July 23, 2014
American Gives All for Only Democratic, Free State in Middle East
Some give lip service, others give all they have:
Nearly 30,000 mourners flocked to the funeral Wednesday for American Max Steinberg, who fell in love with Israel and died fighting for its military against Hamas militants this week.Rest in peace.
"There were crowds of men and women, religious and secular, ultra-Orthodox, young and old, all are here together for each other, simply amazing and moving," said Meytal Blumenthal, one of the mourners who didn't know Steinberg, 24, of Woodland Hills, Calif. "I came to give encouragement and left encouraged."
Steinberg, who was living in Beersheba, Israel, was one of two American-born "lone soldiers" killed in clashes with Hamas fighters Sunday. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) uses the designation for 6,000 soldiers whose parents do not live in Israel. The military says 1,100 "lone soldiers" are from the USA.
Steinberg grew up in the San Fernando Valley, and attended Pierce College and El Camino Real High School in Southern California. He first visited Israel in June 2012, his father, Stuart Steinberg, said.
When he returned home, Max Steinberg told his parents he planned to join the IDF. He moved to Israel less than six months later.
"He went back," Stuart Steinberg said. "He was completely dedicated and committed to serving the country of Israel. He was focused, he was clear in what the mission was, and he was dedicated to the work he needed to be doing."
July 21, 2014
Pay Respects To RAF Gunner (Updated & Bumped)
UPDATE: I thought an update about this story was due. Hundreds of people showed for the funeral, including veterans from Sidney's old unit, current and former RAF service men and women.
Some pictures from the funeral below the fold.
I don't know how many UK readers we have, but if any are in or near St. Annes in Lancashire, please consider spending a part of your day on July 4th paying respect to a WWII war hero.
From The Independent:
A recently deceased RAF veteran will have hardly any attendees at his funeral, an undertaker has said, as he makes a public appeal for mourners.
Sidney Marshall, 90, who took part in the D-Day landings serving as a flight sergeant, passed away on 16 June at his home in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire.
With no relatives living locally and a wife, Elizabeth, who died last year, undertaker Eddie Jacobs, 72, is concerned that Marshall won't get the send-off befitting of a war hero.
This hero from the greatest generation deserves an honorable send off.
Read more HERE.
July 20, 2014
'More Than Just An Actor'
RIP, James Garner. Korea vet, two-time Purple Heart Recipient, supporter of our troops. Far more than just an actor. pic.twitter.com/A10x6a7SLq— Jarhead (@LCplSwofford) July 20, 2014
July 12, 2014
Bedrooms Of The Fallen
Photographer Ashley Gilbertson captures the spirit of young men and women who died serving America in Iraq and Afghanistan. This experiment allows viewers into the bedrooms left behind by fallen heroes and offers a glimpse into the lives of soldiers who willingly sacrifice for others.
Many of the rooms are hauntingly familiar. They are not unlike thousands, or even millions, bedrooms throughout America. Yet each one tells the unique story of the individual who called it theirs.
View more HERE.
June 24, 2014
"tough guy," 1950s U.S. slang, from bad + ass.
1. (of a person) difficult to deal with; mean-tempered; touchy.
2. distinctively tough or powerful; so exceptional as to be intimidating.
3. Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts
A former Army staff sergeant is set to receive the Medal of Honor for his heroics during one of the deadliest battles of the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan.
Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts from Nashua, New Hampshire, spent an agonizing 90 minutes fighting off enemy fighters despite shrapnel injuries to both legs and an arm that left the young soldier critically wounded and resigned to certain death. [...]
The medal recognizes the 'courageous actions' shown by Pitts while he served as a forward observer with 2nd Platoon, Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, when Vehicle Patrol Base Kahler, near Wanat Village in Kunar Province, in remote northeastern Afghanistan, came under full-scale assault by approximately 200 Taliban fighters on July 13, 2008.
Nine paratroopers gave their lives and 27 were wounded at The Battle of Wanat.
Deep into battle, Pitts found himself alone at the observation post and losing blood. He radioed to tell his superiors that everyone else was either dead or gone, but was told reinforcements were not available.
Resigned to death, he began firing a grenade launcher almost directly overhead to where insurgents had concealed themselves.
