Friday, September 30, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
Prayers go out to an injured Marine______________________________________________________
I don't have a lot of available time right now. Prayers are going out for a Marine in Eric's company that was injured sometime in the past 2 days by an IED. His name is David and he is in serious condition in Germany right now although he is expected to recover. He isn't in Eric's platoon but he is in a platoon that Eric was in during his first month in combat training.
Things are heating up in Iraq with the upcoming Ramadan month (a Holy month for some Iraqis) and with the Oct 15th referendrum looming which the Sunnis are not happy about. I will talk about that more later. As for now, the following story should be printed in every newspaper and posted in every school in America. Of course that won't happen so we'll use the internet. If your blinds are closed do nothing, if they are open copy this and email it to a friend. This is heart-wrenching story but it is an excellent lesson and response to those that say "Why are we in Iraq?".
Semper Fi and God Bless you all.
The other day, my nine year old son wanted to know why we were at war...My husband looked at our son and then looked at me. My husband and I were in the Army during the Gulf War and we would be honored to serve and defend our Country again today. I knew that my husband would give him a good explanation. My husband thought for a few minutes and then told my son to go stand in our front living room window.
He said "Son, stand there and tell me what you see?"
"I see trees and cars and our neighbor's houses." he replied.
"OK, now I want you to pretend that our house and our yard is the United States of America and you are President Bush."
Our son giggled and said "OK."
"Now son, I want you to look out the window and pretend that every house and yard on this block is a different country" my husband said.
"OK Dad, I'm pretending."
"Now I want you to stand there and look out the window and pretend you see Saddam coming out of his house with his wife, he has her by the hair and is hitting her. You see her bleeding and crying. He hits her in the face, he throws her on the ground, then he starts to kick her to death. Their children run out and are afraid to stop him, they are screaming and crying, they are watching this but do nothing because they are kids and they are afraid of their father. You see all of this, son....what do you do?"
"What do you do son?"
"I'd call the police, Dad."
"OK. Pretend that the police are the United Nations. They take your call. They listen to what you know and saw but they refuse to help. What do you do then son?"
"Dad.......... but the police are supposed to help!" My son starts to whine.
"They don't want to son, because they say that it is not their place or your place to get involved and that you should stay out of it," my husband says.
"But Dad...he killed her!!" my son exclaims.
"I know he did...but the police tell you to stay out of it. Now I want you to look out that window and pretend you see our neighbor who you're pretending is Saddam turn around and do the same thing to his children."
"Daddy...he kills them?"
"Yes son, he does. What do you do?"
"Well, if the police don't want to help, I will go and ask my next door neighbor to help me stop him." our son says.
"Son, our next door neighbor sees what is happening and refuses to get involved as well. He refuses to open the door and help you stop him," my husband says.
"But Dad, I NEED help!!! I can't stop him by myself!!"
"WHAT DO YOU DO SON?" Our son starts to cry.
"OK, no one wants to help you, the man across the street saw you ask for help and saw that no one would help you stop him. He stands taller and puffs out his chest. Guess what he does next son?"
"He walks across the street to the old ladies house and breaks down her door and drags her out, steals all her stuff and sets her house on fire and then he kills her. He turns around and sees you standing in the window and laughs at you. WHAT DO YOU DO?"
"WHAT DO YOU DO?" Our son is crying and he looks down and he whispers, "I'd close the blinds, Daddy."
My husband looks at our son with tears in his eyes and asks him. "Why?"
"Because Daddy.....the police are supposed to help people who needs them...and they won't help.... You always say that neighbors are supposed to HELP neighbors, but they won't help either...they won't help me stop him...I'm afraid....I can't do it by myself Daddy.....I can't look out my window and just watch him do all these terrible things and...and.....do nothing...so....I'm just going to close the blinds.... so I can't see what he's doing........and I'm going to pretend that it is not happening."
I start to cry My husband looks at our nine year old son standing in the window, looking pitiful and ashamed at his answers to my husband's questions and he says... "Son"
"Open the blinds because that man.... he's at your front door... "WHAT DO YOU DO?"
