Silver Star shining for sacrifice, honoring wounded, ill and dying members of our Armed Forces, and bringing remembrance to those so deserving of our thanks.
We will never forget . . . WELCOME HOME!
To our Lord in Heaven we pray:

Father, we thank You for our country's freedom and that we still are one nation under God.

We are praying all our military members and veterans can have a good, calm day and evening. . . especially those deployed and those veterans suffering with PTS. And Lord we ask for your deliverance to come for those that suffer PTS and their families.

May all those serving, all veterans, and all the families of those families be guaranteed the protection and the rights granted by our Constitution that they have so well guarded offering their own well-being in sacrifice.

May all those who have given a piece of themselves either physically, mentally, or through illness receive the treatment they deserve and need without fighting for those privileges. And may we all remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice so we may enjoy days such as this forever.

May God Bless America!

In Jesus Name,

Nancy and Padre

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How do Americans Celebrate the Day

How do Americans celebrate the day
That our nation with fireworks does display
How can I be a part of all of this now
When my mind takes me back to the war somehow

The sound of the sky rockets that cause all the glee
It sounds like mortar rounds to me
To all that smile at the beautiful sights in the sky
They look like tracer rounds through my eyes

So how can others not see all of this
Why can't they see my fears and paralysis
How much more need I take
How far can I go before I break

Am I a rock so solid and strong
NO, you make it so hard for me to go on
I love our country beyond belief
But I can't handle this, I need relief

How strong can I be, please let me be strong
Sometimes I have the feeling I can't go on
How strong do you think I can be
When the shots of hell are still inside of me

So as I cower from the beautiful sights
This 4th celebration, sometimes night after night
Please remember I so want to be free
I love my country, my flag,
. . . Remember I gave my mind for thee.

© 2008 Nancy Spoerke


I know you feel all alone
The world so distant and cold
The battle rages and
nothing seems to matter anymore

I'm right here for you
I'll be by your side
Take my hand, be my friend, let me in
I'm right here today, by your side, always

A teardrop falls from your eye
Please let me offer my love
Never forgetting the
battle you carry with you

I'm right here for you
I'll be by your side
Take my hand, be my friend, let me in
I'm right here today, by your side, always

Now you know you're not alone
The world is a better place
Together we'll make it so
Thank you and welcome home

I'm right here for you
I'll be by your side
Take my hand, be my friend, let me in
I'm right here today, by your side, always

© 2009  Skip Spoerke

Many rode as shotgun while the supply humvee made way to the next camp site.
When the colvert in the road came into the driver site, he stopped and yelled,
  Everybody out and walk across.
The driver alone with the supplies in his truck took on the IED and they rolled in the dirt.

Chorus: Many were the bullets that wizzed all around,
          IED"s hiding and bombs all around, but during the dark of night,
          each soldier would look up and see the Silver Stars shinning,
          making their hearts warm, they could feel the hugs and love,
          from their families at home, from their families at home.

Next Verse: The fire was a blazin' behind the units camp,
                they rushed out to fight it and shots came raining down,
                GO! scatter and protect, he yelled to his team as
                he was pushed into the burning ground.


Last Verse: Up in the watchtower, a soldier at each end,
               He watched every move and zoned in on every sound,
               protecting his unit, asleep on the ground.
               He started climbing down when the RPG's whiz headed right for his chest.
               Several stories he fell, to the ground, to the ground.

Ginger Crane ©2009

How do Americans Celebrate the Day by Nancy Spoerke

HERE FOR YOU   by Skip Spoerke

BLOOD BOND  by Steve Newton

THE HERO  by Janie Orman

SSFOA Poem  by Ginger Crane

A RECIPE    by Cathy Storey

MY HERO     by Cathy Storey

SUPPORT OUR TROOPS    by Cathy Storey

BANNER IN THE WINDOW   by Cathy Storey

MY BUDDY   by Cathy Storey

MY SILVER STAR   by Cathy Storey


The Hero walked along the streets alone
Waving, smiling at the “welcome homes”

They never knew the pain he carried
Not even the long-time friend he’d married

The present faded; The past he could not share
The pain; the agony was always there

But on his face they saw his smile
How could they know that all the while

Determination to end his life was all he thought
And the memory, the agony, the pain it brought

On the wall, he stared at his own shadowy figure
The weapon ready, aimed, finger on the trigger

Was this what it felt like--the last moment before death?
Had his buddies even had this moment of regret?

