Tag Archives: military appreciation

From Sandra G. (Grandmother, Age 75)

While waiting for a flight at the airport my friend and I noticed five young men, all wearing prosthesis on both legs, and they were wearing jackets with USA Hockey written on them.  At this same time the Olympics were going on in Sochi and the USA/Russia hockey game was being televised.  We were all watching the game and from their comments it was evident they were very knowledgeable about hockey.

When we were called to board the aircraft I was fortunate enough to be seated beside one of the young men.  We greeted each other and being a curious person, I asked about the jackets they were wearing.  He said they were on the Sledge Hockey team and had been training at the Olympic Center for the past month.  They were on their way to North Carolina for more practice and were then going  traveling to Sochi to participate in the ParaOlympics.

My next question was if he had been in the military and his answer was “yes”.  His face broke into the biggest, brightest smile when I thanked him for fighting for our country.  Such a small gesture brought this beautiful smile.  He proceeded to show and explain the different apparatus the team uses when playing a game.  As the conversation ended, he took a nap and I read my book.  Upon his awakening I asked for the names of the young men he was traveling with and I told him we would be watching for them on TV.

As I deplaned, I thanked him again for his service to our country and with a thumbs up said “Go USA”.  Once again I received his beautiful smile.  I will never forget those young men and Josh certainly left a part of himself in my heart.

Those young man on the plane reminded me yet again of the boundless capacity of human beings to triumph over devastating events.  Josh represented America wearing his military uniform and now represents us wearing his hockey uniform.  I  later found out he had served in the Marine Corps and couldn’t help thinking about their saying, “improvise, adapt and overcome.” What an amazing story of service and devotion to country and what a wonderful example of how to “stay in the fight” for the rest of us.

Sandy G.

Our Mission

To compile letters from American citizens (both with and without a military background) to our veterans which will be published in book form and distributed in the community, thereby providing a unique way to acknowledge and support veterans who might otherwise never know that the work they did on our behalf is appreciated.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” (William Arthur Ward)

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From Stew S. (Veteran, Author, Strength and Conditioning Specialist)

This well written piece is NOT just for SEALs and SEAL trainees trying to get and stay motivated when times are tough BUT this is for everyone.  Some of my favorite emails from people are from cancer patients who read the lines in this creed everyday to “stay in the fight”.  My personal favorite section is the section in bold below.  Enjoy and use as needed to help you push through when energy is low and times are tough.

The Navy SEAL Creed

In times of war or uncertainty there is a special breed of warrior ready to answer our Nation’s call. A common man with uncommon desire to succeed.

Forged by adversity, he stands alongside America’s finest special operations forces to serve his country, the American people, and protect their way of life.

I am that man.

My Trident is a symbol of honor and heritage. Bestowed upon me by the heroes that have gone before, it embodies the trust of those I have sworn to protect. By wearing the Trident I accept the responsibility of my chosen profession and way of life. It is a privilege that I must earn every day.

My loyalty to Country and Team is beyond reproach. I humbly serve as a guardian to my fellow Americans always ready to defend those who are unable to defend themselves. I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions. I voluntarily accept the inherent hazards of my profession, placing the welfare and security of others before my own.

I serve with honor on and off the battlefield. The ability to control my emotions and my actions, regardless of circumstance, sets me apart from other men.

Uncompromising integrity is my standard. My character and honor are steadfast. My word is my bond.

We expect to lead and be led. In the absence of orders I will take charge, lead my teammates and accomplish the mission. I lead by example in all situations.

I will never quit. I persevere and thrive on adversity. My Nation expects me to be physically harder and mentally stronger than my enemies. If knocked down, I will get back up, every time. I will draw on every remaining ounce of strength to protect my teammates and to accomplish our mission. I am never out of the fight.

We demand discipline. We expect innovation. The lives of my teammates and the success of our mission depend on me – my technical skill, tactical proficiency, and attention to detail. My training is never complete.

We train for war and fight to win. I stand ready to bring the full spectrum of combat power to bear in order to achieve my mission and the goals established by my country. The execution of my duties will be swift and violent when required yet guided by the very principles that I serve to defend.

Brave men have fought and died building the proud tradition and feared reputation that I am bound to uphold. In the worst of conditions, the legacy of my teammates steadies my resolve and silently guides my every deed.

I will not fail.

