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A Time to Honor Those Who Served

Today is Veteran’s Day.

My children had the day off from school.  We all got to sleep in a bit.  Yet, I wanted my family to set some time aside to honor those in the armed forces.

We are privileged that The Moving Wall is visiting my city.  This is a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial located in Washington D.C.  It travels from one location to another to allow those who cannot visit Washington the opportunity to honor the fallen.

This morning, I announced that we would be taking a trip downtown to see it.  I met the usual resistance from the teenaged crew members; however, they could not convince me to change my mind.  We would be giving up one hour of our time; those whose names are on the wall gave up something far more precious…their lives.

Here are a few pictures…

58,260 names are inscribed on these walls…

The Department of Defense originally designated 1959 as the first year of casualties; however, it was later discovered that a serviceman had been killed in action in 1957.  It was too late to change the Memorial.

There are eight women on the list.  All were nurses.  16 of the men listed were chaplains; two were awarded the Medal of Honor.

There were a few mementos left, such as those below…

I ran my hand over some of the names…felt each letter etched into the memorial.  Each name…a person who was a son, perhaps a grandfather, father, or brother.  Many of these men died without ever knowing the children who were born after their passing.  I once worked with such a fellow and remember him talking about how his mother raised him and his sisters alone.

When you look at the names, you see diamonds, pluses, or pluses with a circle around them after each name.  The diamonds indicate those men and women confirmed dead.  The plus signs signify those who are missing in action or prisoners of war.  If an MIA serviceman’s remains are recovered, the plus symbol is changed to a diamond.  Plus signs with a circle around them indicate that a person was later brought home alive.  I did not see any of these, but I’ll admit that I didn’t look at every single name.

I am so grateful for the price our servicemen and women have paid to ensure that freedom reigns…not only in the United States, but in countries around the world.

My New Best Friend

Meet Mr. Heater.  He is my new best friend.

Mr. Heater

Mr. Heater

I know I live in Florida, and people assume that it stays warm year-around, but it doesn’t.  Although we don’t experience the frigid temperatures that the northern states do, we still get cold.

You would never guess, from the following pictures I took yesterday afternoon, that I actually had to use Mr. Heater that night.

Sunset on the Florida Gulf Coast

Sunset on the Florida Gulf Coast

The clouds look so cool!

The clouds look so cool!

Mr. AuburnChick and I headed out to watch Soccer Chick’s high school soccer game.  We left around 3:30pm.  The game was two hours away and was scheduled to begin at 7pm.  I knew it would be cold.  The fields were located across the street from the beach where the wind makes it feel even colder.

This was the inaugural unveiling of the heater.  Last Christmas, Mr. AuburnChick had wrapped it and put it under the tree for me knowing how I freeze during games.  I am famously known for being cold-natured.  I never did use it that winter, being slightly embarrassed to carry it to the games.  However, I’ve decided that I really do not care what people think.  I want to be warm.  I accomplished that last night.

Sitting in front of the heater was like sitting in front of a campfire.  It emits a lot of heat…even on low.  It runs on a small propane tank.  You can buy more of these marvelous tanks of fuel at nearly any store.  I plan on buying them by the case because I’ll be on the fields four nights a week with both of the kids playing.

The heater has another benefit.  It draws other people to you.  During the second half of the game, a couple of gals saw that I wasn’t shivering, and then they noticed the heater.  I invited them over, and we all squooshed together.  I felt like the most popular girl in the class.  I proudly announced, “Look Soccer Chick, I have friends…and they’re real…not just on the internet!”  My friends laughed and assured me that I had friends long before I introduced them to Mr. Heater.

Mr. Heater will be accompanying me to many games this year.  We’re gonna be tight…I am sure of that.  It’s a friendship made in heaven.

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