Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Our Heroes

You see everyone in this area knows about Eddie. He's a local kid. Wanted to be a Marine just about all of his life. Eddie went to Ramadi. He was just 21 years old, right between my two boys. He was on a rooftop when a bullet ripped through the frontal lobe of his brain and another through his chin. He was a sniper target in Ramadi. He's one of our own here.Some kids would have just let go and died. Eddie didn't. He's a fighter and always has been. For a very long time now, Eddie has been fighting all of the way. Everyone had pretty much given him up for dead, but he hung on. He has to struggle to talk. He has to struggle to walk , but he is doing it!Eddie could use some help along the way. He's getting the therapy he needs. Hospitals and Recouperation centers get lonely though, even with Mom there 24 hours a day. His sister comes as well and Dad is now coming right after work every day.... it's about a 2 to 2 and 1/2 hour drive depending on traffic, each way. The thing is, Eddie loves to hear from people. He loves to see pictures drawn by kids. Eddie loves to connect with people in this way.If you could send Eddie a card, a drawing by a child, a note, I'm sure he'd appreciate it! He loves getting mail!!!You can mail Eddi at this address:SGT. Eddie Ryan4A Room 12Helen Hayes Hospital Route 9WWest Haverstraw, NY10993If you'd like to go find out more about Eddie, please go to bless!A Mom in America

Found this on another website! Please take the time to write this brave Marine! The sad thing is, he is not the only one who has been struggling. They come from all of the branches, all walks of life. For those of us who sit at home in our cushy little worlds, the least we can do is tell them "Thank You", that we are thinking of them.
On that note: Hey Mark! Thank You, man! In all of the time when I was a teenager and you showed how talented you were at making my face turn ten shades of red, I never realized that I was dealing with a Hero! Charlotte, if you are reading this, send me his addy!

Monday, October 22, 2007


Family Guy Army vs Marines

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Okay, the last part of this is wrong on so many levels, but I love the mother's comment!

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Conversation

On My Watch Tonight

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Finally, a real conversation regarding this decision John is making. It went like this:

"John, you have to promise me that nothing is going to happen to you over there. my life cannot take any more tragedy. I will end up in a mental institution."

"Then maybe I shouldn't go, because you know I cannot make that promise if I go off to war."

"But you don't understand what I am saying to you. You need to do this for YOU, not me or Evan. We are tough and resilient. I don't want you to do it for us, for the same reason I don't want you to NOT do it because of us. This is about you, and whatever you do, I will support 100%. I just need to know what you want so I know. What do you want?"


Just like that. Total absence of doubt. Fire in his eyes. He knows.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Back Home?

I attempted to blog about this on two separate occasions yesterday, and everytime I did, I stopped myself. John has gotten tired of the way that Navy recruiters have "handled" his reenlistment. So he has gone back to the Corps. It started as a few harmless calls and emails. It has ended up with his reenlistment to a reserve unit that will be deploying to Iraq in March of 2008. He will serve in a reserve unit for 1 year before being transferred to Active Duty, but most of that year he will be activated anyhow, due to the deployment.

I am so scared. I don't know why it makes such a difference that he will be a Marine instead of a Corpsman. I think it stems from the fact that Corpsmen are "non-combatant" whereas Marines are about as combatant as they come. Aside from that, as a Corpsman, it would have taken about a year for his training. Now I have about 5 and a half months now before he goes off to war. We were told that, should he join another unit that is not being deployed for a while longer, they will probably activate him and send him with a different unit, so there is no avoiding it. I have to let him go. My only other option is to throw a complete fit about the entire thing, and try to get him to not reenlist. I wouldn't do that though. After all, he belonged to the Corps long before he belonged to me.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

For Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, Airmen....

My husband and I are in a phase where affected individuals need to be informed of his intentions. Family members, coworkers, and friends. I can wrap up most of the response with this: “Is he CRAZY?” One woman from my work even had some slight leakage from the orbitals when she heard the news. The more I ponder the reactions, the more I question the decision myself.