Then in a flash, his mother’s face passed before him
She’d been gone for years, nearly ten

Her voice whispered, he barely heard
“Give Jesus a chance, remember His Word.”

“Mama, is that you?” the tormented soldier shouted.
But it had been so long and his broken heart doubted.

“Remember that Jesus is all that you need.
He is the power of deliverance – you must believe.”

The gun lowered and to his knees he fell
Arms wrapped around him, whose he could not tell

It may have been his Mama, an angel from above
It may have been Jesus, Himself, filling his soul with love

And suddenly to him the truth was shown
How fear had turned truth into lies and how they had grown

Forgiveness for himself came, as bondage fell away
And the thing that had held the past in the present that day

Visions of horrors, buddies cries---it was not gone, it could never be.
Nor the pain that was caused by the guilt of, “why him and not me?”

But God promised to help him thru that pain and feeling
And he allowed Him to turn him around to forgiveness and healing.

The road is still not easy; though down it this Hero does trod
He knows that now, he has a Friend, he has God.

© 2008


The sky was the color of blood
My brothers sitting in a hole
And they were of a kind
Kevlar sticking up just enough
To keep a round from hitting your spine

Smoke and flame and oil fires
Mortars spitting their death
Eyes that hurt and lungs that wheeze
With blood floating on the breeze

One brother crying, another dying
Noise that had gone white hot
Blood flowing in a hole in the mud
The smell of hot meat thick in the air
Someone said, “shoot a flare”

Screams and panic, no I think not
Just Soldiers and Marines dying where it’s hot
Legs and arms just lying around
Lord I hope that’s not another round

Soon the noise was gone
And so were many of my brothers
Black and white and red and yellow
All their blood made me mellow

I asked the Lord to post them all
Someplace where it’s cool or fall
I know He answers prayers for blood brothers
Because you see I believe the Lord loves soldiers

© September 2003 by Steven J. Newton

A Recipe

Begin with one fresh eager young man,
Prepared for life as only loving parents can.

Add a healthy dose of respect, honor, loyalty and grit.
Stir in some charm and a sense of humor with it.

Teach him to shoot, to march and to fight.
Push him to his limit both day and night.

Deprive him of individuality and sleep,
And see if his sanity and pride he’ll keep.

Teach him to be a killing machine.
Teach him he is one of a team.

Wrap him up in dress blue threads,
Bright brass buttons, a white cover on his head.

Teach him that forever more his blood runs green.
This recipe yields one damn fine Marine.

Cathy Storey ©2009

My Hero

When you were small I was your everything.
I fed you, loved you and kept you safe.
I taught you loyalty and honor and what they mean.
I was your hero.

As you grew you needed me less and less.
I prayed everyday that you wouldn’t forget.
What kind of man would you be under duress?
Was I still your hero?

How handsome you look in your uniform.
Off to serve your country in an unpopular war.
Will you return? Will you weather the storm?
Who is your hero?

You fought bravely but for you the war is done.
A young serviceman left, a wounded warrior returns.
You have served proudly, I love you my son.
You are my hero.

Cathy Storey ©2009

Support Our Troops

So you’re protesting another war.
You say our troops blindly follow, that they don’t know the score.
You think they are wrong to fight and you delight in saying it.
You march and petition and scream for the fighting to quit.

Well, I prefer that my son not die on foreign soil.
But you know what really makes my blood boil?
That someone like you thinks they speak for me,
Seems to be an even worse tragedy.

You enjoy your freedom of speech, the right to protest.
You exercise your inalienable rights along with the rest.
Who do you think paid for the right to speak as you please?
You should bow your head and get down on your knees.

Many have fought and many have died.
Many were maimed and took it in stride.
These young people are fighting for me and for you.
I know I am grateful and you should be too.

