Archive for the Remembrance Category

Veteran’s Day #NaBloPoMo

I hated formations. I would do everything I could to get out of a formation. When I couldn’t, I was generally irritable and borderline (if not outright) belligerent. I knew there was some real work I could be doing rather than standing until my toes went numb. There was one when I was overseas that pissed me off to no end because while it was done with good intentions, the execution had the opposite effect. Because really, who wants to get up on the 4th of July and go stand in formation in order to improve patriotism. In “peacetime.” Having a lack of respect for a authority (which is not one of my good character traits), I pushed the envelope for that one. I dug out the worst uniform I owned which was one of my initial issued ones from basic, which I had worn at my first duty assignment. The pants were more faded than the shirt because that was one of the distinguishing marks of working in a combat comm unit in Oklahoma. You spent a lot of time outdoors in the heat with the BDU blouse off in just a tshirt. I found the worst looking BDU hat to wear, and probably found some mud to wade through and stick to my boots. Several of us carpooled, and so SSgt Nemec had 2 specialists and a senior airmen with her. I went all out to be a good role model. ;) When we got ready to leave, our division superintendent and commander were standing right in front of my car having a conversation. I said something like, “Hey y’all. Watch this!” I popped in a CD, skipped to the song I wanted, cranked up the volume, and blasted Fortunate Son. Despite that boldness, I was too scared to look as was Darrel and Val. But Emily looked, and gave a great description of the reaction. The commander pretended nothing was happening, but the superintendent’s jaw dropped in complete disbelief. Score! But, after all that, all of us disgruntled soldiers and airmen went to Pop Bellies for breakfast which made getting up worthwhile.

Fast forward a year later, and I still hate formations. And we all got tagged with one we couldn’t get out of. By all, I mean the entire organization, just like the 4th of July one. Only it was a workday, but a Friday, and this one required service dress/class A’s. Darrel managed to break something, so he had to stay and fix it while the rest of us dutifully gaggled up in front of headquarters. Now the occasion for this one was this. Every year the 303rd Bombardment Group who were based at RAF Molesworth during World War II would travel back to the UK for a reunion. That year was going to be their last reunion since it was so much harder for them to travel at their age. So the powers that be decided the JAC should greet them as they arrived. I was tired of standing long before they finally arrived. Let me tell you, I was not prepared for what I was about to be a part of. Yes, my uniform was sharp because I didn’t have crappy looking blues. My shoes were clean and shiny. And I snapped to attention and a sharp salute. What I wasn’t prepared for though was what I was about to see. I don’t know how many cars and buses drove through us. I have no idea how many WWII vets were in them. But there were a LOT, and I don’t think there was a dry eye among them. I know my eyes were leaking. I was filled with such pride to be able to honor those men – the heroes who made it. It was so humbling to watch those tear-filled men salute us back, and I was and still am so glad I didn’t get out of that one.

303Grifn

Because of that one, I didn’t balk at going to the Memorial Day service the following year at Cambridge American Cemetery. Talk about another humbling experience. To walk among so many men who didn’t make it back. Utterly heartbreaking.

Pict0028[1]

Pict0038[1]

Today I specifically want to remember family members who served before and with me. I don’t think there was a war since our countries founding that I didn’t have an ancestor serving in. Unfortunately, I can only put names to those since WWII. I have multiple uncles, cousins, in-laws, and a niece who have served in each branch. It’s great that my husband and I are among so many veterans among our families.

Perspective and attitude

Perspective has a way of changing your attitude. Being the control freak that I am, my perspective has always been self-centered. My personal comfort took priority in how I looked at the world and situations. When things didn’t (or don’t) go the way I think they should, I end up on the pity pot only seeing the bad and never the good.

This has been most evident with my relationship with my dad. Yes the verbal abuse did a lot of damage. Yes, the lack of affirmation negatively affected me psychologically which in turn affected every relationship I’ve ever had with anyone including God. This was understandable and even excusable when I was a child. I didn’t have the capacity as a child to do anything more than develop ways to cope that allowed me to emotionally survive. Those coping skills long outlived their usefulness.

Since my mom worked outside the home when I was a child, I spent a lot of time with my dad. It was practically 24×7 until I started school so I am naturally like him in many ways. My mom did her best to counter many of the negative traits I picked either by imitation or genetics, but in ways that did not teach me to disrespect either of them. I am grateful for that now. Now I can see him as a father who did the best he could amidst his own character defects. And he tried to raise me to be respectful of others and independent and grounded in faith in God.

