Free Writing

Happy Labor Day


Dearest Readers:

Today in America is Labor Day. According to the U.S. Department of Labor — “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

I have always been curious why Labor Day is called “Labor Day…” I suppose one could say — now you know!

For most of us in America, Labor Day is the last day of summer. For my family and I, it is a day of rest…to do something relaxing. I’ve encouraged my husband to play golf today. Perhaps we will grill out, or perhaps we will go out to dinner. Who knows!

I have no plans for today, with exception of getting my nails done. They really need to be clipped and repainted. What color will I use? Haven’t a clue. Perhaps coral. Maybe white. Those who will see me later this week will know. So, I suppose my Labor Day will be one to relax…to give thanks for life…to be grateful for life…good health..and family.

Today is a beautiful day in Charleston, with warm sunshine beaming down. Yes, it would be a good day to relax on the beach, but I think I’ll just take the day off…to give thanks to the United States of America, and to the freedoms we have.

Happy Labor Day!

On My Soapbox!

Happy Fourth of July 2014


Dearest Readers:

Today is one of the busiest party, barbecue and fireworks events for the United States of America. I would like to take a moment from our busy lives to thank those who have fought so bravely to keep America free so that we, the citizens, may enjoy our Independence Day.

Many in America complain about our politicians and our leadership, and I have certainly been guilty of complaining that America needs LEADERSHIP. Unfortunately, we do not appear to have strong leadership now. It is sad — so sad.

Nevertheless, today is the day to stand up, wave our flags, wear our red, white and blue, and appreciate our freedoms.

Let us remember all of our soldiers — from all of the wars. Without their sacrifices, we would not be able to wear our colors, or fly our flags, or voice our opinions.

So, I say THANK YOU! May we all enjoy this beautiful day. Originally, Hurricane Arthur threatened the coast of Charleston, SC; however, like the tides, the weather changed and today the sun shines brightly, beating down with warmth while we eat hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelons and other items we should be cautious about.

I hope all of you will enjoy the Fourth of July. Please take a moment to say thank you to God, and to thank our military. May we always be blessed to enjoy the red, white and blue!

Happy Independence Day!

Veterans

FOR THOSE AFFECTED VIA THE VIETNAM WAR — SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT


Received these statistics from a reputable source.

These stats and numbers are astounding and disturburbing when read carefully.  They tell a very interesting tale about our society and in my opinion a sickness in that society and sadness…………………….DD

 

A slightly different set of statistics about the veterans and casualties.
+++++

VIETNAM VETERAN STATISTICS

In case Vietnam veterans haven’t been paying attention these past few decades after they returned from Vietnam, the clock has been ticking.

The following are some statistics that are at once depressing yet, in a larger sense, should give Vietnam veterans a HUGE SENSE OF PRIDE.

Of the 2,709,918 Americans who served in Vietnam, less than 850,000 are estimated to be alive today, with the youngest American Vietnam veteran’s age approximated to be 54 years old.

So, if you are a Vietnam veteran reading this, how does it feel to be among the last 1/3rd of all the U.S. vets who served in Vietnam?

These statistics were taken from a variety of sources to include: The VFW Magazine, the Public Information Office, and the HQ CP Forward Observer – 1st Recon April 12, 1997.

STATISTICS FOR INDIVIDUALS IN UNIFORM AND IN COUNTRY VIETNAM VETERANS

9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the Vietnam Era
(August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975).

8,744,000 GIs were on active duty during the war (Aug 5, 1964 – March 28,1973).

2,709,918 Americans served in Vietnam, this number represents 9.7% of their generation.

3,403,100 (including 514,300 offshore) personnel served in the broader Southeast Asia Theater (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, flight crews based in Thailand, and sailors in adjacent South China Sea waters).

2,594,000 personnel served within the borders of South Vietnam (Jan. 1,1965 – March 28, 1973). Another 50,000 men served in Vietnam between 1960 and 1964.

Of the 2.6 million, between 1-1.6 million (40-60%) either fought in combat, provided close support or were at least fairly regularly exposed to enemy attack.

7,484 women (6,250 or 83.5% were nurses) served in Vietnam.

Peak troop strength in Vietnam: 543,482 (April 30, 1968).

CASUALTIES

The first man to die in Vietnam was James Davis, in 1958. He was with the 509th Radio Research Station. Davis Station in Saigon was named for him.