My son looks at his father, anger and defiance in his eyes. He balls up his tiny fists and looks his father square in the eyes, without hesitation he says: "I DEFEND MY FAMILY DAD!! I'M NOT GONNA LET HIM HURT MOMMY OR MY SISTER, DAD!!! I'M GONNA FIGHT HIM, DAD, I'M GONNA FIGHT HIM!!!!!"
I see a tear roll down my husband's cheek and he grabs our son to his chest and hugs him tight, and says... "It's too late to fight him, he's too strong and he's already at YOUR front door son.....you should have stopped him BEFORE he killed his wife, and his children and the old lady across the way. You have to do what's right, even if you have to do it alone, before its too late." my husband whispers. THAT scenario I just gave you is WHY we are at war with Iraq. When good men stand by and let evil happen son, THAT is the greatest atrocities in the world won't affect him. "YOU MUST NEVER BE AFRAID TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT! EVEN IF YOU HAVE TO DO IT ALONE!" BE PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN! BE PROUD OF OUR TROOPS!! SUPPORT THEM!!! SUPPORT AMERICA SO THAT IN THE FUTURE OUR CHILDREN WILL NEVER HAVE TO CLOSE THEIR BLINDS..."
GOD BLESS!!!!!!!!!! Steven R Chandler, CMSgt 332 ELRS/Vehicle Management Flight Balad Air Base, Iraq
Tuesday, September 27, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
He Called !!______________________________________________________
WOOHOO and OOHRAHH .. Eric finally called me after almost four LONG weeks without hearing his sweet voice. He is doing fine and not needing much at the moment, but then again he always was too easy to please.
He did say that he had read all the books there that he could get his hands on during his free time and that he needed more for something to do during downtime. The only things he did ask me for were thinner white socks (the heavy black ones they get are very HOT) and the books.
The food is good and they are working very hard, patrolling a lot. I really can't say as much here as I would like to, but he seems to be settled in well and not too stressed. But then again this is the guy that thinks having a bullet ricochet off his head (which btw the way knocked him out) was ... ummm ... cool. You can read that story by clicking the link below if you want to.
Anyway, I try NOT to worry about him, say a lot of prayers for him and his fire team and the whole battalion and the rest of the Marines and their families, and well .. you get the idea lol.
Not much time to post this week though because my daughter, Crystal, is getting married Saturday! Eric is so unhappy that he is going to miss that :(, so are we but life goes on. I think Eric is almost as unhappy that he is turning 21 in Iraq though. That I will elaborate more on later, let's just say that when they are in-country (Iraq) that drinking is NOT allowed.
Since I am going on so much here now I might as well add the rest. Eric asked me if I knew that he had given me power-of-attorney so that I could use money out of his bank account. Now we had never discussed this because he didn't have any monthly bills that needed paid so I didn't think it was necessary. I told him that I wanted to be there when they came home (for Homecoming, its a BIG Deal and I could meet the Marines with him and their families) depending on how much advance notice we got. He said that if I needed to, use the money out of his account to come. Now I don't know about most people, but this is the FIRST time one of my kids ever offered me money! Will wonders never cease !! 'Course Eric is and always has been a sweet guy. I will finance my own trip though because Lord knows, that boy is earning his money right now!
Semper Fidelis and God Bless you all.
Friday, September 23, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
PRAYERS GO OUT FOR THOSE IN THE PATH OF RITA______________________________________________________
I have friends in Rita's path and I know they are having a hard time getting to a safer place. I have offered my home to any that make it as far north as Indiana if they need a place to stay.
Please say a prayer for the folks in the way of Rita today as millions struggle to evacuate the areas down there.
My thoughts and prayers are with them all.
Semper Fidelis and God be with you.
No word from Eric yet. But, no news is still good news! I send him motomail everday. Thanks Jerry for posting the Texas Chili joke on your site. I printed that and sent it to Eric so he and his buddies could read it again.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
LCpl Shane Swanberg, one of our own______________________________________________________
I wrote the following poem as a tribute to LCpl Shane Swanberg who died Sept. 15, 2005 in Ar Ramadi, Iraq ... protecting our freedom and the freedom of the Iraqis. It is my humble attempt to show respect to Shane. May God Be with Shanes's family and all of the 3/7 as we all grieve for this lost hero.
Semper Fidelis and God Bless
Tribute to LCpl. Shane Swanberg
Tall and proud, we know these men.
