Sunday, September 27, 2009

Gold Star Family Remembrance Sunday


Today is the day we remember the Gold Star Families, those who have lost their service member in combat.

These families now have a new way to stay intouch, both with each other and with others, including the military family that has become so important to them.

As a story from Defenselink News reported,
a new Virtual Installation, such as the Army Strong Community Center that opened in Rochester NY in September, is a way for these families to maintain ties to the military. As three families who met with Army Reserve Chief Lt. Gen. Jack C. Stultz made clear to him :

What they said they’re lacking now is a way to stay tied to the military their sons died serving, and to get information and help when they need it.

These families have had difficulties with finding counseling who could help, in one case helping the fiancee of the fallen servicemember receive benefits for the daughter he never saw, and in assisting the siblings who were suffering with the death of their brother. This installation could be of service, could help this group of families who need to feel that we haven't forgotten them.

I have a blog friend, who lost her son 5 years ago. I visit Ken at Arlington periodically, and think of his mother often. As a former Blue Star Mother, and a current Blue Star Wife, I honour her service and her loss, I honour the Gold Star Families around the country who grieve the loss of their servicemember, their son or daughter, who miss their brother or sister, the father or mother they will never see again. Our country needs to remember these families, we need to make sure that their sacrifice is never ever forgotten.

General Casey remembered these families Saturday at the 4th Annual Time of Remembrance at the US Capitol, spent time talking to them, especially the children. The White House Commission on Remembrance proclaimed that the purpose of this day is

To unite our citizens in remembrance, honoring all those who died in service to our country with a special tribute to America's fallen in Afghanistan and Iraq and the families they left behind. To demonstrate to these families that in addition to their family and friends, their fellow Americans care about their loss.

We must never forget that each one of the names on the roll of the fallen have a family that will never be the same again, that have sacrificed so much.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

I get to boast

Here's my first cardigan, made for my granddaughter... I'm awfully chuffed about this.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

School? Career? Help!

Xposted at LeftFace

I was at the MOAA Job Fair yesterday. Now that is the place to find a job if you are military (and you don't need to be a member of MOAA or an officer) and about to retire or leaving the military (son, you MUST come out next year!) But for me, well I don't have that kind of experience or skill set - but it still made an impression. They had a resume critique panel, and a very pleasant Lt. Col (ret) went through my resume with me and gave me some great pointers to punch it up and make it stand out. I did drop a few resumes at a couple of sites, especially those who are supporting vets and families. But the folks that I spent the most time with, were the ladies at the Fleet & Family Support Center (yes, I'm Army - hooah- but they had great information and were partnering with the Army Career & Alumni Program) No matter that I have over 20 years experience in my field, that I'm considered a "senior" paralegal, they all think I need to finish my degree. So - since I want to work with either wounded warrior advocate programs, or with military families - do I get a degree in counseling, or social work, or what? anyone got any advice for me?

One suggestion I will definitely be checking out, and from the website I am NOT the only one, is the Military Spouse Career Advancement Account MyCAA Has anyone used it?? Seeing my son doing his school work completely online, and talking to a lot of others who are doing the same thing - I'm seriously considering it. So, if any of our readers have used the program, please leave a comment and tell me if it worked, if it didn't, what I need to do to make sure it works for me. And isn't it peculiar, the granddaughter is starting preschool, and I just ordered a "school" backpack for her... should Nana get one too?



Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Speeches

Quick note. The speeches were both great. Rep Wilson is NOT a Southern Gentleman, he's a nasty bad-mannered twerp. But please, tell me, the Republican response - I need to figure out what part of "you will not lose your present health care" did they NOT understand?? Srsly?

Longer post later.


Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day - and that sounds peculiar... [shakes head] The end of summer, the last BBQ - How did you celebrate the 3 day weekend? I'll bore you silly, tell you how I did mine.

Saturday, I ventured out on the Beltway - those who know me know I detest the Beltway - but it was for a good cause. Operation Bombshell! (the link is to a Facebook page - here's a blog link as well) And the word for the class - FUN! we laughed ourselves silly - the boas molted cheerfully (the blue ones even smurfed those who used them!) and learned a fun routine, and people came out of their shells, and we talked. Talked about the whole milspouse/deployment/homecoming experience, and didn't have to explain what we meant by anything. It was a great afternoon out. I met K, a woman I have been emailing, phone calling with, and who had invited me to a BBQ! Fun to meet in person! The Garmin lady had to spoil it by taking me down Wisconsin Ave and M Street Georgetown to get me home. Yeah, a gorgeous warm Saturday afternoon in Georgetown - talk about crowded! AARRGGGHH.

Sunday, commissary run, then take a migraine pill, then off to a great BBQ, with military families and a few civilians.. Lots of great food, and I'm sure the Sangria was fantastic but Relpax and booze don't mix, so I couldn't even sample (whine whine) thanks, Kristy and Reese, it was so much fun! Doug, the shrimp was magnificent! The ribs were awesome and whoever made the brownies.... num num num...

