My Uncle Tom, A True World War II Hero!

Believe it or not, for much of the 20th century, asbestos was as normal in the United States military as red, white and blue. Asbestos was everywhere to be found in the military due to its ability to insulate and fireproof! The men and women whose job it was to protect our country viewed asbestos as a vital ingredient to help safeguard them. Asbestos was prevalent in all branches of services and was everywhere by design as mandated from the top.

Today, asbestos is another story, a sad story, a story of illness, disabilities and sometimes, even death! Many of our Veterans who risked their lives for our freedom are forced to cope with life-changing illnesses like mesothelioma, asbestos-caused lung cancer and asbestosis. Often times the life expectancy of the disease is short compared to that of other cancers and quite frequently patients are not diagnosed properly until the disease is in its late stages.

I recently visited with my Uncle Tom, a World War II Veteran who is unfortunately ailing from mesothelioma. He told me about Weitz & Luxenberg, a law firm which has become a household name due to their television commercials regarding asbestos. Uncle Tom informed me that they are the top asbestos lawyers in the country and he is so grateful to have found them. Although Uncle Tom, is quite ill, he was pleased to tell me that for the first time in months, he feels hopeful, not only that he will get the medical treatment he needs but also because he was compensated monetarily. He said Weitz & Luxenberg held his hand from the minute he walked into their offices. They guided him to Asbestos Veteran an organization that matched him with a veteran advocate who advised him every step of the way.

I am so happy Uncle Tom’s questions and needs are being handled by competent, trustworthy people. I hope other veterans are as fortunate as my dear Uncle Tom and find their way to Weitz & Luxenberg!

“I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy
A Yankee Doodle, do or die
A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam
Born on the Fourth of July”

God Bless America, God Bless Our Veterans and God Bless The Home of the Brave!

Don’t Miss Lady Liberty!

I heard on the news that the Statue of Liberty will reopen on July 4th, 2013 after it was closed in October 2012. Liberty Island suffered significant infrastructure damage from Hurricane Sandy which rocked the east coast.

Did you know that Lady Liberty officially celebrated her 100th birthday in 1986? The Statue was given to the United States by France in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution. Lady Liberty’s symbolism has grown to include freedom and democracy as well as international friendship.

The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island embraces one of this nation’s most dramatic stories: the immigration of northern, southern, and eastern Europeans into the United States. After being greeted by the Statue of Liberty and processed at Ellis Island, these immigrants purchased tickets and boarded trains, that took them to their new homes throughout the United States. The Island served these immigrants as the gateway to the realization of their hopes and dreams of a new life in America.

My maternal grandfather passed through Ellis Island way back in the early 1900s and I think his name may even be engraved on the walls. I plan on visiting this summer with all of my family to pay tribute to all who passed through and will continue to pass through to live in the great United States of America, the land of freedom and opportunity. As a tribute to Lady Liberty, I discovered 4th of July Military Gifts for friends of mine in the military to show my appreciation for all they do for our Country and other countries throughout the world. I bought a bunch of USA Flags and USA Home of the Brave Caps. Be sure to visit my blog for pictures of the group. It is going to be a glorious celebration!

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The Statue of Liberty Ellis Island, Symbol of Freedom & Opportunity!

A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of A Member Of The Special Forces

My friend Alan is a member of the Special Forces. Members of the Special Forces are highly trained to perform unconventional, often high-risk missions. I saw him last week after a long deployment to Afghanistan and he was a different person than the one I had known years before. He told me:

“I am prepared and ready to fulfill my obligation as a soldier of the United States! I recite this mantra every morning before I get out of bed. As soldiers we undergo extensive training and frequent drilling. We are put through exercises in various simulations of actual battle, so that we will be ready when the enemy attacks. Obviously, to wait until the attack and then prepare ourselves would be suicidal. Therefore, the prepartions must come long before the attack. Preparing for the enemy is the same as waiting for the negative voice inside my head that is seeking to destroy my serenity. The negative voice is a most cunning enemy, with a huge array of tactics and singlemindedness of purpose. The negativity never tires and has infinite patience, lurking in stealth and waiting for an opportunity to attack just like the physical enemy. Confronted with such a persistent and formidable foe, a person must be prepared at all times. With that being said I begin this preparation as soon as I awaken expressing my gratitude towards my Higher Power for another day of life. The acknowledgment helps me center myself and dedicate myself to serving my Higher Power and my fellow countrymen. This further increses my capacity to resist the destructive maneuvers of my negative inner voice as I train my mind and accustom my body in how to think and act. This helps me maintain a state of alertness and preparedness against the attempts of my negative inner voice to mislead me.”