I was raised in an environment where military service was to be revered. My father served in the Army. Two brothers followed suit. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite childhood photos of myself was taken at my older brother’s boot camp graduation festivities. I am very small, about three years old, and I am sitting on his “rack”, wearing his “cover”. This is the same older brother who used his first paycheck after boot camp to purchase my very first bicycle, and subsequently hauled the purchase home from Fort Knox tied to the roof of a Ford Pinto. At that time in my history, a military career was a remarkable thing, something of which to be proud. A veteran of the United States Armed Forces was a precious thing, in demand of respect.

Fast forward many years later, and I find myself married to a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. While I will not even begin to speculate on the feelings of being a veteran, I can say emphatically, that the entire issue took on a different meaning for me. I am in awe of the uniforms hanging in my bedroom closet. I can run my hands over the fabric of the blood stripes that adorn the trousers and know that he earned those. I see the ribbons pinned on the chest and feel a swell of pride in my heart that this is my husband, my son’s father. To me, this is the fabric of our great nation.

As people make comments about the decision my husband has made to re-enlist, I wonder why that awe is not present in them. I could extrapolate an enormous political conclusion about this. I am trying to refrain from that. And at first, I felt like I had to justify the decision to others. Now, as the next leg of John’s military career looms larger and larger in the future, I have gotten past that point. Instead, I hold my head high, with my chin forward and my shoulders back.
My husband, like all of you or your loved ones, was and still is brave enough to raise his hand and say, without hesitation, that he will fight for his country and her interests. He would willingly lay down his life if need be. For those who feel free to question the presence of sanity in the process of making this decision, his willingness (and yours) translates to the fact that they do not have to. They can sleep in a cozy and comfortable bed at night, with their loved ones a fingertip’s-reach away, safe from the world of which my family is on the brink of entering. The world my husband has already called his own once before. The world in which you live everyday.

I would love to conclude with a poetic and eloquent statement regarding the pride I feel in each of you, as a fellow American. I would love to express my gratitude satisfactorily. For the first time in my life, words fail me. For me, all of you are the United States. And should you ever be in the position we currently are, and others respond to your career choices with “Are you crazy?”, I would love for your response to be, “I may be a little crazy, but because I am, you don’t have to be.”

Quit Yer Whinin'!

I am sick, sick, sick and tired, tired, tired, tired of the crap! BCS standings are to be released on Monday, and being that my Buckeyes have yet to fall, the consensus is that they will be ranked number one again this year. Numeral Uno. But what does everyone have to say about this? "They haven't played a real schedule yet!" or "They would never make it in the SEC."

Whatever! When Ohio State lost the Big Game at the end of the 2006 season, I cried a little. No, let me correct myself: I wept. They played like sheer crap, so the loss would have been easier to handle had they brought their A Game. They did not, and thus Florida deserved to win. I did not start spewing garbage about how the matchup was unfair or give excuses for why my boys lost.

Now, in the tumultuous world of college football, with all of the top teams toppling, I am hearing an overabundance of this garbage from others. "They were at their weakest point." Blah, blah, blah. Your team lost, People! Get over it. Ohio State has been the most consistent team out there so far this year. No they have not completed their Big 10 games. I guess that makes them inadequate. How dare them to not have control over the way the season schedule falls! They must be inferior because they have to wait for the conference games.

Just wait! The Big 10 games are coming up. My Buckeyes are primed and ready, pumped by a thus far undefeated season. Ready to go! Get over yourselves and your team's inadequacy. Stop the whining. This is football, for crying out loud. Let the chips fall, then we will talk.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Attention, Please!

So my kid is in karate, right? We gave him a choice of activities, and this was his choice. We as parents thought "Sure, why not?" It will teach him discipline. So the process started.

The first week of class, a parent had to be present throughout the class. John wanted to go for his run, so I was elected by default. I watched, and it was so cute! Evan did well enough, I guess.

Fast Forward...One Week Later...John wanted to watch, as well. So we are sitting there, and little Evan has his back to us. They were expected to stand at attention in between exercises. We figured Evan could surely manage this. After all, he is the product of a Marine. Well, he couldn't! He fidgeted and giggled and moved, prompting the intervention of his Master many times. John's face was becoming more and more red, and the vein in his temple began to pulsate. He whispered to me, through gritted teeth, "I am so embarrassed!"