Stew S.  ( graduate of the United States Naval Academy, former Navy SEAL Lieutenant, author, strength and conditioning specialist, military fitness trainer)

stewruckA few of the booksStew S

From Pete T. (Manager, Age 47)

When considering something as profound and noble as sacrifice on the field of battle, I was very pleased to find some familiar quotations from Edmund Burke.  He lived from 1729 to 1797, was born Irish, served in the British parliament, was a supporter of the colonists in the American revolution, and is considered to be a philosophical founder of modern conservative thinking.  He had a number of important things to say about tyranny, liberty, freedom and conflict.  Although he said these things more than 200 years ago, they are just as pertinent today. Here are a few that I think relate to our men and women serving (and who have served) in the armed forces.

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

“It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.”

“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

Pete

From Carol K. (Retired Medical Technologist & Grandma, Age 72)

To all veterans,

I want to say a most heartfelt thank you for your service – and I try to personally thank any service person I see in uniform or with a cap or other designation showing they have served.  America needs to remember that those serving today and for the past 20-30 years were not drafted but signed up voluntarily to serve and protect the United States of America.  We need to be grateful not only to our service men and women but to their families who are also making sacrifices to support our troops.  Separations during deployments are hard on everyone.

My husband was in the Army, my brother in the Air Force, my son served 22 years in the Army and my youngest daughter was in the Navy.  I have always thanked each of them on Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day for helping to make our country the safe place we all enjoy every day!!

Each night I say a prayer to keep our troops safe and help them to  know how much they are appreciated!!

Carol K.

Me, my son and daughter at the dedication ceremony for the Veteran's Bridge on November  11, 2010.  My son was still on active duty when it was taken. My late husband, brother, son and daughter are all listed on the bridge!
Me, my son and daughter at the dedication ceremony for the Veteran’s Bridge on November 11, 2010. My son was still on active duty when it was taken. My late husband, brother, son and daughter are all listed on the bridge!

From Michael G. (U.S. Army Veteran, Age 41)

The Soldier’s Creed

I am an American Soldier.

I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army values.

I will always place the mission first.

I will never accept defeat.

I will never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.

I am an expert and I am a professional.

I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.

I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.

I am an American Soldier.

MichaelMichael

Michael G.   First unit – Bco. 2/115th 29Div (L)  OIF/OEF veteran (8 years served, 4 deployments)

From Kevin M. (Attorney, Age 57)

Folks:

Thanks for what you do for us.  My late father was one of seven brothers, all of whom enlisted in WWII.  I have a treasured photo of him with three brothers in 1943 in Boston, 3 of them in uniform.  It was a much different world then for the military.  The country was united then.  Simpler times, but rougher, too.  Just thinking of of hiking 10 miles with some of that gear makes a lot of body parts hurt.

I remember him telling me that he had nightmares for more than two years after returning.  He saw the results of an ammo dump explosion in France, and had a hard time getting over it.  They didn’t know about PTSD back then, it was “tough it out” and that’s what they did.

But it did mold him in ways that I can’t explain.  As your time overseas will mold you….people you work with will become your lifetime friends.  And people like me, who never saw foreign battle, won’t understand.  I admit that.  The family members from back then say that he came back changed.  For the better?  I saw the better parts.  He was proud of every minute he spent in the great war, even the tough ones.

A treasured gift in my home is my father’s WWII Eisenhower jacket, complete with the WWII Victory Patch sewn on it.  It’s a tiny thing, in darn near perfect condition.  It’s hard to understand now, but please, think about saving a few things like that for your children and grandchildren….even if you don’t have any yet.  It gives life to the stories, and your great sacrifice.  And tomorrow’s kids need to know that good people endured great hardship to make their lives better.   To today’s kids, WWII is something in the history books and little more.  Please help the next generation understand that your sacrifice was worth it, and not the stuff they see on their Playstation.  We honor those who fought before us to bring their stories to life.

Thank you and God bless.

Kevinphotophoto

From Richard H. (Aircraft Maintenance Manager, Veteran, Age 55)

Your courage & sacrifice are the foundation that provides our freedoms! I want to say thank you to you and your families for your service. Please know that you are recognized and appreciated. My prayers are for safety and abundant blessings for you and yours.

(Deuteronomy 31:6) Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

Richard H.

Prior service, U.S. Navy 1977-1986
Prior service, U.S. Navy 1977-1986

From Gary D. (Veteran, Attorney & Author)

How Can We Best Honor Their Memory on Memorial Day

I believe we veterans are a living tribute and have a solemn duty to bestow honor upon the memory of our fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, brothers and sisters who gave the full measure of devotion in defense of our country and in defense of each other.

