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Supporting our troops, Veterans Day and other news

…While the majority of our country has moved on or ignored what is happening, or has happened in these wars, bright and brave twenty-somethings are coming home paralyzed, maimed, severely burned and scarred both emotionally and physically. How our soldiers come to terms with, and rise above, what they’ve seen over a few months, a few weeks or even a moment during their tours of duty, will define their lives. It’s easy to honor this sacrifice in a day filled with parade and salutes, but it is much harder to live with it, day in and day out, for the rest of your life… ~John Koch, Huffington Post

Falmouth soldier’s Iraq death a homicide
Sean Teehan – (Boston Herald) – FALMOUTH – November 11, 2011 – The death of Sgt. Matthew R. Gallagher has been ruled a homicide by the U.S. Army, family members said Thursday.

Gallagher was killed under mysterious circumstances while serving with the 1st Cavalry Division in the Wasit province of Iraq on June 26, a week before his 23rd birthday.

When family members were first informed of Gallagher’s death, it appeared he had been killed by enemy fire while performing a house sweep, said Cheryl Ruggiero, Gallagher’s mother. But the Department of Defense later announced the incident was not combat-related.

Thursday, just a day before a memorial is dedicated in Gallagher’s name, family members said the death was not an accident.

“His autopsy ruled (his death) a homicide,” said Ruggiero. (Click HERE for article)

Our Veterans Day Wish: Give Our Troops the Support They Deserve
Ben Freeman – (POGO) – November 11, 2011 – This, as with all, Veterans Day will be filled with politicians from both sides of the aisle declaring their unshakable support for our military veterans and all the brave servicemen and women in the U.S. military. Republicans at this Saturday’s Presidential debate and Democrats on the Sunday morning talk shows will try to convince the American public that their support for the troops is unparalleled.

Read the remainder of this entry »

NPR: We Pause On Veterans Day To Reread ‘In Flanders Fields’

(For more information on how to properly display your U.S. Flag click HERE)
To all who have served and all that are serving in our armed forces and their families we thank you and we remember.  ~ Ms. Sparky & Forseti

Mark Memmott – (NPR) – November 11, 2011 – Before we move on to the day’s news, serious and silly, we want to pause for a moment to note that it’s Veterans Day.

As President Obama’s declaration states, on this day Americans “pay tribute to our veterans, to the fallen, and to their families.” And, the proclamation adds, “to honor their contributions to our Nation, let us strive with renewed determination to keep the promises we have made to all who have answered our country’s call.”

In May 1915, the U.S. Air Force reminds us, Canadian military doctor, Maj. John M. McCrae, composed the poem In Flanders Fields after treating victims of a German chemical attack in Belgium. It inspired the use of red poppies as a symbol of Veterans Day for many years in the U.S., and they’re still used in Great Britain.

This seems like a good moment to recall McCrae’s words

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

“We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

“Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”

(Click HERE for original article)

A Soldier Died Today ~ a Veterans Day Tribute

JUST A COMMON SOLDIER

(A Soldier Died Today)
by A. Lawrence Vaincourt

He was getting  old and paunchy and his hair was falling fast,
And he sat around the Legion, telling stories of the past.
Of a war that he had fought in and the deeds that he had done,
In his exploits with his buddies; they were heroes, every one.

And tho’ sometimes, to his neighbors, his tales became a joke,
All his Legion buddies listened, for they knew whereof he spoke.
But we’ll hear his tales no longer for old Bill has passed away,
And the world’s a little poorer, for a soldier died today.

He will not be mourned by many, just his children and his wife,
For he lived an ordinary and quite uneventful life.
Held a job and raised a family, quietly going his own way,
And the world won’t note his passing, though a soldier died today.

When politicians leave this earth, their bodies lie in state,
While thousands note their passing and proclaim that they were great.
Papers tell their whole life stories, from the time that they were young,
But the passing of a soldier goes unnoticed and unsung.

Is the greatest contribution to the welfare of our land
A guy who breaks his promises and cons his fellow man?
Or the ordinary fellow who, in times of war and strife,
Goes off to serve his Country and offers up his life?

A politician’s stipend and the style in which he lives
Are sometimes disproportionate to the service that he gives.
While the ordinary soldier, who offered up his all,
Is paid off with a medal and perhaps, a pension small.

It’s so easy to forget them for it was so long ago,
That the old Bills of our Country went to battle, but we know
It was not the politicians, with their compromise and ploys,
Who won for us the freedom that our Country now enjoys.

Should you find yourself in danger, with your enemies at hand,
Would you want a politician with his ever-shifting stand?
Or would you prefer a soldier, who has sworn to defend
His home, his kin and Country and would fight until the end?

He was just a common soldier and his ranks are growing thin,
But his presence should remind us we may need his like again.
For when countries are in conflict, then we find the soldier’s part
Is to clean up all the troubles that the politicians start.

If we cannot do him honor while he’s here to hear the praise,
Then at least let’s give him homage at the ending of his days.
Perhaps just a simple headline in a paper that would say,
“Our Country is in mourning, for a soldier died today”.

For EVERY soldier who has served and every soldier still serving I thank you for myself, my family and the United States of America. Your service DOES NOT and will NEVER go unnoticed or unappreciated here. God Bless You ALL. ~ Ms Sparky

Do it correctly or not at all! U.S. Flag etiquette

(If you can't read the text just click the image to get a larger view)

Unless it’s raining I display my US flag on all flag holidays. As Americans attempt to honor our heroes and our country by displaying the U.S. flag, many will unknowingly do it incorrectly. Most people display their flags from a pole hanging off the house.

When the flag is displayed from a staff projecting from a window, balcony, or a building, the union should be at the peak of the staff unless the flag is at half staff.

No other flag shall ever be placed above it.

The flag should never be displayed in the following manner:

The flag should never be dipped to any person or thing. It is flown upside down only as a distress signal.

The flag should not be used as a drapery, or for covering a speakers desk, draping a platform, or for any decoration in general. Bunting of blue, white and red stripes is available for these purposes. The blue stripe of the bunting should be on the top.

The flag should never be used for any advertising purpose. It should not be embroidered, printed or otherwise impressed on such articles as cushions, handkerchiefs, napkins, boxes, or anything intended to be discarded after temporary use. Advertising signs should not be attached to the staff or halyard.

The flag should not be used as part of a costume or athletic uniform, except that a flag patch may be used on the uniform of military personnel, fireman, policeman and members of patriotic organizations.

The flag should never have placed on it, or attached to it, any mark, insignia, letter, word, number, figure, or drawing of any kind.

The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.

Everything about this display is wrong! If I were to witness this I would have to say something to the owner and I am pretty certain it wouldn't be anything nice!

Did you know the US Flag is to be displayed at half staff until noon on Memorial Day?

How many people will be going to parades and other events this weekend where a US Flag will be presented?  One thing that drives me crazy are people who do not stand and salute the flag. Sadly, many don’t even know they are supposed to. My seven year old knows how to stand, salute and show respect the our flag.

Citizens not in uniform shall stand and salute by placing their right hand over the heart and men with head cover or hats should remove it and hold it to left shoulder so that their hand is over the heart.

Don’t just throw worn or damaged flags in the trash.

When a flag is so worn it is no longer fit to serve as a symbol of our country, it should be destroyed by burning in a dignified manner.

If you have other flag etiquette questions you may find answers HERE. If not try googling it.

Have a safe and enjoyable weekend and PLEASE don’t drink and drive.

Ms Sparky