Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Soldiers Angels

I have been involved with Soldiers Angels since 2004 and cannot fully express the importance of supporting America's service members. Most people do not realize how much a piece of mail or a care package means to someone who is thousands of miles away from home deployed to either a FOB in Iraq or to a Navy ship on the high seas. A fellow member of Soldiers Angels shared the following letter her soldier sent her with the organization. I think it is beautiful.

"Cards, care packages, cookies, they're not going to stop that bullet or that IED but do you all know what they do? They bring a small piece of home to us. Sure you might not be here on the front line covered in filth, smelling like hell, your heart going a mile a min not knowing what's coming next. If your next step is on that TRP or if your going to be the latest recruiting tool for some insurgents new video while they take pot shots at you. But what you all do with those cards, care packages, cookies is just as important. YOU have the greatest power of ANYONE here. YOU can send us a small piece of home. I don't know it this makes any sense to you but, when I get a box or anyone else get's a box its hard to describe. You find a nice quite corner and everyone knows not to bother you. You sit there and look over the box as if you had never seen anything like it before. You read who it's from and a smile crosses your face, you recognize the name. You might already know what's inside, but it does not matter. Some tear it open as fast as they can, others take their time and enjoy every sec of it. Once inside, you go threw it, every little item once, twice, sometimes three times, it's a very delicate process. You breath it in and you think of the person who sent it to you. You think of home, family, cars, summer.....everything all at once and for a very short time, you are there away from this SH#$T hole. You are grateful. Then you look around and there's always a buddy who is down or having a bad day you share your box. Sometimes just with the one guy, sometimes with everyone and it's electric. Everyone catches that feeling and we start talking about home, about things we miss, things we are going to do when we get back and the heaviness of the day lifts and it's not so bad. C, its not the "things" that are sent that matter to us, it's the thought. That's the power ALL of you have who take the time to send things. You can change the worst day into the best day, in a split second. "

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

I have been in PA since Friday and will combine my Remember post with today's Memorial Day reflection. My aunt, Rev. Connie Gibbs, wrote the following poem:

WE Must Remember
--Rev. Connie Gibbs

We pause on this Memorial Day, a brief moment in time,
to bring close to our hearts those memories we hold so dear
of the men and women before us who unselfishly put their dreams,
and their lives on the line, where danger lay as a stalker,
waiting to take away each breath,
while the soldier plowed with determination the furrows of death.

We must remember, we must, you and I, those special heroes who chose to
fly through the skies of blue that turned as dark as the midnight sky.
Their wings began to shudder as smoke choked their breath away,
And hope gave way to the resignation, “Today, I’m going to die.”

Treading waters so deep and wide, for God and Country, their hearts abide.
Surprised by attacks with brutal disregard for human life,
they fought to the end, knowing that life and limb would be lost,
whether of self or friend.

Yes, by land, by sea, and in the skies, they fought for our land,
Fighting for freedom so that you and I might stand,
Stand for what is right, for what is good and true, fight that we might
say without fear, “God loves you.”

Yes, we must remember for freedom is not cheap,
for lives and limbs were lost so that we might keep, all the things that we
have and all the things that we do,
Like cars and boats and a house with a roof. Like going to church without fear,
And reading the Bible where we find the truth. The truth of knowing that whether
We are red, yellow, black or white, we are all God’s children and we need to learn to
Love one another as God first loved us.
For if there is to be peace on earth, where all of humankind is free, it must begin with each of us, let it begin with you and with me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Yurburg Website!

The Yurburg, Lithuania, Jewish cemetery restoration project finally has a website!! I am so excited about this news and also because the DVDs are also completed. When we arrived at the cemetery, my first thought was, "Dear God. How are we ever going to finish in time?" Fortunately, we were able to put up 700 ft of new fence, unearth and upright about 100 headstone, and clean existing erect headstones. A piece of me will always exist in Yurburg, Lithuania, and when some days seem longer than most, my mind drifts to a distant place and finds peace for there exists a fence.
Project Preservation's next project is in the Ukraine. I will not be participating this time, but will be on the next one.

Check out the link:

My Yurburg book is also doing fantastic, which makes me happy simply because the lost Jewish community will not be forgotten. Check out my book at the link to the right that says, "My Book".

