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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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Honoring The Brave

by Kimberly A. Cook                    (Twitter@  WarriorTales)

This weekend we head into Memorial Day and last Saturday was U.S. Armed Forces Day. With all the crazy going on in the world, we can always rely on the men and women in our military doing their jobs day in and day out to keep us safe.

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Tomb Sentinels from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) conduct a changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery, Va., May 5, 2017. Members of The Old Guard have guarded the Tomb every second, of every day regardless of weather conditions since April 6, 1948. (U.S. Army photos by Pfc. Gabriel Silva)

 

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A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter arrives at the pickup zone at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany, April 6. The aviators were taking part in a joint-training exercise with Soldiers from 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, in anticipation of working together during future Atlantic Resolve missions. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Thomas Scaggs)

 

I wanted to recognize all service members in the National Guard, Reserve, Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Air Force and our military animals. This Sunday on Memorial Day is a time to remember all those who gave the greatest sacrifice for our country.

Laboon is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations designed to reassure allies and partners and preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in the region

 U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF OPERATIONS (May 11, 2017) Yeoman Seaman Theresa Porcellini mans the ship’s wheel from the aft steering station during a simulated toxic gas drill aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Laboon (DDG 58). The ship is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations designed to reassure allies and partners, and preserve the freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in the region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class J. R. DiNiro/Released)

 

A picture speaks a thousand words, so these photos are courtesy of the Department of Defense amazing photographers.

 

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Pfc. Heaven Southard, an Army military working dog handler with the Directorate of Emergency Services, Area Support Group – Kuwait, releases her military working dog “Jerry” during a demonstration of MWD capabilities at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Mar. 7, 2017. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Dalton Smith)

 

Give a prayer of thanks for those who serve and take a moment of silence to honor those who gave their lives in defense of our country. Freedom isn’t free.

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GULF OF OMAN (March 2, 2017) Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) disembark a landing craft air cushion (LCAC) after returning to the amphibious transport dock ship USS Somerset (LPD 25) following exercise Sea Soldier 17. The annual, bilateral exercise is conducted with the Royal Army of Oman and is designed to demonstrate the cooperative skill and will of U.S. and partner nations to work together in maintaining regional stability and security. Somerset, with the embarked 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, is deployed in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of maritime security operations designed to reassure allies and partners, preserve the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce and enhance regional stability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amanda Chavez/Released)

 

 

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USCG Motor Lifeboat 47213 conducting surf operations near the treacherous Columbia River Bar, Washington. The 47-foot Motor Life Boat is primarily designed as a fast-response rescue vessel for high-seas, surf, and heavy weather environments. (U.S. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Jamie Thielen)

 

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Air Force pararescuemen with the 58th Rescue Squadron prepare for aerial transport during a personnel recovery scenario at Pond Landing Zone during Angel Thunder 17 in Tucson, Ariz., May 11, 2017. Angel Thunder is a two-week, Air Combat Command-sponsored, joint certified and accredited personnel recovery exercise focused on search and rescue. The exercise is designed to provide training for personnel recovery assets using a variety of scenarios to simulate deployment conditions and contingencies. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos)

 


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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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Let’s Play Indoor Games!

by Kimberly A. Cook               (Twitter@   WarriorTales)

The rains are finally coming tonight and I could not be happier. This unexpected weekend rain storm should really help with the forest fires here in the West. Mother Nature must have heard our prayers for our neighbors, firefighters and Oregon and Washington National Guard troops out fighting the blazes.

So let’s all do our part by enjoying this rainstorm and play inside. Let’s follow the lead of these two buddies, Jet and Emilia, having a fun time in the house. Have a great weekend and Happy Quirky Friday. Let it rain!

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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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Need A Dog With A Job?

by Kimberly A. Cook                (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

It does not seem like January yet or even 2015. On my best days it’s a challenge to keep my head on my shoulders and not misplace it. Imagine my surprise to learn there is a Beagle who can find lost things and deliver them! I think we all need one of these working hounds. I wonder if he gets travel miles?

Have a great weekend and Happy Quirky Friday!

 

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Wishing Our Military Service Members And Veterans Around The World Peace On Earth

by Kimberly A. Cook                          (Twitter@ WarriorTales)

While much of the nation heads into the heart of the holiday season today, I want to remember and thank our active duty, reserve and guard service members keeping watch at home and around the world to keep us safe. One of my all time favorite marching band salutes seems appropriate to let them all know we are thinking of them and their families during the holidays. A big thanks to my fellow veterans and always remembrance of the service members and families who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep us free. Wishing all Peace and Goodwill.

(P.S. In the Coast Guard tribute the boat is upside down for the other side of the grandstand. Of course here at the Oregon Bar where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, the Coast Guard’s special surf boats are designed to flip upside down and roll back up again. Yikes Coasties!)

So best wishes to all and let’s pass on some fabulous California Raisins for some holiday cheer for the troops!

 

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