Hostile deaths: 47,378
Non-hostile deaths: 10,800
Total: 58,202 (Includes men formerly classified as MIA and Mayaguez casualties). Men who have subsequently died of wounds account for the changing total.

8 nurses died — 1 was KIA.

61% of the men killed were 21 or younger.
11,465 of those killed were younger than 20 years old.

Of those killed, 17,539 were married.

Average age of men killed:

Total Deaths: 23.11 years
Enlisted: 50,274 – 22.37 years
Officers: 6,598 – 28.43 years
Warrants: 1,276 – 24.73 years
E1: 525 – 20.34 years
1B MOS: 18,465 – 22.55 years
Five men killed in Vietnam were only 16 years old.
The oldest man killed was 62 years old.
Highest state death rate: West Virginia – 84.1% (national average 58.9% for every 100,000 males in 1970).

Wounded: 303,704 — 153,329 hospitalized + 150,375 injured requiring no hospital care.

Severely disabled: 75,000, — 23,214: 100% disabled; 5,283 lost limbs; 1,081 sustained multiple amputations.

Amputation or crippling wounds to the lower extremities were 300% higher than in WWII and 70% higher than Korea.

Multiple amputations occurred at the rate of 18.4% compared to 5.7% in WWII.

Missing in Action: 2,338

POWs: 766 (114 died in captivity)

As of January 15, 2004, there are 1,875 Americans still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

DRAFTEES VS. VOLUNTEERS

25% (648,500) of total forces in country were draftees. (66% of U.S. armed forces members were drafted during WWII).

Draftees accounted for 30.4% (17,725) of combat deaths in Vietnam.

Reservists killed: 5,977

National Guard: 6,140 served: 101 died.

Total draftees (1965 – 73): 1,728,344.

Actually served in Vietnam: 38% Marine Corps Draft: 42,633.

Last man drafted: June 30, 1973.

RACE AND ETHNIC BACKGROUND

88.4% of the men who actually served in Vietnam were Caucasian; 10.6% (275,000) were black; 1% belonged to other races.

86.3% of the men who died in Vietnam were Caucasian (includes Hispanics).

12.5% (7,241) were black; 1.2% belonged to other races.

170,000 Hispanics served in Vietnam; 3,070 (5.2% of total) died there.

70% of enlisted men killed were of northwest European descent.

86.8% of the men who were killed as a result of hostile action were Caucasian; 12.1% (5,711) were black; 1.1% belonged to other races.

14.6% (1,530) of non-combat deaths were among blacks.

34% of blacks who enlisted volunteered for the combat arms.

Overall, blacks suffered 12.5% of the deaths in Vietnam at a time when the percentage of blacks of military age was 13.5% of the total population.

Religion of Dead: Protestant — 64.4%; Catholic — 28.9%; other/none — 6.7%

SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS

Vietnam veterans have a lower unemployment rate than the same non-vet age groups.

Vietnam veterans’ personal income exceeds that of our non-veteran age group by more than 18 percent.

76% of the men sent to Vietnam were from lower middle/working class backgrounds.

Three-fourths had family incomes above the poverty level; 50% were from middle income backgrounds.

Some 23% of Vietnam vets had fathers with professional, managerial or technical occupations.

79% of the men who served in Vietnam had a high school education or better when they entered the military service.

63% of Korean War vets and only 45% of WWII vets had completed high school upon separation.

Deaths by region per 100,000 of population: South — 31%, West –29.9%; Midwest — 28.4%; Northeast — 23.5%.

DRUG USAGE &CRIME

There is no difference in drug usage between Vietnam veterans and non-Vietnam veterans of the same age group. (Source: Veterans Administration Study)

Vietnam veterans are less likely to be in prison – only one-half of one percent of Vietnam veterans have been jailed for crimes.

85% of Vietnam veterans made successful transitions to civilian life.

WINNING &LOSING

82% of veterans who saw heavy combat strongly believe the war was lost because of lack of political will.

Nearly 75% of the public agrees it was a failure of political will, not of arms.

HONORABLE SERVICE

97% of Vietnam-era veterans were honorably discharged.

91% of actual Vietnam War veterans and 90% of those who saw heavy combat are proud to have served their country.

74% say they would serve again, even knowing the outcome.

