Gold Star family Posts

Our Brother Terry McGregor

DaNang, Vietnam with Sons & Daughters in Touch.

DaNang, Vietnam with Sons & Daughters in Touch.

Every now and then there are people we meet who change the trajectory of our lives in the most unexpected but eternally astounding ways.

Terry McGregor was that person for me.

There were others, of course. The poet George Venn who first declared me a real writer. Patsy Ward, that beautiful young woman who helped me find my way to Jesus, after years of abandonment. Judge Rufe McCombs who asked me to write her memoir. Marc Jolley who agreed to publish my first book and is still publishing my books.  I could probably spend all day writing about the people who have shaped me into the woman I am.

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Gold Star Families: Making a President Look More Presidential

Owens

There are these documents most every Gold Star family has stashed somewhere. The signatures on those documents change from era to era, but the White House seal, it stays the same. The ones I have are over 50 years old now. They belonged to my mother but she passed them on to me – the document keeper of the family.

There’s the Regret-to-Inform telegram confirming that Staff Sgt. David P. Spears was KIA on July 24, 1966.

There’s the Letter of Sympathy sent from the United States president.

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Lester’s Legacy

Maddox2

Allow me to speak to you as a Gold Star Daughter, would you?

Being part of a Gold Star family isn’t something anyone aspires to. It’s an exclusive club, membership will cost you a life. In my case, it cost my father’s life.

He was 34.

Daddy grew up in Appalachia. He dropped out of school after the 8th grade. As one of the oldest among his eight siblings, it fell to the older boys to help provide for the younger ones, or at least, not to be a further financial burden upon his family.

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Thank a Veteran for that Book You Love

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A few years ago, I mentioned Kent State to my university students. You know, First Amendment and all that Right to Assemble business. Only problem was no one in class had ever heard of all that mess at Kent State. They only knew of Kent State as a place where basketball was sometimes played well.

This is what is commonly called as background knowledge. The more background knowledge a person lacks, the less understanding they bring to the page when reading, the bigger the educational gaps.

When it comes to the subject of the American War in Vietnam there’s a wide canyon of misunderstanding and just sheer lack of knowledge. Naturally, I suppose, I make a point of trying to bridge that gap, in my writing and in my teaching.

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Purple Heart Recipient Jed Zillmer: An American Tragedy

 

 

His life ended in a one-sided shoot-out.

Police said he wanted it that way.

They said Afghanistan war veteran Jed Zillmer was on a suicidal mission: Kill or be killed.

He was allegedly heavily armed and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, although that had never been diagnosed.

Before a claim of PTSD can be confirmed it has to be reported – by the very person suffering from it. Go figure.

Zillmer had filed a claim. Said he’d lost a toe after his foot was shot during a gun battle in Afghanistan that took the life of one of his buddies. The nation awarded him a Purple Heart for the injury. The Army denied him disability benefits for that same injury. When Zillmer fought back – the way the military taught him to do – he was denied a second time, by a Federal judge. No conflict of interest there.

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