I was so impressed with his dedication and the manner in which he trains his mind on a daily basis in order to prepare not only for battle but for life on a daily basis. I bought him Special Forces Rings in commemoration of his service in the Armed Forces gallantly defending our Country. The rings are distinctly designed with the official insignia of the US Special Forces. The sides of the rings contain finely sculpted US Special Forces emblems as well. He was so touched by my generosity, he said he will treasure it as a keepsake for generations to come. God Bless Alan and all of our troops! The time for world peace is now!!!

Did You Hear About Obama’s Trip To Israel?

Finally! President Barak Obama took his first trip as President to Israel. I witnessed Obama’s arrival live on TV as he landed in Israel and walked off Air Force One. It was heartwarming to watch President Obama stand with the American Military and Israeli Military while they played the national anthems of both countries. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was there along with President Shimon Peres. The Prime Minister and Obama met for more than two hours on the first day and offered a “good cop, bad cop” approach to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Obama called for more diplomacy while endorsing Israel’s right to defend itself as it sees fit. It is a historic visit, part of a Middle East swing that President Obama said was intended to assess the seemingly intractable impasse between the Israelis and Palestinians over how to live next door to each other…. Other important issues discussed included the civil war in neighboring Syria. There are unconfirmed reports of chemical weapons being used in the conflict, which if true, Obama labeled a “game-changer,” regarding limited US involvement so far. President Obama plans to tackle many issues in Israel. President Obama sought to assure the Israelis of his commitment to their security and strengthen what has been a strained personal and working relationship with the Prime Minister.

I am optimistic, as always, that relations between the two countries will improve. The leaders announced new talks on extending US military assistance to Israel for another 10 years past the current agreement that expires in 2017. Speaking of the US Military, I heard President Obama came bearing gifts for the Prime Minister, President Peres and members of the military. He brought Navy Military Wallets that Michelle personally picked out from Rush Industries. The Israeli soldiers were touched by the President and Michelle’s generosity and reciprocated with Israeli trinkets for Michelle, Sasha and Malia.

Let’s continue to pray for peace not only in the Middle East but in the world! Shalom!

A Wonderful Surprise For A Special Military Couple!

I heard a heartwarming story on the news last week. A veteran military couple will be tying the knot in style for FREE!!! Believe it or not they won a free wedding in a contest for veterans. My heart was touched. After all, these men and women risk their lives for us each and every day, the least we could do is pay them back in small, meaningful ways.

The contest was sponsored by small business owners and local people from their community. The future groom was wounded in Afghanistan and is the recipient of a purple heart and his fiance is an army veteran. Following two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan the Marine Sargeant, a Purple Heart recipient, was chosen as the winner of the free wedding contest. The Marine Sargeant was gravely hurt by an improvised explosive device that struck his Humvee during his last tour of duty in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, following weeks of infection, his left leg was amputated but that did not deter the young seargeant from coming home to propose to his long time sweetheart. Obviously, she said “YES”!

Friends of theirs who knew they were struggling financially saw an advertisement for the contest and entered them without their knowledge. When they received a phone call that they won, they thought it was a prank and it wasn’t until the local TV station showed up at their home that they realized their friends were telling the truth. The contest prize included a bridal gown, reception for 75 people, flowers, DJ, video, photographer, party favors and hotel rooms for the couple and their out of town guests. It is all absolutely free of charge, including gratuities.

The town is proud to honor this couple and to give back to the military community and help one lucky couple start their lives together in a very special way.

Why not send them Patriotic Military Gifts from Rush Industries as an added bonus for their wedding. I bought the young couple Stars & Stripes Watches as a token of my appreciation for the time they served and continue to serve our Country!!! God Bless All Of Our Troops!