They seek and serve to protect our land.
Paying the cost of freedom for each of us.
Sometimes that price is so unjust.
For each one taken before his time.
Leaves a heartbroken family somewhere behind.
Our young Marines, though they are the best.
Still we lose too many to eternal rest.
With each young life that ends too soon
All Marines and their families, we feel it too.
The loss of a true hero, everyone should feel
But for all of us it is much too real.
They gave their lives up for a cause.
Our freedom they bought without a pause.
They stand for honor and for the truth.
These are truly the heroes of our youth.
As we come together, as kith and kin
Beside each other we all must stand
Each Marine is family to one and all.
It breaks our hearts to have one fall.
The Marines fight on to right each wrong
And face each day with the Marine Hymn song.
When they step out to stem that mounting tide.
Angels in Dress Blues walk by their side.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
A tribute to the United States Marine Corps and the reasons why they are superior to the many organizations of the world . .______________________________________________________
* United States Marine Corps Birthday: 10 NOVEMBER 1775*
1) Best haircut. Hands down. You can't have a bad hair day with a high and tight. And you spend less on shampoo.
2) Dress blues. They're the coolest uniforms in any military worldwide.
3) Bloused trousers. Another distinctive Marine look that sets the proudest service members apart.
4) The rest of the Marine sea bag. From the Alphas to the camouflage utilities, uniforms just look better on a Marine than any other service member.
5) Marines don't wear dungarees.
) Most respect I. When the Marines pulled out of Haiti and Somalia, the media reported the U.S. military was pulling out -- as if tens of thousands of Army troops weren't still in the country. Now that's respect.
7) Most respect II. When the Corps came back to Haiti after 60 years, an old man on the Cap-Haitien beach said ``Welcome back!''
8) Toughest mascot. The Marine Corps' is a bulldog. The Navy's: a goat.
9) Esprit de Corps. Even if you can't spell it or pronounce it, the Marine Corps has it in spades. One example: When sailors get tattoos, they do it to express their individuality, and their choices range from Betty Boop and Mickey Mouse to raging sea serpents. When Marines get tattoos, they do it to express their solidarity, and choose bulldogs, ``death before dishonor,'' and ``USMC.''
10) Best war monument: Iwo Jima
11) The Marines invade, then go home. The Army has to do the occupying.
12) The silent drill team. Just watching them ply their trade makes you want to wear dress blues.
13) Status. Sailors live and work on ships. Marines go for cruises -- then hit the shore.
14) Best fast attack vehicles: LAVs.
15) Best fighting knife: Ka-Bar.
16) Best duty assignments: Okinawa, Kaneohe Bay, Camp Pendleton, Diego Garcia, Moscow, North Carolina. Plus any ship at sea.
17) Worst duty assignments: Okinawa, Kaneohe Bay, Camp Pendleton, Diego Garcia, Moscow, North Carolina. Plus any ship at sea.
18) Most exotic duty assignments: Kuala Lumpur, The White House.
19) Best phone number. Call 1-800-MARINES and you've got the Corps. And if you're a civilian with the character to be a Marine, a recruiter there will be happy to sign you up.
20) Toughest DI's. (Drill Instructors). They're so tough that when the Navy wants to train its officers, who do they call? 1-800-MARINES.
21) Toughest boot camp. When San Diego was still training Navy recruits, legend has it that recruits occasionally would jump the fence and accidentally land in Marine boot camp. The Marines would keep them a couple of days, and when the recruits were sent back, they were ready to be sailors!
22) Best motivational cries: Ooh-rah! - Attack! - Kill!
23) Best emblem: Eagle, Globe and Anchor. (Air, Land and Sea)
24) Best campaign covers: The Smokey Bear hat.
25) Separate heads for enlisted and officers. Everywhere else, officers and enlisted use the same pot.
26) The only official, congressionally sanctioned hymn for any of the services.
OOH RAHH and SEMPER FIDELIS !!