(Hat Tip: IHateTheMedia)
June 04, 2014
Combat Outpost Zerok
(PFCs Justin Casillas and Aaron Fairbairn)
The video below is the story about the attack on their unit.
A little background, from Michelle Malkin:
"Combat Outpost Zerok was almost overrun, multiple soldiers were wounded and PFCs Justin Casillas and Aaron Fairbairn lost their lives fighting that day," the soldier told me. (I wrote about their deaths in my July 8, 2009 column, not knowing they were related to the Bergdahl mess.) My source continued: "We learned later that our exfiltration aircraft were diverted to support COP Zerok, and that the situation there was so dire that at one point there were two Apache gunships on station that went winchester, meaning they expended all ordinance and ammunition, but they would not abandon the soldiers still fighting so they resorted to low level unarmed passes to distract the enemy. PFC Bergdahls actions undoubtedly caused these events. We spent the remainder of Independence Day walking in the desert…waiting for aircraft that did not come for many, many hours."
He added that PFCs Casillas and Fairbairn were part of his "sister battalion, 3rd Battalion 509th Infantry (Airborne). That is an Independence Day I will never forget for sure. It is certain that enemy forces took full advantage of our vulnerabilities caused by DUSTWUN recovery operations. Combat Outpost Zerok was just one of several small outposts attacked that day while 4-25(A) was spread very thin searching for PFC Bergdahl. There is no doubt his actions led to these coordinated attacks, and without his desertion PFCs Casillas and Fairbairn would not have given their lives that day."
Malkin relates stories from several other soldiers affected by Bergdahl's desertion. Read it all.
Update by Howie: Repeat after me, I will forget Bowe. I will forget Bowe.(below the fold)
May 26, 2014
Thank You Grandfather for your Ultimate Sacrifice for Your Country (Sticky - Scroll For Newer Posts)
My mother never really knew her father. He was a Marine killed in action during the invasion of Guam. She was very young when it happened, too young to really have any remembrance of him. So my mother grew up without her father. All of her children grew up without a grandfather. Not only did my grandfather give the ultimate sacrifice, but many generations of his entire family also sacrificed.
So, today, remember that each person of the armed services who died defending our freedom is joined in sacrifice by the loved ones they left behind. Thank God for the families of these brave men and women who also sacrificed on behalf of our country.
The image below is from the National Archives of my grandfather's service record. If one of your relatives was KIA during WWII, you can visit the National WWII Memorial website and look up their information. There, you can also find where your loved one is buried. My grandfather's body was laid to rest at the Punch Bowl in Hawaii. Perhaps, like me, you will be able to visit their grave someday.
Memorial Day (Sticky - Scroll For Newer Posts)
We who are left, how shall we look again
Happily on the sun or feel the rain
Without remembering how they who went
Ungrudgingly and spent
Their lives for us loved, too, the sun and rain?
~ Wilfrid Wilson Gibson
Enjoy your day, but don't forget those who sacrificed their lives for us all.
April 28, 2014
The Courageous Story of Irena Sendler
Rosa Parks became a household name within days of her courageous stand in refusing to move to the back of the bus. It took over 50 years for another heroine, Irena Sendler, to receive the honors that she was due.
Sendler was a Polish non-Jew who is credited with saving over 3000 Jewish lives in Nazi-occupied Poland. Over 2500 of the lives saved were those of children whom Sendler smuggled out of the Warsaw ghetto and hid amongst sympathetic Poles. Sendler risked her life daily to try to save these children's lives but aside from an awards ceremony that was held in 1963 in Jerusalem naming her a "Righteous Gentile," her bravery went almost unnoticed until, by chance, a group of Kansas schoolgirls saw a brief mention of her actions and decided to investigate.
Sendler lived in Warsaw in 1939. When the Germans invaded Poland she joined the Zagota underground which specialized in helping Jews escape Nazi persecution. Sendler was asked to head Zagota's Children's Unit and she put all of her energies into helping Jewish children elude the Nazis.
When the Nazis built the Warsaw Ghetto in 1940 they interned close to half a million Jews in a small three-square mile radius with little food, water or medicines. Sendler obtained a pass that identified her as an expert in infectious diseases. She was allowed to freely travel into and out of the ghetto.
