Veterans Day in America


Today is Veterans Day. A day to give thanks to all who have served in the United States Armed Forces. A day for America to SALUTE our Veterans!

As the proud wife of a Vietnam Veteran, I confess — veterans hold a most special place in my heart. While traveling to areas I write about, as I rush around the airports, when I see a soldier dressed in uniform, I always place my right hand over my chest, moving it quickly down — to give thanks to them. If time permits, I will approach the soldier and say, “Thank you!”

When I flew to Hawaii in July, I sat behind two soldiers. I was proud to see that American Airlines permitted the soldiers to board ahead of everyone else, and they gave these soldiers ‘complimentary food and drink.’  How nice…after all, isn’t it about time?

Still, I remember how our Vietnam Veterans were treated when they left for their tour of duty, and when they arrived home. It is unfortunate that my husband was one of the troops mistreated and spat on as he arrived touching the soils of America.

Vietnam was a dreadful pain for America. Protests were held, people shouting to the veterans, calling them ‘baby killers,’ and such. Never will I forget those incidents. I cried when I saw this happen. It wasn’t the fault of our soldiers. It was a war…a war America learned a lot from, and fortunately, America changed a few things!

Now, troops ship out in platoons…not alone…on a plane. When my husband arrived home, he phoned me from Texas, telling me he would arrive in Atlanta, GA at 2am. “I’ll meet you there,” I said, excited…My husband was coming home. We were newlyweds, so if you are reading this, you can only imagine how much my heart fluttered with excitement.

Sitting at the Atlanta Airport for several hours, I waited in anticipation! To say the least, his welcome home was fabulous for both of us. Later, after we moved into our home in Mt. Pleasant, our son was playing with a neighbor’s child. Our son mentioned that his dad was a Vietnam Veteran. The woman living at the house heard my son. “Baby killer,” she shouted! “Your daddy is a baby killer.”

My son rushed home in tears. He was only eight-years-old. He could not understand her anger. I held him tight, reassuring him that Vietnam was a sad time in America. When he calmed down, I knocked on the woman’s door.

Let’s just say — my Julia Sugarbaker style kicked in. Never did we hear from that neighbor again.

Today, I am still a proud Vietnam Veteran’s wife, along with our son. Every Veteran’s Day, I make certain my husband is treated with love and respect. I always thank him for his service, and I hug him tight. After all, this is his day. Let us never forget the veterans we have lost, and let us all give thanks for what they experienced. My husband has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]. I am proud to say, his rages appear to be decreasing. Thank goodness. When he does have a nightmare, or something forces his PTSD to kick in, I have learned to treat him with silence.  As the wife, I cannot imagine what he experienced and he does not share those incidents with me. Still, I have all of his letters written to me — approximately 365 letters, still preserved as if they are new, wrapped with a blue ribbon. A few pictures are in those documents. I plan to send them to some military resource that might want to include them in Vietnam memories.

Today, I wish all of the Veterans Happy Veterans Day. America loves you, and we are so proud of you! Thank you for your service!

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November 6, 2012 — Election Day in America Please Vote!


We are only hours away from Election Day in America. As a woman, I sincerely take my right and privilege to vote as something serious. While I will not say what party I am — neither a Democrat, nor a Republican — I have voted every election since I was eighteen years of age. When I get phone calls reminding me to vote — and this year — there have been too many — I answer without revealing who I will vote for.

Why?

My right to vote, and who I vote for is no one’s business…not even my husband’s business!

I walk into the voting booth, ready — with a print out of who I am voting for, and when I get home, I shred it!

American women fought for years for the right to vote. Still, I don’t understand what those foolish, insensitive men were thinking when they wrote the Constitution. How dare them to leave women out. And I don’t understand why their wives failed to express — but what about us…the Women??? Men of the “Good Ole Boys” generation fought for women not to vote. After all…those neurotic, self-righteous males wanted to ‘keep their women home…with the children…perhaps barefoot and pregnant…after all…all decent women belong in the home…’ and all of those ridiculous clichés! Sounds familiar, especially if you are from the South! How I wish I would’ve been a fly on the wall then…I would’ve made certain those cigar smoking, disgusting males of that generation would’ve accidentally set fire to the Constitution!  How dare them not to consider the Rights of Women!