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Remember. . .

"The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil Constitution, are worth defending at all hazards; and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors: they purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood, and transmitted them to us with care and diligence. It will bring an everlasting mark of infamy on the present generation, enlightened as it is, if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of false and designing men." ~ Samuel Adams

Casey Casanova, 22, MS (first female from MS to die in Iraq)
Ara Tyler Deysie, 18, AZ
Jessica Ellis, 24, OR
Joseph Ford, 23, ID
Alex Gonzalez, 21, TX
Jeremy Gullett, 22, KY
Miguel Guzman, 21, CA
Mary Jane Jaenichen, 20, CA
James Kimple, 21, OH
Glen Martinez, 31, CO (his wife, also a Marine stationed in Fallujah, Iraq, accompanied his body home)
Jeffrey Nichols, 21, TX
Isaac Palomarez, 26, CO
Kevin Roberts, 25, NM
Aaron Ward, 19, CA

Monday, May 12, 2008

Irena Sendler

I have visited Warsaw several times and have occasionally explored the remains of the Jewish ghetto. Naturally, many of the buildings were destroyed during the uprising in 1943 then during the Soviet siege of the city. However, the surviving structures are something everyone should visit at least once. No regular tour guides, though, venture to that part of the city and exploration is self-motivated. How anyone could have survived the Warsaw ghetto is a miracle. How anyone could have smuggled and saved 2500 Jewish children from the ghetto is an even bigger miracle.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Remember. . .

"This is essentially a people's contest... whose leading object is to elevate the condition of men - to lift artificial weights from all shoulders - to clear the paths of laudable pursuit for all - to afford all, an unfettered start and a fair chance, in the race of life."
- Abraham Lincoln

Bryan Bolander, 26, CA
Chad Caldwell, 24, WA
Clay Craig, 22, TX
William Dix, 32, CA
Lawrence Ezell, 30, TX
Adam Marion, 26, NC
Marcus Mathes, 26, FL
David McCormick, 26, TX
David McDowell, 30, CA
Guadalupe Ramirez, 26, CA
Mark Stone, 22, TX

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to one of the most important woman in my life. Not only has she instilled values and determination in me, but her continuous display of compassion and love has been such a powerful influence. She has been such a fantastic friend and mother and my hope is to be the kind of woman to my children as she has been to me.

What is a Mother?

"A Mother has so many things to do,

From washing, ironing, cleaning to tying a shoe.

She scrubs, she mends, she cooks and sews,

She bathes the children and washes their clothes.

When they forget to wash their faces clean,

And their clothes are the muddiest you've ever seen,

Who repairs the clothes and scrubs them like new?

Of course, that is what a Mother will do.
Who becomes the doctor or the nurse when they are ill,

Applying a bandage or giving them a pill?

Who becomes a teacher when a child has homework?

She must never her duty shirk.

Who becomes a detective to find a toy or a book?

For missing things she must look and look?

Who becomes a listener to every heartache,

To every accomplishment that a child makes?

Who scolds their children when they are naughty,

Or remind them of God when they are to haughty?

Who tends her family with love and patience, too?

Of course that is what a Mother will do."

- Unknown

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Happy 60th Birthday, Israel!!

HaTikvah ("The Hope")----Israeli National Anthem

As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,
With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,
Then our hope - the two-thousand-year-old hope - will not be lost:
To be a free people in our land,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Remember. . .

I am a member of Soldiers Angels and one of the teams I am on is called the Living Legends. This team provides support to the families who have lost a soldier either in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom. Each Sunday, on my previous blog, I dedicated the Sunday post to the fallen soldiers I had received during the week. I decided to continue this ritual here as well.

"Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death." ~ Omar Bradley

John Bishop, 22, MI

Ronald Blystone, 34, MO

Timothy Cunningham, 26, TX

Dwayne Davis, 29, OK

Merlin German, 22, NY

Jordan Haerter, 19, NY

Andrew Pearson, 32, MT

Ronald Tucker, 21, CO

Matthew Vandegrift, 28, CO

Shaun Whitehead, 24, GA

Jonathan Yale, 21, VA

Jonathan Yelner, 24, CA