Signs of Respect

In Sullivan Illinois, the residents have found a great way to honor their military residents serving in the US Armed Forces. When many were deployed to Afghanistan in 2004, the soldier’s names were nailed to lampposts. As more and more young people volunteered in Sullivan, population 4,400, the parents decided to keep up the tradition.

More than a hundred town residents have served abroad and dozens more will still deploy to either Iraq or Afghanistan.  Some names have hung more than once while spouses and siblings are displayed two to a post.

This is the town’s small, informal way of showing its respect to those members of the community who for the most part joined the military out of patriotism.

In Sullivan, the effort to support military personnel and their families includes churches, care package packing parties and coffee klatches. The wonderful thing here is the residents have taken their support an additional step by putting up the signs and honoring their military even further.

As we military family members know, support is imperative during deployment. It is hard for non-military people to understand the fear and helplessness when a loved one deploys for a war zone. The signs are a great way of reminding people on a daily basis that someone’s family member is in harm’s way and protecting each and every one of us.

Since my son will soon be deployed my need for support and understanding grows with each passing day. I think doing something like this in my hometown would be a great comfort to me. Maybe since this story is out other towns might want to do something like this too.

Some might worry about putting a loved one’s name on a sign in public. Let’s face it there are a few crazies out there. I suggest family members or the actual service member have the option of just using their first name. The whole world does not necessarily have to know the service member’s whole name and this might bring a little piece of mind to people who may be skeptical.

So I say spread the word and maybe this could grab some momentum and before we know it many towns and cities could be demonstrating yet one more way to say thank you to our brave military.

ProudMom3

A Mother’s Silent Scream: Coping with Impending Deployment

May 8, 2009 · Filed Under Deployment, Proud Mom 3 · 2 Comments 

My son, LCpl Honda is set to deploy to the Sandbox later this year. It is still a few months off so I decided I just cannot freak out and go out of my mind with worry just yet. Nevertheless, I have to admit that each day that comes to pass, I feel a scream welling up inside of me. I know that this is probably normal and I know that I am not alone in feeling this way.

When my nephew, Cpl Red went on his first deployment I watched my sister, Crafty go through this process. I was with her when she had to say goodbye as his unit left. That experience is forever stamped in my memory. I watched other parents, wives, girlfriends and children say goodbye to their loved ones. I saw the look on their faces. I came home and told my mom, “I don’t want to ever have to do this again.” However, in my heart I knew I would.

I remember when I was very young and Vietnam ended. I naively thought that there would not really be any more wars. Why? I guess because I was young and not very informed about the way of the world. I never ever thought that a child of mine might have to go off to combat. I think after 9/11 that changed. With my daughter, Cinderella, who was active duty army at the time, for the first time ever, I felt the fear that I feel now.

I have only told family about LCpl Honda’s deployment. I cannot bear to divulge this information to other friends and co-workers just yet. LCpl Honda worked at the same place I worked before going off to boot camp. So everyone there likes him and knows him well. I just cannot bear the sympatric looks that I know will come. Please do not get me wrong. I know people mean well, but non-military families just do not have the understanding. It is not their fault. They are just not in the situation.

I have also found that I purposely do not do things like watch war movies. My husband wanted to watch ‘Saving Private Ryan’ this past weekend. I could not do it. HBO is replaying ‘Taking Chance’ at the end of the month. It is about a fallen Marine being escorted home. I plan to record it, but I do not think I will watch it until this deployment is over and my son and nephew are home safe.

I am not sure how well I will cope in the days ahead, but I will at least try to “soldier on” and if anybody asks, I will just reply with, “Good to go.”

ProudMom3

Marine Corps – Making Warriors

April 14, 2009 · Filed Under Proud Mom 3, This & That · Comment 

logousmc1

Predeployment Training: Making Warriors

LCpl Honda is currently training for an upcoming deployment. Since I am always interested in what he is doing, I decided to ask him some questions and get his take on the training he is receiving.

Predeployment training is very intense and designed to teach the Marines what conditions could arise on a combat deployment. Marines train in realistic towns with actual Iraqi people playing citizens and terrorists alike. These “actors” prepare the Marines to react a certain way when they are deployed to places like Iraq and Afghanistan. It is vital that the Marines learn how to interact and in turn to watch reactions of the people playing these parts in order to ensure the most utmost safety conditions.

Marines learn how to conduct raids under live fire-like conditions. They learn the safest ways of securing a town or building. One technique is using buddy rushing by running and covering each other while advancing on a target. A squad may start out together but end split up into two “buddies” teams.

Jumping out of helicopters is another vital training exercise because that might be the only means of getting the Marines to a location. Marines are trained to slide down a fast rope and be able to land without injuring themselves on the ground. They are instructed on how to deal with the rotor wash air coming down from the rotors and the brown out dirt that is kicked up from the ground. LCpl Honda says that the instructors are very good at helping the Marines to jump successfully.

LCpl Honda says that the most important thing about the training is working together. This has been emphasized since the Marines were recruits in Boot Camp. “You have to look out for the guy next to you and he has the do the same.” said LCpl Honda. The training is really a dress rehearsal for the actual theater.

The Marines have no idea what will happen during training. There could be a riot, a sniper on a roof or terrorist hold up in a building. The element of surprise prepares them to expect anything during deployment. Better to make a mistake during training than during actual combat situations.

I asked LCpl Honda if he felt he was ready for deployment. “Well,” he said, “I am not through with training yet so not quite.” but he continued, “I will be.” He also said that most of the Marines feel the same way as him.

He closed with, “We get the best training possible.” and more importantly, he added, “Our leaders and instructors prepare all of us to come home.”

Proud Mom 3

We will all keep LCpl Honda in our thoughts that he comes home safely. LAW

My Daughter, My Soldier

March 17, 2009 · Filed Under Military Parents, Proud Mom 3, This & That · 1 Comment 

american-flag-pictureWhen my daughter Cinderella came to me shortly after graduating high school and said she was going to join the Army I was only a little surprised. A few years prior as we sat in a high school gym watching her brother LCpl Honda compete in wrestling she turned to me and said, “I am going to do that next year mom.” I thought, well ok. Needless to say she made good on her comment and even went on to pin a few boys during her wrestling career.

The day came and she left for boot camp and never looked back. Her reasons for joining were she did not really want to attend college right away because she was concerned about finances and knew she would probably be able to attain a better education after serving with her GI Bill.

Her goals were to do the best job for her country. Now this was pre 9/11 when people were not receiving the accolades for joining and serving that they do today. Not that we were not proud, but I for one was naive thinking the world would remain calm and war was not a possibility in the near future. Boy was I wrong.

Cinderella says like any other job there are pros and cons. She cites job security, guaranteed paycheck, free health and dental insurance as pros for joining the military. For Cinderella the honor of serving her country was by far the biggest pro. She didn’t cite two many cons but did say that nobody likes their job all the time and there were times she had rough days. She said it was tough working long hours on four hours of sleep but understood the job requirements.

Cinderella left the military because she had a young daughter at the time and thought it best to be a full-time mother to her. Would she join again? “In a minute!” she said. But Cinderella has chosen motherhood first. I have to agree with that decision.

Although she would still like to serve she has taken away a lifetime of experiences that a lot of people can’t say they have. Cinderella spent three and a half years active duty as an MP attaining the rank of specialist in the US Army and one year as a specialist in the Army National Guard.

Thank you for your service Spec. Cinderella. We are proud of you!

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