Fortunately, in the 1920’s — passed by Congress on June 4, 1919, ratified on August 18, 1920, American women were granted the privilege to vote. http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=63 When I read about this in American History I questioned why women were not allowed to vote until that date. It infuriated me that men actually thought they were so superior that we, THE WOMEN OF AMERICA…the ones who hold the family together…birth the children…and for the most part still in the Twenty-first Century, rear the children, organize and manage the homes and in many corporations, run many aspects of Corporate America, are still not appreciated for all that we do…as a child, I simply could not understand why women were not equal.

Now, older, and perhaps a lot wiser, I’ve recognized that Women are still striving to get our rights. I confess, I live with and am married to a macho man…there are so many times he ruffles my feathers…and when he does…I am the first to stand up to him and let her rip…Julia Sugarbaker Style! No, I’ve never burned my bra…but I will step on my soapbox whenever men, women, or issues ruffle my feathers!

So, now, if you are an American woman, reading this on Election Day…please…do your civic duty…stand up and be heard.

There are so many people who actually say something to the effect of: “My vote doesn’t count…it’s the Electoral Vote that matters… “Perhaps…but I fully believe it is our duty…our freedom to express and vote for who we believe will be strong leaders for the United States of America. If we do not vote, we should not complain…criticize…or make fun of our elected officials. The time is now to stand up and say, “Yes…I will vote…” You do not have to share who you voted for. I will not ask. And please provide the same courtesy to me. I will admit, I do not discuss politics or religion with my friends. I learned that lesson before I started voting! Yes, I am proud to say – to shout from the rooftops – I am woman! HEAR ME ROAR!

It is my right to vote for the person I BELIEVE will do the best job. It is your civic duty to do the same…especially IF you are  A WOMAN… HEAR ME ROAR!

I look forward to the day when a Woman will Run For the President of the United States and she will win! No, I wouldn’t vote for a woman simply because she is a woman, but there have been many women bosses I have known that would make a great candidate! I am one of the people who actually evaluate the issues…I make a pro and con list, I do lots of research and I have my decisions made when I walk into the voting booth. Who am I voting for? I’ll keep that opinion to myself! Just Vote!!!

PLEASE VOTE — NOVEMBER 6, 2012!

 

Let Us Never Forget 9-11


 

I’ve always heard if you live long enough, you learn to accept death as a fact of life. I learned to grieve when I was 17, again at 23, over the years I’ve lost close friends, family members, and in 1999, I lost my dad. Till this day, I still live with grief, as I’m certain the victims families of 9-11 have learned to grieve, come to terms with it, and to move on from the grief.

After playing with my dogs, the phone rang. I rushed to answer it.

“Are you watching the news?” My husband asked.

“No. Not today…it’s always about politics and so much B-S, I decided I didn’t want to listen to the latest political games today.”

“Turn it on,” he warned. “A plane crashed into the World Trade Center.”

“How can that happen?”

Little did I know I would quickly figure it out for myself. I turned the TV on MSNBC, listening to the latest news as it developed. We didn’t have Tweets, or Facebook, or if we had social media, I didn’t use it, so I listened while my dogs barked to go outside.

Moments later, as the TV camera blasted the fires and smoke plumes  in the World Trade Center, I watched another plane rip into the next tower. “Oh, my God…” I screamed. “America is under attack. Someone has proclaimed war on us and we are defenseless.

I had no idea how true my thoughts were.

America lost more than anyone can imagine on 9-11, not only innocent victims of an unexpected, unanticipated attack and war that tore into our hearts and souls. We lost our safety. Not only at the World Trade Center, but the Pentagon was attacked, the White House was scheduled to be attacked, and when Americans overtook one of the planes a field in Pennsylvania became a burial ground for that plane and all of its victims.

That warm, cozy feeling we once felt when we planned trips, hopped on planes and entered venues that now we must enter with caution. Gone are the days of simply walking into an entertainment venue, an airport, or other buildings without having our handbags searched, our pockets emptied, and occasionally a stranger will search us, so we can enter or enjoy the event. While I do not mind being ‘strip searched’ — at times I do feel annoyed that because of terrorists and the hatred they feel for Americans — we must allow complete strangers to search us and our belongings. We are limited to what we can pack and carry on airplanes, and we are cautious when we see strangers leaving objects alone — even IF for a second. Suspicious characters leave me curious. I suppose I lost a bit of trust after 9-11. I am cautious when I open the door to my home. When I shop alone, I am constantly looking behind me. None of this occurred until after 9-11. When I fly, I have butterflies in my stomach, and I am cautious, constantly looking to observe what is going on. Never do I sleep on a plane. I want to be aware — of everything!