Monday - so far I'm cleaning my desk (and decided to post) and then I need to clean, even though my knitting is calling to me... can you hear it? k2, p2, B2.... I'm actually learning to cable knit! whoo hoo. ok ok... not exactly rocket science but hey, it's keeping me busy and entertained.

Whatever you decide to do, keep safe, take a second to thank a veteran or a servicemember. Later, y'all.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

Embed Photographers - Who is to Blame?

Contrary to what I've read - embed photographers are NOT an "invention" of the current administration or of the Secretary of Defense (who was, if my memory serves me correctly, appointed by the previous administration).

In 2003 - at the beginning of the Iraq War- the Pentagon and the previous adminstration allowed over 700 journalists to be embedded with the troops during the invasion. They were vetted by a group called the Rendon Group - who has been paid well for their dossiers and services. As Stars and Stripes reported:

Rendon examines individual reporters’ recent work and determines whether the coverage was “positive,” “negative” or “neutral” compared to mission objectives, according to Rendon officials.

The fact that the Rendon group has been linked to questionable activities including CIA links etc... has made many including the Star & Stripes and the Pentagon, question whether this "vetting" was entirely neutral, and their contract has been either suspended or canceled.

NONE of this has anything to do with the disgraceful publication of the photograph of the young Marine in Afghanistan. Why on earth there is ANYONE else being blamed for this disgusting release other than the photographer and the Associated Press, is absolutely beyond me. The stretch of logic, tying the recent decision by the Secretary of Defense (may I reiterate that he was initially appointed by the Republican prior administration) on Dover AFB - to the abhorrent publication of this photograph --- is epic, unfathomable and so convoluted, it is amazing.


Friday, September 04, 2009

AP - shame on you.

From my husband - downrange.

For years, the Associated Press was one of the mainstays of journalism, a source for unbiased reporting of the events of the day. Period. The decision of AP to run the image of a Marine as he died in Afghanistan, and the statement explaining why they chose to run the image, shows the Associated Press has abandoned impartiality, and joined the ranks of biased news organizations such as CNN and Foxnews. I will no longer rely upon the AP as a source of factual information.

This post X posted at Left Face

The recent decision by the Associated Press to publish a specific picture of a young wounded Marine, who later died of these wounds in the hospital, has galvanized the military community in a way I haven't seen in a very long time. The family of Lance Corporal Bernard specifically requested, in an interview, and phone call, that this image NOT be published. This is the stand taken by Secretary of Defense Gates in the recent Dover decision, if the family says no, that means NO. SecDef Gates also requested that it not be published, when contacted by the family.

“Out of respect for his family’s wishes, I ask you in the strongest of terms to reconsider your decision. I do not make this request lightly. In one of my first public statements as Secretary of Defense, I stated that the media should not be treated as the enemy, and made it a point to thank journalists for revealing problems that need to be fixed – as was the case with Walter Reed."

“I cannot imagine the pain and suffering Lance Corporal Bernard’s death has caused his family. Why your organization would purposefully defy the family’s wishes knowing full well that it will lead to yet more anguish is beyond me. Your lack of compassion and common sense in choosing to put this image of their maimed and stricken child on the front page of multiple American newspapers is appalling. The issue here is not law, policy or constitutional right – but judgment and common decency.”

The Associated Press, in an appalling lack of respect for the family, lack of respect for the military community, showing a complete disregard for common decency, decided to publish it anyway. They claimed they needed it because

We feel it is our journalistic duty to show the reality of the war there, however unpleasant and brutal that sometimes is

The Huffington Post has seen fit to post this image also - and I for one am horrified that they would do this. (and no, I won't link to it, that image does NOT need to be here) There are thousands and thousands of other images, that don't zero in on one particular man, that can show us all what is happening in Afghanistan. To publish this is a slap in the face to the Bernard Family, and to the rest of the families of the military, amongst whom I am proud to stand.

This will now put into further question the entire embed program. The Secretary said it well, the press has been seen as the enemy by many in this military community, the AP and Huffington Post just solidified that opinion. How stupidly shortsighted this decision was. How hurtful.

To Lance Corporal Bernard's family and friends, please accept my condolences on your loss and may I apologize to you for the anguish inflicted on you by the AP and others that published this photograph.

A New Low

I'm still capable of being shocked - which is a shock in itself. I watched the video I have linked to* - of a woman in a wheelchair at a healthcare town hall being heckled and screamed at - and was stunned at the illogical and ridiculous "anger" being shown. The woman was asking for help with her HEALTHCARE issues. I guess she wasn't screaming about "death panels" (who actually believes that twaddle? a new code being added for billing so a doctor can bill for talking to a person about end-of-life care and their wishes, and it was deliberately twisted and lied about by the pundits and talking heads, and started by a shill for drug companies)

I suppose that her problems with her health insurance company don't mean much to the jerk who said "I didn't come here to listen to other people's opinions"... that statement alone says it all. No, they aren't there to listen, to actually discuss anything. They are there to scream, to yell, to disrupt. Rational discussion - listening to other people's opinions, getting the facts to make an independent decision - is that asking so much? When you get your "information" from groups set up and financed by health insurance companies and drug companies - you get what they paid for.

* tried to imbed, Blogger wouldn't let me...