I just finished reading Barnabas Piper’s book The Pastor’s Kid. I’m a deacon’s kid, but much of what Barnabas wrote mirrored my own DK experience. I found much healing through his experience as a PK. I can now look my on my dad with a different perspective not only because of what Barnabas wrote of his experience, but also through working through my own issues and character defects.

Daddy taught small groups off and on at church up until I was 15. Throughout those years I saw him do a lot of study in preparation for teaching. He didn’t do it silently and would discuss it with my mom. It one pretty much one sided, but he was teaching as he was preparing to teach. I reaped the benefits of his preparation in that I was given a strong foundation for my own faith. Both he and my mom always encouraged me to study scripture for myself and not just blindly believe everything I heard either from the pulpit or from the classes I was in.

Acts 17:11 NIV ”
Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”

This was instilled in me more deeply than Missionary Baptist doctrine. Daddy learned what other denominations believed and taught me that as well even going to far as to teach me there was no doctrinal difference between Missionary Baptists and Southern Baptists. He made sure that I knew salvation was in Jesus and not in a particular church. That was a priceless gift.

When I started kindergarten, Daddy sat me down one day and had what I thought at the time was a weird talk. He talked to be about black people. Up to this point, I really hadn’t been around many black people because church and family were lily white. I don’t have any preschool memory of black people who weren’t on TV. He made it a point to explain to me that there was no difference between us and black people except for skin pigmentation and that didn’t matter. They had the same hearts and minds and I was never ever to call a black person “nigger” because it was hurtful. When I was older the conversation made sense, and it’s another thing I am grateful for because even though I wasn’t able to completely escape Southern culture race issues, that one conversation always came back to me to remind me that we are all human and I need to respect and love other people no matter our outside differences. It’s what’s inside that matters.

Daddy was a very smart man who could do just about anything. He was electrician, plumber, auto mechanic, small engine mechanic, gardener, and carpenter. He was also a fantastic cook who made the best apple and coconut cream pies I’ve ever eaten. He taught me much of that though mostly by watching and listening. But I do remember him taking the time to teach me how to do simple auto maintenance like checking and adding fluid and changing a tire. He is why I know my way around a breaker or fuse box. Throughout my childhood he did a lot of electrical, plumbing, and carpenter work for his sisters, widows in our community, and other family and friends. He taught by example to help others. And much of those skills he taught me explicitly were done before he went to prison I think because he saw I had the desire and the capacity to do minor maintenance and repairs that my mom lacked. She could cook and clean, and even do some gardening, but because she worked full time, she didn’t have time to do everything that needed to be done and had no inclination towards mechanical stuff. He ensured we weren’t left hanging, utterly dependent on other people for little things.

I remember when I played softball, Daddy would practice with me. I hated it most of the time because he and Mom both concentrated on my weakest area of catching which was grounders that I had to run for. Haha. He only missed one of my softball games. He didn’t miss any basketball game I played. He was there for every play and concert. When I was in the hospital he was there when my mom needed to go home and rest and a lot of the time when she was there too. He made me stay in bed when I was sick and made me drink lots of water and made my favorite foods so that I would actually eat. He helped me with homework and would play games with me. He even taught me how to play poker. Thankfully I didn’t get inherit his ability to count cards and don’t like losing money so as not to have a gambling problem. ;-)

He was overprotective in a lot of ways and tended to over and under react, but I understand now that it was fear that caused it. He didn’t necessarily love me in the ways I wanted, but he did love me and I can look back and see that now. He made many mistakes, but he made those because he had his own sickness and demons to contend with. He couldn’t be a perfect dad because he was human. But he did love me and he did try the best he could to raise me to put my faith in God and to grow up to be a responsible adult rather than a perpetual impulsive child. For that I can be grateful and honor him with love and respect.

Adventures in Arkansas

I really should have sat down and written last night when I had things to say. Or at least made a note of what I wanted to write about like I suggested to Petra. Haha! But in my defense, I was sick as a dog from the flight back from Arkansas. But Enterprise hooked me up with a sweet rental car:

I almost didn’t make that trip. I really didn’t want to. I didn’t want to face my mom’s health issues because avoidance is my default action (or inaction as it were) when I can’t practice full on denial. But I plucked up the courage to do it anyway. Oh my word. Her short term memory is completely gone. She had a stroke while she was in the hospital recovering from pneumonia (and she has COPD), and while the memory issues could be attributed to Alzheimer’s, her inability to say the right words is not something she had prior. It was hard. Hard to listen to and watch her struggle to get out what she wanted to say, and hard to figure out what she meant. But she gets around fine, and I wore her out! Because that’s how I roll. ;) She’s in the nursing home for rehabilitation, and they let me check her out and run her around.

