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Happy Veterans Day

by Kimberly A. Cook

On Veterans Day eve I want to send out Veterans Day wishes to all our military vets, two and four-legged. Thank you for your service and your dedication to our country.

Since those of us who have served in the military are a smaller and smaller percentage of the United States population, veteran stories may not reach all our citizens.

For veterans struggling with the return from war, deployments and even sexual assault, know you are loved and hugged by your fellow veterans. Reach out and get help. We’re all still in the buddy system.

Whether you prefer Veterans Day ceremonies or choose to spend the day in reflection and quiet, know you have served our country with true citizenship in action.

Thank you. Enjoy your day.

 

 

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Legacy and Sacrifice Live On 75 Years Later on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

by Kimberly A. Cook                       (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

The importance of military veteran stories grows with the passing of time. For those who have not experienced combat, military service or being in a war-torn country as a civilian, aid worker or journalist, the catastrophe of war can drift away like a mirage.

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Looking from the deck of the U.S.S. Missouri Memorial to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. I took these pictures in November 2012. This photo always gives me pause.

 

 

December 7, 2016 is the 75th Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The U.S.S. Arizona lost 1,177 sailors and Marines from her crew that day. There were 333 U.S.S. Arizona survivors.

According to the Time Special Edition “Commemorating 75 Years since Pearl Harbor,” seventy-five years later only six of the sailors who survived the sinking are still alive. Four of the five of them hope to be at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial tomorrow to honor their fellow shipmates.

Some Pearl Harbor stories you might not know:

Doris Miller, an African American serving as a Cook Third Class in the segregated U.S. Navy, fought back manning a machine gun he had never been trained on when Japanese planes fired on the U.S.S. West Virginia. Miller received the Navy Cross for his actions. The first African American to receive the Navy Cross, he died in November 1943 when his next ship, the U.S.S. Liscome Bay, was torpedoed and sank.

“In four years at sea, I sat through 78 air attacks, but nothing was as frightening as the attack on Pearl Harbor,” Warren K. Taylor, ensign, U.S.S. Sumner in Time Special Edition.

The U.S.S. Oklahoma lost 429 sailors in the bombing. While being towed to California in 1947 after being lifted from Battleship Row, the ship was lost at sea. In 2007 the National Park Service opened a memorial to the ship and her crew on Ford Island in Pearl Harbor.

After the bombing a total of 2,403 were killed or missing, half of them from the U.S.S. Arizona, and 1,178 service members and civilians were injured. All the U.S. casualties from sailors to civilians were listed as noncombatants since the U.S. was not in a state of war with Japan.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Congress passed public law 503 which ordered the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans, two-thirds of them born in America. There was no due process of law for these United States citizens.

All proceeds from her autobiography, “Wherever You Need Me,” by Anna Busby, go to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Fund. Busby was an Army Second Lieutenant in the Nurse Corps who witnessed the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Hickam Field from the lanai at Tripler Hospital in Honolulu.

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The plaque on the U.S.S. Missouri’s teak deck where the surrender was signed. My Dad’s ship sailed past the Mighty Mo two days after the surrender signing in Tokyo Bay. He was part of the occupation forces first into Japan with the Army Air Corps. After she was discharged from the Marines, my Mom sailed into Tokyo Bay on a Liberty Ship to work as civilian staff for the Army Transportation Department for a year. Mom and Dad both sailed in and out of Pearl Harbor on their deployments.

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One of the U.S.S. Arizona’s three anchors. The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial and U.S.S. Missouri Memorial are in the background on the left.

 

“It’s so important that Americans don’t forget this day,” Donald Stratton, 94, Seaman First Class, U.S.S. Arizona.   

IMG_8920.JPGVisit the National Park Service’s World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument web site below.

http://www.nps.gov/valr/index.htm

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Veterans Day Thank You

by Kimberly A. Cook                 (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

To all who have served in the military, thank you. For all who continue to deal with the challenges of war and service, you are loved and not forgotten. To our future veterans serving today, we look forward to welcoming you when your tours of service end.

Happy Veterans Day to all who have earned it through service to our country. Including our military animals who served and therapy dogs who support our veterans after service.

 

 

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Honor With Remembrance Those We’ve Lost

by Kimberly A. Cook                    (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

While we go about this long weekend spending time with families and friends, we must remember why we have Memorial Day. That is the day the nation honors and remembers the men, women and military animals who have given their lives in defense of freedom.