Friday, September 16, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
You wake up in the morning and start getting ready for your day. You turn on your tv to the morning news and as you are preparing for a new start you hear on the news the offhand remark (or so it seems to you) from a newscaster that a Marine has died today in a province that you know. It is where your son and most of his battalion is stationed. You try to turn your thoughts to somewhere else, anywhere else, there are a lot of companies there, but you mourn the loss already. You pray. You pray for the lost Marine and his family, you pray for his brothers and friends. But in your heart you know it is already too late for one Marine, for his family, for his wife if he has one, for his children.______________________________________________________
Your thoughts turn to *Is it someone my son knows? Is it someone whose mother or family I know?*. Your son's company's family is your lifeline. They are the only ones that really know what you feel, the fear and hope bound together in an endless circle. Memories of your son's gentle, strong, warm hugs and his awesome ways flow unbidden into your thoughts. You grab those memories tight with all your strength as if they were a life preserver and you were drowning, desperately fighting for air. Then you pray some more.
The fear that you feel a litle bit everyday starts to build, creeping into your mind like a thief in the night, pulling your bad thoughts from hidden dark corners and forcing them into the light. If you live in a town, every car that goes by and slows has you cringing with terror, afraid that two uniforms are going to stop in front of your house and get out to come up to your door. The morbid thought that they always send two bashes its way into your head. If you live in the country where few cars pass your house and home, its even worse if that is possible. You won't answer or look if someone knocks on your door in the early morning. You wouldn't be able to, standing frozen with dread as the horrible sound of your night-time terrors come to awful, real life. You listen for an approaching vehicle while saying to yourself *NO NO NO, I can't think like this*.
You pull the hope that you carry from the dark recess the fear pushed it into and you fan it with all the breathe you can produce to bring it back to life. You cry for a lost hero and his family and for yourself. In your heart your own son dies a little death every time you hear news like this. You mourn him for just one moment with your whole being even though you trust in God and his angels to protect them. Then you THRUST that thought away from you and worry about if he was near and saw a brother die. IT CAN'T BE YOUR SON. But somewhere, someplace, some mother is feeling the same way and it IS her son. Your heart breaks for this OTHER family, but still the fear holds your own heart in its clammy, cold, uncaring palms. You wait to hear from your son or from someone else that they have lost their own.
You consider NEVER listening to the news. But you know, you FEEL in every fiber of your being, that every Marine that dies deserves your grief. They laid down their life honorably for you and yours. Maybe they saved your son's life with their actions. You won't, you CANNOT stop listening to the news even though it can bring on the horrible, lost feelings in an instant. It tears you up inside right down to the hidden core of your soul. But you know you have to learn to live with it. You are in mourning for every one of the lost.
Thus you wait ... to hear.
The Marine that we lost was from Eric's battalion. LCpl . Shane Swanberg was killed by an incoming mortar yesterday in Ar Ramadi, Iraq. It was his first tour of duty in Iraq, he had only been there a few days. My thoughts and prayers are with his mother and family as they deal with the loss of this fine young man.
May God be with all our Marines and their families during this time and forever. I will be posting a tribute to Shane soon.
Thursday, September 15, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes I will say it. I wish this war would END. But the Marines that I know and talk to all say that since they started the job of freeing Iraq from the insurgents and terrorists that they need to end it. I have tried very hard not to get political here. And I will try very hard to continue that trend. But I never wanted Bush as President and I regret deeply that the American people thought he would do a better job this time than he did the last four years. Bush being re-elected was the main reason that I tried to talk my son OUT of joining the Marines right now. As a Marine, Pres. Bush is your commander and chief. The Marine Corps are the only branch of the military that can be directly commanded by the President of the United States.______________________________________________________
Now, some people may put me on one side because I REALLY want to see another democratic President. But, I totally support our troops in what they do and since most of them feel that being in Iraq is the right thing to do, so be it. I am willing myself to defend our Country to the last fiber of my being with my own life if need be. I could pick up a gun (and believe me, I am a good shot) and go out and fight for our country if such battle ever comes to my little spot of the world and easily live with what I do to defend my family and my country. I am patriotic. I just don’t trust, like or agree with our current President most of the time. This clumping of folks to the left or right seems to me to just be a way to cause strife in a country that is already RIFE with it. I would LOVE to see common sense being distributed to our government officials and have it thrust down their throats if that is what it takes. If I had one wish, it would be that people feel the same thing that they make anyone else feel. Now HOW would that change the world? I don’t think there would be many people leading us then that would blindly chose to ignore facts and risk the deaths of thousands on a whim. That would hurt them pretty bad when they felt those thousands dying in their heads. My son sure as hell wouldn’t be in Ramadi fighting right now. In fact, noone would be fighting.
