Military Widows

May 22, 2015

Tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery, July 2006Memorial Day weekend has become a time for the first barbeques, outdoor pool celebrations, and huge sales at nearly every department store. For those who have lost a loved one in the armed forces, however, Memorial Day can be a difficult time.  And with thousands of young men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are, in turn, thousands of young widows and widowers looking for support and resources.

Losing a loved one in combat is probably the most difficult and painful time in your life. When facing this crisis, it’s important to remember to give yourself time to grieve your loss and accept any feelings that may arise, including sadness, guilt, anger, isolation, loneliness, or depression.  All these feelings, and any others, are OK: you’ll have good days and bad days, days when your grief is more triggered than others, days when you laugh, and days when you cry.  But if you give yourself time to grieve, life will eventually stabilize.

If you have children, it’s important to be honest with them about your spouse’s death.  Children know when adults are skewing the truth, so explain to them what it means for someone to be physically dead; don’t use euphemisms such as “lost,” “gone away,” or “sleeping.”  Give your children permission—just like you gave yourself—to feel grief or any other feelings, and don’t hide your own feelings from them.  Explain your family’s and the army’s death rituals to your children, and prepare them for all activities including the funeral itself, any viewings, the burial, and any post-funeral gatherings.  If the children are willing, let them be active participants in the funeral and surrounding activities, such as picking out the casket, writing a note to your spouse, selecting what clothes they will wear.

When you are ready, it’s extremely important to evaluate your finances after the death of a spouse.  As a military widow, you will receive a $100,000 death benefit from the government and professional financial advice to help you manage this money and your other funds.  You’ll need to use your death benefit and your other money wisely, to be sure you can pay your mortgage or rent, have health and life insurance as well as any other insurance, and provide for your children.  Be organized about your finances, know where everything is, and have a plan for surviving the worst possible financial situations.

Finally, many of your family and friends may encourage you to start dating.  Don’t let anyone push you into a relationship or dating; only do so when you are ready and feel confident about yourself.  If you feel ready to date, many military widows have a hard time dating because they feel that men are trying to take advantage of them or compare themselves to your late husband.  So when you’re ready to get back into the dating scene, don’t go searching immediately for your life partner (after all, were you searching for your husband before you were married?), have fun, and be confident about your self worth.

There is a great resource for military widows, The American Widow Project, with links to blogs, books, and podcasts.  Be sure to take a look at this website for fantastic online support!


Armed Forces Day

May 15, 2015

Armed ForcesSaturday, May 16, 2015 is Armed Forces Day. According to the Department of Defense website, Harry Truman established this as a national holiday, to thank our military for their service to this great country. Instead of individual Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps holidays, President Truman promoted the unity of our armed forces under the Department of Defense.

According to the DoD website, on Feb 27, 1950, President Truman stated, “Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 20, 1950, marks the first combined demonstration by America’s defense team of its progress, under the National Security Act, towards the goal of readiness for any eventuality. It is the first parade of preparedness by the unified forces of our land, sea, and air defense.”

One of the main purposes for setting aside one day for all branches was to educate the public and promote patriotism. Parades, air shows and parties marked this first holiday, with over 40,000 US Troops marching worldwide, and tens of thousands of citizens participating in parades.

In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “It is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to paying special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the bulwarks guarding the freedom of this nation and the peace of the free world.”

JointcolorsOur Servicemen and women are serving throughout the world as guardians of peace – many of them away from their homes, their friends and their families. They are visible evidence of our determination to meet any threat to the peace with measured strength and high resolve. They are also evidence of a harsh but inescapable truth – that the survival of freedom requires great cost and commitment, and great personal sacrifice.”

On that day in history, many other notable events occurred: The Red Cross celebrated 69 years, Britain stopped most of its rationing, and the Soviets returned 23 East German industrial plants to East German authorities.

What will you do this year to honor our military?