87% of the public now holds Vietnam veterans in high esteem.

INTERESTING CENSUS STATISTICS
RELATIVE TO
THOSE WHO CLAIM TO HAVE “Been There”

1,713,823 of those who served in Vietnam were still alive as of August,1995 (census figures).

During that same Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country was: 9,492,958.

As of the current Census taken during August, 2000, the surviving U.S. Vietnam veteran population estimate is: 1,002,511. This is hard to believe, losing nearly 711,000 between ’95 and ’00. That’s 390 per day.

During this Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country is: 13,853,027. By this census, FOUR OUT OF FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE Vietnam vets are not.

OTHER

The Department of Defense Vietnam War Service Index officially provided by The War Library originally reported with errors that 2,709,918 U.S. military personnel as having served in-country. Corrections and confirmations to this erred index resulted in the addition of 358 U.S. military personnel confirmed to have served in Vietnam but not originally listed by the Department of Defense. (All names are currently on file and accessible 24/7/365).

Isolated atrocities committed by American soldiers produced torrents of outrage from anti-war critics and the news media while communist atrocities were so common that they received hardly any media mention at all. The United States sought to minimize and prevent attacks on civilians while North Vietnam made attacks on civilians a centerpiece of its strategy. Americans who deliberately killed civilians received prison sentences while communists who did so received commendations.

From 1957 to 1973, the National Liberation Front assassinated 36,725 Vietnamese and abducted another 58,499. The death squads focused on leaders at the village level and on anyone who improved the lives of the peasants such as medical personnel, social workers, and school teachers. – Nixon Presidential Papers.

 

 

 

On My Soapbox!

November 22, 1963 — A Day of Remembrance


Dearest Readers:

If you were alive on this date, November 22, 1963, do you remember what you were doing when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated?

I was just a little girl at the time, but I remember it significantly. Home from school due to the flu and asthma, I listened to the radio in my bedroom, hearing the news about the “President Has Been Shot in Dallas,” I crawled out of bed to watch TV. This was before the days of cable, MSNBC, Fox News and such, and before the days when every room in a house had television. I sat on the couch while watching the tv and the breaking news.

“How can someone shoot our President?” I asked my parents. They shushed me. Since I was so young and innocent, I learned two new vocabulary words on that date. Two words I shall never forget:

Assassination

Sniper

I loved learning new words, but when I looked these up in the dictionary, I discovered that our innocence in America was ending. “Assassination and Sniper are bad words to learn.”

I never forgot those words, nor did I forget their definitions.

Today, November 22, 2013, is the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of President Kennedy. I fully believe he died the moment the bullet hit him. I believe he never felt any pain…just emptiness…gone in a moment.

Now older and much wiser, I have added additional words to my vocabulary, including terrorism, and other words of violence. I no longer dwell on their meanings. Our world has grown to become a world of such violence that I wish we could crawl back into time and find the peace and happiness again.

In less than one week, the USA will celebrate Thanksgiving. Many of us will celebrate with family and friends, sometimes bickering over heated discussions such as politics, ObamaCare, religion, and the Death of a President. Let us hope and pray that will ignore those topics this year, in hopes to make our visits with our families a happy time.

We must give thanks for what we have, who we are, and especially, we must give thanks to God for giving us life, prosperity and family times.

Today, let us remember the day of mourning, November 22, 1963, while recognizing that we must move forward to give thanks and appreciation to those we love. Please remember to keep our soldiers in your prayers and thoughts to. Without them and their dedication to duty, we, the United States of America, could not celebrate Thanksgiving. For today, let us unite to remember and to appreciate — LIFE! How quickly it can disappear.

Let us give thanks that we in America can agree to disagree; however, let us appreciate the beauty of life and family! After all, like President Kennedy, life is to live for the moment, in hopes for the future!

On My Soapbox!, Uncategorized

Remembering 9-11-2001


Remembering 9-11-2001, — I recall awakening a bit later than normal for me on 9-11-01, due to a headache. It was a beautiful day in Charleston. Bright sunshine, clear skies. The phone rang. I checked caller ID noticing it was my husband. “Now what is it he wants so early this morning?” Those of you who know us recognize that my husband would be surgically attached to me — IF he could! Answering the phone as my head pounded, his first words were, “Are you watching TV?”

“No. I have a headache.”