We take time to honor and remember those who have given the greatest sacrifice since we became a nation. Take a few minutes this weekend to think about and thank those who gave all for our country. Say a prayer for their friends and families who go on without them.

There are thousands of individual stories of these brave military service members who didn’t come home to their loved ones. Below is one story of a veteran who honors our fallen every day by using his talent.

Stay safe this long weekend and enjoy your freedoms; they were earned at the highest cost. Freedom isn’t free.

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Happy Veterans Day U.S. Warriors

by Kimberly A Cook                (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

Tomorrow is Veterans Day and I wanted to say thank you to all my fellow veterans for their service. It’s nice to be remembered on a national holiday, but we are veterans every day. For veterans who return with medical and mental health issues, each day is another fight for them and their families and friends.

We don’t ask for parades and big ceremonies; we serve because we love our country and we took an oath to defend the United States against all enemies. Veterans have been hurt and injured during war, peace and in training. Saying thank you is enough, but for wounded and disabled warriors do what you can to help them throughout the year, especially supporting their family caregivers.

Serving changes us all. Even the four-legged vets. Thanks for remembering.

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Have A Safe And Thoughtful Memorial Day Weekend

by Kimberly A. Cook                 (Twitter@    WarriorTales)

This Friday I wanted to let you know about an amazing place called Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C. While most folks know the iconic images of this hallowed ground, to me it’s the honor and reverence by The Old Guard (3d US Infantry Regiment) and the cemetery staff that most folks don’t see that is truly respectful.

The first video shows The Old Guard performing the “Flags In” they do every year for Memorial Day, putting flags on every grave site on the more than 600-acre cemetery to remember and honor those at Arlington. The second is an hour-long National Geographic television special about Arlington National Cemetery and The Old Guard.

Have a wonderful long weekend for those of us not working this weekend. A thank you to those military and law enforcement personnel on duty across the globe so we can honor the sacrifice of our fallen this weekend. Be happy, be safe and hug somebody and your pets this weekend. Freedom isn’t free.

Here is the link to the National Geographic Special “Arlington: Field of Honor.”

https://youtu.be/EyOSpMjwZps

 

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Take A Moment To Remember On Memorial Day

by Kimberly A. Cook                  (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

Next Monday is Memorial Day and many of us will be off work. In this age of Memorial Day sales and the rush out-of-town for a long weekend, take a few moments to reflect on what Memorial Day is really all about.

The Vietnam Wall at night on November 5, 2005, in Washington, D.C. The blue folder contains the War Stories I left there from my veteran writing students.

The Vietnam Wall at night on November 5, 2005, in Washington, D.C. The blue folder contains the War Stories I left there from my veteran writing students.

This national holiday was put into law to remember and honor the sacrifices of the men and women who died while in military service. It is also a time we can remember those who have served and passed on after war and peace. It’s also a time to honor and never forget those who never came home and are still Missing In Action or Prisoners of War, their fate never to be known.

Thumbing through the back newspapers from my vacation on Sunday, I came across an article that one of my former veteran writing students, Phillip Leveque, had passed at the age of 92. Phillip was a character in every sense of the word and never failed to entertain us all with his stories and brought tears to our eyes when telling the truth about his service during World War II.

He served with the 89th Infantry Battalion as a Battalion Scout and earned the Combat Infantry Badge. As he told it, “he walked from Luxembourg to near Dresden mostly under fire.”

In Oregon he is better known as the “Pot Doc,” a name he preferred to be remembered by as he introduced medical marijuana to Oregon and later lost his license issuing cards for users. In a news story in February of this year while he was on hospice he stated he was “very proud” that medical marijuana would be legal in Oregon this July, especially for veterans with level five and above PTSD.

It was an honor to coach Phillip for three years in my class and read his stories. Later he published his own book of war stories and I wish I had a copy. Life goes by quickly enough, so on this Memorial Day take a few moments to remember the men, women and military animals who gave their all to keep this country free.

Then go have a great picnic and celebrate the day in honor of those who are no longer with us. I know they are with us in spirit and would want us to play and have fun with family and friends, because those are the most important things in life after all. So raise a hot dog, beer or s’more in toast to them all on Memorial Day.

Those we’ve lost are watching from the true high ground and will be cheering us on. Land of the free, because of the brave.

Special Note: For all those now riding across the country on Run For The Wall to participate in Rolling Thunder in Washington, D.C. the day before Memorial Day, God Speed and ride safe.

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