Needless, to say, when Evan got home that evening, John made him stand at attention for 15 minutes. Shouldn't be too bad, right? Wrong! Evan fidgeted and squirmed and whined through it, and the clock started over each time he did so. It was not a pleasant night for us. Who would have thought that a Marine's son could not stand at attention? Hahaha.

Business as Usual

Nothing new going on on the homefront. The man is still in the re-enlistment process, and has learned that he needs four waivers. Long story, y'all. (Ha! I DID retain some Kentuckyisms!) The kid is still rotten. I am still busy as all hell. School, work, exams, keeping the man encouraged. And I have been working on care packages for some of our men over there. Sorry, not much to report.

Friday, October 5, 2007


I-O! Once again I am proud of my boys sporting the scarlet and gray! Just had to throw that in there.

So, as anyone knows, TRUE Buckeyes are about as Anti-Michigan as they come. So I have a bet running with a friend from If Michigan wins the game this year, I have agreed to purchase and wear a Michigan jersey, paint my face with the Big M, and sport a blue Afro while singing the Michigan fight song on You Tube. If Ohio State wins, he has to dress like an OSU cheerleader (including full make-up) and sing the "We Don't Give a Damn......" Song that we Buckeyes know and love so very much. He has to netcast his video.

I guess the moral of the story is to tune in on November 17.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Freak-Out Mode

The pic has nothing to do with anything, other than the fact that I am sustained by caffeine and nicotine at the moment. I'm actually freaking out! The start of October has marked the start of the new fiscal year for the Navy, and John has continued to drop weight like mad! So next week, he is supposed to negotiate the nitty gritty with the recruiter and plan a date for MEPS.

As for me, I cannot get this sinking feeling to go away. You know the feeling that something is about to happen that you need to stop, but can't?

Well, this is the frame of mind I am in right now, at this very moment. If I am gonna interfere with John's re-enlistment, now is the time to do it. The problem is that I cannot tell the difference between my fear of the unknown and authentic this-is-not-a-good-choice judgement. Until I can tell the difference, I just feel as if it is my job to not interfere with my man's career choice. Instead, I should just be supporting him. I am afraid my entire world is going to be thrown into a state of complete disarray, which is not a good feeling for a Type-A personality like myself. What about my job? Is someone really going to come forward and help me watch my son for 12 hours a night, Friday though Sunday? Are there sane individuals who will voluntarily surrender their entire weekend in order to watch my son? Furthermore, I don't know how long I have to plan all of this, as we do not have any definite dates, or even a ballpark figure.

Stupid video games are not helping improve my state of mind.

Here lately, my dear JohnJohn has been playing the Medal of Honor series. I watch him and wonder if he is going to be okay. His response when I tell him I am worried is "Oh My GOD, Andrea, a video game is not real life, for crying out loud! I will be fine." After all, despite what he has told his parents, he is most likely going into a combat situation. Does he still have the instinct of when to duck and when to make sure he covers all of his sides? I know I am most likely being stupid, but there is something about people shooting at a character on a game that brings this fear to the surface, and it all unnerves me quite a good deal.

And then there is You Tube....

This is a pretty big problem for me at the moment. I recently compared it to driving past an auto accident and feeling an invisible force pulling your head to look as you pass. I cannot stop myself. So I watch the videos people submit. I have wept over videos of service men and women leaving families to go on deployment, and also of them returning home. The worst was the clip of a Sailor returning home and surprising his six-year-old kid in school, and the little boy's reaction. Hey, my kid is six!

Then there is the actual combat footage of stuff being blown to bits. I watched one the other day that had the "graphic" warning on it. I didn't pay that any mind, as anything that involves the firing of any type of weapon is labeled as such. But this one was REALLY GRAPHIC! I mean gruesome. It wouldn't have bothered me, as in my line of work, I have been involved in may traumas. But as a wife who is preparing to ship off the love of her life, I had a problem with it. The only factor that helped was the fact that it was the bad guys' blood, not our boys'. But still, it made me fear for the emotional well-being of my husband. After all, how can you observe that daily and maintain a grasp on sanity?

Okay. the kid is begging me for breakfast, so I must scoot. Besides, I need a coffee refill.