Thursday, December 27, 2007

Missing my Co-Mothers

This is really silly, but I miss being part of the Stryker mothers' forum. I enjoyed the common bond we shared supporting the 4th Stryker Brigade. Even my assigned "Friend-in-Arms" mom and I have lost touch. The "I know exactly how you feel" is gone. I feel like I stole Home Base in the World Series in a game I had money on. But I wouldn't trade!

Austin is waiting to see if he has a future in the Army. Kris is enjoying his 30+ days of leave. They will both be here soon for Kylee's wedding.

I cannot believe my daughter is getting married in 23 days and the invitations are still not mailed out. She and her sweetie were waiting for Austin to return to the US in July and now are in hurry-up mode because there is no reason to wait. We're not "formal" people so everyone who is invited already knows when and where. We made the invitations ourselves -- not a craft project I would recommend. But they are so darn cute!

The weather has been wonderful here -- definitely a warm Christmas and it looks like a warm New Year's too. We keep turning the air conditioner on, then off, then on, then off.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The rap video that Cpt. Adam Snyder's brother Evan made is posted here, along with the memorial service and other videos that were shown. The service lasted for two hours (the fast forward and rewind were a little tricky on my computer). Evan speaks for quite a while toward the beginning of the service and you should watch at least that part and Evan's video.

After I watched myself speaking I thought "I'll never do that again!" I look so old and frumpy -- but I feel so young and fit. I said "July of 2007" when I should have said "July of 2000." I have a "familial tremor" and noticeably shake all the time. Given the emotions of that day it was much more obvious. I wasn't very nervous, just very sad for this family. Adam was such an all around great person and now he's gone.

I also think -- what gives me the right to speak at these funerals. Most "presenters" read the script and present the banners in 2-3 minutes. For some reason I feel motivated to gather information about the soldier and speak about his accomplishments and read very little of the script. Oh well.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Another Fallen Hero:

As I posted below, Cpt. Snyder's funeral was on Friday, December 14 in Ft. Pierce, Florida. On Saturday, December 15, I attended the funeral of Sgt. Daniel Beougher, 23, Ft. Myers, Florida.

"Danny" was the youngest of four boys -- the only one who chose military service. He had survived two tours in Iraq and one in Afganistan, only to come home and be killed by a drunk driver. He and his wife were within one mile of the family home when a truck crossed the median and struck their vehicle. Danny was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife was critically injured and remained in the hospital for 10 days and was unable to attend his funeral.

After the accident one or two of the people in the truck ran from the scene. One woman remained in the cab of the truck, on the passenger side, but she is suspected of being the driver. The Highway Patrol is investigating.

At Danny's funeral I met his Grandmother Rose. She's a tiny little lady; probably around 75 years old. She has lost a brother, a son (Danny's father) and now a grandson to hit and run drivers. When we met she asked if she could read to me what she was going to read from the podium during the service. We sat down together and she read her brief introduction that she'd written and then took out a piece of paper that she had obviously held on to for a long time. I put my arm around her while she read. When she was finished I told her that what she had chosen was absolutely perfect. That's when she told me about the other accidents.

The Army had chosen to present Danny's family with his Purple Heart and another badge privately in the church library. The Army officers and the family asked me to join them and present the Gold Star banners after the medal presentation. So that's how it happened that day. I told them I am much more comfortable speaking in front of a thousand people than so closely with all of the family (about 20 people), because I was so afraid of disappointing them. Danny's mother-in-law accepted his wife's Gold Star banner. She was so sweet. She hugged me and didn't want to let go.

I stayed for the funeral and then drove the 2 and 1/2 hours back home truly exhausted but thankful to have been allowed the privilege of honoring these two families. After seeing the photos of the graveside service I wish I'd gone along with the Patriot Guard. Next time I will so I have no regrets.

Today I received a response from my new boss on my request to take this afternoon off to take Austin to the airport. She knocked the wind out of me; kicked my legs out from under me; broke my heart. She e-mailed me, "I would recommend you contemplate your commitment to your position and XXX over the next few days and decide if you feel you can honor that commitment. . ." No one has ever questioned my commitment to my job --- in fact, others have always spoken of my passion for my job and my mastery of my responsibilities.