“I know how you love to stay in touch with current events. You might turn the news on. A jet has crashed into the World Trade Center.”

My mind raced with dreadful thoughts. ‘How could this happen? How could a plane drift off course and crash into the World Trade Center?

Turning the television on, I listened as the broadcasters speculated what was happening. The news was happening so quickly, speculations were changing every moment, every breath. No social media on that date. No Facebook. Twitter…just speculations as the broadcasters raced with bated breaths to report “the latest…” Cell phones around the locations of the World Trade Center were jammed. Communication was almost crippled.

My mind drifted to those inside the World Trade Center. The receptionists, administrative assistants, food service workers, and others — trapped inside. What must it be like to glance outside the windows to watch an airplane approaching so closely one could almost see the color of the pilots eyes? What must it be like to see the plane crashing into the windows while recognizing you have no way to escape? Those questions would never be answered.

Reports continued…smoke billowing out of the buildings. People rushing out of the building. Another report stated that the people inside of the World Trade Center were told to stay inside. “No way.” I said. “I would get out of that building.”

My heart was heavy. Somehow I knew that something tragic was happening, and it was not an accident. A planned attack, to use American jets to crash into a building and kill Americans.

Nothing was reported about that, at the moment. Speculations. Guesses…Reports unconfirmed…

My mind drifted back to a nightmare I had a few nights prior to ‘9-11.’ In my dream there were four men dressed in black, moving across America, carrying weapons – shooting people on the beach, on the highways, and in populated areas. Never did I mention this horrific nightmare to anyone. I simply told myself I dreamed about the beach simply because I love the beach, and I love driving. I suppose I was psychoanalyzing my dreams. Weird! I have had visions such as this all of my life, just like my precious grandmother did.

Now, I was glued to the television. Afraid to move away for fear I might miss something. I saw the plumes of smoke coming from the buildings, and I watched in horror as another plane crashed into the second World Trade Center.

Shaking my head, I recognized this was not an accident, but a planned attack on America. In the blink of an eye, I recognized the United States of America was now at war. So frightening. So unexpected. Just how can this happen to US?

News reports continued as the broadcasters interviewed people on the streets, family members, and a few of the people trapped inside the buildings. Rescue teams and first responders, fire fighters, and medical triages were ready to assist those who needed medical care and assistance to escape, but as the news continued, Americans watched in horror as people who could not escape found a tragic way out — jumping out of the buildings. Tiny images of bodies flying out of the building, falling…falling…falling into a horrific moment of death. Although I wanted to turn the television off, I could not. This was a day I would never forget. I kept praying that rescuers would free more of the people, but the reports were skimpy. “These people need to get out,” I prayed. “They aren’t safe…What if…may God forgive me…but what if the building crumbles to the ground?”

I watched in horror as a horrific sound roared on the television and the building seemed to move, tumbling to the ground as smoke, debris, and the building fell to the ground.

“How can this happen? And why — why are buildings built so tall that people cannot escape safely? Who would do this? What kind of monster would crash a jet into a building?”

So many questions raced in my mind.

Twelve years later, much has happened to our nation. We are at war with Iraq and Afghanistan. Many lives have been lost and America will never feel the safety we once felt. The safety we took for granted. For a brief time, Americans pulled together to help one another, never thinking or suspecting that if we reach out to others, we might be helping, in some small, caring way. Now, we have more violence in our cities. We see people talking and texting on phones, never acknowledging others, appearing to be clueless to what is happening nearby. We are so wrapped up in our own lives that we take life for granted once again.

My wish for America is peace. Fellowship. Friendship. Trust and love for one another. We must remember 9-11, while recognizing that our lives have continued after such tragedy. I confess, it was difficult for me to awaken every morning for a while, without asking why. What would make someone such a monster that he would become so destructive, and that he and his followers would plan such an attack? Why?

While it is true that Osama bin Laden has been killed, his death does not end the threat of terrorism. Terrorism is everywhere. Not just in other countries. Terrorism is everywhere. In our cities. Our towns. And just because one terrorist was killed, this does not end terrorism.

Today is not a day to end this discussion with the subject of terrorism. Today, 9-11-2013, is a day of remembrance…a day to pray and give thanks for all that we, as Americans, have endured on 9-11-2001. May we move forward to embrace that we have life and freedom. Freedom comes with a cost. Sometimes a price that cannot be bought or expressed. Today is a day to embrace one another and to remember that many lives were lost, in the blink of an eye. None of us saw this coming. Today is a day to appreciate life and the loss of those we loved and lost, gone too soon.

