to show their support and donate gently used
blankets at select stores* from Jan. 31 through Feb. 18. In exchange for
their donation, Sears will provide each customer with a coupon for 20
percent off any one home fashion or home decor item, or a coupon for 10
percent off any one housewares, luggage or furniture item (mattresses are
excluded). Customers will receive a coupon for each blanket they donate.

"Sears is proud to work together with AMVETS to support 'Operation
Blanket' in an effort to help provide comfort to those veterans who have
given so much for our country," said Doug Wurl, VP/GMM, Sears Holdings Home Fashions. "Each year we challenge ourselves to find new ways to say 'thank you' to the members of our military. This is yet another way we can show our appreciation and encourage participation from our customers."

AMVETS will distribute all collected blankets to veterans through its
thrift shops and local veteran posts in select cities across the country.
Sears will also make a $5,000 donation directly to AMVETS to further
support their military veteran programs.

"We are pleased to be working together with Sears and appreciate that
they are making it easy for Americans to give back and help our veterans,"
said AMVETS National Commander, Duane Miskulin. "The harsh winter months are an especially difficult time for the homeless and each blanket we collect will help keep one veteran a little bit warmer."

Sears' ongoing commitment to assisting troops and their families is
evident by a number of initiatives they have committed to over the years,
including several recruiting and employment programs. The retailer has set
one of the most generous standards of support in the country for employees
who serve in the military by maintaining civilian pay and benefits
throughout their calls of duty.

Sears also oversees the Heroes at Home program, which includes a joint
effort between Sears Holdings Corporation and the non-profit, Rebuilding
Together, which works to preserve home ownership for military veterans.
Through the Heroes at Home program, Sears Holdings Corporation has sought
to improve the lives of military families in need across America by making
necessary repairs, improvements or modifications to their homes. To date,
Sears has raised more than $11 million for military families.

For more information please visit HERE

*Sears stores in the following states will participate in "Operation
Blanket": California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois,
Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York,
North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and

About Sears Holdings Corporation

Sears Holdings Corporation is the nation's fourth largest broadline
retailer with approximately 3,900 full-line and specialty retail stores in
the United States and Canada. Sears Holdings is the leading home appliance
retailer as well as a leader in tools, lawn and garden, home electronics
and automotive repair and maintenance. Key proprietary brands include
Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard, and a broad apparel offering, including
such well-known labels as Lands' End, Jaclyn Smith and Joe Boxer, as well
as the Apostrophe and Covington brands. It also has the Country Living
collection, which is offered exclusively by Sears and Kmart. We are the
nation's largest provider of home services, with more than 12 million
service calls made annually. Sears Holdings Corporation operates through
its subsidiaries, including Sears, Roebuck and Co. and Kmart Corporation.
For more information, visit Sears Holdings' Web site at


A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America's
armed forces, AMVETS provides support for veterans and the active military
in procuring their earned entitlements, as well as community service and
legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for this nation's
citizens and veterans alike. AMVETS is one of the largest
congressionally-chartered veterans' service organizations in the United
States, and includes members from each branch of the military, including
the National Guard and Reserves. To learn more visit

(1) U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and the Urban Institute,

SOURCE Sears Holdings Corporation

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Please consider participating in this generous program! In exchange for your donation, Sears will provide each customer with a 20% off coupon for any one home fashion or home d├ęcor item, or a coupon for 10% off any one housewares, luggage or furniture item (mattresses are excluded). Customers will receive a coupon for each blanket they donate. It's up to us to encourage companies such as Sears to continue to make these efforts for our troops. By patronizing their establishments and participating in their outreach programs, we are saying our own "Thank You" to Sears!

Warm thanks to Romey for passing along this 'Sears Press Release'. I'm so deeply grateful for all who happen upon such important stories, then take the time to pass them along to me for posting. My sole intent for AirmanMom Blog is to keep our Service Members in the minds and hearts of those they protect.
Romey, I thank you so very much!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday, Sweet Girl!!!

Today we celebrate the first birthday of my baby girl's-baby girl!

I had the absolute honor of being (almost) present, when my daughter gave birth! After too many hours of labor, my exhausted daughter was wheeled away to give birth. As my daughter was being prepped to leave the labor room, I leaned over and whispered in her ear, "Now you will know how very much I love you." What a gift to be able to stand right outside the door and hear the beautiful first cry of this Sweet Girl.

Sweet Girl is an absolute joy to all who meet her. She has incredible eyes! Sweet Girl is a serious little baby, with very intense stares... ahhhh, when she breaks out into her bright smile, it warms my heart. As soon as music begins to play, this girl begins to dance!

It amazes me to see my daughter as a mother. My Marie is a Night-Shift Nurse in Labor & Delivery. Her compassion for others, is like nothing I have seen in my life. At Christmas, Marie's husband and my oldest daughter, K were talking of how much Sweet Girl resembles her daddy (which she does!) Marie's husband said that as long as Sweet Girl grows to have her mother's heart, it won't matter what she looks like. Love that statement.