During her first forays into the ghetto she tried to smuggle food to the starving inhabitants but she quickly saw that these little food parcels made little impact. Together with Zagota, she determined that the best course of action would be to smuggle children out of the ghetto. Sendler began to devise strategies for doing just that. She sedated young children and hid them in luggage or in carts under garbage and barking dogs. She covered the children and brought them out under her legs when she traveled by tram. Older children were led out through sewers and by way of underground tunnels.
Many of the children that Sendler saved were "street children" whose parents had been killed or simply disappeared. Others were children whose parents Sendler had approached to convince them to allow her to take their children to the "free" side of Poland – and to the unknown.
"I talked the mothers out of their children" Sendler told interviewers almost 60 years after the war.
"Those scenes over whether to give a child away were heart-rending. Sometimes, they wouldn't give me the child. Their first question was, 'What guarantee is there that the child will live?' I said, 'None. I don't even know if I will get out of the ghetto alive today."
Once in Zagota's hands, the children were taken to orphanages and convents, or to Polish families, where they lived in hiding. Sendler recorded all of the names of the children on slips of paper which she stuffed into glass jars and buried in her backyard. She hoped that, somehow, they would be able to be reunited with their families, or with the Jewish community, after the war.
In October 1943 Sendler was arrested by the Gestapo who tortured her to try to learn where the children had been taken. Sendler withstood the torture and didn't reveal any information about the children or about her Zagota comrades, but her legs were broken and she was crippled for life.
Sendler's activities were almost relegated to the dustbin of history but in 1999 four schoolgirls in Uniontown Kansas read a short account of her story and decided to research the events for a school project. Their investigations evolved into a long-ranging project which brought them to Warsaw to interview Sendler. Following a presentation of their findings, including a dramatic presentation of Sendler's work, major news networks picked up the story and followed it through with more interviews with the elderly Sendler.
Today interested individuals can learn more about Sendler's activities and the lives that she saved through the Lowell Milken Center run Life in a Jar project which encompasses a book, a website and a dramatic presentation.
It'll bring tears. The good kind.
Thanks to Sol for helping with the post.
January 06, 2014
Utah Company Refuses to Sell to Sniper Systems to "Ally" Pakistan
Or, the kind of moral backbone we'd like to see more of:
In 2013 we faced a moral dilemma that I wanted to get some opinions on. The current US administration is sponsoring FMS arms sales to Pakistan forces. In 2013 We had been approached with a multi-million dollar opportunity to legally supply sniper systems to Pakistan. I was never in the armed services but we employ several military veterans. Our greatest fear was that our equipment might be used against US troops. I started this company to protect Americans not endanger them. In consulting with other arms companies the general responses I got was, if they don't buy it from you, then they will get it somewhere else, or money is money. After much internal review we elected not to sell to Pakistan. I wanted to throw this out to our military friends to see if our concern was legitimate and hear your thoughts on it.My thoughts? These people rock.
Thanks to several readers and Twitter friends
December 31, 2013
Yes, I Might Just Beat You to Death w/ Your Own Machine Gun
I've seen this floating around and maybe we've run it here, but it's a classic like Raiders of the Lost Ark. You can watch it over and over again, without ever getting bored.
From Cpl. Clifford Wooldridge's Navy Cross citation:
As he crouched back behind the wall to reload, he saw the barrel of an enemy machine gun appear from around the wall. Without hesitation, he dropped his empty weapon and seized the machine gun barrel. He overwhelmed the enemy fighter in hand-to-hand combat, killing him with several blows to the head with the enemy’s own machine gun.Yes, we are that good.
October 16, 2013
'Unconscious' Ranger Salutes
This just shows the loyalty and dedication our soldiers have for what they do:
Army Ranger Josh Hargis was unconscious, hooked to a breathing tube at a military hospital in Afghanistan after losing both his legs in battle last week.
But when the Purple Heart ceremony began at Hargis' bedside, it turned out he was not unconscious, as doctors believed. Instead, he struggled with an attending doctor to raise his heavily bandaged hand to salute a commanding officer presenting him with the medal.
