Veteran’s day

Let us always remember that the freedoms we enjoy are the direct result of the soldier’s desire to serve his/her country and sacrifice his/her life. Many of us know veterans who have lost their lives while serving in the Armed Forces. Today is a day to honor their service and pray for those who continue to serve honorably and place their lives on the line.

Today, on Veteran’s Day, I would like to repost something old that I wrote a long time ago.

I would like to remember the things that are really important in this life. What really matters….like other people, THEIR lives, GIVING to others, being kind and considerate, LOVING whole heartedly, being AWARE, creating friendships and NOT letting prejudice, social stigmas or personal walls stand in the way……giving, serving, sacrificing selfish desires and learning how to love without reservation.

Being in the military has always helped me to appreicate life, people and definitely taught me what it means to sacrifice. I know that I have it in me to give my life for another….whether its a fellow airman, friend, or stranger. Being out of the military….it easy to lose awareness of the fragility and purpose of life.

I am posting an email Stacy wrote to me, because it really puts into perspective that I have a purpose for my life. It reminds me to quit being lazy and selfish, and DO something that matters. Everytime I read this……I am SO thankful for serving, for those who have served…and I know that every single Airman/Solider out there sacrifices SO much everyday, so that Americans can enjoy more than just basic freedom. I like to keep her email close to my heart….so that I can remember I am never really too busy for someone else, that people matter, and that heroes exist.

Fort Drum soldier killed in combat in Iraq
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A soldier on his second tour in Iraq was among three soldiers who died this week of wounds from an improvised explosive device, the Department of Defense announced.
Sgt. Timothy R. Van Orman, 24, of Port Matilda, Pa., who also served in Afghanistan, was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y. He is survived by his wife, Cadie, and their daughter.
Van Orman graduated in 2002 from Bald Eagle Area High School, where he played in the band.
“Tim was the kind of student who poured his whole heart into everything,” Scott Sheehan, his former band instructor, told the Tyrone Daily Herald. “He was an excellent trombone player and participated in jazz band, symphonic band and marching band. He took it very seriously, but at the same time, he knew how to have fun with it.”
Van Orman enlisted in 2003. He served in Afghanistan from August 2003 to May 2004 and in Iraq from August 2005 to July 2006. He left in September on his second deployment to Iraq.
Van Orman died Tuesday in Balad, Iraq, of wounds from the blast in Al Muqdadiyah, the Army said.
Spc. Miguel A. Baez, 32, of Bonaire, Ga., and Sgt. John C. Osmolski, 23, of Eustis, Fla., both of the 82nd Airborne Division, were also killed.
Died:
February 05, 2008

“He died for you. He died for his country.
I want you to look at his face. Look at the names of his baby and his wife. I can’t seem to get it out of my head. What he looks like in that picture compared to what I saw him look like.
This has been happening for years. People have died for us. Vietnam, Civil War you name it. Are we grateful? Or are we busy? Some families never know what happened to their loved ones. They go missing for 20, 30 years. No bodies to bury. No funeral to have, no closure. So this family was lucky, if that even sounds right. I carried Sgt Van Orman off the chopper the day he died. I was a small part in getting him home to his family. How incredible. Please, even if it is just for a moment. Don’t forget his face. His name. His sacrifice.
Things happen here every day that amaze me. We are here saving these peoples lives and they are shooting bombs at us. This base is the most attacked base in Iraq from what I am told but has clamed down tremendously in the last few years. If any of you pay attention to CNN you may have seen the car bombing at the pet mart. I saw a little boy’s head bleed out from that car bomb on the OR table as he was brain dead. They bagged him up. The attached a bomb to two women who had cerebral palsy. Blew them and others up while they were shopping.
So how was your day at the mall? How was the homework? Did you tell the people you love that you love them?
This may sound so gruesome and it’s hard to hear. But this is what I see every day. This is life for the people here. It really makes you think.
It has stopped being something I am getting used to and has become every day life. Part of my job during the day is to search for bombs. I mean, that is just crazy. At one point I was complaining about having to do it. When we get attacked, we have to go out and make sure that there are not any straggler bombs. I get woken up at night by a bomb and roll over coz I am too lazy to get on the floor under my bed where I am supposed to be. When this becomes a task to the equivalence of taking out the trash, you know your world has been forever turned upside down.
What are the things in life that we are all just used to? Things that over time just loose the importance or the meaning? A bomb search becomes mundane to me. That should set fire to many emotions, reactions. But I am used to it. People shouldn’t be used to bombs. It makes me think what am I used to in the states? I am used to my Mom so I fight with her more than I should. I am used to ice cream so I don’t eat it as much as I would like. I am used to people being rude, so I am rude back. I am used to Nora always being there so I don’t appreciate her as much as I should. I am used to my sister being the baby so I don’t give her the credit she deserves. I am used to having a cell phone restricted to minutes, so I rush people off the phone. I am used to being hurt, so I hurt back. I am used to sex being a thing of recreation instead of love and passion. I am used to being selfish. I am used to caring about me. I am used to too many things that I shouldn’t be. I am used to being pretty happy, comfortable and loved, so I don’t thank God as much as I should.
You know the days that have a certain smell or feel in the air? The ones that remind you of something particular. Like Halloween. Or Christmas? I can smell death. Its crazy coz we all get this feeling when we are going about our busy day when we know today will be a big day. A day when we all of a sudden have helicopters landing left and right filled with wounded women, children, Iraqi soldiers and cops and the dreaded Americans. It is a feeling that we all get when we know we will run out of room to put the wounded, injured and dying. We will write on their heads to signify if they have a shot to live.
Two Army nurses told me not to get so emotional. “It’s not your mom, or your friend.” That is how they handle what they see every day. I, on the other hand, get to write this to all of you.
I just invite you all to care about something else other than what is going on in your lives. I hear the term busy all the time. We are too busy to write in the newsletter, too busy to call. Too busy to do anything we wish we would. People matter. That is what I have come up with. The hero I carried off the helicopter wasn’t too busy that morning to call his wife and tell her he loved her. Weren’t they both grateful? So when Nora calls me drunk at 1 am, ill answer every time. If Crystal is having a down day, ill send her a card. Life is short people. Do something.
I can’t say that I am perfect. But this experience alone makes me feel like I am leaving this world better than I found it. I am learning and loving. That is what life is about to me. People get so busy in their lives they end up being selfish. Being too consumed with their lives, what they have going on and what they are doing. We forget about ppl because we are so busy with life when life is about people.
It was an incredible experience to see the love and support fly through. The way Nora sends Q-tips and a V-day card. Kate sends me the most amazing and thoughtful letter complete with 8th grade group photo. Or Ashley’s continual emails questioning what it’s like here so she can be apart of what I am doing. My mom’s letter about the weather. Alicia and Rae’s video remake complete with my face on their t-shirts. My sisters drawing of Jesus that she mailed. My Dad’s peach rings and guitar book. It’s the interest and efforts that the people in my life have put fourth that make me appreciate them, their love and their selflessness. It is amazing and humbling to see people stand by you in life. There are days, moments in life where people separate. From friends to family. Friend to acquaintance. Needed to Essential. It all resounds on selflessness. What are you willing to give to someone else? A note? A phone call? A moment in time? Your life? “

SRA Stacy Fogarty

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