Spirit of America

November 14, 2014

Heroes!? Are they real outside the comics? Absolutely! In our frenzied world we are growing a whole generation and more who have a very minimal understanding of who a real hero is. More and more as the Greatest Generation fades away there is a compelling need to define HERO! Dale Hemphill has done a wonderful job with his Spirit of America flag. He has produced a symbol that defines both hero and gratitude. It intends to plant a picture and vision of who a real hero is on the hearts and minds of the American public and beyond!

A US Navy veteran himself, Dale Hemphill designed Spirit of America as the emblem for his Spirit of America Foundation/Forgotten Heroes USA. The Spirit of America Flag is the only flag of its kind. It honors the veterans and heroes of wars past and our current soldiers who are fighting for our freedom. This flag also pays tribute to the many heroes and civilians who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001. Made in the U.S.A. Made out of nylon known for its weather resistance. Measures: 3′ x 5′.

According to Mr. Hemphill, “the nice thing about this flag is that it covers everything – 911, men and women, the cold war, you name it.” It has a rich history itself. “20141106_111017I started designing this in 1979 with the hostages in Iraq situation, when they were in captivity for 444 days. I’ve had my design stolen and even had the copyright cut out of the flag.”

The “Spirit of America” insignia was designed to recognize our men and women of the military forces and the battles they fought. “I recently updated it to include the eagles,” Dale told us. The insignia is graphic and intentional to remind us of many events and qualities of the Spirit of America:

  • Spirit of America – Uniting Together
  • Eagle – Freedom
  • Red – Bloodshed
  • Blue – Valor and Bravery
  • 50 Stars – 50 States
  • POW/MIA – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
  • 8 Stars – 8 Men who died in Iran rescue attempt
  • Beirut – 241 American troops who lost their lives in barracks explosion
  • Red/White/Blue ribbon between flag staffs – Firefighters, Policemen, Port Authority, Paramedics and EMT’s who died
  • Yellow Ribbon – All the Heroes and civilians who gave or lost their lives on 9/11
  • 2 red/white/blue stars bordering the insignia – represents the Twin Towers
  • Wars – Revolutionary War, War of 1812, U.S. Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish American War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Persian Gulf, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Unfortunately after the parades are over and the flags cased, the gratitude we owe our veteran heroes – of whatever war or incident of national consequence like the brave men, women, and first responders of 9/11 – is often tucked away for another day as well. We must not, we cannot forget!  These heroes are the bedrock of American patriotism and exceptionalism! They are the Spirit of America!

Due to his passion that we not forget, Dale Hemphill has founded the Spirit of America USA Foundation. The Spirit of America Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 2001 by a naval veteran realizing the need for historical recognition of American’s heroes and the sacrifices they made for our country. Its stated mission:

  • To identify and prioritize veteran’s health issues; to coordinate a unified agenda, strategies, and action for effective legislative public health policies for homeless veterans and their families, and educational campaigns.
  • To provide information on educational resources, research, and timely legislative activities; to develop educational and outreach program training materials for the homeless and destitute.
  • To encourage the establishments of support groups and self-reliant employment, promote self-respect and dignity.
  • To improve communications among local, regional, national, and international support advocacy organizations and individuals by providing expertise, assistance, and networking information; to establish a network linking support groups or veterans organizations by fax or computer.
  • To network with other veterans organizations or individuals with regulatory, legislative, public health, social welfare, and disability organizations; to establish relationships with environmental labor, consumer, minority, children’s advocacy and other veteran’s support groups with common agendas; to insert veteran’s health issues into the mainstream of total health issues; to promote veteran’s justice.
  • To promote health issue research; to promote fund raising events for funding of health issue research.
  • To coordinate a research data base project in conjunction with established support and advocacy organizations to access the prevalence of service-connected disabilities; to provide data for lobbyist and researchers.
  • To establish both standing and special committees to focus on veteran’s health issues and veteran’s issues in general that coordinates national campaigns for veterans and their families.
  • To coordinate fund raising, donor development, grant writing, and customer active programs which will accomplish coalition goals and ensure financial stability and growth; to hire staff members to ensure schooling for the less privileged children of veterans; to provide shelter for the homeless and their families; to provide proper health care for the uninsured; to promote self-employment which establishes self-respect, dignity, and income to those less fortunate.

