We Should All Be Thankful for Our Veterans

I probably don’t say thank you to our veterans enough.  None of us do.  To many, just saying thank you probably seems so empty.  It feels like it has lost some of it’s meaning.  It can come off as hollow.  “oh, you’re a veteran?  Thank you for your service.”  It seems like such an automatic response.

I read an article recently, which I want to link to but can’t seem to find, by a veteran who said he wishes people would stop thanking him.  For all the reasons I mentioned above.  At first, I was really irritated by the article.  Especially because my brother is currently deployed.  My sister in law served in Iraq.  My father was in the Air Force.  My grandfather fought with the Navy in WWII.  My uncles went throught Vietnam.  I have had cousins in the Air Force, the Navy and the Coast Guard.  Members of my family have served in every branch of the United States military.  But as I read through his points, I understood what he was getting at.  He didn’t want someone to thank him because they felt obligated to.  And that makes sense.  But I fundamentally disagree with him.

We should not stop saying thank you.  What we should do is start meaning it again.  I always try to say thank you to someone who has served or is currently serving.  Because I truly mean it when I say “thank you for your service.”  What I’m really saying is, “thank you for protecting me.”

Because that’s truly what our men and women who serve are doing.  They are protecting us.  From dangers seen and unseen.  Known and unkown.  They are voluntarily giving up time with their families to ensure that I have the safety to spend time with mine.

And I’m a complete stranger to most of them.

That’s why I think it’s important to say thank you.  Because we are all strangers.  Yet they serve for us.  Because of them, I know I don’t have to fight.

And for that, I am eternally thankful.

A Decade Later

Where were you when…

That’s the question today, isn’t it?

I remember with vivid detail that day. For starters, it was beautiful. Sunny, blue sky. I was a freshman at the University of Central Oklahoma. I was driving to my first class of the day – Music Theory.

I remember wishing my radio in the car worked because the 25 minute drive was sort of boring and I usually listened to NPR. I’m a geek, what can I say.

When I arrived at class, the room was unusually empty. I walked back into the hallway to check for a missed announcement about class being cancelled. One of my class mates saw me and said “we’re in here.” She was talking about the room next door – it had a tv. She told me an airplane had hit one of the towers in New York.

As we stood in that room, watching history unfold before our eyes, we all gasped in collective shock and horror as we saw a second plane crash into the other tower. I remember tears starting to form in my eyes.

My classes were cancelled and all I could do was cry. I felt numb. I kept thinking “why would someone do such a thing?” “WHO would do such a terrible thing?”

Now, a decade later, I think the question should be “where are we NOW….

Are we safer as a nation? More united as a whole? Are we less? The same?

My hope, for our nation, is that we never forget that hatred lives. But I hope we remember, too, that love, peace and kindness DO triumph. That goodness prevails over evil. That lightness drives out darkness.

I hope ordinary citizens continue to be heroes for their families, friends and neighbors. That the lives lost and the sacrifices made live on in each of us.

That we continue to heal. We pause to remember, look back. But that as we do so, we remember to continue to look forward. Toward the future. Toward hope. Peace. Love. Kindness.

So, where were YOU when…. And where are you NOW?

09.11.2001/09.11.2011 never forgotten.




Victory: [vik-tuh-ree; vik-tree]; noun: a success or triumph over an enemy in battle or war.

I sit here writing with mixed emotions; trying to find the right mix of words that will so eloquently express my feelings.  But it’s hard to find those words – words that celebrate death.  Even the death of a such a  cruel and unarguably evil person.

In the words of Clarence Darrow “I’ve never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.”

That’s sort of in line with how I feel; but not quite.  Death is a sad ordeal.  And while I’m not sad about his death, I am sad so many others have had to meet their deaths too soon because of him.

I really can’t help but feel a sense of overwhelming relief for the future safety of our wonderful planet.  I just can’t help but feel that our world is truly a much better place.

I understand why people were celebrating in the streets; it’s a sense of RELIEF!  FINALLY!  The man who gave the order to murder thousands of precious lives is gone.  He can never give that order again.

Again, I feel a sense of relief.  I feel a little bit safer.  And while I’m not so naive to believe that his death brings some sort of finality this whole thing – I know that things will get worse before they begin to get better- but, I know that things will get better!  Things will be safer.

My brother will be a little bit safer while he’s gone.  You’ll  be safer.

So, I say yes, this is indeed a victory.

From Mississippi to Pennsylvania: A Weekend of Worry

This has been a rough weekend to say the least. I am by nature a chronic worrier. Maybe it’s an Irish thing. Maybe it’s a Catholic thing. Or maybe it’s just a me thing. Whatever it is, I worry.

So when my brother told me what feels like forever ago that he was in fact going to be deploying (for the second time) I immediately began to worry. And worry. Now, the day has arrived where he leaves and my good byes have been said. I got to see my brother a couple weekends ago and it was awesome. I had a blast. But the whole time I was with him all I could do was worry. What if…?

This is my lovely brother. . . he's such a goofball.

Ronnie and Baby Maura

My niece Maura, my brother and I at the Zoo

Ronnie and Des at his deployment party

from left: My sister, Maura, Ronnie, me and my sister Janine

Now, this past weekend I received some troubling news about my grandmom in Philadelphia. And all I can do is worry. What if…?

My Mom-Mom and me last July.

Pool Party at my cousin Kathy's

Mom Mom and my cousin Mike at the pool party

I don’t like to worry. But I don’t know how to stop. Because, what if…?

Land of the Free, Because of the Brave

At 21 years old my brother is a war veteran.

My only baby brother is a WAR veteran. He’s my baby brother. And he’s the only brother I have. I have a gaggle of sisters. But just one brother. And when he was 19 years old I watched him ship off to fight a war on the other side of the Earth. I’m his big sister. I’m supposed to protect him. I’m supposed to keep him safe from harm. I make sure he holds my hand when we cross the street. And I teach him that under no circumstances should he ever EVER talk to strangers. And then I just watched him go. Fight a war.

Now, a mere two years later, I’m watching him make preparations to go fight the same stupid war. A lot has happened during those two years. First, when my only baby brother got home, he wasn’t just my baby brother. He was a grown up. He had seen things I will never even be able to imagine. Second, he became a Dad! And most recently he became a Husband. And now, I watch as he makes plans for his daughter and wife. Plans for them to be safe and provided for while he is on the other side of the planet.

Having said all that, my brother is my HERO. My brother is an American Soldier. He protects me. He keeps me safe from harm. He makes sure I’m holding his hand when we cross the street. And he makes sure that under no circumstances I ever EVER talk to strangers. He is among the bravest humans on Earth. He will travel anywhere on the planet that he is asked. He will fight an enemy to the death. He will put his life on the line defending you. And he has never even met you.

Because my only baby brother is an American Soldier.

My brother sacrifices time with his own family to ensure you have the freedom and privilege to spend time with yours. My brother puts himself in harms way to ensure that you don’t have to. My brother will risk his life for your freedom. And he has never even met you. Because my brother is an American Soldier. My only baby brother is my hero.

And my brother should be your hero, too.

Remember our Veterans. We owe them our Freedom.

November 11, 2010

*… In Dedication, Honor and Memory of the soldiers who are fighting, have fought and gave their lives for our great nation…* Thank You.