I took her to the Veteran’s Walk of Flags by the hospital first. We did not walk the whole thing.

But my cousin Sharon was interviewed later that day while she was there:

Flags Flying for Veterans In Morrilton Today

It is such a beautiful and humbling display, and I feel honored that I now have a flag among so many others. I am so very grateful to Sharon for making sure all the Eoff family veterans got flags.

Then we went out to the Bishop family reunion and I didn’t take a single picture of any of my family. :( I did take one down at the creek:

Because the reunion isn’t just complete without a walk down to the creek. It was the thing to do when I was a kid, and it still is at 44. Not that I got off the bridge because the possibility of falling and getting wet doesn’t appeal to me anymore. Mainly because I didn’t want my phone ruined. haha! But I had a great time, and didn’t get glutened. Mom seemed to know everybody and that was great! I had a good talk with my sister-in-law even if it was short and kept semi on the down low given what I shared with her. And throughout the weekend I got to have really good visits with family and a couple old friends and my mom’s neighbor. And then after I dropped Mom off Saturday night and left the nursing home, I drove around town and bawled.

Now, I don’t like to fly, and have been terrified of flying since 1999. So as I drove up to RDU to leave, I thought I would try a little something different than I normally do. See, normally the DragonLady doesn’t get on a plane sober. Granted, last summer I flew sober, but I was a wreck the whole time. This time, drinking wasn’t an option I was willing to entertain so I prayed and asked God to remove my fear of flying. You know, it worked. I was not at all scared coming or going. Even with the turbulence and thunderstorms around Charlotte. And no, I didn’t ask God to give me a good rental car. That was pure bonus. hahaha!

Maniacal Monday #23

I had one of the best and most exhausting weekends in a while. Seriously, 7pm last night, I crashed. It was great. Ok, it was mostly great. There was a lot of yelling when I got home Friday. I even fired James. “I know now I was suffering from pre-menstrual syndrome.” – Truvy Jones. And on that note, I put on my black yoga pants Saturday afternoon, and those things are always covered with lint, fuzz, and hair. My hair, dog hair, and cat hair. Because we all shed. I immediately thought of that scene in Steel Magnolias when Truvy hires Annelle and Annelle tells Truvy she has “tiny little hairs and fuzzies” all over her. Truvy’s response was “There’s so much static electricity in this room, I pick up everything but boys and money.” I tweeted that, because it’s how I roll, and then I went to the store with hair and fuzz all over my black yoga pants. Because that’s also how I roll. My tweets also publish to my Facebook, and thus began the quote-fest. Petra dropped a quote, and we went back and forth for hours while she did photo editing and I graded. I’ve seen that movie way too many times. I’m sure I saw it every day for my last 6 weeks in Kuwait back in ’97. I know that when Lisa and I sat in the chow hall one day with the major, and Steel Magnolias was playing, we were quoting line by line with the movie. And the major looked at us and said, “You guys have been here too long.” Fun times. :)

I got up Saturday morning and went to Raleigh to run the 2nd annual Run to Reclaim 5k. It was 30F when the hubs and I left the house. I kept reminding myself that the Anderson Creek 10k earlier this year was a lot colder. Anyway, I caught a fantastic shot of the sunrise over Jordan Lake on the way.

It had been at least 6 weeks since I last ran, so I was totally amazed to finish in under 37 min. My official chip time was 36:42. I combined runs, and so this was also my Dynamic Duel Canada vs USA Virtual 5k run. And if you haven’t, go sign up and do it!! Especially if you are from the states. Because I think I saw an update on FB where Canada had come from behind and was winning. Not that there are any losers in this one as it supports the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. :) Here’s my “finish” photo with the awesome shirt I got from the Run to Reclaim 5k. Because I just love the florescent yellow. ;)

photo(2)

And then I got on my bike and rode 9.69 miles. Which is just crazy. But I only had to stop twice going up the hill-to-be-conquered this time. And one of those I was all bent over my bike trying to catch my breath and not puke in someone’s driveway…while there was someone in the yard.