As the Spirit of America Foundation continues its mission to promote patriotism and the appreciation of our veterans, it has expanded its reach to help veterans in need in today’s tough economy.  FORGOTTEN HEROES USA, LTD, supports the mission of the Spirit of America Foundation by offering patriotic products honoring America’s hardships in history dating back to the Revolutionary War to present day Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. A percentage of each purchase is donated to the Spirit of America Foundation.

Forgotten Heroes

As we refresh our memories
Of all the wars gone by
Let each of us be grateful
For our “Heroes” you and I
They gave their all that we may live
In a country good and free,
“Lest We Forget” They did it all
For the likes of you and me.
Remember the “Heroes”
Who fought our wars
And kept “Old Glory” flying
Those who gave their utmost
And saved us all from dying.

Richard Hemphill – WWII

To all our veterans and heroes – the true Spirit of America – THANK YOU!

~AH


Veterans Day 2014

November 12, 2014

vet par I had a blog written about Veterans Day but we attended the Veterans Day Parade here in town. I changed my whole idea of what I wanted to write. I wanted to try to tell you how I felt to stand on the side of parade line next to my Marine Veteran and see Veterans from every generation.

There were Pearl Harbor survivors, WWII Veterans, Vietnam Veterans, Submarine Vets, Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines.

Along the parade route came a family representing 5 brothers that were in WWII that served in the 5 branches of military. vet par motoWe sat next to a young lady that just recently did 4 years in the Army as an Animal Specialist. My Honey’s co-worker came to the parade and he was in the Army Calvary.

This year’s theme was Women in Military-We Served. And they did, and were out in force, from Nurse’s Corp to pilots – it was amazing!

vet par womenI always tell a Veteran…Thank you for your service…but this year we talked to a widow of a Navy man. Her husband passed away last year and here she was 78 years old, drove an hour to pay her respects all by herself. But you know what? She wasn’t alone, she had us and we listened to her adventures of being a Navy wife.

Some of the best experiences are unexpected. I cried at seeing our Veterans. I was so full of pride for my fellow citizens. My chest hurt from being overwhelmed at the joy of everyone celebrating our Veterans.

vet par taps I took a lot of pictures that I would like share, I hope you enjoy. My advice to you, talk with a Veteran, not just on Veterans Day but any day, you might find out something in your heart that was missing.

**Jacquie


Happy Birthday, US Navy!

October 13, 2014

Today marks 239 years for the United States Navy, starting with the Continental Navy, when the Continental Congress authorized the procurement of 2 armed vessels, on October 13, 1775. By the end of our War of Independence we had almost 50 ships with 20 warships in our fleet.

I live in Pensacola, Florida and we are a Navy town. Our Naval Air Base Pensacola is a longtime site for maritime vessels. This is called the “Cradle of Naval Aviation.”

navy aerialNAS Pensacola is the primary base for Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard Aviators. In 1825, President John Quincy Adams designated this area for the Pensacola Navy Yard. The Navy Appropriations Act of 1911 made the possibilities of Naval Aviation.

We are also home of the Untied States Navy Blue Angels. The Blue Angels were formed in 1946 for the morale of the Navy. We are real proud of “our” Blue Angels around here. We get two shows, one out on Pensacola Beach and then their Homecoming Show in November.

flag blue angel pcola beach signMy Grandbaby Lilly was here in July and we went out to the beach for the show. As you may imagine, it was a perfect day. The show in November will be held out on the base and we will be going out for that too.

