~DEDICATED TO OUR HEROES~
MEN AND WOMEN WHO ANSWERED THE CALL OF DUTY
THE GREETERS of BANGOR, MAINE
by Donna Woodward
13 West Fryeburg Rd.,
What must it feel like to leave your loved ones to go to war? Just leaving my dog for more than two nights is emotional for me. Yet on any given day hundreds of soldiers are getting onto planes to travel far away from their homes, friends and families in an effort to protect our constitutional rights and help other countries become as blessed and free as we are.
As we go through our daily lives we become so focused on personal trials, tribulations, and routines that we too seldom stop and place things in proper perspective. We speak our minds, we have our opinions, and we are free to be who we choose to be. We work, play, and go to school where we want, we own property, drive, pray, shop, travel and live where we want. Itıs call freedom and we are blessed to have it. But how often do we reflect on why we are able to enjoy this freedom? Not nearly as often as we criticize, complain, disagree, and insult each other. When did so many become so arrogant, disrespectful, self-serving, and careless? We need to pay attention folks and put things back into perspective. We need to count our blessings and respond to the world with a more positive energy - united.
Iıve always believed that if you sought answers with an open mind and open heart, the answer would come and you would have the wisdom to see it. My answer came in the form of an email from Jennifer Reagan at ReMax Country Living. She had just returned from a family visit in
I called Jennifer and we were on our way to
A Little About
JENNIFER AND DONNA GO TO BANGAH!!
A Mothers Story:
As we sat drinking coffee at the local Dunkin Donuts she began. ³My husband, Philip, is retired military,² she said. ³twenty-five years, Army. Our son, Herbie, graduate
Melody explained how being a Maine Greeter helped her to cope. ³My Herbie is on his third Humvee,² she said. The last one hit an IED (improvised explosive device). There were three soldiers; one died, the other was wounded and rescued by Herbie while under fire. He received a metal of Honor and also has a Bronze Star. So far Herbie had beat the odds but his day came on Sept 26th. He was on a humanitarian mission, working as a civil affairs officer. They had just finished the day and as he was getting into his Humvee he spotted a little girl. As he turned to reach for a doll to give to the child he took a bullet in the arm. This would have been a fatal shot had he not been reaching for the doll. ³Herbieıs dad knew but they kept it from me. I found out by accident when some of his unit came through
As she was seeing her son off on his last deployment she handed him a bag of her homemade chocolate chip cookies. As he was boarding the plane, swinging his bag of cookies as he walked, this bigger then life Major of the armed forces became a little boy again in the image of a mothers mind.
(If you would like to help you can send your donations directly to: Civil Affairs Officer, HHD 1st Brigade 4th ID,
It is now almost 6:00PM. Dee had arranged for us to meet long time greeters, Lynne and
³Itıs 19:30 oıclock and weıre 15 minutes from the airport. We better move it,² announces Bud. As we entered the airport several greeters were already in line waiting for the troops to exit from the plane. I had just taken my place in the long line of greeters when I heard a roar of hoots and cheers. As I looked up I saw them coming down the corridor, like a sea of combat uniforms marching toward us. Their faces lit up as they realized that the cheers, whistles, and salutes were for them. I must have looked like a deer in the headlights as a wave of emotions swept over me. I had never felt so proud to be part of anything in my life. There were hundreds of heroes walking through the line and I touched the hands of everyone of them! I spent the next two hours trying to keep up with Jennifer as she moved through the room talking with different soldiers, trying to educate me on the ranks, and picking out ones for me to interview, which actually became a heart to heart.
Part of a Thank You Letter From A Soldier on 2/22/06
While en route of a miserably long, cramped journey, we had the pleasure of spending some time with the Maine Troop Greeters at
My Conversations with Some of the Soldiers
PFC Health Blais is from
I approached two soldiers sitting quietly across the room, Sargent First Class Eric Rouse from
PFC Brian Murphy enlisted 18 months ago. He told me he had just said good-bye to his fiance earlier that morning. He gave her a ring eight months ago and as he was talking I couldnıt help thinking he seemed too young to be thinking about marriage but yet here he was trained and ready for war. ³Watching my girl drive away this morning was harder then going to war for me², states Brian. ³My parents donıt care much for the war. My mother just wants me to come home and be safe. She had two brothers in the Vietnam war so itıs real hard on her. My baby sister is a freshman and my other sister is pregnant so when I get home I will be an uncle². I believe in the good things we are doing and I know we have to get on top of the situation in
Letıs hear it from the girls!! Private Jennifer Lee Homan looked more like a model for an army clothing line. She was beautiful, young and vibrant. I had to ask her ³why². ³My dad was air force, and my baby sister enlisted in the army in 2004. She is stationed in
Staff Sargent Gene Williams from
It seemed like time stood still for that two hours. The next thing I knew they were told to prepare to reboard their plane to leave for
I saw a man and his wife with a teenage son sitting off to side waiting for the next military plane to arrive. When I approached them they told me they were expecting their 22 year old son, Senior Airman Joshua Farrar to arrive on the next flight. Joshua had called them just hours earlier to let them know his flight would be landing unexpectedly, in
Itıs a little after midnight and we are waiting for the next plane to arrive. I overhear a ten year old boy asking his mother if he could skip hockey practice in the morning because he was certain to be too tired to go. She reassured him that seeing his dad was more than enough reason to forego hockey practice. Later after the plane had landed I saw their reunion and I heard the father explaining to the child why he had to go to
Another loved one waiting for this unexpected flight to arrive was Kathy Seavey. She is the girl friend of Master Sargent Keith Orr from
When talking to one of the higher ranks in charge of the air force flight he explained to me that he was a Load Master. His job was to get the troops there safely. The plane was carrying 10-12 squadrons and group supervisors. This was his 3rd trip over to serve another four months. His squad was already over there. ³Our job is to protect and defend our constitution.² He seemed to grow taller and prouder with each word that he spoke. ³ If the people over there end up with even a little taste of what we have here in our country, it would be a wonderful thing.² He continued to fascinate me with his descriptive talk of the landscaping saying that he was on a fly mission last trip over and Southern Iraq is very desert but northern Iraq is a lot like home with farm land and the people work for a living and are no different from us. We are doing the right thing in helping them achieve democracy in that country so they can run it without dictatorship and live free for the rest of their lives.