"I cannot impart on you the level of emotion that poured through the intensive care unit that day," the commander wrote to the Ranger's wife. "Grown men began to weep, and we were speechless at a gesture that speaks volumes about Josh's courage and character."
October 14, 2013
1k Words on the Obama Administration's Contempt for Vets
Removing the barricades at the Million Vet March
October 01, 2013
These Men Stormed The Beaches At Normandy - Did You Really Think A Few Police Barriers Would Stop Them From Storming A War Memorial?
Twitchy reports a group of WWII veterans broke through barricades preventing visitors from entering a WWII memorial. The memorial was closed as part of the government shutdown.
As part of the Honor Flight project, World War II veterans have been taken to Washington DC, cost free, to see the memorial erected in their honor on the National Mall.
Due to the government shutdown, National Park Service police put up barriers preventing access. According to Leo Shane III, White House and Veterans Affairs reporter for Stars and Stripes, the veterans knocked over those barriers.
September 27, 2013
Interview With Hero Who Saved American Family at Kenya Mall
His name is Abdul Haji. When the gunfire started he went to the mall and began rescuing people. One of the families he rescued was that of Katherine Walton and her five children, Americans now living in Kenya. God bless him and every one else who ran towards danger to save the innocent.
Can I ask, though, who it was that was taking pictures here? Savages are murdering people all around you and you think it's a good idea to ..... take a photo? Maybe you should have, I dunno, helped out instead?
September 26, 2013
An Interview w/ Normandy Vets
Laughing Wolf went to Normandy and scored some interviews with the vets there commemorating the invasion.
August 30, 2013
Hundreds of mourners turned out for the funeral services of Delbert "Shortly" Belton, the World War II veteran who was beaten to death as he crossed a parking lot to enter a lodge in Spokane, Wash.
The 88-year-old who was injured in Okinawa was given full military honors at the service, which took place at a cemetery in Spokane, Fox News reported.
Friends spoke of Belton's love for pool and dancing. More than 500 motorcycle riders showed up for the service, described by family as overwhelming.
"I just can't believe it," said Belton's nephew, Ty Bennett, Fox News reported. "It's breathtaking and leaves me speechless, this turn out. How many people just care in the community." (Source)
July 11, 2013
America's Newest Emigrant From Afghanistan
Welcome Baily. And welcome back Kevin
July 03, 2013
The World's Most Interesting Man Was In Nirvana, Soundgarden, US Army Special Forces
Was in Nirvana? Check
Also Soundgarden? Check
Army Ranger, Special Forces, and kicked Taliban ass in Afghanistan? Check
June 30, 2013
Entire Fire Crew Perishes In Fire
Please pray for the families of these brave heroes. They risked their lives to save others and to save property:
The Prescott Fire Department lost nearly its entire crew today - the Granite Mountain Hotshots - with 18 firefighters dying and one surviving.
A Prescott Fire spokesman told The Daily Courier the crew was battling the Yarnell fire, which has resulted in evacuations as it has grown to an estimated 1,300 acres in size.
UPDATE (Thanks, Mo): All 19 have died. It's a terrible tragedy in itself. But to happen to one community is just devastating.
May 27, 2013
Reminder: Moment Of Remembrance
Visit USBA's awesome photo essay of the story behind this
Also, a must read: A Tradition of Sacrifice, From Yorktown to Ramadi
Soldiers Never Die Until They Are Forgotten
While most of us only pause for a day, others take it upon themselves to always remember. In their silent vigil, the Tomb Guards remember every day, every minute, and every second.
"Soldiers Never Die Until They Are Forgotten; Tomb Guards Never Forget."
May 26, 2013
Ride Along With Rolling Thunder
SSGT Tim Chambers was there holding his 3 hour salute (spot him in the video above at 4:22):
I haven't found a video of Tim for this year, so I'm using an older news report which tells a little about him:
Voices From The Tomb
This is an incredible documentary about the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It's an hour long, but well worth the time.
Everyone should watch at least once, especially younger generations who are growing up in a world with very little respect for our military.