Right now the war around Ramadi is intensifying horribly. I try very hard NOT to listen to the news lately but I can’t help it! It pops up everywhere and then I am so enthralled that I can’t look away. I try not to click that next link … but I physically can’t stop myself from doing it!
In any case, I still haven’t heard from Eric nor do I expect to anytime soon. It sounds like he is extremely busy over there on the Syrian border. I don’t know if I ever explained this on here, but Eric is a smart guy. And where does he feel it is best to serve the Marines? INFANTRY. My son is on the front lines carrying a SAW (squad automated weapon). I tried to talk him out of it, at least if he was going to be a Marine under our present government, not to become infantry, but that’s what he wanted to do. I am starting to think that teaching him to think for himself was a BAD BAD idea. The boy just won’t listen to his mother! He insists on being out there protecting his brothers and everyone here in the USA in, what he feels, is the best way to do it. Knowing he could do just as well somewhere else, not risking his life, I think he definitely qualifies for HERO status in my book.
Pray for the guys out there in the midst of a tragedy in the making. They need it right now.
Semper Fidelis and God Bless
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between 2 "wolves" inside us all.
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:
"Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied,
"The one you feed."
Wednesday, September 14, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
As far as I know, our Eric is doing fine, haven't heard from him since he reached Ramadi but as the motto of the Marine Mom goes ... No News is Good News. I know they have been very busy there ridding that area (the Syrain border) of insurgents so be sure to keep him and his brothers in your prayers if you are the praying type.______________________________________________________
I received the following in the email. This is posted in honor of Hospitalman Robert N. Martens who died in Iraq serving our country and supporting our Marines on Sept. 6, 2005. His funeral service is today and my thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time.
Semper Fidelis and God Bless.
A Simple Soldier ... (author unknown)
He was getting old and paunchy
And his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion,
Telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he once fought in
And the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies;
They were heroes, every one.
And 'tho sometimes to his neighbors
His tales became a joke,
All his buddies listened quietly
For they knew where of he spoke.
But we'll hear his tales no longer,
For ol' Bob has passed away,
And the world's a little poorer
For a Soldier died today.
He won't be mourned by many,
Just his children and his wife.
For he lived an ordinary,
Very quiet sort of life.
He held a job and raised a family,
Going quietly on his way;
And the world won't note his passing,
'Tho a Soldier died today.
When politicians leave this earth,
Their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing,
And proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell of their life stories
From the time that they were young
But the passing of a Soldier
Goes unnoticed, and unsung.
Is the greatest contribution
To the welfare of our land,
Some jerk who breaks his promise
And cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow
Who in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his country
And offers up his life?
The politician's stipend
And the style in which he lives,
Are often disproportionate,
To the service that he gives.
While the ordinary Soldier,
Who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal
And perhaps a pension, small.
It's so easy to forget them,
For it is so many times
That our Bobs and Jims and Johnnys,
Went to battle, but we know,
It is not the politicians
With their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom
That our country now enjoys.
Should you find yourself in danger,
With your enemies at hand,
Would you really want some cop-out,
With his ever waffling stand?
Or would you want a Soldier--
His home, his country, his kin,
Just a common Soldier,
Who would fight until the end.
He was just a common Soldier,
And his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us
We may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict,
We find the Soldier's part
Is to clean up all the troubles
That the politicians start.
If we cannot do him honor
While he's here to hear the praise,
Then at least let's give him homage
At the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simply headline
In the paper that might say:
"OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING, A SOLDIER DIED TODAY."
Light a candle today for the safety of our men and women that are serving our country so that we can stay FREE!
Friday, September 09, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
I don't know who wrote the following. I received it in the email I think. Its so apt for what I feel now and what I have been feeling since Eric first left for boot camp almost a year ago that I felt compelled to post it here. This is for all the military moms out there. We stand together.______________________________________________________
As the days go by
The time for you to leave the nest comes ever closer and more real to me, and my heart begins to break.
As the days go by
I know you are becoming a true Marine as I read your letters through my tears about the ups and downs of bootcamp.