If you can’t cheer them on then you should be quiet.
They don’t need your anger and hatred causing riots.
I choose to support the troops fighting for me.
If you can’t, maybe you should leave this country.

Cathy Storey ©2009

Banner In The Window

Around my neighborhood my country’s flag I see.
Red, white and blue colors fluttering in the breeze.
In fact, in front of my house I have one of these.

In one of my neighbor’s front windows there is an odd banner.
It hangs proudly on display in a prominent manner.
A field of blue edged in red and white, with a silver star in the center.

I have never before seen one of these.
I wonder what in the world it can mean?
Is it some new chic decorating scheme?

It makes me curious and I’m not shy.
So out in the neighborhood for my daily walk.
I see my star bannered neighbor and stop to talk.

“ I have to ask about the flag in your window,” I say.
“ I was driving past and noticed it just the other day. “
“ Tell me about it. What does it stand for? What does it mean? “

So it was explained to me and now whenever a Silver Star Banner I see,
I know it stands for service, sacrifice, and blood that was shed.
I see that Silver Star and now I will never forget.

Cathy Storey ©2009

My Buddy

You were my buddy, my friend.
We met in boot camp and bonded then.
We marched and sweated and learned to be a Marine.
We graduated together lean, tough and mean.

Off to Lejeune we went.
Assigned to the same company and unit.
It seems we were fated to stay together.
You and I, buddy, Devil Dogs forever.

A desert war called us to a foreign land.
Trained to fight we took a stand.
I was wounded and they sent me back home.
Though I wasn’t with you we kept in touch by phone.

A sad phone call I received today.
You were killed in action they say.
Many memories run through my head.
If I had been with you, would you now be dead?

I miss you already as I sit alone in my room.
How many more of my buddies will join you soon?
We thought we were invincible. Isn’t it funny?
God bless and keep you. Semper Fi, my buddy!

Cathy Storey ©2009

My Silver Star

Some stars glow bright in the night.
Radiantly beaming, a shimmering sight.
My star shines with a silvery light.

A Blue Star he chose to be, one of the few, the proud.
To serve his country, to stand out from the crowd.

For honor and to protect our freedom he did fight.
To a distant land he went. He thought it was right.

Leaving the comfort and safety of home.
Doing his duty. Facing the unknown.

He fought many battles and saw his friends die.
Some were grievously injured. For each one he cried.

Now Blue Star he is no more, but Silver Star instead.
Shining on a field of blue and shining in my head.

A Silver Star he will always be, shining for freedom.
Wounded in the service of his country.

Cathy Storey ©2009

The Wife of a Vietnam Veteran

Life can be so very hard
At the drop of a hat frantically scarred
When in love and living between Heaven and hell
As the wife of the man, the love of my life
Who Still fights battles from Vietnam.

A Vietnam wife has to be emotionally strong
With gathered strength for daily moodiness  ever encountering
Forever enduring to go on and on
Never knowing what hand will be dealt by his fickle cards or what the day will bring
Tolerance on special dates walking and forever walking on egg shells, tip-toeing through life on pins and needles.

Vietnam wives have to be students of PTS
And study hard, for it changes daily
Know well its ins-and-outs 
Moments you least expect 
Triggered by a smell,a landscape,or the worse or all a sound that takes over and becomes suffocating 

Time and again you must explain and exonerate his guilt
His suffering from surviving war’s battles in his mind is guilt
Wondering why brothers had to die, not me
His vital force forever infected by Vietnam
For he's seen carnage deeper than the normal eye can see
Something that that I will never see, but live everyday

Forget about that word "normal"
Normal does not apply
I’ll tell you why
He lived with wall-to-wall fear
Unfathomable to me yet I watch
He lives with profound misery he doesn’t understand

What a wife deals with can make her want to scream and run
Back and forth, one foot here, then back there
Back where he learned to kill...or be killed
React quickly, without thinking, to bring harm, or to be harmed

My husband who was seduced by war
See's horrors in dreams, sights and smells 
Reliving memories of what he saw, and what he did
My husband's boyhood’s innocence was lost in Vietnam's destruction

And while he was gone, fighting for his country in hell and beyond, the world that he loved, turned against him
Only to come home to be called names that will live on and on in his head.  Spit upon and
dishonored, no "Welcome Home", no parade, only what is in his head which is this evil war that he can't lay to rest.

