Sew Much Comfort

sewmuchcomfort.orgThere are a ton of reputable, worthwhile organizations out there helping wounded service men and women and their families, but I’m especially excited about this one. Sew Much Comfort reconfigures regular clothes for the wounded. Creating side openings with velcro on shirts or boxers, widening pant legs to accomodate casts, etc. This is something I have the skill to do! So I signed up for a seamstress packet. They’ll send me a project, and I send it back for a (probably much needed) quality check. Hopefully, I’ll do a good job and be able to help on a regular basis.

I’m posting this here because I know there are quite a few sewers that frequent my little blog. But if you don’t sew, they also accept all kinds of contributions – everything from money to clothes to fabric.

However you decide to help, just help. The media and the Bush administration may go on and on about decreases in numbers of casualties, but the numbers of wounded have never been properly accounted for or reported. Conservative estimates are around the 30,000 mark.

If guys like Marine Corps Master Seargeant William Gibson will GO BACK after losing a leg, I think I can alter a few t-shirts and boxers for the ones who aren’t back in cammies just yet.

Memorial Day

folded flagJust for info…because LOTS of people don’t know…here’s what Memorial Day is all about: it’s a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation’s service.

Two years ago, I was in DC for a conference for work. I was seven months pregnant, and I decided to hike a few miles through Arlington National Cemetery to find my maternal great-grandparents’ graves. It was so hot, and I didn’t bring any water.  It took a little doing (and a lot of sweating), but I found their graves, and I was so proud. As I was walking back to the Metro, I saw a full funeral procession, complete with caisson and I started bawling. Even sadder was all the fresh grave sites at the front of the cemetery.

This little journey was as much a tribute to my unborn son, mother and grandmother as it was to my great-grandparents. My mom passed away on June 5, 1994. The day I went to Arlington was June 6, 2005. My grandmother died before I was born. My great grandfather was a West Point grad, retired as a Colonel in the Army (after serving in WWI and WWII), and then worked for the CIA. My great grandmother gets to be buried next to him, so they rest side by side in the nation’s most well known military cemetery. I cried for all the family my son will never know, and for the proud military heritage I have on both sides of my family. On my mother’s side, military service goes all the way back to the Revolutionary War. On my father’s side, I’m the latest (and the first female) of at least one of each generation serving in either the Army, Air Force or Navy. We don’t have any Marines – yet. But we do have a nurse, a few pilots and at least one Airborne Ranger.

I plan to visit the other national cemeteries where my family members are buried. Even the one in Hawaii where my great uncle – my father (and my son’s) namesake – is buried, after being shot down during WWII.

I hope we all remember to take a minute to remember these men and women – and to be grateful for their sacrifice. I’m certain I wouldn’t be running my mouth on this blog all the time if it wasn’t for them ensuring my free speech.

John Edwards has set up a great site called SupportTheTroopsEndTheWar.com – it’s got a lot of activities we can do during Memorial Day weekend (or every day – if you’re motivated) to voice our feelings that our Soldiers, Marines, Airmen and Sailors should not be in Iraq any longer.

Ft. Irwin

Ft Irwin rocksThis weekend, we visited my brother in law at his new duty station, Ft. Irwin. I’m not going to sugar-coat it, it’s an awful place. The term “God-forsaken” is about as apt as you can get. We encountered many a strange insect and animal in his backyard, it was ridiculously hot, and very very isolated. I feel so bad for him. I was hoping he’d find a little joy and purpose in his job, but as of now (he’s been there a little over a month), it’s not going so well. He’s a Staff Sergeant (E6) in a job (MOS) that has too many Staff Sergeants, and very few Sergeant First Class (E7) positions, so he can’t get promoted until some of those people get out of the Army or get promoted to E8 – of which there are even fewer positions. So even after two tours in Iraq, one to Kosovo and one to Bosnia in the last five years, his promotion potential is very very small. Add to that an inordinate amount of confusion and mismanagement in his new unit, and he is very unhappy.

We talked a little about his first tour in Iraq, and we all got teary eyed because it’s such a depressing situation. He spoke of the good he did (building a school, playing soccer with Iraqi children) but he also spoke of the Iraqi’s inherent distrust of Americans and the lack of trustworthiness of many Iraqi’s.

It’s really an awful situation that our service men and women are in.

After 14 years of service, my brother-in-law is seriously considering getting out. Not because of deployments that have ruined his marriage. Not because he missed the whole first year of his second daughter’s life. But because the Army doesn’t make sense to him anymore. The war in Iraq overrides everything. This means he will forgo his retirement. He’s that unhappy. And this is someone who REALLY REALLY REALLY loved being a soldier. It breaks my heart.

May – Military Appreciation Month

America Supports YouLooking for ways to show your support for our Military? Click here for options.

From the America Supports You website:

A declaration in 1999 encouraged U.S. citizens to observe May as Military Appreciation Month “in a symbol of unity – to honor the current and former members of the armed forces – including those who have died in the pursuit of freedom and peace.”

A quote from Senator Barbara Boxer:

“When service members are discharged, we should express our gratitude for their profound personal sacrifice, not hand them a bill for their hospital food.