As I get older, the depths of my feelings and emotions mature while I seemingly become less wise. Everything, and not just physically, was somehow easier when I was younger. I no longer have all the answers I enjoyed with my youthful wisdom.

I am not sure how best to honor those who died: for me, for my brothers-in-arms, for my family, for my future and for my freedoms.

One of the happiest days of my life was when I married my true love at West Point on Memorial Day, May 30th, 1970. So, when someone wishes me a “Happy Memorial Day.” I can beam with the happiest thoughts and reflections of that wonderful day. However, having departed for Vietnam the day after I returned from my honeymoon, the happy thoughts are as quickly departed and replaced with the evocative memories of my fallen heroes.

As I do every Memorial Day, I will return from marching with my local VFW in its annual Memorial Day Parade filled with high school marching bands, boys & girls scouts/soccer teams and hundreds of volunteer firemen. For all our parades, the veterans are always invited to lead the parade, even in front of the politicians. The small crowds lining the streets always clap the loudest for the veterans. I know they will soon dissipate to enjoy cook-outs with family & friends in this beautiful weather. I, myself, am looking forward to my own family being with us for a bar-b-que.

So, to the question of how best can we honor Their Memory on Memorial Day.

There is a phrase in the bible: “Who will honor him who does not honor himself?” As living tributes, I believe we must act honorably to honor the memories of our fallen. I believe we honor the memory when we accept honor. Allow the citizens to honor us in any way they choose, whether it be clapping when we pass in review, placing us on a dais, bestowing upon us proclamations or certificates or simply being the recipients of a “Thank You!” I think it is our solemn duty to demand honor. We are the voices of the deceased; we are the reminders of the deceased; we are the living tributes of the deceased. It is our duty to rekindle patriotic fervor in the beating hearts of our country-folk, to remind them by our honorable presence of the supreme sacrifices of our fallen heroes. I truly believe we are the living medals earned by our fallen heroes.

I believe our country deserves to be happy and free, because that happiness and freedom was bought with the blood of our fallen heroes. I think our fallen heroes would appreciate that our country is happy and free and would gladly accept that as a wonderful tribute to their sacrifice. So, I personally am not disturbed to note that our people wish each other a Happy Memorial Day and celebrate the onset of summer.

I am also thankful. I am thankful that I once was young and soared with eagles. In my youth I did not adequately appreciate the full measure of the men with whom I served. Never again would I be in the company of men who would routinely offer up their own lives to spare mine; never again would I share unqualified trust and know that I was equally trusted. The respect, admiration, honor and love for these men with whom I served grows with each passing Memorial Day. I am thankful and prideful for all who served.

On Memorial Day I also salute the Gold Star Families and promise to honor them with my own living tribute.

God bless all veterans!

Gary D.   (I had the profound pleasure, honor and tremendous fortune of serving as Platoon Leader to the heroic men of 2nd Platoon, Charlie Rangers from Aug’70 thru May’71. I completed my tour as a Captain with its Headquarters element, the 17th Aviation Group, Tuy Hoa.)

Photos From West Point

Photos From West Point

Photos from Vietnam
Photos from Vietnam

Photos from the induction ceremony into the Ranger Hall Of Fame (2011)
Photos from the induction ceremony into the Ranger Hall Of Fame (2011)

Book
Book

Project Update – March 4, 2014

I’m happy to report that the Words For Warriors Project is underway in earnest. I have gotten some great submissions from a wide variety of people who wanted to express their support for our military men and women.  There are now submissions from a great-grandmother, a teenager, a ten year old, a veteran, a newly minted American citizen, a couple of attorneys, a retired toolmaker and a worker in a nail shop.  It’s gratifying to see such a lovely array of participants.

I am starting to reach out into the larger community.  I have composed a letter explaining the Words For Warriors Project which I will send to local churches to see if there are members of their congregations who might like to participate.  Those letters will be going out tomorrow.

I have a couple of meetings set up this month, one with a veteran’s group at a large manufacturing plant and one with a single veteran who may have advice/suggestions for connecting with more people and for places for distribution once I have enough submissions to bind.

If you’ve already made a submission, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.  If you haven’t, won’t you please take 15 minutes, jot a note and send it along to words4warriors1@gmail.com?  As always, I appreciate your help spreading the word.  The more submissions we get, the better!

Remember a simple kind word can be a very powerful thing!

Lynn