He trusts no one, he has isolated himself,
He fights with demons eating at his very soul
He is still lost forever between that world, and this

The painful memories tear at life’s moments of bliss,
His unhealed scars are invisible to the human eye and the world
Bearing guilt, always feeling out of step, out of rhyme
Lost in time in this new generation

To many people, Vietnam Veterans appear almost drugged, out of it, catatonic 
Driven to times they must be alone
Yet at other times so frightened that he cannot be left alone
Always skeptical of authority that let them down in war’s charade, a war that wasn't even called a war

As the wife of a Vietnam Veteran, I can only try to comfort and support my husband, my hero.
I have learned to give more than I receive
For quite often my husband needs more love than I as a wife do
Vietnam's memory still lies deep, repressed within him

I am the wife of a Vietnam Veteran.  I cannot cure him alone
All I can do is be there in the middle of the night, hold him, love him and comfort him,
Real love has bad eyesight, so I listen with open ears, and try to wipe away his tears
Friends don't last who didn't walk the line and for a Vietnam Veteran they lost too many

So I try to emerge everyday as the wife in love with a man who is still fighting the battles of Vietnam.

Sunshine © 2009  

Writings updated: August 27, 2013

Story and Photos


Just the other day my six-year-old daughter asked me, “Daddy, What’s a veteran?” I replied, “A veteran is a person who served in the military.” For her this answer was all she needed and off she went back to doing what little girls do. As she left me standing there I realized the answer I gave her may have been the dictionary term for a veteran, but it does not really tell you what they are. This got me to thinking, “I am a veteran, how would I describe us.” No matter how hard I tried I could not come up with an answer I liked. So I pushed it to the back of my mind and continued on with my life. Until on May 1, 2009 I was shown the answer.

I was at the Indiana Veterans Home when I was given the honor of being asked to take photos of Silver Star Banner Day. For those of you that do not know Silver Star Families of America (SSFOA) is an organization dedicated to supporting the wounded and ill from all branches of service and from all wars. SSFOA puts on Silver Star Banner Day as a way of recognizing wounded service members and their families. Unlike other presentations this one is presented entirely by the veterans and those that work to care for them.

Everything started out like a normal shoot. I came in early, met the presenters, and got a rundown of events. From here on normal went right out the window. The presentation started out with the reading of the military creeds. Now being exmilitary I’ve heard them before, but never like this. The four veterans read them with such pride and raw emotions, as I’ve never heard. A few of the readers became overcome by emotions and were forced to pause to recover before finishing, an occurrence that would be repeated through out the day. By the time the creeds where done being read there was not a dry eye in the room and all four of the veterans received one of the largest standing ovations I have ever seen.

This was just the beginning. Later we would hear some poetry, written by Veterans, in remembrance of the wars and of their fallen comrades. There would be songs, written and sung by a veteran, telling of his time in war. We would hear the stories of what some of these brave men and women did and through out it all these veterans would cheer on their brothers and sisters. Hugs and handshakes were at every turn and no one was ashamed to cry.

It was during the reading of the poetry that it hit me. The one being read was of a fallen brother in arms. I was forced to stop taking photos to wipe the tears from my eyes when my answer came to me.

What is a veteran? A veteran is a person who is willing to fight to keep our country free. They honor their brothers and sisters who did not make it back from the fight and stand up to support the ones that did. They have been tested in the heat of battle and they have stood together through all the blood, sweat, and tears. They are men and women who live the creed, never leave a fallen comrade behind. They have lived and died for our freedom. They gave their all and never asked for anything in return. They deserve our respect although they never asked for it. But most of all they are the champions of the American way of life. They are the hero’s who made America free. They are an ever-growing family who accepts their new brothers and sisters with open arms.
Joshua Charles

By Sounya Stokes

I just wanted to share this video with you (and your listeners), it is of my son's unit when they deployed to Iraq in May of this year.

