Saturday, September 09, 2006

His brother sang goodbye.

Today we buried another young man. A young man who had studied to be a police officer, a young man who helped his high school football team to a championship, a TaeKwonDo black belt. They called him a rock, they called him a wonderful brother and devoted son, a good soldier and a great friend.

His mother, when the bishop told the congregation to give the kiss of peace, went down the front row, not of her family, but of the dignitaries. She gave a kiss of peace and love to the Governor, senators, generals, colonels, the men who sent her oldest son to war. His younger brother sang Amazing Grace, his voice roughened with tears, and there wasn't a dry eye in the high school auditorium.

The Patriot Guard was the honor guard, and it was stunning.

But after all that pomp, the tears and the brave words, the medals and the music, there's a hole in the world, a huge hole in his family. A wonderful blend of Hispanic and Swedish, aunts, uncles, cousins galore, but so wounded and sad and lonely.

Take a minute and think of him and of them. And of his friends in the Sand, who had a memorial service there, so far away from that lovely town in the Red River Valley near Sauk Centre. There's a hole there too. They don't want to remember how he died, I don't know that I want to either. But we need to, need to remember that a young man did his duty. We don't need to think, for now, of how or why this all started, we just need to remember him, and the others who die every day, their families, their friends. Goodbye Josh.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Farewell to a champion

Watching Andre Agassi the last two sets, was agony. He's limping, in so much pain, and still trying! and coming up with some amazing flashes of brilliance, the "old" Andre. We loved watching him, but today I kept wanting him to stop, to go lie down, to be out of pain. So while I will miss watching him this week, I'm glad he won't be in that level of pain. It will take months for his back to stop giving him the walk of an 86 year old. And of course I cried! He did, and I don't think there was anyone with dry eyes in the stadium or watching on TV.

But as a raging fan, I want to thank him for the afternoons and evenings spent glued to the TV (it was a good way to get the ironing done...) the heartstopping near misses, the incredible points that drove me cheering to my feet in my living room and calling my mother (another tennis fan), and for the grace and true class he showed at all times. To him, and his family, all the best, thanks for sharing him with us, we appreciated it, now it's your turn.


Friday, September 01, 2006

open arms, my ass!

For those of you who are involved in or know the military, you know how the Services push that group known as the FRG, Family Readiness Group. They are supposed to be there for the families, to provide them the support they need whilst their soldiers are deployed. The group is supposed to be welcoming, not judgmental and rank is SUPPOSED to be left at the door. After all, we are family members/wives/parents/husbands, and we don't have rank. But as with all things that touch the military, supposed to isn't what is really happening.

I pissed off the head of the FRG I used to be with, by pointing out that some of us DO like information and she isn't diseminating the information that is being sent out (I get it from another group, so know what our group is missing). This woman has come right out and told us that she doesnt like to get online, doesn't like to watch the news (other than FOX!!) and doesn't really want to know much about what is going on in the world or in Iraq. I also pointed out (and folks, I WAS nice about it, I have been assured of that by more than one person who is NOT related to me that read the letter) that putting our group together with another group, whose troops are returning in the fall, while ours don't get back until spring was really hurtful to us. Listening to all the joyful planning for homecoming isn't much fun, when you have over 6 months to wait! I offered, again, to write the newsletter, since we hadn't seen one in over 2 months.

She got terribly upset with me, accused me of picking on her. I figured, ok, she'd get over it. But then she involved her husband, who is with mine in Iraq. He is a senior NCO! I'm lucky, my husband out ranks him. The senior NCO jumped on my husband, and told him flat out that we aren't in that particular company officially and basically indicated that I should leave. Now these men have served together for years. So thanks to a woman who has no self worth but has to run and hide behind her husband, who cannot take ANY criticism at all even when put into a letter offering help because she is obviously overworked, a long friendship is impacted. and I realized what I have always really known. I don't fit in these groups, and should just forget it.

So a few of us are going to make our own group. We are going to do what we wanted to do in the official group, do things that support our families and our soldiers. and folks.... don't believe in the Open Arms, Big Umbrella crap... you have to think "correctly", and remember, don't ever piss off the Top Kick's wife!

Still learning....

I just got onto a new military family website, and posted a query about FRGs... it's very depressing to see that there are a lot of people who are in the same boat with their FRG. But it's nice to have support out there.