The Silver Star Families of America MARYLAND
Representative Margie Harich
Thank you for your interest in helping SSFOA serve our wounded in my state of Maryland. It is a great privilege to represent this Family who supports and honors our wounded military men and women. As the number of wounded grows, so does the responsibility of each of our members. I want to ensure that Maryland does her part to uphold our wounded armed forces.
Hi Wonderful Friends,
This is being written to catch you up with our day at Arlington National Cemetery for the Veteran's Day Celebration.
Marvin could not be there with me today because of the walking aspect. He will be getting his leg worked on Monday and, hopefully, will be walking great after the procedure.
So today I went with my friend, Janie Bell, and bless her she drove down to VA and back. It was an absolutely beautiful day, about 58 degrees and sunny. We arrived early and transported by courtesy bus to the theatre where we were body scanned and bags checked. We were fairly early so we had an opportunity to watch people arriving. Representatives from many, many organizations, dignitaries and speakers.
We waited and listened to the U.S. Marine Band while Vice President Biden laid the wreath and was saluted. This took place at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month He was then transported to the theater for the speaking ceremonies.
We listened to the most wonderful Marine singer. His voice was spectacular and he was a delight to watch. He sang with feeling and just loved what he was doing and how the crowd responded to him, very patriotic.
First came the breathtaking Procession of the Colors. So very beautiful and touching. Then Chaplain Keith Ethridge gave a moving invocation, with a beautiful prayer for the veterans.
Next, Major Kurt Lee, USMC, Retired, talked of the Legion of Valor and led the crowd for the Pledge of Allegiance. Following was the introduction of the guests by Mr. Jim Benson.
Next, we heard welcoming remarks by Colonel Roger Dimsdale U.S.A., Retired National Commander, Legion of Valor.
The Guest Speaker, the Honorable Eric K. Shinseki, followed with his "Promises For Veterans. He stated three (3) things would be addressed with the new monies cut over for veterans causes. These three thing are: Agent Orange, PTSD, and the nine (9) new diseases discovered from the Gulf War. Also, he said there would be better log-on for claims and placement for homeless veterans within the next (5) years. He praised all veterans, and their families, for their service, courage and dedication.
Next up, was the Main Speaker, Vice President Biden, with the Veteran's Day Address. Many things he said, were touchingly beautiful, such as:
1. We have a sound obligation to Veterans, it is our main and only obligation.
2. Our military are fierce. They put up with 115 degree heat in Fajula and
extreme cold in the winter. They are the most tested and the most honorable.
3. Veterans are the heart and soul, the very spine of our nation, 23 million surviving
veterans right now.
4. For those veterans, who risked their lives to protect us, we owe you recognition,
respect, and honor.
5. We have lost 5,700 of our finest in Iraq and Afghanistan. Only 1% of America is fighting
for our freedom, 100% of America owes them a thank you.
6. When visiting injured military personal he recalled a soldier who had lost 3 limbs. When
he entered the room the soldier whispered to him, "I'm sorry sir, I wanted to stand and
7. When he asks, "what can I do for you?" Can you imagine the response he hears most?
"Can you help me get back to my unit."
Then came the retiring of the colors, so magnificent. After this the Vice President retired back to the White House.
Just a couple of other wonderful things to tell you all. I was able to meet Matt Bristol, who makes arrangements for me to attend, and exchange a greeting and a hug. He remembered me by name this year. I must be getting through to him.
Among the dignitaries seated on the balcony in front of us was the new Speaker of the House, John Boehner.
We took a dozen red and white roses with us this year. When the ceremony was over we talked with members of Rolling Thunder, as we have done in the past. The roses were passed out to them to place on graves of friends.
You will find attached, I hope, a couple of Rolling Thunder pictures and one of a military family, so cute, arriving for the ceremony.
All in all, Janie and I had a memorable and touching day which we will remember forever.
I hope this has proved interesting reading for you.
Take good care and may GOD Bless each of you and our beautiful America.
Margie N. Harich
Silver Star Families of America
Maryland/District of Columbia Representative
Recently, we attended a meeting to receive the signed copy of our city SSBD proclamation. There were people from the Mayor's office, the Army and others taking pictures and we were advised we would be receiving copies from the Mayor's photographer and the Army will be sending their pictures to me by e-mail.
There was more to the event then expected. It was a town meeting covering a past agenda as well as other awards being presented. The schools had a young lady receiving a special award for her wonderful efforts in the community. There was a representative from the NAACP chapter with some young folks and their mission.
We were called up, by the Mayor, with the VFW, American Legion, Commander of the National Guard and Mr. Arthur McLean, a gentleman who served in the Korean War. Mayor Doughtery presented the Proclamation (it is absolutely beautiful) to us and we thanked him as representatives of The Silver Star Families of America. In turn, I presented the Mayor with our Citation and the banner. He handed the banner to Mr. McLean and I read the citation to the Mayor. He was surprised and delighted with it. He is a very nice man, a real people person. And Margaret Famous is a delight, we should all be so organized and kind. She said we were great and the Mayor's office would be sending us pictures. I left the SSFOA flyers with her. I spoke with the various agencies and then we were on our way home.
The one surprise I had was finding the local cable crew televising the meeting. SUPRISE!!
All in all we think it went very well and everyone received a round of applause. There was quite a group of people in attendance.
Please visit the SSFOA links to learn more.