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Authors & Artists Supporting Our Troops Archive

Halliburton’s Army

Posted May 13, 2009 By Ms Sparky

I’ve heard this is a great book and have been intending to buy it but didn’t know when I’d have the time to read it. I was notified this morning that quotes from the testimony of witnesses from the Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing for July 11, 2008 are in the book. This was the first hearing held on soldier electrocutions and shoddy electrical work. Cheryl Harris, Larraine McGee, Rachel McNeil, Jeff Bliss and myself testified at this hearing. I guess I have to buy the book now!! Below the book cover is a link to Amazon.com.


Halliburton’s Army: How a Well-Connected Texas Oil Company Revolutionized the Way America Makes War

fallen_heroes_portrait_poster4War….started by few and fought by many. If there is anything good to come from war, it’s the reaffirmation in the goodness of mankind. That may sound like some kind of crazy contradiction, but from beneath the smoldering rubble of broken hearts drowning in the tears of lost loved ones, there are some who are compelled to rise up and honor those who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. I want to tell you about one such person, portrait artist Michael G. Reagan founder of FallenHeroesProject.org.
A project Michael has called “the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life. This project reached into my chest and touched a part of my heart that I really didn’t think existed”.

Michael G. Reagan is a world renowned portrait artist from Edmonds, Washington. He has created over 11,0000 portraits, more than 1500 for celebrities, professional athletes, US Presidents and other Heads of State. But more importantly, he has created over 1700 portraits of US Soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Click HERE to view some portraits)

Michael has committed to drawing the portrait of every US Soldier killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is his gift to the families and is given free of charge. Michael draws two portraits per day. Learning and caring about each soldier as he does so. He truly believes the soldier is with him. Helping him to get it just right. At the current number of 4284 Fallen Heroes and if not one more Soldier dies, and at the rate of two portraits per day and subtracting the 1700 already completed, Michael will have to draw every day for next 3 1/2 years.

If you ever wondered if one person can make a difference, just asked the thousands of family members of Fallen Soldiers who have received the selfless gift of love from Michael. Before I get to the video  links, I would like to implore you to donate any amount to the project to pay for shipping and art supplies. Please give for Mother’s Day so that every Gold Star Mom may receive this gift. Click HERE to donate.  A little corporate Karma might be in order here.

This first video clip is from a February 2007 Seattle Rotary Meeting. It is 25 unedited compelling minutes of Michael talking about his experience with the  Fallen Heroes Project. Click HERE to watch and change your life forever. (get a tissue)

Click HERE to watch an amazingly powerful 3 minute MSNBC clip from September 2006.

If you have a portrait of your Fallen Hero from Michael that you would like to share, please send a photo and I will share it with my readers. If you can, tell us how it has impacted your life.

If you have a Fallen Hero and want to request a portrait click HERE.

I have been trying to write this post about Michael for quite some time. But sometimes I get “stuck” in the fighting and the anger that is DoD corporate fraud affecting our troops and civilians in the Middle East. You can’t write about Michael G. Reagan while you are stuck in “anger”. Thanks Michael for helping me get “unstuck” if only for a moment.

Please donate generously

Ms Sparky

The Cries Of A Mother’s Heart – By Lonnie D. Story

Posted February 3, 2009 By Ms Sparky

I would like to introduce author, Lonnie D. Story, a US Army Veteran, thorough researcher and passionate writer. We became acquainted when I began blogging about Depleted Uranium(DU) weapons and Dustin Brim. Lonnie has written and is waiting to publish “Without a Shot Fired: The Dustin Brim Story” and is currently best known for his book The Meeting of Anni Adams: The Butterfly of Luxembourg. I hope his article below touches you, enrages you and empowers you to demand answers.

By Lonnie D. Story (Copyright, 2009)
Ft. Valley, Georgia

“Dear Lonnie I read your story on Dustin Brim. And my heart cried out- Finally someone is talking about the way my son and others died. My son SGT. Jason Henderson was also a mechanic on humvees, serving his 2nd tour. When he became sick in kuwait. They told him he just had heartburn. This went on for 3 months till they finally sent him to Germany where they diagnosed him with stage 4 cancer. After sending him to Walter Reed. I noticed the entire 7th floor is full of soldiers sent there from Iraq with cancer … The Doctors at Walter Reed said we must have cancer in the family, We do not!!!!  After three weeks of tests they sent my son home to die.  I just could not believe this was happening to my son who was very healthy before this. Jason was always very concerned about living a healthy lifestyle. He never drank or smoked. He was devoted to martial arts winning awards in army Tae Kwon Do tournaments, and kickboxing. We wanted a second opinion so we took Jason to Stanford Medical center. It was there that the Chief oncologist told us he “Had never seen a case so advanced ” And that this was without a doubt chemical exposure…
we were told there was nothing we could do but they offered chemo anyway. Jason was a fighter so started chemo treatments. My son lasted only 4 more months. On July 20th 2005 We lost our battle to save our wonderful son. Two months later my husband died. I need to find a way to help other parents by trying to stop anymore deaths from DU…  Thank you for listening. Heartbroken mother, Jana Bell”