It was once said by a very wise person -²Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you - Jesus Christ who died for your soul and The American G.I. who died for your freedom.² I canıt wait to greet the troops again, and again, and again, for as long as there are troops passing through Bangor.
From the Locals of the Fryeburg Area
My Dad is not only well known for his poetic reviews of the
HEROES ONE AND ALL
We are a nation of heroes
Some great and some small
But a hero is a hero
when they step forth to heed the call
To protect the freedoms we are given
A gift to you and me.
They assure us with their sacrifice
That forever weıll be free.
From the times of George Washington
Up to the present day
We have always had our heroes
To protect the American way.
We can never thank them near enough
For itıs their participation
That has let us grow from but a few
Into the greatest nation.
We have accomplished many wonders
Thatıs made the Eagle soar with pride
Weıve had our wars and sad times
That is when the Eagle cried
But our heroes always realized
Thatıs the way things had to be
A man cannot be a man
Unless that man is free.
Ask not what your country can do for you
President Kennedy once had said
But rather ask what you can do
For your country instead.
When trouble and threats to our country
On the horizon starts in brewing
Our heroes ask not ³what can I do?²
They step forward and start doing.
I canıt express my gratitude
For what you have granted me
The right to live without any fear
Knowing I am free
You have let the mighty Eagle fly
And kept our stars and stripes unfurled
And the torch of freedom burning bright
Bringing hope throughout the world.
When men and women such as you
Come forward without hesitation.
You become the heroes of your time
The guardians of our nation
So take your place among other patriots
Who have seen we never fall
You will forever be our countries hero
Our debt to you is far from small
There isnıt much that we can give back
And so little we can do
Except express our appreciation
And the respect we have for you.
Thank God for brave young Americans
That come forward to do your part
So again we say to you, our heroes
Thank you from all our hearts
Letter from a Dessert Storm Veteran
David Knapp -
US Army Special Operations Command
Donna Woodward told me the theme of this piece was about thanking those who serve. In an era when our reserve forces are being mobilized at such an historically high level, I feel it is more important to say thank you to the members of the families, to the friends, neighbors, and to the community in which we live that makes this service possible. In my own case, I donıt believe that my year in
On many levels the ³citizen-soldier² has a much more difficult ³career² in the military than does his active duty counterpart. It is harder for those in the reserve and national guard to attend the required professional schools, convince employers that the six week deployment to
The mobilization of the reserve component of the armed forces for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is the largest since the Korean War and many who may be unaffected by the war on a daily basis know someone or know someone who knows someone who is in Iraq or Afghanistan or are in the service preparing for a deployment. Maineıs own National Guard has deployed the 152d Maintenance Company, the 133d Engineer Battalion, and, elements of the 172d Infantry Battalion (Mountain) to
Add to those facts that in 2005 over 50% of the forces in Iraq were from the Reserve Components of the Armed Forces (Army, Marine, etc.) and you begin to understand why each of you reading this probably know someone (whether they are active or reserve) who is or has served in this war. Donıt forget too that this is the first war we have fought in since World War I where a draft was not in place. Those serving today are all volunteerssomething extraordinary to ponder in and of itself. Additionally, we need to realize that the service in this war is simply a continuance of the call to duty that Fryeburgıs citizens have answered throughout our nationıs history.In my own quiet bit of the village my neighbors include Jerry Smith a Vietnam USMC veteran, Derrick Schlottman (owner of the Admiral Peary House) served on nuke subs in the 1980s and 1990s and conducted multiple combat patrols during this time), Wendall Moore is a World War II vet who served in the Pacific, J.D. Hill, a 2006 graduate of the Academy is on active duty with the Air Force, Bob Mallon is also a USMC veteran of Vietnam, Ralph Guptill, a Korean War infantryman, and attorney Buzz Pratt a Navy Veteran of Vietnam all live, work and interact with us on a daily basis. There are more veterans out there, of course, and, more to the point there are families here in Fryeburg who have been affected by the loss of someone they know and love in this recent combat. Fryeburg has lost its citizens in war before--
Your support of our troops is an important morale booster, I can attest to that, and the personal touch is no less important to the service member today than were the Salvation Army ³doughnut dollies² serving hot coffee and doughnuts near the front in World War I, or the USO shows of World War II. The card, letter, or package that you take the time and care to send off to someone you may not know is the most meaningful thing one can receive overseas. Couple that effort with those of the
Finally, and most importantly, families send their sons and daughters off to the military every day knowing that within six or eight months that they may well be serving in the combat zone. So, it is to those brave families, those that have raised their sons and daughters to serve our country in peace or war, that I say thank you. To those veterans that have served our nation during this war or any other, I say well done. To those that are serving now and will in the future, I say, stay safe.