As the Mother of an 18 year old son who is currently deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I know first hand how hard it is on the mothers and the other family members of a deployed military service member. The emotions you deal with on a daily bases and the constant overwhelming fear for the safety and well being of your child, while on the outside, you struggle to appear normal, on the inside, you feel everything but normal.

Being a soldier’s mom for me is many things. It’s a privilege, a sense of pride and honor. It’s my heart taking the chance to be crushed. It’s my fears that sometimes bring me to my knees. It’s the unknown that haunts me in my sleep. It’s my soul that is saddened ever time I hear of casualties. It’s the air I can’t sometimes breath, hoping it’s not me whose door the dress greens come knocking on. It’s the heartache for the other mothers who have lost their children. It’s also my road back to my faith ...

Allen was born eight days after the end of the Gulf War. Never in my wildest dreams did I dream that 18 years later, my son would head off to fight in a war.

Nothing ever really prepares you for the roller coaster ride of being a soldier’s mom. It’s spiritually trying and emotionally draining. Even when your child gives you the heads up, the thought of him leaving is scary; even when you know many years ahead of time, that going to the military is their dream.

I remember the night before he left for basic training. Needless to say, I couldn’t sleep, I reflected on how fast a child grows up. It seemed like I still should have time with my son. The morning he left, as I picked up his backpack to help him pack those last minute things, I had a flashback to the time I was packing his stuff in his backpack for his first day of school and how so protective my daughter was of him and how bad my youngest son wanted to go with him.

I’m sure I’m not so very different from other moms seeing their children leave for the military. I was a bit of a wreck I’ll have to admit, but I put on a brave front and hugged him goodbye. I find that sleep is not easy to come by when I don’t have all my children at home with me or at least within visiting distance if I wanted to see them everyday or be able to pick up the phone and just call to say hi and I Love You. I’ve learned that time with a person is oftentimes taken for granted.

Two and a half months later, after sending him off to basic training, my daughter and I went to Fort Sill to spend a few days with my soldier, attend the Family Day event on 9/11 and Basic Training Graduation on 9/12. I was so proud; I just couldn’t believe the fine young man the Army had turned my little boy into! Those few days really flew by, before I knew it, we were hugging him goodbye; so again, I put on a brave front and smiled as we said our goodbyes. I tried to tell myself that he would be home on leave in just five weeks, but after he walked away, the tears still came. It was harder to say goodbye this time I think than it was the first time; I guess in the back of my mind I knew that deployment was looming closer.

Finally, his five weeks of AIT were over and he was on his way home for 24 days. The first couple of weeks were pretty normal, we enjoyed spending quality family time with him, the last week, we still enjoyed spending time with him, but that kicked in the gut feeling started coming back with a vengeance! Then it was time to put him back on a plane and send him back to the Army, which seems to get harder each time I have to tell him goodbye.

Not long after arriving at his duty station at Fort Bliss, I got that dreaded phone call from my son, "Mom, I have my orders, I will be deploying to Iraq this spring." He (left for) Iraq on May 5, and it has been as long as six weeks that we didn’t hear anything at all from him. Every possible scenario has run through my mind.

In April, my family and I were fortunate enough to go out to spend time with him before he deployed. I didn’t know if there would be a badge of bravery for me this time around when it was time to say our goodbyes, and there wasn’t, for any of us, the tears came, unhidden, no brave fronts. It’s hard hugging your children goodbye before they are sent off to war, not knowing if there will be any more daily phone calls, text messages or emails, not knowing if you‘ll ever get to hug them again or even see your children alive again.

More often, at times you feel like you are going crazy. It’s a sick feeling when a strange vehicle pulls up in the driveway, praying that it’s not the Army coming to deliver unspeakable news. It’s a sick feeling every time the phone rings and it’s a strange number, praying that it’s not the Army calling to tell you your son has been wounded, It’s the tears you shed in the grocery store buying his favorite snacks to send in a care package, the strange looks you get at the post office shipping that care package with tears rolling down your cheeks and kissing the package before you turn it over to be shipped. Another military mom can easily be picked out in these situations, she’s the only one in the crowd that looks at you with an understanding smile, because she knows.

