Sometimes the Demons win, DAMN THEM!

A close friend of mine who has cared for more severely wounded warriors than most of us could count posted a link to this story. She took care of this brave warrior, but unfortunately he lost the battle, the battle against the demons that haunt so many of us. With tears in my eyes after reading it, I knew I had to share it.

He rarely spoke of it. Not to his family or best buddies, fellow Marines or medical staff watching over him.

But Cpl. Farrell Gilliam had endured far more by the time he died this year at age 25 than most people could comprehend.

The Camp Pendleton infantryman survived three months of combat in 2010 with the “Darkhorse” 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment in Sangin, Afghanistan — one of the deadliest battlegrounds of the war.

Amid firefights and insurgents’ bombs, Gilliam saw limbs strewn across the ground. He loaded broken, bleeding bodies for medical evacuation, and grieved for the friends they could not save.

Gilliam’s tour ended early when his legs were blown off by an improvised explosive device, or IED. “Farrell’s Fight,” his struggle on the homefront that his big brother helped him chronicle online, included more than 30 surgeries and three years of rehabilitation.

It was a story of triumph over wounds that would have been fatal in earlier conflicts. A story that was coming to an end, but not how anyone who knew him expected.

GilliamSangin_t420

Farrell Gilliam on the right

Read the whole story at http://m.utsandiego.com/news/2014/mar/28/farrell-gilliam-marine-suicide-amputee/

Just in case you didn’t know…

…but we still have our son’s and daughters fighting, bleeding and dying in Afghanistan. America is still there taking part in killing bad guys and trying to save the good ones.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

 

           The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

 

Staff Sgt. Michael H. Ollis, 24, of Staten Island, N.Y., died Aug. 28, in Ghazni Province, Afghanistan, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device, small arms and indirect fire. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Fort Drum, N.Y.

 

For more information the media may contact the Fort Drum public affairs office at 315-772-8286.

 

SSG Ollis is not the only casualty, I just selected his name for this post as it was announced on this R.E.D Friday.

 

This country is focusing on the wrong Zimmerman

While the whole George Zimmerman trial has been captivating the news over the past 5 weeks, it is over. Trayvon Martin has been buried for a while now, and even though it is sad for anyone to lose their life so young by virtue of a freak turn of events, it is over.

What is really sad is why this has all been going on there are real Heroes this country should be paying attention to. Americans who are laying down their lives for us to enjoy all the freedoms that our founding fathers have ensured for us. People like Sonny Zimmerman.

 

 

07/17/2013 10:55 AM CDT

 


IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 517-13
July 17, 2013

DOD Identifies Army Casualty

            The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Staff Sgt. Sonny C. Zimmerman, 25, of Waynesfield, Ohio, died July 16, in Mushaka, Afghanistan, of wounds suffered when his vehicle was attacked by a rocket propelled grenade.

He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, Fort Campbell, Ky.

For more information, media may contact the Fort Campbell public affairs office at 931-217-5074 or 931-220-7993.

69 years since Operation Overlord

Operation Overlord, also known as D-Day happened 69 years ago today. This video created by the US Army in 1969 and hosted on the NRA Life Of Duty site is a tribute to this famous day in our country’s history. The original Army piece was 28 minutes long, but Life Of Duty has condensed it into about 6 minutes.

These were warriors that truly exemplified what it meant to be courageous and brave.

NR-LOD-SM

 

June 6, 2013 marks the 69th anniversary of “Operation Overlord” – the D-Day invasion where more than 160,000 allied troops landed on a 50-mile stretch of French Coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France in 1944. The invasion led to the deaths of more than 9,000 allied forces, but the victory resulted in a significant turning point for Europe’s history. Today, we would like to honor the allied forces that participated in the invasion by sharing a film created by the U.S. Army in 1969. In this film, the drama and battle action of the landing at Normandy is portrayed along with the fierce combat that took place to overcome “Fortress Europe” (compliments of the National Archives).