There are a lot of things we endure in life, in fact, it is written in the Bible, in the words of Jesus:  Mathew 24:13,14  “But the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved, and this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all nations, and then the end shall come.” For many years of my life I had heard that message preached and taught as if it were saying that once the Gospel (the good news of Christ’s salvation offer) was preached to the ends of the earth that the end would come; the return of the Messiah.  One day, many years ago, I picked up my bible and read that passage again and it leaped off the page to me.  The statement starting in vs. 13 and then continuing into vs. 14 with a very important key; the conjunction “And..”  then the word “This..”  This gospel, what gospel, or “good news” as the word implies “shall be preached to the whole world?  The good news that the one who endures to the end, he shall be saved,…  That was a very life-impacting statement to me personally.  It was the message of endurance.  The message that most people don’t want to hear, and that is something I can understand.  Who truly likes to “endure” things?  The mere mention of the word endurance elicits thoughts of pain, suffering and hidden fears.  Another statement by Jesus was that “he who endures…on account of my name.” referring to great reward is a promise of not only assurance, but, reassurance.  This being said, certainly endurance does have many rewards, honors and even pleasures in the end.  What success is there without much endurance, in most cases?

Nonetheless, there are some things that just don’t seem to fit.  In fact, some things are not meant to be endured.  These are the things that fall under the label of Unjust, Illegal, Corrupt, Evil, Wrong, Ungodly and Fruitless.  Sufferings such as hunger, poverty, sickness and disease are things we as the human race must often endure no matter one’s opinion on the justice of that fact.  However, in the aforementioned, Unjust, Corrupt, Evil, etc., these endurances do not result in reward for the person afflicted, rather it is pain, heartache and suffering unimaginable.  For Jana, in the letter above, the reader can, if they truly have a heart, feel some of the pain and sorrow.  Personally, it was heart-wrenching and re-ignited a fire in me that has been burning for a long time.  It isn’t the first, nor will it be the last, time that I receive such correspondence.  As I continue down this path set before me, I continue to pray and seek guidance that somehow, someway and by God’s grace and mercy, maybe soon, this gospel will be preached to the ends of the world.  The gospel I preach:  “He who hears the cries of a mother’s heart will listen, learn and love and cease from all wrong and evil doing.  He who hears the cry of a mother’s heart will be broken in heart themselves and share the burden, share the load and strive to change things so that our children’s children will not hear that same cry anymore.”

I know it is altruistic and sounds wonderful, soothing and yet, highly improbable or even impossible, but, I draw from that gospel, preach that gospel and one by one, I trust some do hear and make changes.  In our political world today, many people have heard that word a lot and it has brought a renewed global hope.  Just maybe, someone will read this article and the excerpt below and be moved to action to stop, at least, this one unnecessary evil.  Stop the cries of the heart’s of many other mothers yet to be heard before they happen.  In doing so, we must first and foremost, stop our government from using depleted uranium on our own troops, innocent lives and remove this poison from our weapons of war and from our planet.  We must stop the media from ignoring the cries of the hearts of these mothers that already exist.  Stop the talk shows from ignoring our pleas, unstop the ears of the public and move on, press forward to enlighten, educate and liberate while it is not too late.  Listen once more, one more time.  Listen closely as you read this excerpt from my manuscript, the yet unpublished book “Without A Shot Fired:  The Dustin Brim Story” hear this mother’s cry.

“On September 24, 2004, Lori walked the hallways at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for the last time.  Her face was swollen and puffy.  Her eyes red and blurred.  Her speech was hindered, halting and shaky.  Her body trembled uncontrollably through to the tips of her reddened hands.  Hands that had been gripped all night in a clasp of prayers.  Prayers that she could no longer pray.  A decision had come and it would be far from her hopes, pleadings and tears.  There wasn’t any more reason to go on like this, no more needles, no more chemicals, no more tests, no more pain and no more suffering.  Not for herself, but, for her son.  It was time to let Dustin go.