Grading. That was the other low point of the weekend. Chad bombed 2 of the 3 tests he took last week, and didn’t finish all of his work that he said he finished. :headbang:

I spent nearly all day at church yesterday because I was on schedule to play with the worship team. I’m pretty sure I screwed up the chords on every single song, but especially the last one. I even had the chords written and taped to my guitar and couldn’t get them right. But it was still fun. And I have a cool story. So there we were during the second service after the sermon. Pastor Nate was leading us in prayer before we watched a special video from Pastor Benji. My head is bowed; my eyes are closed. I heard this noise start up, and I wondered what it was. I kept mentally going through everything on stage that could be making it and finally thought maybe Shawn turned on the fan. Then it seemed to be just a bit louder and it started to dawn on me what that noise was and as I opened my eyes and started to raise my head back up, I heard a step from across the stage which was Rodney about to come warn me of the projector screen that I could now see was about to come down on my head. Hilarity then ensued as I quickly tucked and rolled. Ok, I just ducked and moved back. It was funny. Heidi was in the same boat, but she was by Rodney, and not as tall as me, so she had a tad bit more warning. Again I want to say how much I enjoy being part of the C.O.R.E. Worship Team!

Now let me tell you about lunch. The hubs fixed me a gluten free hamburger helperish thing for lunch yesterday, and when we got done with it there really wasn’t enough for my lunch today. So he said he would fix me sweet potato home fries which are awesome! Anyway, when I packed up my lunch this morning, in addition to the sweet potatoes, there was a small container of deviled eggs. Score! And, there was ham underneath the sweet potatoes. Like Christmas in November.

I was singing this the other day grading Jamie’s work:

And I will wrap this us with a huge THANK YOU to all of our veterans today and for those still serving. There are too many friends, family, and co-workers for me to name, but I am partial first to my husband, my extended family and my husband’s family, and then to those I served with in the 3rd Combat Communication Group, Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, and the JAC & 423rd ABS in the UK.

All gave some. Some gave all.

Remembering

I’m not going to write out a big long post about 9/11. While I still remember the events as if it happened yesterday, I’m not going to rehash it. 5 years ago I reposted a post I had written 2 or 3 years before. 9/11-Repost But I don’t really feel the same anymore. I’m not so angry anymore. Maybe I should be, but I’m just tired of being angry. I still grieve for the innocent lives lost. And I grieve for the men who took those lives believing a lie that they would go to paradise.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

:usflag:

All the Earth

Remembering

This is a repost from last year, which was pretty much a repost from the year before. I haven’t received anything via email this year that tops this. I will add this though, the below cemeteries are identified as being just in Europe, but there are more than just the European cemeteries. Additionally, these are just U.S. troops, and (I think) just from WWII. But even if they span both World Wars, it wasn’t just U.S. troops who gave their lives. We had many allies who fought for freedom too. Those we fought paid the ultimate price also, and even if they were on the wrong side, they weren’t all volunteers (any more than all of ours were back then), and many of them also left behind families and friends. I have heard many times that Memorial Day began because of Confederate women who not only decorated Confederate graves, but Union also. One side in war wins, but both sides lose.

In alphabetical order, just Europe …..

1. The American Cemetery at Aisne-Marne, France. A total of 2289 of our military dead.

aisne-marne

2. The American Cemetery at Ardennes, Belgium. A total of 5329 of our dead.

We are arrogant.

ardennes

3. The American Cemetery at Brittany, France. A total of 4410 of our military dead.

Excuse us.

brittany

4. Brookwood, England American Cemetery. A total of 468 of our dead.

brookwood

5. Cambridge, England. 3812 of our military dead.

cambridge

6. Epinal , France American Cemetery. A total of 5525 of our Military dead.

epinal

7. Flanders Field, Belgium. A total of 368 of our military.

flandersfield

8. Florence, Italy. A total of 4402 of our military dead.

florence

9. Henri-Chapelle, Belgium. A total of 7992 of our military dead.

henri-chapelle

10. Lorraine, France. A total of 10,489 of our military dead.

lorraine

11. Luxembourg, Luxembourg. A total of 5076 of our military dead.

luxembourg

12. Meuse-Argonne. A total of 14246 of our military dead.

meuse-argonne

13. Netherlands, Netherlands. A total of 8301 of our military dead.

netherlands

14. Normandy, France. A total of 9387 of our military dead.

normandy

15. Oise-Aisne, France. A total of 6012 of our military dead.

oise-aisne

16. Rhone, France. A total of 861 of our military dead.

rhone

17. Sicily, Italy. A total of 7861 of our military dead.

sicily

18. Somme, France. A total of 1844 of our military dead.

somme

19. St. Mihiel, France. A total of 4153 of our military dead.

stmhiel

20. Suresnes, France. a total of 1541 of our military dead.

suresnes

IF I ADDED CORRECTLY THE COUNT IS 104,366

Remind those of our sacrifice and don’t confuse arrogance with leadership

The unit to which I was assigned during my time in England held Memorial Day services annually at Madingly American Cemetery near Cambridge. That’s #5 on this list. I only attended one during my last year active duty, and it was a humbling experience.

