Some Faces & Names Behind Why We Have Memorial Day 2010

My son - Alex, my Buddy
My son - Alex, my Buddy
This is the "rest room".
This is the "rest room".
My Buddy after a sand storm
My Buddy after a sand storm
My Buddy being himself...
My Buddy being himself...
Co. C 3rd Platoon - 4/23 Inf Bat. Please remember ALL these guys and remember our allied forces as well this Memorial Day Weekend.
Co. C 3rd Platoon - 4/23 Inf Bat. Please remember ALL these guys and remember our allied forces as well this Memorial Day Weekend.
God Bless America!
God Bless America!

As we approach Memorial Day weekend, I wanted to pay tribute to our soldiers and military. In particular, I wanted to share with you the story of Sgt. Adam Ray.

Michael Yon wrote a fitting tribute to this young man. It does not give me pleasure today to write of how ashamed I am of our President. He has decided to be the first President in the history of this tradition to refuse to visit Arlington Cemetary, this 2010 Memorial Day week and weekend approaching.

How can he ignore the sacrifice, those who gave all, those who have given limbs and those who serve him as Commander in Chief? How can he not pay tribute all weekend long – and throughout all the months of his Presidency to heroes like Adam Ray? I don’t understand the man, but I still pray for him.

I still can’t read Yon’s article without crying. He was a soldier in my son’s unit. What this story doesn’t tell is that my son Alex was getting on a helicopter to take him home for his leave on the same day Adam was getting off a helicopter to return from his own leave. He saw him some yards away. They exchanged grettings and talked a bit.

It was mere days after that Adam was killed. Alex found out home here in Michigan. When he heard the news, he said incredulously, “I just talked to him…he was back from his leave…” If his thoughts were my thoughts he was thinking, “That could be me next.”

I have to write here very frankly. It hurts. It hurts my heart deeply that our President seems to show such disregard for our brave men and woman who serve this country – who serve him – in the war against terror. I cannot imagine what heartbreak Adam’s family must feel. He was 23 years old – he was so very young. I can not imagine and I pray every single day I will never have to imagine – what it would be like to lose the son you gave birth to.


I fight the fear. It is only due to my faith that I don’t have to be in “battle” constantly. Sometimes though – especially when I lie in my comfortable bed at night or I wake first thing in the morning – it gets to me. My heart races – I feel the raw terror of the thoughts that go through my head. What if he dies? What if he is – I can barely finish the thought – captured? This whole thing is turned upside down! I’m the one who is supposed to go before him protecting him, making sure he’s had enough to eat and that he’s had enough sleep. That’s almost comical, isn’t it? I have to chuckle myself as the tears stream down my cheeks and I type this.

But I actually imagine myself going out there in front of him—then reality hits me. I’m not made of that kind of stuff. Even in my younger days, I couldn’t withstand the conditions these soldiers have to live with day after day after day. My son said he sometimes goes for a month – all of them do in the Styker Brigade – without showering – living out in the open – only cat napping. FOR A MONTH! He didn’t complain when my jaw dropped as he described this to me. A crooked smile spread across his face and he just said, “It’s not so bad Mom, really it’s not.” My eyes fill up with fresh tears when I write this.

I want to throw my arms around him and take any bullet that may head his way. I want to protect him so badly – I think about it almost every day, each time I pray. I don’t want a hair on his beautiful head touched. He was only 23 this past May 5th. He has seen his daughter Kaylee only about four weeks of her almost one year on this planet. He never got to go on a honeymoon with his wife Kristen. They celebrated their first anniversary with Alex in Afghanistan and Kristen back here waiting for him to get a call through.

I’m sure Adam’s parents felt the same way. Wanting so desperately to protect their son. But the unthinkable happened. I don’t know how their heart can take it! I do know actually – apparently Adam’s father is a minister.

That is the only way – and I stress THE only way I am getting through this past year my baby has been deployed. I love my husband with all my heart. I have been married over 30 years and have survived a number of deployments. It’s so different when it’s your baby – your only son. The one you prayed God would give you. The amazing son God blessed you with.

I had given birth to two wonderful, lovely, sweet girls. I wanted a boy so very much. I had never wanted anything more in my life at the time. When he was born – it truly was one of the most joyous days, one of the most thrilling moments I’ve ever experienced. The doctor didn’t say yet if it was a boy or girl. I started to lift my head and saw to my right a “stream” arc up into the air while the nurse dodged. The doctor said, “Well, the plumbing is obviously working! Say hello to your new son Carol!”

