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Thank you……

I received these images (below) in an email–you know, the kinds that have been forwarded a million and one times…and i hardly ever pay attention. but something prompted me to keep scrolling down….these images brought me to tears and brought back some pain i didn’t realize i still had.

i was a ‘military brat’. my step father was a marine and we traveled and moved and he was sent to viet nam 3 times from the time my mom met him to the time he was dishonorably discharged from the military (you can read more about THAT here )

while i was proud of the military and what my step father did at work, i didn’t understand the depth of his sacrifice. i know that while he was in sin toward me and my mom and my little brother, he was a very wounded man. i am sure lots of his messed up-ness ( i know–not a word) came from the experiences he had in the military and while on duty for our country.

i have had a lot of anger and bitterness toward the military and the damage it did to me and my family….i also am very grateful for the sacrifices we have ALL made to make our country a better place. lots of sacrifices that aren’t talked about…..

i also realize that in my anger and denial of the importance of these men and women in our lives, that i have neglected to teach my children the depth of gratitude we owe these –heroes–for lack of any other word that could be strong enough. the heroes aren’t JUST those who died and gave their lives, a lot of heroes are those who died and still lived….those who had to keep going when their lives ended as they knew them. my heart breaks for the sacrifices that have been made on my behalf. i hope and pray i can give my children a deeper appreciation for those who have sacrificed for them (no, not just me:))…..

while we are having fun playing in the hotel pool, eating our favorite foods and watching fireworks, i pray that god will give me the words to share what this ‘party’ really is for…..

International Picture of the Year.

Here are two very touching photos honored this year.

First Place :

First Place

Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News

When 2nd Lt. James Cathey’s body arrived at the Reno Airport , Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac.

During the arrival of another Marine’s casket last year at Denver International Airport , Major Steve Beck described the scene as so powerful: ‘See the people in the windows? They sat right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what’s going through their minds, knowing that they’re on the plane that brought him home,’ he said ‘They will remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They’re going to remember bringing that Marine home. And they should.’

Second Place

Second Place

Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News

The night before the burial of her husband’s body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of ‘Cat,’ and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. ‘I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it,’ she said. ‘I think that’s what he would have wanted’.

And the one that really tightens MY throat:

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