May we never forget — 9-11-01. Please take a moment today from your busy life to remember those we lost. The price we have paid. The threats we have experienced. On the morning of 9-11-01, our world changed dramatically. Let us never forget it, the victims, families, and freedoms so threatened. Let us pray that we never experience such a tragedy again.

Today, my heart still breaks for those lost so unexpectedly, in the blink of an eye. Let us NEVER FORGET while we pray for our Nation, our soldiers in harms’ way, and for the freedoms we so cherish.

Remembering 9-11.

Free Writing, Short Stories

Antique Shopping — Melissa’s First Shoes


Last week while running errands, my husband wanted to know if I had additional errands in mind. Occasionally I enjoy walking through antique shops. A few years ago, one of my favorite shops was Hungry Neck Antique Mall, but it closed and now is Trader Joe’s. Driving along Coleman Blvd. in Mt. Pleasant, I’ve noticed a sign for Six Mile Antique Shop. I dropped by once, noticing many, and I do mean many, venues of antiques, trinkets and interesting items. Since I have a birthday this summer, I suggested dropping by Six Mile Antiques, just to see what they had. I’m interested in an antique mantel clock, one that chimes.

Years ago, I considered shopping in an antique mall a form of shopping for junk. Not anymore. Walking along the booths, my mind grew curious. To many people, antiques are simply junk that no one wanted anymore; however, to someone who appreciates treasures from years past, ‘junk’ and antiques are a silent story form that writers cherish. I glanced at tiny trinkets, glassware, silver, plates, cups, pictures and art. One person’s junk is another person’s treasure. How I wish I had the room, or the financial freedom to purchase so many of these treasures.

Shopping at an antique mall takes me back to the history of my grandparents, maternal and paternal. My mother’s parents I knew well, since I lived with them as a teenager. Grandma had many trinkets I loved, especially her ‘what not’ shelves, placed gently in the corner by the front door. Every Saturday, I polished it, removing the ceramic ladies, dressed in antebellum Southern attire, shining them with a toothbrush to keep them clean. Then, I polished the wood, hoping that someday I would have the what not shelves in my home — in memory of Grandma. Never did I get them, after her death.

My paternal grandmother had many antiques. Tiffany lamps, statues, porcelain vases, china, depression glass and silver. I did not have the pleasure to get to know my Dad’s mother well, since our family situation was dreadful. After her death, I managed to smuggle three pieces of depression glass, and a few pieces of silverware, dating back to the 1800’s. My mother busied herself with placing these inherited items into boxes, in route to the pawn and antique shops. When she turned to answer the phone, I found several items and rushed to my bedroom with them. Today, I still have those items. After my dad died, I kept his secretary desk that has been in his family since the early 1900’s and a beautiful wooden library table. These cherishable pieces have taught me to appreciate antiques.

Leaving my IPhone in the car, I walked along more booths, following the entrances to additional interesting areas. Glancing at china, cherishable depression glass, which I collect, dolls, jewelry, trinkets, or ‘what nots’ — stopping to look at an interesting pair of baby shoes.

Remembering when my son was little, there was a scuffed, well used white pair of baby shoes. The price was $18.00. I still had my son’s first baby shoes, somewhere, boxed up for preservation. I picked up the scuffed shoes. The leather was soft from little baby steps moving, bumping, falling, stumbling, and finally, walking, taking that first little baby step to independence. I turned the shoes over. Written in blue ink were the words, “Melissa’s First Shoes.”

The wheels of my curiosity began to race. Who is Melissa? Is she someone local? And why did someone give the shoes away? Why didn’t Melissa keep the shoes? Her first shoes. Melissa. Just who is Melissa?

My husband’s voice broke my trance. “I found a clock.”

“I’ll be there in a moment,” I said. “Look at these shoes.”

“Baby shoes. Who cares!”

“They’re Melissa’s baby shoes.”

“Whatever. Are you interested in seeing the clock?”

Hastily, I followed my husband. The clock is a steeple clock that chimes at the hour. It is beautiful. We tested it to make certain it worked and after a few minutes of bartering, we purchased the clock, for my birthday.