Our Navy is rich in history. Their motto is “Not Self, But Country,” or “Non sibi sed patriae”. With that in mind, Honey and I took our pup to take a run out to the beach just last night. As we were unloading the truck, a polite young man came up to us to “borrow” a smoke, I asked: “Do you have a lighter?” Oh, yes ma’am. About 5 minutes later he came out to the water for that light. My Honey asked, “what you boys doing?” He said they were stationed out to the base. My Honey, being the Marine Vet he is,  reached around and gave that young man a twenty spot, “just to get through”.

navy flagI was standing in the water looking toward two different generations of Military men and thinking “Not Self, But Country”

**Jacquie


POW/MIA Recognition Day

September 19, 2014

POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed on the 3rd Friday of September each year. We remember those who were Prisoners of War (POW) and those that are Missing in Action (MIA) along with their families. In 1970, the National League of POW/MIA Families asked that a Flag of remembrance and recognition of POW/MIA designed that the United States promise to Never Forget POW’s and those that are still missing or not accounted for.

Newt Heisley designed the POW/MIA Flag with the silhouette of his son in mind, the flag bears a white disc in a black silhouette, a watch tower with a guard on patrol and a strand of barb wire, with white letters POW and MIA with a white 5 point star in between. “You Are Not Forgotten” written in white. There is no trademark or copyright for this because it is used not for profit but for awareness.

milpow35n_-00_powmia-flag-3x5ft-nylon-double-sided_3On March 9, 1989, the White House flew this Flag on National POW/MIA Day. The League of POW/MIA Flag is the only flag ever displayed in the United States Capitol Rotunda. Since 1982, the POW/MIA Flag is the only other Flag ever to fly over the White House (besides Old Glory) to be a constant reminder of America’s POW/MIA’s from ALL wars including our present time.

Passage by the 105th Congress of Section 1082 of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act required that the League’s POW/MIA flag fly six days each year: Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day and Veterans Day. It must be displayed at the White House, the U.S. Capitol, the Departments of State, Defense and Veterans Affairs, the headquarters of the Selective Service System, major military installations as designated by the Secretary of the Defense, all Federal cemeteries and all offices of the U.S. Postal Service. In addition to the specific dates stipulated, the Department of Veterans Affairs voluntarily displays our POW/MIA flag 24/7. The National Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial and World War II Memorial are now also required by law to display the POW/MIA flag daily, and most State Capitols have adopted similar laws, as have local governments nationwide.

This year we will be attending The Wall South POW/MIA Ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park here in Pensacola, Fl. I do not know what to expect but I will be there in support and sending my Prayers and thoughts. Today give a moment of silence to those POW/MIA’s. Fly your POW/MIA Flag.

YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN

**Jacquie


Semper Fi

August 28, 2014

“Old breed?, New breed?, There’s not a damn bit of difference so long as it’s the MARINE breed!” Chesty Puller, USMC.

August 29th marks the 98th Birthday of the United States Marine Corps Reserves. Congress passed the Naval Appropriations Act on this day in 1916. This Act is in charge of providing trained units to be mobilized for Active Duty in time of war or National Security. It is the largest command in the United States Marine Corp.

Today’s Reservist enlists for an 8 year term. The Reservist have to pass the ASVAB (Armed Service Vocational Aptitude Battery) which is a written test to determine qualifications in all the Armed Services. Each Reservist must pass Recruit Training (boot camp). This is a 13-week program that is set to the highest standards both physically and mentally. After graduation, Reservists go on to the 2nd phase of SOI (School of Infantry). But if your job is not infantry then you go onto MCT (Marine Combat Training).

USMCFor Reservist it is off to home. They will train one weekend a month and two weeks out of the year. I do not make light of this; Reservist are held to the very high standards of every Marine. Reservist are critical to the overall combat readiness the Marine Corp demands.

USMCR are vital to the community. Remember that little program called Toys For Tots? This was thought up back in 1947 by a Reservist and his wife in Los Angeles. Toys For Tots grew by huge degrees and in 1991 Secretary of Defense authorized the non-profit affiliation. Come October through December of every year the USMCR collect new toys for distribution at Christmas time. They also have a website that you may donate: http://www.toysfortots.org/default.aspx

I am partial to the Marines because HONEY is a Marine Vet. And I don’t know a woman, 8 to 80 that does not stop to eye a Marine in his dress Blues!

Semper Fi   

OORAH!

~Jacquie