Gold Star Dad

The thoughts of a father who has lost a son to war

So…. Bye…

Posted by fozzynok on 03/20/2014

It has been announced that Fred Phelps the supposed preacher leader and founder of the Westboro Baptist Church has died. How should this make me feel? Far too many people are cheering this like it means something, It means nothing. I have watched the world with different eyes as I age and learn and become more and more honest about both; humans, the world and myself. My son was killed in a war, a war that most people here in the country never even cared about and a war that was used as a political tool by some of my countrymen to change political winds to gain power.

We had the WBC saying horrible things in public about the troops.. and since I am considered by most an atheist.. what he and his minions were saying didn’t upset me in the least as its all bullshit. Even if I believed in the mythology, I certainly have never thought for one moment that even they believe the nonsense that they babble.

The babble what they do to get instant and national attention.. like some annoying commercial or some wardrobe malfunction, Americans remember very little else for as long. I have also had enough conversations with other religious people in the political party that I used to belong to that mimicked and mirrored what the WBC says down to ONE difference… they do not like the venue that the WBC uses to get their attention. They are just as repulsive, just as rhetorically violent and in fact more physically threatening that the WBC has ever been. I have heard so many people infer that gods wrath against my country is coming and for the same reasons and it comes from so many sources other than the WBC that its pathetic.

Fred Phelps and his clan have a good gimmick, and it worked every time..They collected a lot of wealth from civil trials, they have gotten rich from people reacting. They have peoples interest and they have people’s ire and they have distracted people from doing good things and enjoying their lives. I have seen the change from one of silent wall of respect from those who try to shield the families of the fallen at funerals where the WBC appears. While that remains intact to a degree, I see more of the militant hate and have seen the militants disrupt a funeral and cheer their “success” against the WBC and have patted themselves on the back for doing so… On a day where they were supposed to be honoring one of America’s fallen military sons. So while they were congratulating themselves about turning a soldiers final day with is family into some evil battleground to get their enemies.. I ask them, what makes you any less destructive to this man’s and his family’s worst day? How did you improve things?

So spare me the dance and cries of joy and victory laps over the death of one idiotic old huckster like you’ve personally gotten some victory. This changed nothing at all for me or for the fallen or even for the families of the fallen. The country is still overall, apathetic, lethargic, lazy and woefully ignorant of history… but damn they can sure get on a bandwagon and wave a flag.
The bottom line is that I cannot hope that some old asshole has been sent to the same hell that he (and others) believe that my son and several other people who they hate have and will be sent to. The threats of hell is just as useless a tool to me and the world as promises of heaven… Fred Phelps is dead.. and my life is not going to be improved or even altered by that fact.

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When the marbles fall out.

Posted by fozzynok on 01/16/2014

Not sure when I became crazy or an over emotional waste of space, but today, I lost a bit of my mind. I know that the world is full of people who are crude, rude and abrasive and for me in most and certain times I consider myself all of the above and don’t really care who thinks that of me. I have worked at never reacting to things and always responding to them. Today I reacted and it was pretty much an uncontrollable response like getting kicked in the balls.

I think everyone has sometimes wondered what certain mental issues feel like, things that the mind is certain of and the body (controlled by the mind) reacts to stimuli from the brain. I long time ago, I got to experience a real quick onset of vertigo. I had this event happen while standing on a ladder 30 feet about the ground with a crane above me that was swinging an air handler toward the stand that I was hooked to so I could guide it and secure it to the stand.. The crane was moving slowly and steadily, and was swinging the machine my way… for some reason and I still do not know what did it… I got hit with vertigo. The machine stopped moving (in my brain) and the building, the stand and the ladder started to fall down (in my mind) I felt it moving and of course I must have been one hell of sight up their grabbing and flapping around as I “fell” when I wasn’t moving anywhere.

Well, I always wondered about flashbacks… Many people who have had stresses and traumatic things happen have flashbacks. Now I know what one of those feel like and it really pissed me off!! Why? Hell! I don’t know… It beat vomiting I guess. It cost me one of the combat sons and admittedly he probably never even considered what he did as anything less than a “funny” video that was shared on the internet. To me it was something that triggered what I guess was a full blown flashback.

The term Catfishing is a new word and has to do with people on the internet who make up a character and use that character as if the person is real. They interact with people as this persona and then in the end, someone puts the people they have been conning and ooh boy! It’s supposedly a real funny moment. To me I think it’s one of the dumber, jackass activities that people now love to play, lying and misrepresenting yourself to others and then making them look foolish is funny to some people.

Well today I was caught up and cruising Facebook for odd things that friends have posted and came across a video on one of the combat kid’s pages… Not thinking that this is anything completely horrible, I opened the link and made it about 30 seconds into it before I had the flashback occur. This was not even a real “catfishing” incident. This was a spoof of a catfishing incident which made it worse and more to cause me to melt down.