As the days go by
I envision you becoming the man you always wanted to be, strong, honorable and proud. But wait for letters with tears.
As the days go by
I miss your warm hugs and happy laughter more and more, the sound of your friends tramping through the house again would be a wonderful thing.
As the days go by
Just to hear your voice becomes an all emcompassing desire, that phone call message that I missed is played over and over again.
As the days go by
I realize that my baby is no longer mine, the United States Marine Corps has taken the heart of me and hewn it into something far stronger.
As the days go by
I fill the emptiness that I feel with finding and talking to other Marine parents who understand how I ache inside for my child.
As the days go by
I dread the time when you are far away, fighting for our freedom and the lives of your friends and fellow Marines.
As the days go by
I find the strength to let you go, and to support you and cheer you on when all I want to do is scream "WHY?"
As the days go by
The Marine Corps family becomes MY family, and I know what it means when they say 'Once a Marine, Always a Marine".
As the days go by
I pray for my son and all my adopted Marines and every trooper that needs the prayers, I pray all the time.
As the days go by
I wait patiently or impatiently, silently or crying for news of my Marine and his buddies, always waiting, but never alone.
As the days go by ... I wait for this to end.
Semper Fidelis and God Bless you all
Thursday, September 08, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
Coming in the wake of an extremely stressful week for me due to all the news about hurricane Katrina and Eric's deployment, I received a sad email yesterday. One of the moms that I have contact with through email and an online support group sent me news that her son was KIA in Iraq on Tuesday morning. This is a hero that left behind a new wife and baby girl to help support our Marines (he was a Navy hospitalman). Even though I consistently contribute to the condolence books for our lost military men and women, I have never had one hit this close to home and I feel so helpless to help his mother.______________________________________________________
With her living close to 2000 miles away from me all I can do is offer her an ear, and talk to her about what a great guy her son was. My problem right now is that I can't talk about him or what has happened without breaking down and not being able to speak at all. I have stress-related asthma and this has got it flaring up bigtime. It closes up my throat when I try to even think about this. So how do I support her at all right now? I hope that by tomorrow I will be able to call her and offer my condolences and ask if the family needs anything I can give. I know what the answer to that will be though, the only thing they want right now is something that noone can give them. The return of their son and husband and father. I am sending a card out today. It seems so woefully inadequate.
This on top of everything else has me reeling. I am trying to put all this in God's hands and let Him take this burden from me, but why am I finding it so hard to find any peace? I really do believe that God won't give me anymore than I can handle, but does He have to think I am SO strong?!?! I feel fragile right now, and I have steadfastly refused to resort to prescription drugs to ease the anxiety. Not sure if I am going to succeed at that though I am rather hard-headed and HATE to take medicine of any kind.
Eric has safely reached his destination, at least I know that. I am praying for his battalion as I know MANY MANY other people are also doing, I have to put his safety in God's hands. So I am trying very hard to do just that. I know that no matter what he sees or does over there ... he is strong enough to handle it, just like his mama.
When I think about Eric, that is what concerns me most. I really believe he will come home safely but will what he has to deal with while he is there haunt him? I truly hope not, I have had a lot of bad things happen in my life and I am VERY good at forgetting and just going on. I do hope that my son got THAT from me.
Everyone be safe and Semper Fidelis .
Monday, September 05, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
"I'm leaving on a Jet Plane. Don't know when I'll be Home again" .... That song has been stuck in mind since I first heard the mention of it last week. Now it is so true in my life. Eric left on a jet, and I do know approximately when he will be home, I hope. Yes, Eric is on his way to Iraq now. He will turn 21 on foreign soil in a little less than a month (Oct. 3rd).______________________________________________________
I am numb and sick at heart. Actually, totally numb would be better right now. The ladies in one of the support email groups I belong to (all family, mostly moms, of guys in my son's company) have been emailing of the 'final' call from their sons the past 3 days. Meaning that it is the call their sons make to home just before they get on the jet taking them out of the country. I finally had to send an email to all of them asking .. PLEASE quit calling it the 'final' or 'last' call. Sorry ladies but it was just a request since that was giving me the CHILLS reading that. Eric wouldn't (and hasn't) said goodbye to me. The closest we got is 'till we meet and hug again'. But to tell the truth I didn't know this could be any harder than putting him on that plane back to his base 2 weeks ago. But it is. I will be getting his address out to those of you that receive my monthly 'Eric Update' and please send him a birthday card ASAP. It will probably take 3-4 weeks for him to get them.