May 23, 2013
Helmet Cam View Of Navy SEAL Jumping Out Of Helicopter
May 10, 2013
Obama's Disrespect & Prince Harry's Respect
White House invited Muslim Cleric used the funeral of the Seal Team 6 to condemn and desecrate our soldiers:
A video of the ramp ceremony intended to honor the fallen American and Afghan servicemen shows an Imam praying over the caskets. According to the Vaughns, a certified translation of the Imam’s remarks revealed he "desecrated" and "damned" the bodies of the Americans in Arabic.
Military brass prohibited "any mention of a Judeo-Christian God" at the ceremony the press statement says, but "invited a Muslim Cleric to the funeral for the fallen NAVY SEAL Team VI heroes who disparaged in Arabic the memory of these servicemen by damning as infidels to Allah."
In contrast, here is how the United Kingdom's Prince Harry honored American's War Dead at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:
(Hat Tip: Gateway Pundit)
UPDATE: Harry also left flowers and a note of condolences for American War Heroes who lost their lives fighting for freedom. Click HERE for a picture. Pure class. (Thanks, Vinnie!)
April 29, 2013
U.S. Airman Surprises His Mom, a School Teacher, During Class
Visit http://WelcomeHomeBlog.com for more military surprises!God Bless you sir and thank you for your service to this great country.
"After receiving orders to a new duty station, I decided to take some leave. However, I told my mother my new base needed me right away and I was flying straight there. Needless to say, her reaction was priceless!"
Video/story submitted to Welcome Home Blog by Michael M. on 4/26/2013. For media inquiries, send a message through the form on ttp://welcomehomeblog.com/contact/
April 25, 2013
No, We Have Not Forgotten The Tragedy In West, Texas
A memorial service was held today in Waco,Texas honoring the first responders who lost their lives last week in a explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas.
WACO (April 25, 2013)—Firefighters sounded a bell 12 times Thursday as the names of the 12 men who died in the massive fertilizer plant explosion in West were read in a traditional salute to the fallen during a memorial service at Baylor’s Ferrell Center attended by thousands.Our thoughts and prayers are still with those who were affected by this terrible tragedy. May their loved ones R.I.P. and may the healing begin.
Tears flowed freely Thursday afternoon as family, friends and colleagues remembered the 12 in video eulogies as men who loved their families, their communities and who were bound together by a dedication to service and a willingness to risk their lives to save others.
The arena was filled to capacity by 1:30 p.m. and those who couldn’t get in were directed to alternative viewing sites at Waco Hall, the Bill Daniel Student Center and the Student Life Center as well as at the Turner Riverfront Athletic Complex.
The service started late because Marine One, carrying Mr. Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama from Dallas where they attended the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, circled West several times en route to Waco.[...]
Earlier, a long, solemn procession of firefighters from around Central Texas, the state and the U.S. moved from a staging area a half-mile from the Baylor campus to the arena.
Firefighters from departments that lost members in the explosion carried the helmets of the fallen first responders into the Ferrell Center.
The procession was so long that police scrambled to find space for firefighters to park the trucks.
Brian Crawford, the fire chief in the Dallas suburb of Plano, accompanied 11 other firefighters from his department.
He said he wanted to show "we are all a family."
The service was organized by the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and Texas Line of Duty Death Task Force to remember the firefighters and first responders who died in the April 17 explosion in West.
[ Continue reading and view more images ]
I don't mean to be nasty, but Obama was late? Is it always about him? Could he not have toured the devastation before hand, like on the ground?
April 23, 2013
"It's Just A Change Of Scenery"..
Note, a few tissues may be needed while watching this:
A commenter noted:
For those who care, if you remember the picture of the guy kneeling over and hugging one of the injured girls after the bombing, that's her on the rightThanks to @ParkergirlUSA for link.
April 17, 2013
National Guard Heros Helped Save Lives
I am not a fan of Mother Jones but this is a story that deserves to be shared.
Soldiers from Massachusetts National Guard were participating in their annual
"Tough Ruck" race to honor fellow soldiers killed in action. They ran the Boston Marathon in full gear, including a 40lb backpack.
But as they completed the challenge, bombs ripped through the crowds. The soldiers sprang into action and tore through the barriers, allowing medical teams quick access to the victims.