Military Dogs & Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Are you familiar with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? I’ve written about this in the past but I will reiterate just in case. PTSD is a severe anxiety disorder that sometimes results after exposure to an event that results in psychological trauma, i.e. the threat of death to oneself or someone else or to sexual assault, or exposure to atrocities of war. People often experience flashbacks or nightmares, anger issues, anti-social issues and on and on. Believe it or not, they are now talking about PTSD in Canines of Combat. Hard to believe? Not really… Military dogs are trained for war, giving them a strong foundation to perform. They are trained to jump out of helicopters, repel walls and can even sniff out bombs almost two miles away. The jobs of these canines are irreplaceable. No matter how much preparation these dogs have actual combat can be just as traumatic as their human counterparts. It can take a tremendous toll on their psyches. Increasingly war dogs are sent home suffering with PTDS and it is now considered an official animal condition. PTSD can shatter a dog’s nerves. I heard it is estimated that at least 10 percent of these military dogs have developed PTSD but just like human counterparts they can be treated and retrained when properly diagnosed. Some of the dogs are treated with the anti-anxiety medication called Xanax just like humans.

With that being said I think it is a fabulous idea to send care packages to war dogs and their handlers. I found Cheap Army Rings at Rush Industries that would make a wonderful gift for the handlers. Why not send a handler an Official US Army Ring as a token of appreciation for all they do on behalf of our Country and our military canines who gallantly defend the United States of America. As far as care packages for the dogs, I am still searching for that special gift for the dogs but in the meantime maybe some doggy treats? I think they would appreciate that more than anything. I know that’s what makes my dog happy!

Pink Hearts For Our Military Men & Women

I’m sure you’ve heard of a Purple Heart but do you actually know what it means? I bet you don’t know much about it unless you are a military family or have friends in the military. I was in the City a couple of weeks ago and I saw a bunch of men and women wearing Purple Heart Caps. After we passed them my son asked me what the Purple Hearts symbolize. I had an idea but wasn’t quite sure so I did a little research and want to share it because I think it is important information.

According to Wikipedia: “The Purple Heart is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those who have been wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917 with the U.S. military. With its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit, which took the form of a heart made of purple cloth, the Purple Heart is the oldest military award that is still given to members of the U.S. military. The original Purple Heart, designated as the Badge of Military Merit, was established by George Washington — then the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army – by order from his Newburgh, New York headquarters on August 7, 1782. The Badge of Military Merit was only awarded to three Revolutionary War soldiers and from then on as its legend grew, so did its appearance. Although never abolished, the award of the badge was not proposed again officially until after World War I.”

Although the Purple Heart is specifically for those wounded or killed, I propose we establish a Pink Heart for each and every man and woman who serves or served in the military. I think it is time to honor all those who risk their lives for our safety and freedom. Why should we wait until someone is God forbid hurt or killed in action??? Let’s take a stand and show them now, today, what they mean to us. Do you agree? I can’t imagine anyone would disagree with me. I’m sure there will be many who will have a problem with the color pink but hey, “real men wear pink” my friends!!!

Free Massage Therapy For Elderly Veterans

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A couple of years ago, my friend Beverly, a physical therapist had a revelation and saw a need in the military community, especially for our elder veterans. At that time her elderly father was receiving care in and out of senior care facilities. He was a Navy veteran who served in World War II. Beverly noted that among all the services that were offered, massage therapy was the one that was not offered and that stood out in her mind. No one offered massages for elderly Veterans. Beverly, 61 years old, is very athletic and relies on massages to keep her limber and mobile. She told me that she saw this as a benefit for her elderly father and other veterans on a broad scale. She said there are both physical and emotional benefits to massage and she had studied geriatric massage in school. She noted that there was a void and went on a mission to fill that void.