He has been a wonderfully devoted son and now husband and father. His “Pops” and I are proud beyond measure of him. I fairly burst with pride.

I pray for his safe return to Kaylee and Kristen. I know I’ll sleep deeper at night. I know Kristen will too.

I will keep praying for Mr. Obama to feel compassion and to extend grace to our soldiers. I heard a pundit say today that Mr. Obama is obviously “uncomfortable” around the military. He was a Democrat too – he hoped Mr. Obama would overcome this and extend himself as the expert believed he should.

Memorial Day is the perfect opportunity, but for now, according to the President’s schedule this week, sadly—a golden opportunity lost.

Alex is supposed to come home between the last week in June and the first week of July. This “countdown” almost is worse than ever. I wait, I pray and I now count the days down – and I ask you, if you are reading this, please pray if you pray. If you don’t pray, please remember all of these men and woman and if you would, please consider passing this on. Let’s put a face on what it is we do this Memorial day weekend.



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Comments 23 comments

Joshua Kell profile image

Joshua Kell 6 years ago from Arizona

This was a great and moving hub. I have prayed for your son. I did not know that Obama has had the nerve to do this, on top of all of the other evil things he has pulled. Its a disgrace. My little Brother Pete was a Medic in the Stryker Brigade, and was deployed to Iraq also; and I so worried about him. Now he is home with a pretty bad case of PTSD. Our soldiers give so much of themselves, far to much to be disrespected by the President of the United States. Shame on him, it is sinfully obscene. I just can't hardly even believe it. I am stunned. Thank you for sharing, God bless you.


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Dear Carol,

Your words literally took my breath away. I admire your courage and I want you to know that I will pray for Alex's safe return. Obama's refusal to go to Arlington speaks volumes in my opinion, volumes. I've rated this hub up and it should be required reading for everyone.


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Joshua Kell - dang - I'm beginning to think I shouldn't have written this Hub - I cried when I wrote it, I'm crying when I read the comments! :-)

Your words are so very appreciated and I thank you so very much for taking he time to leave your encouraging thoughts and wishes. Yes, our President is refusing to visit Arlington for some bizarre reason - I just don't understand a person like him.

Please thank your little brother for me and I will add him to my prayers that he overcomes PTSD someday very soon. Bless his heart!

God bless you and may God bless Pete!


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Pop - I hope you know how much your continued support means to me -- words can't express it.

I will say thank you though - thank you so much!


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

Carol,

All respect is due to those who serve. This is my boyhood friend Joey Zelaski.

http://www.virtualwall.org/dz/ZelaskiLJ01a.htm


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Wow Tom - he was only 19? Oh my gosh, I'm a mess today - but I'm just going to have to steel myself for this - we really should remember Joey and everyone who gave ALL - not just this weekend but the entire week! They devote a MONTH to "earth day" at the schools. This should get at least a week!

Thank you so much Tom for posting that link and adding so much to this Hub!


taxlarry 6 years ago

What an amazing hub! i think about our troops a lot. I am sure a lot more than this garbage president. Now that I feel i know someone in Afganistan, I will think and pray even more. Very moving.


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks so much taxlarry - I really great appreciate you stopping by and leaving your thoughts. God bless you!

Carol


Colleen 6 years ago

Oh, Carol,my heart hurts for you and all the families of our soldiers. As a mother of 3 sons,I don't know how you get through each day.You know your Alex, is always in my prayers.

I'd like to think the President would hear a story like you have just told and feel how gut wrenching it is, but I think he only does what he has to do because its part of the job. I always feel when he addresses the troops,he does so with his "nose plugged". People can say what they want about President Bush,but he sincerely feels for our troops,and continues to visit them even now. Not with any fanfare,just does it because he cares.


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 6 years ago from Michigan Author

I do believe Mr. Obama is uncomfortable with the military - but he should man up, be the President and disregard HIS own discomfort and do what he should do!

President Bush loves the troops and they know it. You are absolutely right Colleen. Thanks a million for stopping by and taking the time out of your hectic day to come here and leave your thoughts!


GodsChild2 6 years ago

Your name is Carol? I guess I never noticed that before. Well, Carol, this post is so moving, and I will pray for your son most definitely, and for you and your family, too. God bless you all, and thank you so much for your services and sacrifices to and for our country.

For the life of me I just don't understand our President's non-attendance at Arlington this Memorial Day. I truly feel he does care about our troops, past and present, so this is really disturbing me. I hope he either changes his mind or explains himself to us.