So I cried most of the day; talked to some of the other managers and was assured that I was a valued employee and my dedication to my job is exceptional.

People suck.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cpt. Adam P. Snyder
November 18, 1981 - December 5, 2007
Honor Grad, West Point Class of 2004
KIA Iraq
"That wars would never start. . ."

Yesterday I attended Cpt. Snyder's funeral. If it can be said that a funeral was "good," this was a good funeral. Adam was an incredible person; truly "the best of the best." I am so thankful to now know so much about him.

The service lasted for two hours. There were many eulogies by people Adam had asked to speak at his funeral in the event of his death in Iraq. The eulogy by Adam's friend Zach Thomas is posted

I was so proud to be part of the service. When I arrived at the church Lt.Col. Maddox introduced me to Pastor Dale who made me feel completely welcome. He had me sit up front with the soldiers. There were no less than 800 people at the service -- probably more. Courage came from somewhere and I was able to speak from the podium for about 10 minutes; even got some laughs; but most importantly did my part to honor Cpt. Snyder and his family. I presented the Gold Star banners to Cpt. Snyder's mother and step father privately at their seats in the front row.

Adam's 15 year old brother Evan spoke about his relationship with his brother. He definitely has his brother's sense of humor and charm. Evan made a rap music video about his feelings on the loss of his brother. Here are the words "by FrAZer":

Soldier, Brother, Friend


I love you, my brother; please tell me how you've been
I'll keep you in my heart 'cause without you I can't win
I love you, my brother; but your life had to end
But everyday of my life you'll be my soldier, brother, friend

I have gone crazy--I do not know which way to go
No one can save me. I'm left in life without my bro
You were my friend, and you had told me all you knew
Your life would end, but of this fact you had no clue
You were a soldier--and you were just doin' your duty
No one is bolder. It's folks like you we see in movies
Everyone loved you--not a day goes by without hearin' your name
I'd always trust you. But now you're gone and it's such a shame (Hook)

When I was informed of the burden that I soon would bare
I broke down cryin' and I didn't care 'bout who was there
I felt your presence but I wanted to see you in person
I needed medicine 'cause at that point my heart was hurtin'
And your best friend took me home while we both was cryin'
You may not be here now but tell you what, we both is dyin'
I never got to say I loved you right before you left
And now I'm sittin' here alone at home and in a mess (Hook)

My brother's life was stolen by all these Iraqi thieves
You say, "Can I do anything for you?" Bring my brother back to me
This keeps attackin' me: this truth, this hurt, this love, this pain
He died in a conflict, but now it's conflictin' my brain
We were just startin' to get closer buildin' our relationship
Spent some time talkin' about movies, girls and politics
You'll never meet a better man and I tell you the truth
The Bible says to pray and that's exactly what I'll do (Hook)

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Thursday, December 6, 2007

Sweet Relief!

After 15 months in Iraq, Kris arrived in the USA Tuesday evening. We'll get to see him when Kris and Katie are in Florida a few days after Christmas and then again for Kylee's wedding and yet again for Stef's wedding. He sounds GREAT! How sweet it is!

Austin is having fun hanging out with his sister and her fiance. He looks good but his knee keeps him from sitting or standing in one position for very long. I didn't know that his knee injury occurred when the Stryker he was in was "blown up." After seeing the before and after photos I'm glad I didn't know about those (yes, "those", not "that") incidences.

I have taken the Blue Star (3 stars) banners off my car and the house. My life is returning to that of a normal middle-age woman with adult children. We're trying to set a date for Kylee's wedding but things keep getting in the way. Stef's wedding is scheduled for April. Two daughters getting married within a few months --- yikes!

If there were only a word or phrase to describe how my heart felt when I had "children" in Iraq and when I don't --- but all I can say is "sweet relief." Due to their situations it is highly unlikely that either Kris or Austin will be returning to Iraq. Thank God!

Life is good.