When the explosion went off, Fiola and his group immediately went into tactical mode. "I did a count and told the younger soldiers to stay put," Fiola says. "Myself and two other soldiers, my top two guys in my normal unit, crossed the street about 100 yards to the metal scaffoldings holding up the row of flags. We just absolutely annihilated the fence and pulled it back so we could see the victims underneath. The doctors and nurses from the medical tent were on the scene in under a minute. We were pulling burning debris off of people so that the medical personnel could get to them and begin triage."
Once the victims were transported away for further medical care, Fiola and the others stood guard around the blast area. "We switched to keeping the scene safe, quarantining the area and preventing people from entering. There was a guy behind me covered, just covered, in his own blood, and I started to smell some smoke. I turn around to look and he's actually on fire, from a piece of whatever caused the explosion. I saw the smoke coming from his pocket so I reached in and pulled it out. It was his handkerchief, on fire."
Incidentally, the cowboy hat hero in my earlier post was with the Massachusetts National Guard. He was there to honor his sons, one who was killed in Iraq and the other who committed suicide after his brother's death.
From The Pentagon News Channel, in this video you can see the National Guardsmen tearing down the barriers, and you can see Carlos Arredondo (in his cowboy hat) on the other side of the fence helping victims:
March 19, 2013
RIP: 7 Marines Killed in Training Accident
An explosion at a military ammunition storage facility in Nevada during a Marine Corps training exercise killed seven U.S. Marines and wounded several others, military officials said.We should always remember that what Marines and members of our other military services do is dangerous, even when they're not engaged in combat. So, be grateful to each and every man and woman who puts on that uniform in defense of our freedom.
The North Carolina-based Marines with the 2nd Marine Division were killed late Monday when a 60-millimeter mortar exploded during a live-fire training exercise at Hawthorne Army Depot as they were preparing to fire it.
Our prayers are with the families.
February 06, 2013
Video: 102nd Birthday of President Ronald Reagan — 2/6/13
Happy Birthday Mr President.
Gone but not forgotten.
February 05, 2013
Memorial Services Announced For Chris Kyle & Chad Littlefield
[Photo credit: WFAA]
Dallas Cowboys stadium to host memorial on February 11th at 1pm for former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.
Our thoughts and prayers are with your loved ones.
February 04, 2013
People Begging for a Good Ass Kicking!
Remember the hero Chris Kyle who was murdered over the weekend? You may recall that when he caught Jesse Ventura dishing out his 9/11-was-an-inside-job-false-flag-operation bullshit at a bar, Kyle responded by giving the former pro-wrestler a fist in the mouth.
Because kicking a guy's ass sometimes is the right response.
So, if you meet any of these people who responded to Kyle's death with shouts of glee, you might want to remember Kyle's example.
And if the local DA takes umbrage, just remember the "fighting words" defense. Some words are so vile that simply saying them are cause enough for violence. IMHO, laughing at the death of a true American hero rises to that level.
Update (Vinnie) Who needs a good ass kicking? Ron Paul, that's who.
February 03, 2013
Former Navy SEAL Sniper Killed By One Of Our Own
Chris Kyle was known as America's most lethal sniper. He holds the record for the most confirmed enemy kills. He died doing what he loved doing most, helping his fellow soldiers.
Today Chris Kyle was shot and killed at a shooting range at the Rough Creek Lodge in Texas, murdered along with a second individual.
Chris had been volunteering his time to help Marine Corps veterans suffering from PTSD and mentoring them. Part of this process involved taking these veterans to the range where one of them snapped and killed Chris and his neighbor for reasons that remain unknown at this time. The perpetrator then stole Chris’ vehicle in an attempt to escape but we have received word that the police have since arrested him.
A little more about Chris:
SEAL Team 3 Chief Chris Kyle served four combat tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom and elsewhere. For his bravery in battle, he was awarded two Silver Stars, five Bronze Stars with Valor, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation. Additionally, he received the Grateful Nation Award, given by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs. Following his combat deployments, he became chief instructor for training Naval Special Warfare Sniper and Counter-Sniper teams, and he authored the Naval Special Warfare Sniper Doctrine, the first Navy SEAL sniper manual.
You can get Chris Kyle's book at Amazon.