I feel so out of it being so far away from Eric's base. I know a lot of the moms and wifes spent the night there with the guys waiting in the buses before they left for the airport. In a way, that would have been harder for me I think. I still wish he was based closer to me.
I suupose that part of what I am feeling is due to the horrors that I have been hearing about from a close friend in Baton Rouge whom my company is sending supplies to. I don't know how she is holding up as strong as she is. I can only imagine that she is crying herself to sleep every night. I am glad to say that since my request that we send items to her to distribute to families down there that need help in the parrishes, my company has collected and sent a whole pallet Friday, and we have almost another whole pallet to send Tuesday. Every little bit helps. If anyone else is doing anything else like that, my friend told me that when she was working in the Red Cross shelters yesterday the only request they were getting from the adults, was that the children needed books and games. Now how sad and touching is that :( . These people have lost everything, but all they are asking for is things to ease the pain of the children (which I would probably do too). I already put up a request on our bulletin board at work for toys and things for the kids so hopefully there will be more of that type of thing to send Tuesday when we go back to work. My prayers are still with the folks down there. But half of the time my prayers are with our guys that are deploying to Iraq as we speak.
Anyway, that is about all the news I can pass on right now.
God Bless And Semper Fi
Thursday, September 01, 2005------------------------------------------------------------------------
The last time I talked to Eric was Saturday. He has been working LONG days as they get ready for their upcoming deployment to Iraq. But Saturday found him and his fire team, as well as several other Marines partying at a huge house only a few blocks from the strip in Las Vegas. Let me tell you, these guys work hard, but they also PARTY hard lol. I told him to tell the other guys Hi from me and to stay out of trouble. He said "Trouble? You can't GET into trouble in Las Vegas, unless you do something REAL bad." lol. He and several of his buddies were going to get drunk and go hit the strip to check things out. Uhoh! The Marine Invaded Las Vegas last Saturday hehe. Guess they didn't get into trouble because I didn't hear anything bad so, I hope they had a great time.
Still waiting on the call from him that will say "we are leaving mom". Most of the Marines call their parents/wife/girlfriends from the airport just as they are leaving for their first stop on the way to Iraq (generally Germany). I am so dreading that call.
An interesting story. One of the Marine moms in the group that I belong to that has a son in the same company as Eric got a call last Thursday night at 1:30 am. It was just a bunch of guys singing "Leaving on a Jet Plane, Don't know when I'll be home again". Had to be Marines with her son. They sang a couple of verses of that and hung up. Wonder how many other parents got that call in the middle of the night? These guys are hilarious at times. I think getting a call like that would have made me cry though!. She thought it was funny, in a morbid kind of way, I would have to. Just to illustrate, watch the little music video the Marine made in Kosovo (I think) when they werre bored. Thanks for that one Cat (aka Guiness Wench).
My Marine mom friend that lives in Baton Rogue has been keeping me updated on the battleground that Baton Rogue has become as refugees pour in there from New Orleans and the surrounding parishes. She has yet to hear from her dad's whole side of the family. No call from a single one of them. They all lived near where the big levee broke. She is frantic as you can well imagine. Her family already lost one young member to drowning during the height of the storm (the one swept off the roof of their house). She is also taking in folks that need help.
There is NO food avaiable anywhere as well as basic items needed to survive. I went to work this morning and approached our CFO about putting out a collection box for food and nonperishable items to send to her. Not only did the company allow me to do that, they are also taking donations from employees (about 120 in all) and matching those donations to give the Red Cross for use only for hurricane victims. And the company is paying to send the items collected for my Marine mom friend to her asap. Its amazing what asking a little request can do. I am very thankful to be working for a company like this. Hopefully we can get a couple of boxes sent out tomorrow. Baton Rogue is in desperate straits right now. Fighting breaking out on the streets (even in front of the Capitol building) between different groups of refugees and looting and acts of horrible things happening even to the people that are only there trying to help. Pray for them and do your part if you can to help.
God Bless you all and Semper Fi !