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)
My readers will notice that many times I will write and show videos about people and their dogs. These are not just any dogs, but ones with great ability to feel compassion, love and learn from their masters. .whether the person is disabled, wounded, or just in need of love.
My husband and I have a special place in our hearts for our Golden Retriever named, Gracie. Of course, the true-life story you are going to see on this video is not only about a man who gave a full measure of service to his country, but found through his Golden Retriever, named Tuesday, a bond that most likely saved his life from depression and despair. Tuesday gave him purpose and a renewed spirit after his devastating head injury on the battle field.
Our animals are a gift from God. Treat them with love and gentleness.
THERE ARE NO WORDS FOR THIS BLOG. NOTHING…JUST NOTHING…WILL ADD TO THE PICTURES YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE ON LOVE AND SACRIFICE.
(credit to Tim Dodd for some photographs)
Special note from Boyer Writes:Over a year ago, I wrote this blog and then I received a comment from someone who knows Michael Davenport personally. It reminded me that today, Nov. 11, 2012 is Veteran’s Day and there are many veterans who have given their all for their country. Many are now learning how to use their new limbs and wrestling with what they can do in life. I decided to share this blog again to encourage them through this young man. Michael Davenport, had a terrible accident but he was able to rise above his circumstances, as difficult as it was. Michael was not a veteran, but has much to share by his life experience and courage.
Michael Davenport was big fan of the University of Georgia football team and faced with a world in which he never expected to be a part. Michael is now disabled.
At the age of 13, while playing in his yard and holding a copper wire, he became entangled in a live electrical cord.
The accident left him with no hands and only a prosthetic arm . Everything had to be re-learned. His life, before the accident, had been one of heavy drinking, but now a decision had to be made. He would have to face life the way it would be. It was like being born into a new body…one that he must learn to use all over again.
This was his opportunity to start over; to find a passion and to trust in God to lead his life. He had to learn to write with his new hand and in doing so, he found out that he had artistic ability. Drawing the University of Georgia mascot, the Bull Dog, he began to sell them to tourists at ball games. This brought him an income that he needed. He found also that the football fans and others have became his followers.
It has not been an easy road, but Michael continues because he believes God gave him his life for a reason. He believes this is the challenge that he wants to leave with all young people: “Follow your dreams.”
(note from Boyer Writes) Michael, our prayers are that you will continue to grow in your new life. Regardless of our abilities, God makes a way as we trust Him. We do not know what each day will bring, but we can trust each day to the One who knows.
I wonder if anyone ever told Michael Davenport how especially proud they are of him…for all he has tried to do in the face of such personal devastation? I have a friend who is trying hard to break the cycle of caffeine, nicotine, and sugar addiction. As he was walking on a road, he was hit by a car and broke his neck…ultimately having to cope with the addiction of pain killers. There are so many people who need a word of praise and the simple words, “I am proud of you for what you are trying to do.” He has made an appointment with a doctor and is on the right path. Picking up the phone this morning, I decided it was time to say those words to my friend. Maybe he has never heard them. Who do you know that may need encouragement or a simple word of praise?
(A reader wrote this note about Michael after reading this blog. Thank you so much.)
“I have known Michael Davenport for many years now. We had not seen each other in a while and he came to visit me a few days ago. I was once again reminded of what an amazing person he is. I think we all could learn a little bit from the way he views his life and the manner in which he choses to live. Michael branches out from the canvas by giving motivational speeches to others who also have a disability. You might also find Michael in your neighborhood drawing cartoon characters for children where he uses his god given talent as a tool to pass along the message to tell children to “follow your dreams, stay in school and don’t do drugs”. To say that Michael is a kindred spirit with an amazing story and incredible talent would surely be an understatement. I consider him to be a wonderful friend who always seems to have a smile on his face. I am very blessed to know Michael Davenport and he truly is a wonderful compliment to Athens, Georgia.
Video showing Michael and his artistic talent using his mouth:
The young men who risk their lives are not normally faces that we see in the news. They are the men who strap on the equipment; take a deep breath, and do the job. Their worst enemy are those who would make the IED’s that come from a simple ingredient: calcium ammonium nitrate. Those who sell it; those who trade it; those who know how to make it are the silent murders of fine young military men and civilians: men, women and children around the world.
WHO ARE THESE MEN WITH EXPERTISE AND THE BRAVERY TO DISMANTLE THESE DEVICES?
They are men who have trained to be an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialists.
“Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Soldiers are the Army’s preeminent tactical and technical explosives experts. They are Warriors who are properly trained, equipped, and integrated to attack, defeat, and exploit unexploded ordnance (UXO), improvised explosive devices (IED), chemical, biological, and nuclear ordnance and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). EOD Warriors are the culmination of the best tactical and technical training the Army and civilian academia can provide. They are prepared to perform missions in support of Army units worldwide, across all operational environments.
EOD Specialists perform duties locating, identifying, rendering safe and disposing of foreign and domestic conventional, biological, chemical, or nuclear ordnance and IEDs; WMDs and large vehicle bombs; they conduct intelligence gathering operations on first seen ordnance and IEDs, and support very important persons (VIP) missions for the U.S. Secret Service, State Department and other Federal agencies. Some of the duties as an EOD Specialist may include:
- Research and identify ordnance using EOD technical publications
- Explosively disposing of hazardous ordnance
- Prepare and maintain EOD tools, equipment and vehicles
- Assist in the preparation and use of advance robotics
- Assist the EOD Team Leader in performing all actions required to safely mitigate ordnance explosive hazards
- Assist in the training of Soldiers in IED awareness”
Recently a video was made of their bravery. It says it all. Boyer Writes salutes these brave, dedicated men who have saved the lives, limbs and futures of many of our soldiers in harm’s way.
May this New Year 2012 be a Happier One, especially for those families who lost loved ones via the IED and those in hospitals trying to recover from this deadly obstacle hidden on the roads; in the ditches; in towns and villages, or under water. Even though little known or seen, they deserve the title of “hero” for 2011 WATCH VIDEO