Hat Tip: Vinnie
January 29, 2013
U.S. Army Captain Surprises His Children After Disney World Flash Mob
I seem to have something in my eyes..
'About' below fold:
"On December 7th, 2012 my husband surprised me and the kiddos at the Art of Animation resort upon his return from his year long deployment to Afghanistan. I knew he was coming - the kids did not - but I had no idea Disney was going to come together like this and completely surprise us like they did. Over 300 cast members and staff got together to learn and do this dance. It was truly magical, and will be something we talk about and remember for the rest of our lives.
My kids thought we were flying to Ft. Benning, Georgia to go to Daddy's welcome home ceremony. We flew out of Boston and took a direct flight to Orlando instead. Well, once we were through security, 'Daddy called' to say his flight had been cancelled, and he didn't know if he was going to be able to make it to Georgia. We were sitting at our gate (which amazingly... the next flight was actually going to Georgia) when the kids got the news. They were so upset. So, I went over to the gate booth and told the lovely workers what was going on, to let them in on the surprise. They were on board for helping me out... and one lady asked the kids if they would like to go to Orlando instead, and she was able to "change our tickets" for us. Jackpot!
I told the kids I would find a hotel to stay at for a few days... maybe we could stay on Disney property while we waited for word on Daddy's flight. Once we landed and took the magical express bus, we arrived at the Art of Animation resort. Carl, the amazing guy who put this entire thing together, was there waiting for us. He got us checked in right away and told the kids our room wasn't ready yet, and asked them if we'd like to watch a dance they'd been practicing while we waited for the room to be readied.
Of course, the kids were super excited to see a Disney dance. They had no idea they would be seeing their Daddy. I knew of this plan... but I was told Art of Animation could probably get about ten people to do the dance. When the hundreds of people started filling in the lobby, I was so shocked and overwhelmed. I couldn't believe this was happening. I had no idea they would be surprising us with my husband at the end of the dance (They even picked him up from the airport)!
The dance was so cute and entertaining and it sucked the kids right in. They had no idea their daddy was hiding behind a picture of Ariel. (I had seen his boots shuffling along the floor and almost lost it. He was that close. Then... TA DA! They pulled the picture away and every single one of the kids were stunned. We all just sat there... too shocked to even get up. I wanted to jump up and just hug him and never let him go, but our son (who hadn't seen his dad since he was one) was a little unsure about the whole thing, so I stayed where I was. I let Daddy come to us.
The response and the hugs, and the tears... it was all worth it. It was truly magical, and such a blur, and overwhelmingly amazing."
Video/story submitted to Welcome Home Blog by Melissa P. on 1/29/2013. For media inquiries, send a message through the form on http://welcomehomeblog.com/contact/
F-22 Pilot Flies Boy's Letter 'Closer To Heaven'....
He wrote the letter on 'red construction paper', his dad's favorite color:
1/28/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF RICHARDSON, Alaska (AFNS) -- MacAidan "Mac" Gallegos was only 5 when his father, Army Sgt. Justin Gallegos, was killed in Afghanistan in 2009. Not a day goes by that he doesn't think about him. On days like Jan. 24, his father's 31st birthday, he has found a special way to celebrate his birthday and honor his memory.God bless that dear child and his mother for finding a way to make this happen. Also a big thank you to Kyle Moxley of HAVE Alaska.
"I wanted to write my dad a letter and get it as close to heaven as possible," said Mac[...]
Helping American Veterans Experience Alaska, or HAVE Alaska, was stood up in 2010 by Moxley and his wife Carla to provide opportunities for Veterans to experience hunting and fishing excursions in Alaska.
A few emails and phone calls later Mac, his mother and his step-father, Army Master Sgt. Jeremy Marr, were meeting Senior Airman Jennifer Dunham, 90th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief who gave them a tour of the Raptor.
Before stepping to fly Lt. Col. Brian Baldwin, a Reserve F-22 pilot assigned to the 302nd Fighter Squadron, met Mac at his F-22 where the little boy handed over the letter to his father written on red construction paper, his dad's favorite color.
"It is an honor to fly with Mac's letter," said Baldwin. "His father gave the greatest sacrifice to our country and I am humbled to be able to do something for him and his family."