It’s counting down the days until he is safely back on US soil again, giving yourself pep talks just talking yourself into getting through another day, most of all, it’s the sleepless nights, and constantly wondering if he’s okay. 

Shawna Mykes

My name is Shawna; I am sixteen years old. I have three sisters and one brother. My family has a long line of military heritage that we are proud of. My dad is active duty Air Force; my step-dad was active duty Air Force and now is active Air National Guard; my uncle was active duty Army, then active Reserves, and now medically retired; both grandfathers are retired Air Force; one of my great-grandfathers is retired Army; and a great-great grandfather retired Navy.

But, I want to tell you about my uncle and my dad serving in Iraq. I want to let you know how it affected me personally and what my thoughts were while they were preparing to go, while being deployed, and how I felt after they returned home.

In the spring of 2004 my uncle announced he had volunteered to go to Iraq. I was shocked, I did not want to believe what I  heard him say, he volunteered to go to a place we were at war with. But, I felt proud when he told us he volunteered so another child's father could stay home. At first it did not really sink in that he was really going, it was just talk. The more I thought about him going, the more nervous I became. I was upset that he would voluntarily put himself in danger and I felt angry because I did not think he wanted to be at home with us.

He is our only uncle and he wanted to leave us so someone else could stay home. What about us?  My uncle and I play the trumpet, we are very close, we have a lot of fun together. He was my date for a adult/child formal dance the year before and he taught many girls how to dance that night, he loved dancing and he loved having fun. It was an evening I will always remember. My uncle was a professional clown, Sampson the Clown, and entertained at a party for my mom's birthday in June 2004. As it turns out this was to be the last time he would dress up and act this way, but we did not realize it would be back then.

As the time drew closer for him to leave I wanted him to stay home and I began believing he did not care. But, I realized he was my crazy uncle and what he was going to do would let another child keep their dad home. I began feeling proud knowing he would give up his own safety for others. Over the summer months my two sisters and I spend our summers with our other parent, and as we left we were not sure he would still be here when we returned home and this made me very apprehensive and troubled. I was worried that I would not see him again and my grandmother told me to pray that he would still be home when I returned and if he was not, then to pray that he returns home safely. He was still home when we came home. We celebrated Thanksgiving in September because he would not be home for the holidays. It was weird celebrating it at that time and I was feeling more nervous about him leaving. I was unhappy that he was going and wondered what the future would bring.

In October, we went to the base he was leaving from and I was anxious to say goodbye. Again, I was thinking it was not fair that he was leaving us. After we saw him in his uniform, I felt pride, but still scared. On the way home no one really said anything, it is very unusual for our family of seven to be so quiet. For an hour’s ride it was quiet, I think we all were thinking about my uncle.

While he was deployed, I experienced nightmares of him being injured. My teachers offered support, they had us write letters. I was experiencing sleepless nights as the time went by. My uncle sent an email to us four girls and a different one to my brother, he is older, my uncle thought he would understand more things than we would. My brother let me read his letter. Our letter was not scary, he told us about the vest he had to wear and how his shoulders and chest were bruised from hitting the interior of the semis and humvees, but in my brother's he spoke of dangerous events, about the vehicles he saw blow up. He tried to make us feel like it was not a risky job. I knew better, I knew he was not telling us everything. I knew when someone had heard from him because of the way they reacted. They all knew he was in danger every day there, I was very nervous.

My uncle had two weeks at home in the summer of 2005. It was a surprise to us kids and many others. He showed up at our Girl Scout Ceremony where we were told there was a special guest. When this guest came in I cried….it was my uncle. I was so happy he was home! Our little sister stayed beside him everywhere he went, she was only four years old, us older girls just kept our eyes on him. Soon, he had to go back to Iraq and that was very upsetting. However, I knew he was all right at least to that point.

In December, my grandparents went to see him return to the United States. When my grandparents came home, they told us that he was different from when he left. They told us not to sneak up behind him and warned us of a few other things because he had been to a place where strange noises could have meant something that would cause harm. I was glad that he was uninjured by a gunshot or anything like that, but wondered how to react when I was near him.

