veterans Posts

Donald Trump and that White House visit

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She was standing under the trees at the Southeast gate just off Alexander Hamilton Street. The button picture of her son stood in stark contrast to the all white dress and wrap she was wearing. Her hair was perfectly coiffed. Her make-up was fresh and bright, masking the hurt beyond.

For a brief moment, it was just the two of us there.

“Are you excited?” I asked.

“I am,” she replied.

I didn’t have to ask if she was a Gold Star mother, I knew she was by the white she wore, but I did introduce myself as a Gold Star daughter. I asked her to tell me about her son.

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A Closeted Hippie’s Take on Memorial Day

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In spite of growing up on the tailwind of the Hippie-era, I’m a traditionalist at heart. I like the Book of Common Prayer, the Our Father, Rosary beads, and the way Episcopalians always say, “And also with you”.  I love the formality of a processional, a church choir that still wears choir robes, and the high church sound of an organ well-played. The whole world looks more magical to me through the lens of stained glass windows, even those portraying the most profound of all betrayals.

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Dishonorable Soldiers

 

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Soldier Jeanie Ditty and her boyfriend.

Most often I am compelled to write about the ways in which we need to honor our veterans and military families. This compulsion is the result of growing up a Gold Star daughter during the height of the Vietnam War. I wrote After the Flag has been Folded (William Morrow) for the very purpose of setting the record straight about those who served, and how they and their families were mistreated as a result of simply doing what their country required of them. I knew my father to be a more honorable man than the crazed soldiers depicted in all those Vietnam war flicks that Hollywood was cranking out. Most soldiers I’ve come into contact with over the years have been honorable people. They don’t seek the limelight. They don’t consider themselves heroes. They go out of their way to serve others. And most importantly, they are there for each other.

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Lester’s Legacy

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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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