 

Video of the Day-Frog Dog

This is a great video tribute to not only a warrior Seal but his selfless and loyal military working dog. I don’t think most of America realizes how much our military relies on dogs in its day to day operations or how vital they are to not only neutralizing the threat but also saving American lives.

Enjoy…

 

A dilemma as I sit here

As I sit here this weekend with 30+ family enjoying a reunion and listen to the laughs, stories, and food cooking I sit here both happy and sad.

I sit here happy for all of them to be able to enjoy the freedoms of this country and the ability for all of us to get together. Some of them have served and they know what it means, others never have and only know the stories from some of us who have. Good for both of the distinct groups. Thank God we have so many that have answered the call of this Country to preserve this way of life. Also thank God those that are here can enjoy a life without knowing the horrors others have seen.

I also sit here sad thinking about those reunions and gatherings that are missing a key person in the last few years. That father, mother, son, daughter, cousin, husband, wife, brother, sister, cousin or friend that cannot be with loved ones. The one that is the reason why we have this weekend. Why we honor Memorial Day.

I think about Danny missing his brother, or Cheryl or Donna missing their sons, or Robert missing his, or Rachel missing her husband or Illiana missing her brother. Those are just a few of the names of family of the fallen that I either know personally and/or have written about on this blog.

These are just a few of the reasons why we have this day and for as much as I am sure those who have fallen would look down on us all now and say enjoy the day and have a great time with each other, the rest who are still walking this earth miss them.

I know that had I been called to give my life, that would have been my last wish “don’t cry for me, I am in a much better place, enjoy each other and make the most of your time together”.

So it is in this dilemma I sit, where I know we all celebrate and should, but for many we also mourn as many of us always will. I hope all who read this truly take the time to think, ponder and remember why we have this holiday and why it is a very special one that stands apart from all of our other holidays. If you personally knew someone who has given their life for our country in the Global War on Terror, you can find their picture and any news stories about them at http://projects.militarytimes.com/valor/. Or you can just go see and learn about some of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on your behalf.

I ask you to also consider and think about the statement below. Maybe even use it to teach the children in your life about these days and put them into perspective.

Without Veterans’ Day there would be no Memorial Day and without Memorial Day there would be no Independence Day.

Memorial-Day

Video of the Day- Honoring the Fallen

Another short, but very touching video tribute to our fallen. Not necessarily profiling a historic battle or place, but the feelings and impact are the same regardless. This is only a few minutes long and well worth those few minutes on this honorable weekend.

 

Thoughts from Memorial Day 2011

I first brought this up a couple of years ago and wanted to raise up the topic again.

For years I have struggled with how to address Memorial Day when greeting people on this weekend. I know many of my brethren have told me they sometimes struggle with the same thing.

I mean saying Happy or Merry Memorial Day does not seem right at all. Would you walk up to someone on the anniversary of the date a loved one of theirs died and say Happy Anniversary!! I think not.

I think that is one of the reason’s why I am not a big fan of parades on this day. Parades are meant to be fun and joyous, not sad and somber. But many communities have them and even though I know they mean well, it just doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe I am weird like that, I don’t know.

So how does one give a greeting on this honorable and reverend of holidays that our country actually takes a pause to recognize?

Like I said, for years I have been struggling with this issue.

Until today!

Today while driving from one cemetery to another to visit past soldiers of mine I had an epiphany. It suddenly popped into my head. Rather than “Happy” or “Merry” , use the word Honorable. That is what we are doing, or at least supposed to be doing on this day. Honoring.

I know it does not flow as well as Happy or Merry, but quite frankly I don’t care. I think it is the best word to use. Maybe there is a better one that I can’t think of, but I know for now I will stick with Honorable. So when I see someone today I will say “Hope you are having a HONORABLE Memorial Day” or maybe just “Honorable Memorial Day”.

I hope you will join me in changing the way we greet people on this weekend and day. Lets make this a grass-roots effort to HONOR those that have made the ultimate sacrifice and their families and friends who have memorial day 365 days a year and not just one.