John 15:13 (King James Version)

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Never forget.

All photos from American Battle Monuments Commission.

Oh, Happy Day!

Tim Hughes – Happy Day from Ro marin on Vimeo.

Happy Easter!

Memorial Day

This is pretty much a repost from last year. I haven’t received anything via email this year that tops this. I will add this though, the below cemeteries are identified as being just in Europe, but there are more than just the European cemeteries. Additionally, these are just U.S. troops, and (I think) just from WWII. But even if they span both World Wars, it wasn’t just U.S. troops who gave their lives. We had many allies who fought for freedom too. Those we fought paid the ultimate price also, and even if they were on the wrong side, they weren’t all volunteers (any more than all of ours were back then), and many of them also left behind families and friends. I have heard many times that Memorial Day began because of Confederate women who not only decorated Confederate graves, but Union also. One side in war wins, but both sides lose.

In alphabetical order, just Europe …..

1. The American Cemetery at Aisne-Marne, France. A total of 2289 of our military dead.

aisne-marne

2. The American Cemetery at Ardennes, Belgium. A total of 5329 of our dead.

We are arrogant.

ardennes

3. The American Cemetery at Brittany, France. A total of 4410 of our military dead.

Excuse us.

brittany

4. Brookwood, England American Cemetery. A total of 468 of our dead.

brookwood

5. Cambridge, England. 3812 of our military dead.

cambridge

6. Epinal , France American Cemetery. A total of 5525 of our Military dead.

epinal

7. Flanders Field, Belgium. A total of 368 of our military.

flandersfield

8. Florence, Italy. A total of 4402 of our military dead.

florence

9. Henri-Chapelle, Belgium. A total of 7992 of our military dead.

henri-chapelle

10. Lorraine, France. A total of 10,489 of our military dead.

lorraine

11. Luxembourg, Luxembourg. A total of 5076 of our military dead.

luxembourg

12. Meuse-Argonne. A total of 14246 of our military dead.

meuse-argonne

13. Netherlands, Netherlands. A total of 8301 of our military dead.

netherlands

14. Normandy, France. A total of 9387 of our military dead.

normandy

15. Oise-Aisne, France. A total of 6012 of our military dead.

oise-aisne

16. Rhone, France. A total of 861 of our military dead.

rhone

17. Sicily, Italy. A total of 7861 of our military dead.

sicily

18. Somme, France. A total of 1844 of our military dead.

somme

19. St. Mihiel, France. A total of 4153 of our military dead.

stmhiel

20. Suresnes, France. a total of 1541 of our military dead.

suresnes

IF I ADDED CORRECTLY THE COUNT IS 104,366

Remind those of our sacrifice and don’t confuse arrogance with leadership

The unit to which I was assigned during my time in England held Memorial Day services annually at Madingly American Cemetery near Cambridge. That’s #5 on this list. I only attended one during my last year active duty, and it was a humbling experience.

John 15:13 (King James Version)

13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Never forget.

All photos from American Battle Monuments Commission.

15 years ago today

I was in AF Tech School with orders to Tinker AFB near (as in a suburb town away) Oklahoma City. The hubby was in Biloxi visiting me the week that the Murrah Building was bombed, and was the one who told me about it as he met me for lunch after my classes were over that day. Later, after we were at Tinker, he joined the Army Reserves and one of his senior NCO’s was in the Murrah Building the morning of April 15, 1995 when the truck bomb was detonated. She was injured, but though her physical injuries lingered to an extent, I suspect the emotional toll was much greater. She did not talk about it. There was a young lady in the 32nd CCS (my orders were for the 32nd, but that was changed to the 31st before I arrived) had gone to the Murrah Building that morning also. She had just gotten married, and went to the building to get her name changed on her Social Security card. She did not survive, and many of the friends I later made that knew her continue to mourn such a senseless death.