Sam Stone is dead and gone
And thereıs nothing much to say
About the man he was or the things he tried to do.
He killed his fellow men
In a far off foreign land
He fought and died for the likes of me and you.
He was laughed at for his pain
And slowly went insane
From the things that heıd done and the love heıd never find
And thereıs nothing worse then dying in your mind
Thereıs a hole in Daddyıs heart that no one knows
All his friends died for nothing I suppose
Donıt try and stop the tears
Heıs shed throughout the years
You canıt help ease his pain, he never letıs it show.
This doesnıt mean that every
If you want to have an effect on a
It Was A Dark and Stormy Night
by Rip Tyoe - a
We hid within ourselves, had bad relationships, got into fights, and were inexplicably explosive at the least little thing. We hid in society and most people never knew the nightmares and night sweats and tears that would show up at the oddest times and for no apparent reason. Itıs said very well said in a verse of a song written by Rip Tyoe about a
Youıre alone with the pain. Darkness all around you. A sense of guilt, loss and sorrow at the things youıve done and seen. All your long dead friends are with you.
Youıve learned to realize joy in living through your children. Their need for love and fulfillment satisfied by your very presence. They smile and laugh knowing the satisfaction and security of your love for them. They donıt question whether it will ever end or fade to indifference or even be lost to a preference for someone or something more exciting or fulfilling. They know you will always be there for them in their times of need.
Being a Vietnam vet means reaching out in your time of need and finding not the loving, caring warmth that you long for but a clenched fist full of alone, with the darkness all around, and the hollow feelings of loss and sorrow of what might have been and the realization that all you have is the pain.
Recalling Iwo Jima
World War II Veteran in the 28th Marines
It was some sixty years ago when our regiment landed at
When the war ended we were converted from ³invasion troops² to ³occupational troops². Our division stayed in
"Being There for the Troops"
by Representative Roberta Muse
One of the responsibilities of public office is showing up at a wide variety of events. As in many areas of life and work, the "just being there" often speaks louder than words.
Twice I've had the responsibility--and privilege--to "just be there" when our military troops moved through the Arsenal in
In the spring of 2005, as one of our battalions was being deployed to
THANK YOU TO OUR MEN AND WOMEN IN UNIFORM
With a huge sense of gratitude and respect, I join in saying thanks to the brave men and women of
The sacrifices of our volunteer military are huge. Lives are put on hold. Family and jobs are left behind for long tours of duty. Many face the deprivations and dangers of a war zone. Some suffer terrible wounds and a few, but always too many, give the ultimate sacrifice of their lives in defense of our great country.
President Calvin Coolidge once said ³The nation which forgets its defenders will be itself forgotten². Although these words were spoken long ago, they remain true to this day.
Ours is a great nation. Let us never forget the men and women who have defended us as we live happily and freely.
I hope we can all join together and say thank you, brave soldiers, for all that you do. As you take risks and make sacrifices to maintain Americaıs greatness, you are also shining examples of that greatness. The people of
to help send off the latest army of
After shaking hands with a few of the departing soldiers, I slid to the back of the auditorium to face my conflicted feelings of pride, pain, and irrelevance in the face of such agony. The scene struck close to home, as I, too, had seen a child off to boot camp and five years of service. I couldn't imagine how that pain compounded for these people who were facing the very real possibility of never seeing each other again.
Last spring, the Legislature was honored to greet a battalion as it passed through
More importantly, I hope my silent presence added to their confidence that we--their families, their friends, their neighbors, their state and their nation--are there for them.
Most importantly, I want them to know that we thank them daily for their years spent in the uniform of the United States of America...always being there for us.
by Senator David Hastings III
³Hi Jen - this is Donna. I got your email about the Maine Troop Greeters! We have to go.² This is how it started. She knew she had me and she was darn proud of herself for it! We met for lunch at Fryes the next day and started our strategy. We were going to spread this positive, supportive outlook all over the world - okay, maybe just Fryeburg and Brownfield but itıs a start. By the end of lunch we had made plans to go to
We arrived in the
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