But — those of you who know me say — you were not a victim. Yes, that is true, but I am an American and it is my duty to do all that I can to keep our world safe.

Today, at exactly 8:46am, I lit a candle and said a prayer for 9-11 — not today, but the 9-11 that took away our safety and so many lives. Yes, we are still a free nation, but so much of our freedom has been threatened. Today, we are still at war in Afghanistan.  The Endless War is what I refer to it since we have been fighting it for such a long time, and we really do not have a definitive date as to when this war will end, or if. We have lost too many of our soldiers, and we will continue to lose more. I can’t help but ask — are we better for this war? The only accomplishment I have seen is Osama bin Laden is no longer alive, thanks to our military achieving this mission.

Today, I give thanks that America is still free. The cost for freedom has been astronomical — in dollars, life, livelihoods, trust and safety. Today, I say thank you to our military, our firefighters, police and medical personnel, and all of our public citizens who work so hard to keep America free, safe and alive.

May we never, EVER, forget 9-11-01. Yes, we have moved forward, to build better, stronger buildings, a way to express to those who want to destroy us that America is a Nation that will not crumble. While those terrorists destroyed the buildings, destroyed so many lives, and took so much from all of us, I still see an image in my mind that I shall never forget. Almost daily, I see a man carrying a gigantic cross with his body along the streets of Mt. Pleasant, North Charleston, and other suburbs of the beautiful City of Charleston, SC. He reminds me of the many images I’ve seen of Jesus hanging on the cross. Another image inside my mind was an image of 9-11 as I drove to the West Ashley section of Charleston to attend a writers group meeting. There on Highway 17 a young boy stood parading a gigantic United States Flag. He sang the National Anthem and he walked with pride. Perhaps our nation was wounded, but we were going to survive. That is one dynamic fact about Americans…perhaps we get just a bit consumed with our daily lives…and maybe there are times we are skeptical to reach out to others, but when there is a crisis — regardless what it is — a death, a tornado, a hurricane, or an attack on America — we gather together to stand tall! After all, we are the United States of America. 9-11 changed us in many ways for the better. A wake up call to teach us to appreciate life, and that life is short, we have learned to appreciate the little things in life. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to snap us back into attention, but when we do — we rise to the occasion — for the Better!

We will not forget 9-11 — EVER! May God keep us safe, and may we appreciate how special and short our lives are. We must live for the moment, giving thanks that we have lived a life of enrichment for our nation. Let us never forget 9-11.

 

 

On the Fourth of July — Independence Day


Today, America celebrates Independence Day, or as everyone calls it, “The Fourth of July.” Today is a day to give thanks and appreciation to our independence, expressing our appreciation to our Armed Forces.

For you, the Armed Forces of the United States of America, I say thank you. Thank you for your willingness and passion to serve America during this horrific time of Twenty-first Century war. You stand in the hot zones, ready and willing to fight for your country so we, the citizens of these United States can pop fireworks, drink a bit too much, eat much too much and consider ourselves blessed because we are a free nation.

How I wish the fireworks would end. My husband is a Vietnam Veteran. Every time he hears fireworks, he jumps — sometimes to the ground. Yes, he apologizes for his actions. He doesn’t need to apologize. He is having a flashback of war — of the sounds of mortars, weapons, and the enemy approaching. Never have I been in a war so I can not relate to his fears, but on the Fourth of July, I do my best to make him comfortable. We stay away from the fireworks displays. Occasionally, I’ll step in to the back yard to see them bursting in the skies, and I say a prayer of thanksgiving. Thankful that we in America have the freedom we have — all at the emotional price of our soldiers in harm’s way.

To our soldiers, I say thank you and may God bless you. To America, I say — let us all give our thanks while enjoying the bounty that we have, along with the freedom. Happy Fourth of July. Happy Independence Day. Be safe and thankful for the United States of America.