Beverly told me that the benefits of massage are plentiful She said recent studies suggest that massage can help reduce pain, improve flexibility and increase mobility in those who suffer with arthritis. Receiving massages on a regular basis lowers anxiety and improves grip strength for those with arthritis. It can also reduce the aches and pains associated with growing older, enhance awareness, sensation and circulation in certain parts of an aging body. It also lowers anxiety and relieves depression. The human touch helps emotional well being as well as physical well being. We tend to forget the needs of the elderly, veterans or not. Beverly told me the high functioning elderly really enjoy the massages. The low functioning who are unable to speak, have a smile on their face after the treatment. If their hands are clenched you actually witness their grip relaxing and see the obvious benefit of the massage. She told me that this is the most rewarding thing she has ever done in her life and hopes to find other volunteers to help her on this mission.

I went with Beverly to visit her father a few weeks ago who, by the way, is like a grandfather to me and when I walked in the door, his face lit up when he saw me. He was wearing an I Served With Pride Hat which he never takes off, in fact, I was told he sleeps in it. Believe it or not, he took it off and handed it to Beverly with a note that said: “I am so proud of all you do on behalf of myself and my fellow Veterans, it is time I pass my cherished hat on to you. After all, you are one who is serving now and you should be recognized for all that you do. No matter how old you are it’s nice to be pampered…thank you for pampering me!!! I love you,my darling daughter, Poppy”

A Stylish Military Hunk

My friend Cameron is one of the most handsome guys I have ever met. He has a real sense of style and is always dressed to the nines! He has the most Stylish Military Apparel I have ever seen any of my military friends wear. He recently came home from a year in Iraq and looks more handsome than ever… If I wasn’t married, I would certainly have my eyes on him. By the way girls, he is single so you may want to stop by the next time he visits me. I don’t know about you but I adore a man in uniform. Don’t you think they are sexy, especially when they are all dressed up in their uniforms? Cameron popped in last week and he was actually not wearing his unfirom but he had on United States Marine Corps T-shirt, cap and wristband. The shirt fit him like a glove with his muscles bulging out…OMG!!! My niece was over and she couldn’t stop staring at him. I couldn’t stop laughing at the way she was behaving. Seriously, he really looked hot in his simple but cool t-shirt with tight, tight black jeans.

OMG! I really may get myself in trouble with this blog if my husband reads this one I am in big trouble. But hey, I don’t see why I can’t look, do you? After all, I am only looking. Men are ALWAYS looking. In fact, when I am with my husband, I often point out attractive and sexy women to him. But, my hubby is one old fashioned guy and I am not quite sure he would be happy knowing that I am oogling over other guys. If you don’t hear back from me again, it may mean he read my blog and I went into hiding LOL!!!

All kidding aside, young ladies, next time Cameron comes for a visit, I will let you know so you can come see for yourself! In the meantime keep dreaming…

My Yankee Doodle Grandpa

“Be a hand that reaches out
Be a smile for those who have no reason to smile
Be a light for those who live in darkness
Show them what it means to truly love
Feel the fear then do it anyway”

When I was a little girl my paternal grandfather chanted this poem to me over and over again and it has become engraved in my heart and soul. My late grandfather immigrated to the United States all alone at the age of sixteen, lied about his age and joined the United States Army. He was an incredibly warm and loving gentle giant. When my grandmother passed away he came to live with us. Although he lost his soul mate, his Yankee Doodle sweetheart, he never lost his spirit. In my eyes, he is the hero in the poem.

Grandpa taught me to always be a hand that reaches out.
Grandpa taught me to always smile and to smile to those who seemed unhappy and needed it most.
Grandpa taught me to give light to everyone around me.
Grandpa taught me to love with my heart and soul.
Grandpa taught me to walk through the fear…

My grandfather was my hero! He was a true American although his roots came from a foreign country. He was so proud to be an American and to serve the United States of America. He had a Patriotic Hat that he wore until the day he died. He was a special soul and he is sorely missed by all those whose lives he touched. He was my Yankee Doodle Dandee!

“I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy
A Yankee Doodle, do or die
A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam
Born on the Fourth of July

I’ve got a Yankee Doodle sweetheart
She’s my Yankee Doodle joy
Yankee Doodle came to London
Just to ride the ponies
I am the Yankee Doodle Boy”

I miss you Grandpa but I feel your spirit shining down on me from heaven. May your soul rest in peace. You left an indelible mark in this world and will never be forgotten… XOXOXO…