While boxing the clock, I went back to look at Melissa’s Baby Shoes once more. I showed them to the clerk. “Do you know anything about these shoes?” I asked.

“No…but look how scuffed they are.”

“Yes. Melissa obviously took her first steps to independence in these precious shoes. Someone actually took the time to write on the back of them, ‘Melissa’s Baby Shoes.’ Her first shoes. Why would someone give them away?”

The attractive, mature woman glanced at the back of the shoes, smiled and nodded.

“Poor Melissa.”

Thinking about those shoes and the name, Melissa, this week my curiosity continues. Someone actually cared enough to scribble, “Melissa’s Baby Shoes,” in blue ink on the bottom of the shoes. Now, those historical shoes rest on a shelf, in an antique shop. Where is Melissa? What happened to her, and why didn’t she, or a family member, keep those shoes, in her memory? Why would someone take the time to scribble her name on the bottom of her shoes — in memory of ‘Melissa’s first steps,’ only to have the shoes end up on a shelf, in an antique store?

Perhaps the title, “Melissa’s Baby Shoes,” is a metaphor for me, teaching me that to many shoppers, items in an antique shop are junk; but for me, these items are historical trinkets, taken from the life and memory of someone. Perhaps a clock, such as the steeple clock now sitting on my mantel, was a clock that a family had in their home for many years. Now, it will reside in my home, chiming on the hour, and I will cherish this clock for the rest of my life.

Still, the inscription, “Melissa’s Baby Shoes,” plays in my mind. Perhaps today Melissa is grown, with a family of her own. The shoes did not have a date, so my imagination can create a story about Melissa. Maybe she’s a dancer. Maybe she is someone, like me, who had precious items from her childhood tossed away, because no one cared. But for Melissa, I believe that someone did care enough to write “Melissa’s Baby Shoes” on the bottom, perhaps to remember Melissa and her first baby steps. Her first, unstable, but steady steps into the future. Maybe today, someone suffers from Alzheimer’s, forgetting the significance of Melissa’s first steps. I’d like to believe that Melissa was cherished enough to have the significant first steps of her childhood recorded in history, for others to know. Those tiny white shoes, with all the scuff marks and indentations of a child’s first steps will remain for someone to treasure. Melissa’s Baby Steps. So precious. So significant. Baby steps, leading to independence and freedom. Someone loved Melissa enough to preserve these moments. I hope Melissa’s Baby Shoes find a proper home. Melissa, if you are looking for your first shoes, contact me and I will be happy to share, “Melissa’s First Baby Shoes.”

Free Writing

Happy Fourth of July, America’s Independence Day!


Dearest Readers,

Happy Fourth of July…America’s Independence Day! Today, America will celebrate this tradition by grilling burgers, drinking beer, and other alcoholic beverages, because it is a tradition. Many will overeat, or gorge themselves with unhealthy foods and such. While it is true, I will celebrate, I will be careful what I intake, because, as you all know, I am actively involved with my Weight Watchers.

Today America celebrates our freedoms. While it is a true statement that many of our freedoms are questionable…negotiable…and…a bit controversial, we do have freedom to do what we choose. Let us hope we make the right decisions on this date, and every day.

I worry about our country, simply because we have a Congress that is hesitant to make decisions..that is — until they recognize that those decisions might affect their life, or pocketbook. Recent actions only prove that statement. Years ago, I respected our Congress…today, I’d love to have a deep discussion with them, to perhaps open their eyes to how their decisions, or LACK of decisions are affecting our country. Nevertheless, today is a day to celebrate while we still have soldiers in war zones, fighting for our freedom. On this date, let us hope we do not lose any troops in Afghanistan, Iran, or other war zones. Let us lift our hands to give thanks to our troops, wherever they are stationed. Let us pray that they will return to our Nation and to recognize that they have the respect and love of our Nation, so unlike our precious Vietnam Veterans had. Let us embrace them while recognizing that they are forever changed and will never be the same soldiers they were before serving in a war zone.

May God bless our troops and keep them safe on the Fourth of July. May God bring them home safely so we can say “Thank you for your service.” Then, may we embrace them and celebrate their safe return, just like we celebrate on Independence Day. Happy Fourth of July, let freedom ring!

Veterans

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!

On My Soapbox!

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!

 

Free Writing, Uncategorized

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.