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Archive for May, 2013

Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations, that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic. — John A. Logan

The call for help went out Wednesday morning.

“There’s a call for help from hallowed ground – the 28,000 graves of Hampton Roads’ national veterans cemetery. Last year’s Memorial Day – the first since the Army left nearby Fort Monroe – didn’t go so well at our little Arlington.

For the first time in anyone’s memory, there weren’t enough volunteers to carry out a traditional tribute: the placement of a small American flag at each grave marker for the holiday.”

The word spread, quickly, through the news media and all over social networks.  And as dawn rose on Friday, that call was answered.

“Not on our watch.”

So many came out to honor those that gave the full measure of devotion to our great nation, that traffic resembled that you would normally see at a concert or sporting event.  Community groups, soldiers, sailors, airmen, individuals young and old, quietly walked among the neat rows, arms full of flags, placing one in front of each grave marker.  The message, powerful.

“We will not forget”

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And so, this year, 28000 graves were honored in less than one hour.  One hour in which the gratitude of Americans, too often unexpressed and often thought lost, was given voice anew.  And the meaning of Memorial Day, restored.

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“They fell, but o’er their glorious grave. Floats free the banner of the cause they died to save.” — Francis Marion Crawford

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This year, the National Cemetery Administration of the US Department of Veterans Affairs will host 118 Memorial Day ceremonies. A listing of all national cemeteries holding a ceremony, to include the date and time, is on their website at http://www.cem.va.gov/cem/cems/2013_Memorial_Day_Ceremonies.asp.

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Everyone could use a do-over from time to time. By some the entries we received in our Memories Made contest, there are many who could also use a stockpile of band-aids, a GPS, and the number to the local search and rescue.

We asked you to share your unexpectedly funny stories of your best funny family memory, and, boy, some of these tales had us laughing and sympathizing at the same time. And wondering if you were the inspiration for Life of Pi, Land of the Lost, or Snakes on the Plane (or the boat, in one story).

Now, many of us, as military families, know the anxiety of being in a new place, meeting new people, and wanting to make a good first impression.  So earnest and excited, that we forget that mirrors can be our best friend.  Especially if we haven’t worn a dress and pantyhose in a while, and it’s our first visit to a new church, in a new town, with people we have never met before.  And the results, well….they can be memorable.  As they were for our winner, Misty:

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Resume: makes an impression; great sense of humor.

Well, we were all four holding hands walking in excited to visit our new church.  We enter in, and this nice little older lady taps me on the shoulder.  I was excited thinking, “What what a warm welcoming!”

Much to my surprise, she was tapping me on my shoulder to inform me that the back of my dress was completely tucked into my hose.

Needless to say, I ran for the bathroom immediately.  As embarrassing (and funny to my husband and kids) as it was…I’m glad I was there with them to share that funny moment. We laughed about the fact that I strolled clear across a parking lot so proudly with them not having a clue I was putting on a show for the world.”

How would you like to be known forever as “that lady who flashed the entire congregation in the parking lot”…before they actually even know your name?  We know we’d probably want to run away and hide, and never go back, but since Misty is a great sport, we figure, why not the next best thing? Four plane tickets to anywhere in the 48 or Canada!

And may we suggest a cozy pair of pants for the trip?  Just a thought.

Congratulations to Misty and her family! Here’s to making some more memories!

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AWK-WARD...

If lightsabers came out at YOUR last family get together, we want to hear about it. And if it was only wiffle bats you pretended were, that’s cool too.

If you have a story about a family gathering that begins with “This one time..” or “No Lie..true story..” and ends with laughing so hard it hurts, submit it to our Memories Made contest. Fame (or infamy) AND 4 plane tickets could await those brave enough to send us a photo and quick essay of your best funny family memory.  We want to see a vintage or unexpectedly clever family photo that shows good memories or captures an especially funny moment in the life of your family…and a story about your family to go with it.

We will pick one winner to receive four free plane ticket vouchers to take a trip to visit family and make more memories. Important note: Flights MUST be booked by June 6, 2013 and actual travel completed by June 6, 2014. See details below.

How to Enter:

  1. Pick a photo, any photo, that shows one of your great family moments. We won’t exclude any photo as a potential winner but we’re looking for photos that are vintage in nature (1960s, 70s, 80s, etc.) or capture a funny moment in the life of your family. Only one photo/entry per fan, please.
  2. Next, write a quick essay/story that relates to the photo and shares a memory your family made that was funny or crazy or where something went wrong that you can laugh about now. Please keep essays to 150 words or less. Stories that relate to your life as a military family are great!
  3. Post it on the Operation Homefront Facebook page…include the words “Memories Made” somewhere in the message. Or you can email it to socialnet@operationhomefront.netDEADLINE: Noon CST, on Wednesday, May 15! 
  4. Watch and enjoy other moments as they come in and wait to see who the winner is…it could be you!

How To Win:

• We’ll close the contest at noon CST on Wednesday, May 15. We’ll have a winner chosen within 24 hours and will post the results on our Facebook page once we have them.

Rules and Guidelines for Memories Made Essay/Photo Contest

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It was our second year as members of our local community pool and summer swim team, when one afternoon, my husband popped in on the way home from the base.  In his Navy whites.  Just a quick drop by, kiss on the cheek, wave to the kids, see you at home type deal. As he walked out, three heads simultaneously swiveled to stare in confusion at me:

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Take a bow, spouses. You have more than earned it.

“YOU’RE a military wife?” 

“Yes…”

“He’s in…the NAVY?!”

“Yes….”

“Since when?!”

“Uh….the last 10 years.”

“How did we miss that?”

That’s actually a good question.  The answer probably involves a little bit of me not really wearing military life on my sleeve and (I suspect) a bit more of the stereotypes and myths surrounding “the military spouse”.  But mainly, I think it was because our chats were those common to a group of acquaintances. We talked about things like swimming, schools, topics in the news, or events around town.

You know, normal everyday stuff.

I am going to say something that might surprise you: the “military spouse” is, really, just like you.  They have their talents and gifts, and their quirks and not-so-awesome moments.  They don’t have super powers and wear capes (though it would be totally cool if they did).  They carry the day and drop the ball.  They can light fires under folks, or put them out.  Or put out the fires they started (“I thought the burner was off,  honest.”).  They have kids that get straight As and ones that just can’t seem to turn in their homework. Their lawns need mowing.  Their cars need oil changes.  Their cat needs to go to the vet. Their friends know not to call them between 9 and 10PM, Sunday night.  Because, Game of Thrones, people!

So, after all that, you may ask, why Military Spouse Appreciation Day?

Because they live a life of the seemingly ordinary, under conditions that are anything but.  Because people they love deeply, their partners in this crazy world, are gone for months, sometimes years.  Because they know their loved one may never come home, or be irrevocably altered by the horrors of war when they do.  Because others can’t, or won’t, make that sacrifice.  Because even though they often go unnoticed, what they do serves all of us in a way that we may never be able to repay.

And that makes them extraordinary.

Military Spouse Appreciation Day is May 10th 2013.

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