February came, finally, and we were all excited because this was the time my uncle was coming home! I felt very nervous about seeing him because it had been fourteen months that he was gone. Everyone else came off the plane, we waited impatiently. When he finally came into view, he looked really nervous, but we were so excited to see him we all got our hugs and welcomed him back. He was home!

Since he has returned home, almost four years ago, I have seen how different he has changed. I am concerned about what will happen with him. He used to be fun and loved party type atmospheres. Now he is afraid, the life in his eyes is often gone, and he does not have his happy smile anymore. He is not outgoing, and he will not go anywhere by himself. If he does not have a person with him he has his dog and sometimes it is a person and his dog. He does not do his clown acts anymore, something about being unable to dress up and go into the public. He does not dance anymore because people are around him or they stare at him. He often does not sleep at night because he is guarding the house; he is also on guard when around people because he has to be ready if someone moves near him.

My uncle use to perform in two bands, this continued even after he came home. He would have the wall behind him and a set of congas in front of him, a barricade for a comfort zone. He had to see everyone. He also spoke at engagements. But, that all changed on Memorial Day 2008, when he had trouble performing Taps. since then he barely touches his instruments. In restaurants he has his back against walls, he has to be able to see the people. He has trouble attending school activities because of the crowds.  He has trouble going to the grocery store.

Sometimes when he thinks we are not looking I can tell he is having trouble, he will start shaking or when you look at his eyes you can see he is going through something. When he tries to “rough house” with us sometimes he gets a little too rough, but he does not realize it. One of his favorite holidays was Halloween, now he usually stays in a closed off room so he does not have any problems with the kids. Many holidays bother him now.

I have many concerns with what he is going through. I know he has been at a VA hospital many times besides for counseling. I have seen his eyes with the look of terror in them. I want to help him; but how? He does not want to scare us and he tries to hide it from us. But, I know. I know he has fears; will he ever get over them? Sometimes he feels like he is worthless and has thoughts of hurting himself. Why does he have certain things happen that makes him think he is still in Iraq? Will he ever loose control around us? The main question for me is will he ever be our fun loving uncle again? He is still fun, but sometimes his mind is not with us even though he is with us, if that makes any sense.

Though my parents are divorced we are still close to my dad. We visit him every summer in another state and he does a lot of things with us. A year after my uncle came home from Iraq my dad left for the same country. All I could think of was what would he try to hide from us and how would he return home. I became nervous all over again. He was not gone half as long as my uncle. When he returned to the United States he came to visit us in December. I was nervous to see him at first and I watched him closely, but he seemed okay. It was not until that summer that I knew for sure he was okay.

While my dad was deployed my step-dad went TDY for six months. I knew he was safe, but still our family was changed again. Since that time he has gone for numerous trainings, in fact he recently returned home from another one. Hopefully our family will settle down now for a little while.

I know my uncle has obstacles to overcome and that he may never fully heal from what he saw, what he did, or what he remembers. I hope with the support of his family, our family, that he can learn to accept the changes within him and slowly trust others. I know that my dad probably will not be affected with the same problems, but he still was in a warzone and I am sure that is not something one can forget. I know my step-dad has not been affected from a warzone, though the complete family has really.   

I am thankful to have these men in my life and very proud for what they have done and what they have been through and I am glad they are all home right now.


A group formed for the Support
Of wounded, dying and the ill
To help keep the promises
Our Nation, does not, fulfill.
Founded in Two Thousand-five
With a membership of eight
More than two thousand now
To change some Veteran’s fate.
The volunteers have donated
More than forty-eight thousand hours
Raised more than a million dollars
And made some changes, with their powers.
A leader to fight PSTD
To help all those Veterans cope
Now, those who felt all was lost
Shown a new glimmer, of Hope.
They give much needed support
When Vets have nowhere else to turn
And try to educate we others
About things, we need to learn.
A great organization
But, more members, are the seed
To help, more of those Veterans
Who may have, a special need.
So fill in the simple form
And try to do your part
To let all those Vets know
They are, Forever, in our Heart.

Del “Abe” Jones