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

Wow, this was incredible story. You write this like into reality. I really enjoy with all the pictures inside this hub. I think these armies have worked hard. This was truly memorial day. Thumbs up for you.

Prasetio


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thank you for stopping by and leaving such kind words. It does seem strange - and I mean that not as a slam against him. The more I think of it the more it doesn't make sense. Even Bill Clinton who was no military lover - dodged the draft shamelessly as a "war protester" made great efforts when it came to the military. My husband said he literally had someone come to the White House to teach him how to salute properly. He paid attention to detail and made an extra KNOWING he was uncomfortable with it all.

I don't understand why Mr. Obama won't even make an effort. I actually don't dwell on it - I'm writing in my novel right now, but took a break to read my email.

And you didn't miss anything. Colleen is an old friend. I put this link on my Facebook page so she was kind enough to drop by. I don't think I put my name in my bio - so you're fine! ;-) But you're welcome to call me Carol if you'd like!


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thank you Presitio - how nice of you to stop by and take the time to leave your comments. I really appreciate your kind words!


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 6 years ago

I pray for and worry about our troops every day. Of everything Obama does that I'm opposed to, the worst is what he has done to the Armed Forces. Lately, I've wished we'd just pull out immediately instead of losing another soldier. I watch him salute when he's getting on the helicopter at the WH, and that says it all to me. I'm not surprised at all that he won't be going to Arlington.


outdoorsguy profile image

outdoorsguy 6 years ago from Tenn

being an Army brat, having lost my Dad to war. and being a vet myself. I can sympathize. Ill keep your family in My prayers. My thanks to your son and to you and your family.

I honestly cant say much else. other than this hub was very emotional for me.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

Carol...your writing reminds me of when I volunteered to fly with the Air Force in the Vietnam Era. I remember how my mother cried when she heard about it. In her mind, she flew a lot of hours in that C-130 transport quietly watching over her boy. One thing I am sure of today, my mother would not accept anything else but the thought that one day I would be coming home. I think she absolutely willed it to happen. You accept nothing less either. Your son will be in my prayers. Thank you for remembering America's finest as our leader turns his head away. WB


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 6 years ago from Michigan Author

I know how your mother felt - and you're a good son Wayne Brown. I know I can't do it in my own strength - bring my baby boy home safe - but I can pray. And I'm doing that A LOT! I trust in the Lord - no matter what - it's just very hard sometimes.

He's a wonderful, thoughtful, loving son - a treasure I can't imagine losing.

Obviously your Mother feels the same way.

Thank you for leaving your comments. It's always a pleasure to read anything you write. I think I'll do some catching up this weekend and read more of your Hubs and the Hubs of others. As you mentioned you wanted to do elsewhere - I too need to just "chill" and what better weekend for it?

God bless you Wayne Brown - your Momma is a very blessed woman!

Carol


CornerStone51 profile image

CornerStone51 6 years ago from Mifflintown, PA

Thanks to all the heroes that serve and have served. And thanks to all of those that made the ultimate sacrifice and to their families. Freedom isn't free! We pay dearly for it. Obama has never been a soldier...how can he know what it means? He is showing that he is ignorant of the sacrifice. What has he ever sacrificed. There should be a stipulation for being a presidential candidate...they should all have served in the military!!!

God bless Alex and Kristen. I pray for Alex and all our troops all the time. My nephew will soon be going over...he is the father of one year old twins. His name is Jason...this will be his second tour. Please keep him and Meagan,Sawyer and Josie in your prayers as well.

God bless our troops and the families who serve along side them.

An Army Wife (for 30 years)

And proud of it


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 6 years ago from Michigan Author

And thank Buddy for me for HIS service Sis - now serving as a Pastor and you a Pastor's wife. A life of service from the both of you! Bless you both!! Love you bushels!! carol


billyaustindillon profile image

billyaustindillon 6 years ago

Carol a wonderful and moving tribute - lest we forget :)


Harvey Stelman 6 years ago

Caarol,

Your words make me feel you are baring your soul to me. I pray Alex and everyone returns safely. As for B.O., it is impossible for me to say anything positive about him.

He is destroying the USA. If he went to Arlington, he would probably step on the graves. Maybe it's better he doesn't go, those buried there would roll over knowing he is there.

Great article, this should be in a paper.

Have a good holiday, I know where your heart will be.


cjv123 profile image

cjv123 6 years ago from Michigan Author

Thanks so much billysustindillion and Harvey - thank you both so much for coming here and leaving your comments.

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