As Lori approached the room, a darkness fell all around her.  She could no longer see the lights in the hallway.  She no longer felt the cool air breezing through or sense the presence of the other travelers down this pathway.  No doctors, no nurses, no friends or family were noticed, her mind had taken hold of her decision, hers alone and all other things outside and around were frozen out, cast into utter darkness.

Lori’s hands pushed the door open as she entered the room and she took one more deep breath to steel herself to do the impossible; the most painful, indescribable decision she had ever made or ever would have to make in her life.  She had come into this room to tell her only son, the son she loved more than life itself, the son that she had given birth to with so much joy and hope only 22 short years before; this son, her son, her Dusty, her angel, she had to tell him to let go, stop fighting, all the opposites of the things she had told him for the past six months. Here she was, with this unbearable truth; she had to tell her own son it was time to die.

As cruel as that may sound, it was a mother’s plea, a mother’s cry from her heart to stop the pain.  Stop the suffering of her only child.  It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t good, it was time to end the battle.  A battle lost on the battlefield of a hospital that started on the battlefields of a far off place in the Middle East called Iraq.  The battlefields where her son, this son, her Dusty had succumbed to a poisonous evil brought about by no war of her choosing nor of her child.  It was a war brought by others and for their own reasons, good or bad.

Dustin was only a part of it, a small part to most and many; but that too would change in the near future.  But here in this room, here and now, Dustin was hearing his final orders.  No longer the instructions of those that commanded him while serving in the Army, serving his country, serving in Iraq, serving his fellow soldiers, this command was from the voice he had known all his life.  The voice he loved, the voice that always brought assurances, peace, consolation and unselfish, unconditional love.  This voice was whispering in his ear and he recognized it, knew it, believed it and understood, as sad as it was, it was right.

“Dustin, let go, honey.  Dustin, don’t fight anymore, baby.  Go home.  Go home to Jesus.  Your going to heaven now, baby, mommy will see you soon.  Be at rest, sweetheart.  Rest now, Dustin.  Go on ahead, son.  Don’t fight it anymore.  I love you, baby.  Mommy loves you so, so very much.  Honey, let go.”

And, with those words, that morning of September 24, 2004, Dustin Michael Brim, breathed his last breath.  He relented, he relaxed and rested.  He had lost the battle, the battle he had fought so hard and so bravely.  Not a battle in Iraq or any other place, but, a battle within his own body, a war against death and it was lost.  It was over, at least, for Dustin and for Lori.  For all the people that knew him and loved him, this battle was over, the war was ending in surrender to death.  One thing remained; a commitment.  Lori’s swearing oath to her son and herself:  Dustin’s death will not be the death of his memory or his life lived.  Dustin’s death would not be in vain.  This never had to happen.  It should not have happened and no other mother should have to cry the tears she cried, feel the pain Dustin endured nor fight this unnecessary and cruel conflict.  If it had been a bullet or a bomb, Lori would have somehow understood.  Maybe there could have been a little more peace, a little more closure.  Instead, she was robbed.  She was emotionally raped and murdered along side her son.

What had happened to Dustin, in all her heart she believed, was all from wrongdoing, evil and unjust.  Her son was poisoned by something on that battlefield in Iraq and she would not rest until she got answers. Months earlier a nurse had told her secretively and at her own peril, to look into the subject of depleted uranium on the Internet. Now, with Dustin at rest and gone, she would re-ignite her determination to find the answers to the mystery.  The mystery of some previously unheard of stuff called depleted uranium.

For now though, there was only one thing left in this world; her wounded, battered, beaten and sullen heart.  A heart that had no place to turn, no place to heal.  She simply sat by the bed, having leaned over with her final words to her son, she sat and cried.  She sat silently sobbing.  Crying all the pain out from her heart.  A broken heart never to know true joy and peace on earth again.

Down the hall, that day, and in days to come, many more mothers would cry the same tears and their hearts, too, would yield their souls to anguish.  From that floor filled with cancer patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center there would lift an echo.  Around the world the echo would lift and unite, an echo that needed to pierce the hearts and minds of those that played a part in so much pain and misery.  Each reaching out and pleading to anyone and everyone that would listen, listen to the cry of a mother’s heart.” (END)

My personal thanks to Lonnie D. Story for this contribution. As a mom….I just cried and cried.

Ms Sparky