Sweet Girl, I do wish you a Happy First Birthday!
May you dance all through your life.
May you have your mother's heart.

Sweet Girl, I love you so!

Monday, February 1, 2010

His Star Has Turned From Blue to Gold

Family, friends remember Marine killed in suicide attack

As a boy in Frederick, Md., David Smith loved to play with his Army and G.I. Joe action figures and spent hours rescuing his older sister Kristen from all manner of imagined peril. As a young man just out of high school, Smith joined the Marine Corps, because he was moved, his friends and family said, to make a difference and put the lives of others ahead of his own. He served in Iraq in 2006 and then volunteered for a tour of duty in Afghanistan. On Tuesday, Sgt. David Smith, 25, died of injuries suffered in a suicide bomber attack.

Smith's family traveled Saturday to Dover Air Force Base to, as his sister Kristen Forse said shakily, "welcome him home."

Smith, a member of the Marine Reserve's 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, shipped out in October to Afghanistan's Helmand province in the south, where a resurgent Taliban movement has made it the deadliest region in the country. On Jan. 23, Smith and other Marines were supporting Afghan police in providing security around a local bazaar, setting up barbed wire to protect against insurgent attacks, Forse said U.S. military officials and a soldier wounded in the attack told the family.

Somehow, she said, a suicide bomber made it through the security perimeter and detonated a bomb, which killed three Marines and injured four others. A ball bearing from the makeshift bomb hit the back of her brother's head, she said. A medic got Smith's heart beating again, she said, and he was transported to a military hospital in Kandahar, then flown to the Bagram air base and then to Germany, where he was declared brain dead.

Military doctors kept Smith on life support until his father and mother, a scientist at Fort Detrick, were able to fly to Germany, Forse said. Once his parents arrived, doctors removed Smith from life support, and he died. In keeping with his wishes, Smith's organs were donated. "They told us he saved five or six other people because of that," Forse said. "I think David would have liked that."

Lance Cpl. Jeremy M. Kane, 22, of Towson and Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Xin Qi, 25, of Cordova, Tenn., were also killed in the blast. They were also assigned to the 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.

News of Smith's death shook the close-knit community in Frederick where he grew up. Last week, Frederick High School, where he graduated in 2002, held a minute of silence in his honor. Dazed friends and family have been going through photos of Smith's life, sharing stories and remembering how he lived fully to the end. They recounted what a wild dancer he was, how funny he could be -- his Facebook page proudly pronounces "my only friends are pirates" -- and that he didn't have an enemy in the world. They told stories of Smith, in his dress blues, visiting a friend's father with Alzheimer's disease in a nursing home and spending hours helping friends build a restaurant. And they recalled the time someone broke into his mother's house in the middle of the night and stole her purse, and Smith, barefoot and in boxers, chased the man down the street and gave him what for until the thief cried, "What do you want?" "I want my Mama's purse," Smith said simply. And he got it.

John Bodnar, who was Smith's soccer coach, put his head down on his desk and wept when he heard that Smith had been killed. "He had a lot of heart," Bodnar wrote then in a note. "He was the kind of kid that you hope your own son would turn out like."

Although he played soccer, lacrosse and football in high school and headed off to the University of Salisbury for college, Forse said that she was not surprised when her brother called one day to tell her that he was joining the Marines. "What are you thinking? We're in the middle of a war?" Forse remembers telling him. But he was determined.

"He always protected those who were not as strong as he was, and he's always had a strong sense of right and wrong," she said. "He loved the Marines. He wanted to be a lifer. If there's one thing that's getting us through right now, it's that he died doing what he loved."

Smith will be buried Feb. 9 in Arlington National Cemetery.

By Brigid Schulte
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, January 31, 2010

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

May Almighty God Bless this soldier and comfort his family who loves him so.
Frederick, MD is just half an hour from AirmanMom. My heart hurts for one more Gold Star Mom.

Battle Hymn of the Republic

On February 1, 1862, this poem by Julia Ward Howe, was published in the Atlantic Monthly. The poem has become perhaps the best-known Civil War song of the Union Army, and has come to be a well-loved American patriotic anthem. Words from the first verse ("He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored") inspired John Steinbeck to title his 1939 masterpiece The Grapes of Wrath.

(Please pause my playlist on the right sidebar.)

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His truth is marching on.

I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps
They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps;
His day is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! His day is marching on.

I have read a fiery Gospel writ in burnished rows of steel;
“As ye deal with My contemners, so with you My grace shall deal”;
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel,
Since God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Since God is marching on.

He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat;
Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! be jubilant, my feet;
Our God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free;
[originally …let us die to make men free]
While God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on.

He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave,
He is wisdom to the mighty, He is honor to the brave;
So the world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave,
Our God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on.