Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia are small towns with people who will never forget those brave men and women who left their farms and home places to fight for our country and freedom in the world. Throughout the rolling countryside and along the blue colored ridges of the mountains… filled with cattle, fields, and beautiful wildflowers, one will find small family graves with an American flag. This will always indicate that the person buried there served in an American war.
On this Memorial Day, the young Military Science students and the older men and women of this Blue Ridge area remember the Fallen of all wars and pray prayers for the many POW-MIA’s who are still missing. (Slide show below)
As my husband and I joined in this day of Remembrance, I’m in the midst of writing a new book about American military veterans, entitled Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge, which should be on Amazon by July, 2018.
My interviews with those who went to serve during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been eye-opening. These are people of great courage and fortitude. Millions did not return, but for those here in the Blue Ridge, these men forged new lives and continued to make our FREE America an even better place.
One chapter in my book will feature the Childress family in the Blue Ridge who had four men in the military at once during World War II. Paul (upper right picture and with wife and baby) served in Patton’s Command in France.
The women of the Blue Ridge served as well, including Francis Childress, a cousin to Paul. Other chapters will take notice of a female military nurse who was awarded the Bronze Star. The Bronze Star Medal is a decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, valor, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.
As I read memoirs and listened, I learned that fighting on Heart Break Ridge in Korea with legs frozen, slipping out of camp at night in France during World War II to find food for hungry soldiers, spending weeks in the confines of a submarine, fighting off boredom and jungle heat in Vietnam or losing limbs in Afghanistan or Iraq were difficult and in most cases horrible experiences. It was their part of life that they were willing to share with me and I am grateful because I will never look at a veteran again in the same way.
This is why I write this blog to encourage you to take an hour or so on Memorial Day from your interest in sports events, picnics or other activities to give our military the honor they so deserve. Your freedom today is what they did to keep us free. It is important that our children and grandchildren are taught history and the meaning of our national Memorial Day. I was amazed to see that since the last Memorial Day ceremony of 2017, in the small town of Galax, VA. that 90+ people had died who were veterans in this part of the Blue Ridge. We are rapidly losing those who fought in World War II and their stories should be told.
To those whose lives and deaths were the ultimate sacrifice….there is not enough thanks in heaven or earth to give to you…but we will try.
To the gravely wounded warriors who have come home and forged new lives, we give you honor. We have contacted this brave warrior for an interview that will shed light on all those who have suffered so much.
Thank you to all veterans…men and women. We give tribute to all the wives and families that were left behind to faithfully live and wait for their loved ones to return home.
VIDEO Turn up sound (Credit “American Soldier” by Toby Keith)
A couple of blogs earlier, the topic was about whether we could trust Mr. Putin and Russia to be open and honest about Syrian chemical weapons. Today, I would like to tell Mr. Putin why our President mentioned “exceptional” in his recent address. Promptly, Mr. Putin, wrote about the “exceptional” remark in his article in the N.Y Times as follows:
“It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”
We have no question about the last part, for God did make us all equal…but what we have done with that equality has been up to us.
The MacMillan Dictionary describes “exceptional as extremely good or impressive in a way that is unusual.” I like this definition because it does not say “superior”…or other words that sound egotistical.
Below are two videos of what America is made of and what makes Americans exceptional. Please do not lecture us, Mr. Putin, on what “exceptional” means. We know what it means:
- Going the extra mile
- Reaching out to the people around the world who are hurting
- Fighting for the rights of nations to know freedom when they are willing to die for it.
- Believing that we are “our brother’s keeper” regardless of religion, race, creed
- The selfless acts of heroism by firemen, police and others who respond during tragic events….not thinking of themselves or their own safety.
If we lose our desire to excel and to be the best or better than others in any initiative ….we become what your country has a history of doing…putting everyone in a common mold. It has only been in recent history that Russia has tried some of the things that democracy holds dear. Keep on trying for as you know, Communism did not work. We do not see a “danger” in reminding others that exceptional is a good word not a bad one.
Oliver North’s speech on “What we do as Americans…” You can say “exceptional”
Mr. Putin, how often does Aeroflot (Russian airlines) do what you will see below when one of your own dies? This is “exceptionality” in action as only one of the many things Americans do when freedom and patriotism mix. I would ask as you look at this to notice that these are mostly Delta personnel, the pilots and the people standing at the airport when just one of our brave soldiers comes home to a final resting place. Only two in the group are military escorts.