Friday, August 7, 2009

A Brother Abroad

Though this is Day 188, the countdown is growing long with the end still far from sight......

How about:

177 Days to Go!

I'm not sure if that makes the wait any easier, so I'll dedicate one of my favorite and very appropriate Dickinson poems to my sister-in-law:

"If You Were Coming in the Fall"

If you were coming in the fall,
I'd brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.

If I could see you in a year,
I'd wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.

If only centuries delayed,
I'd count them on my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen's land.

If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I'd toss it yonder like a rind,
And taste eternity.

But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time's uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A Brother Abroad

In the event that you haven't heard of "Dog Tags", a new program implemented by the "Dogs Behind Bars" organization, click HERE to learn all about this fantastic group that relies on inmates to train service dogs, who will then service Vets suffering from Post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as other brain injuries caused during combat in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Also, check out oprah's site, who did a feature on a very brave dog, inmate, and injured Vet.

This is Day 187.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Brother Abroad

"One of the fondest expressions around is that we can't be the world's policeman.
But guess who gets called when somebody needs a cop?" - General Colin Powell

This is Day 186.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I Heart Him

Dedicated to the one I love....

As the sound of John snoring trickles down to the office where I type, I cannot believe we are celebrating our 8 year anniversary.

Having celebrated this past weekend with the kids at Grammy and Poppy's and the sounds of silence, it's perfectly acceptable that the actual day ended with him falling asleep with O as she convinced him to read another story.

And another, and another......

I think that's the best part of marriage, actually: being devoted to one another, being in it through good, bad, and unexpected, and being a family.

What makes me the happiest are things I never endeavored to find.

Anyway, I used to expect a lot in the romance department when I've only come to better realize that the greatest part of romance has nothing to do with gifts, candles, or flowers.

Though, the roses are lovely.

A Brother Abroad

"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill,
that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend,
oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty."
- John F. Kennedy

This is Day 186.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Brother Abroad: No, I'm Not Drinking

Though I am sure I've mentioned this before, I have always had this pipe dream that I'm really determined to realize, despite my family's eternal eye rolling....

A family compound.

That's right. I want to buy a big old pile of land where my family, my parents, and my brothers' families can all build our highly customized homes and live in very close proximity to one another. I know that may sound crazy to some people, but if the Kennedys can pull it off, why not us????

Having recentyly received my first Google Adsense check for advertising on the blog (a whopping $102.11 for 16 months of hard blogging labor), I think I'm just motivated enough to begin the "Family Compound Fund". This also means donations from outside parties are always welcome.

However, the dreamer in me also knows that reality doesn't always factor in with me (that's why I'm friends with realists....shout out to Susan), and so, at least for now, I'll settle for having my entire family on the same continent.

This is Day 185.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Brother Abroad

I kind of wish this one made the nightly news.....a moving story.

In a solemn ceremony punctuated by talk of courage, service and sacrifice, the mother of a Marine corporal on Saturday christened a warship honoring her son, who died after covering an exploding grenade to protect his comrades in Iraq.

After composing herself and taking a deep breath, Deb Dunham smashed a bottle of champagne over the bow of the 510-foot warship Jason Dunham, then held the bottle aloft before a cheering crowd of more than 1,500 people.

She was joined by the Marines who served with her son, by her husband, Dan Dunham, and their daughter Katelyn Dunham. Two other Dunham boys also were in the audience.
Retired Gen. Michael Hagee, a former Marine commandant who was with the Dunhams when their son died at Bethesda Naval Hospital days after the explosion, said Jason gave the "gift of valor." Hagee said the warship will serve as a reminder that freedom "is paid for by the men and women who wear the cloth of this nation."

"They are willing to give up everything that is important: love, marriage, children, family, friends," Hagee said of the 22-year-old Marine. "I can tell you I've always stood in awe of that."
At the Bath Iron Works shipyard, a special place was reserved for those who served with Dunham in Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines. Dunham's company commander, Maj. Trent Gibson, Sgt. Bill Hampton and Cpl. Kelly Miller, who were present the day Dunham died, were among them. Hampton and Miller were next to Dunham when the grenade detonated. It was them whose lives were saved because of him. They suffered burns and shrapnel wounds but recovered.

Hagee said Dunham, from Scio, N.Y., seemed destined to be a Marine: He reminded the audience that Dunham's birthday was the same as that of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Dunham served as squad commander on his first tour in Iraq, and he chose to extend his enlistment so he could serve the entire tour with his Marines. He vowed to bring his squad home alive, and was true to his word. They all came back.

Dunham won the Medal of Honor for his actions April 14, 2004, as his squad sought to engage insurgents after a convoy was ambushed.

While the squad searched vehicles, the driver of a Toyota Land Cruiser jumped out and attacked Dunham. They fell to the ground, where the fight continued.

Dunham shouted: "No, no, no! Watch his hand!" as the attacker pulled out a grenade. Dunham covered the explosive with his body and his helmet as it went off.

He died eight days later.

Before the ceremony, Dunham's mother said it was fitting that the ship that would bear her son's name is a guided-missile destroyer. "It's an honor Jason would really get a kick out of," she said.

This is Day 184.