The Thanks of a Grateful Nation

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General Orders No. 11, Grand Army of the Republic Headquarters.

I. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form or ceremony is prescribed, but Posts and com­rades will, in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit.

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Those They Leave Behind

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It is the one and only photo that makes me cry each time I see it. What brings the tears to my eyes is not just the bereaved young woman, but the Marine who stands behind her. In an earlier photo in the series, we see him building her a little nest of blankets on the air mattress. Sweet Lord, I cry just typing the words, the matter-of-fact tenderness is so overwhelming. So soldierly. But in this photo — the one that lives on and on online — he merely stands next to the coffin, watching over her.

It is impossible to be unmoved by the juxtaposition of the eternal stone-faced warrior and the disheveled modern military wife-turned-widow, him rigid in his dress uniform, her on the floor in her blanket nest, wearing glasses and a baggy T-shirt, him nearly concealed by shadow while the pale blue light from the computer screen illuminates her like God’s own grace.

I can’t say it any better than this writer did, so I will link it here – THIS is what Memorial Day is all about; honoring those who gave their lives so that we may sleep under the blanket of security.

I believe that the civilian-military gap isn’t always born of indifference, but rather, at times, a sense of helplessness on the civilian side. What can I do? If you do nothing else, you can remember those who have given their lives for their country. Our country.

Remembrance, which may seem a modest contribution in the moment, is a sacred act with long-term payoff — a singularly human gift that keeps on giving, year after war-fatigued year. I don’t need to remind you that America’s sons and daughters are still dying in combat. I don’t want to browbeat you into feeling guilty for not doing more.

Instead, I want to tell you that as the wife of a veteran, it is tremendously meaningful to know that on this Memorial Day, civilians will be bearing witness and remembering in their own way — that those who are gone are not forgotten. I also want to say that as you remember them, we remember you.

Thank you.

May we never forget their sacrifice.

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(For more on the powerful story of this picture, you can read the text of the original article from 2005, “Final Salute” by Jim Sheeler, as well as the photos which were used in the story, taken by Todd Heiler.

This article and the photos used in it were later incorporated into the book, Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives, by Jim Sheeler.

Sheeler and Heiler both won Pulitzer Prizes for this work.)

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Happy Mother’s Day!

 

My mother passed away on March 15th; this is my first Mother’s Day without her.
I miss her very much.

I got brave a few years ago, and made a photo book online for my Mom.

(Click on the picture to take you to the Shutterfly site, where you can view it for yourself.
Once there, click on “View Photo Book”, then “View Full Screen” – hope you enjoy it!
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Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!
I loved you very much ♥♥♥
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A Classical Birthday “Two-fer”

Brahms and Tchaikovsky.

What are the chances?

On this date in history, not one, but TWO classical composers were bornJohannes Brahms (1833) and Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky (1840).

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Tequila Cat
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Today is Cinco de Mayo – a day when a lot of people drink a lot of beer and/or tequila.

So what better YouTube clip to show than Jim Breuer’s classic “Party in Your Stomach”? If you haven’t seen it before, be prepared to laugh:
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Have a great day!
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Remembering Charlie

Shenandoah

The classic film “Shenandoah” inspired my father-in-law’s “Grandpa” name

Way back in 1979, I had the honor of meeting a man who came to mean a lot to me over the next 34 years.  I had just started seeing a fella who very quickly asked me to spend the rest of his life with him (I said “Yes” before he could change his mind); not long after that, he took me home to introduce me to his parents.

And that’s when I met Charles Henry Koch.

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Happy Birthday (In Heaven), Granny!

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Another year sexier! (2010)

Even though she is no longer with us, I always put up a post for my dear sweet Granny Carroll’s birthday.  I was never able to see her very often since we lived so far from her, but I thought about her often (even if I was remiss in calling her when I should).  I did try to send her flowers for special occasions, though – Granny’s first name was Daisy, so I always tried to make sure that any arrangement that was sent had lots of daisies in it.

In 2015, we were able to get all of the girls together to go and visit Granny for her 95th birthday – we had lots of fun just hanging out with her! (I sent her some flowers too….)

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