All I got to was the military uniforms and a folded flag and the “funny” part was that the catfisher was spoofing a soldier somewhere and the notification team was sent to them… Funny? I honestly for the life of me do not know HOW this could be seen as funny to anyone, let alone military people whose friends and brothers have been sent home to their families. I understand that these men have been through a ton of shit, I understand that lots of professions get “gallows humor” as a defense against the realities. I wasn’t ready for that and it hurt me deeper than anyone would have guessed. Some other person was on the page and what set me off was some comment directed toward me as being the fake insulted person…

Yeah, the flashback was fake… the instant I realized what the video was about… instantly I was in my front yard and they were there.. The wailing, the burning the white sounds,the confused and broken family the realization that my son was dead and there was not getting out of it at that point. The exit of the two uniformed men, My daughter driving up with her friends and getting the news from my wife, I guess I just don’t get the humor linked to this in any way.  I guess this is where I join the group that gets told that being offended is some sort of personal weakness… Well, some things should be off limits and some things just aren’t funny. I guess it was more WHO was posting this vile thing and not what. 

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Gold Stars and Empty Chairs.. Season’s Greetings

Posted by fozzynok on 12/24/2013

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Season’s Greetings to all those currently down range and all those who have spent time down range with our sons and daughters when they were their combat brothers and sisters. Tonight is Christmas Eve. Tonight my adopted combat sons are preparing their homes and lives for the early morning chaos of their young one’s magic day.

I am glad to share in their lives and see them go on with their lives, with big grins and that never to be found elsewhere humor and camaraderie that they will forever share with each other from wherever their travels take them in life.

To my fellow Gold Star Families and to their brothers who feel their loss tonight and forever, try to set aside some time to shut your brain off for a few moments and allow yourself some moments of peace in these next few days. It used to be a great time in our lives.. and it can again to some degree. It must as I know that my son would not want me to suffer forever over his passing.

The pictures we have are never enough, and you’ll see the same ones from time to time, but you folks cannot see in my mind and remember all of the things that I have seen over the years with Micheal. I also cannot see what he was doing over there with his brothers, I have seen some videos and they still make me smile.

Hold on to your families and combat sons, and check in on as many as you can to make them realize that they are a gift that you cherish year round.. and that they are loved and they are thought of.

I wish that the new year brings you all health, wealth and happiness in your lives and peace.. from time to time.

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Rubber Bands.. the secret revealed

Posted by fozzynok on 11/25/2013

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Last night, my wife pointed out a couple of these things and we just sat there kinda stupefied letting it sink in. The moment happened while watching the movie “Memphis Belle”. To be honest it had been years since I had watched the movie. When Micheal was a little boy we bought the VHS copy and watched it. I think he was about three years old.

WW2, history, the air war and lots of things was why I wanted the movie, It was a good although not very historically accurate movie as it related to that specific plane but for presenting all the dangers and stuffing the perils of the air war over Europe it was a great movie.

The first time we watched the movie (and you’d have to really watch to understand this blog in particular) a few things go on and Micheal as a very tiny boy seemed to understand and he really got into the movie more than anything I’d ever seen. In the end, the crippled bomber is barely making it to England and battle damage had made it impossible for the crew to lower one of the main landing gear.

There are members of the crew cranking frantically to get the gear down using a mechanical crank.. they crank and crank and take turns cranking as the plane heads for the runway.. this is where little Micheal hops up off the floor and starts “helping” them crank the landing gear down.. man he was giving it hell! He helped them get the gear down and when the plane landed he was so happy..

Micheal watched the movie a lot.. more than I think we even knew. We shared the love of history and military things and he even got as bad as I was an naming planes on sight in videos and movies and pictures. It was neat to see a kid who was so into these things (like me).

Fast forward to last night.. 2013. We are watching the movie and of course I’d seen the movie a thousand times and wasn’t even thinking about it.. there is a scene where one of the crewman loses his good luck charm.. he frantically digs for it and another crewman fakes throwing it out of the plane and a practically meltdown occurs.  The Radio Operator runs in to see what the problem is and gives the gunner HIS lucky charm.. a lucky rubber band worn on his wrist.

  • 00:57:41 I’m finished, Danny, finished!
  • 00:57:45 No, you’re not. Here.
  • 00:57:47 Take my lucky rubber band.
  • 00:57:50 It works! I swear to God it works. You’ll be all right. Okay?
  • 00:57:55 You’ll be okay! I want it back.

As soon as my wife mentioned the rubber band.. it struck us. THIS is where my son gained HIS lucky charm. We or I certainly never put that together. It all makes sense now. The rubber bands were there for a long time, even before the military.. so he gained something from a movie and brought it to life and practical application. We have worn rubber bands now and again or when the mood strikes.

The other odd thing that my wife picked up on and that I checked afterwards (cause the move does take a lot of liberties for effect) that the Memphis Belle and her crew was the first Bomber to complete the 25 mission requirement that allowed them to rotate home. The mortality was such that it was almost impossibility. They were the first crew to do it… and that date was May 17th 1943, My son was born on May 17th. Such strange thing appear when you aren’t really paying attention.

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A sad day, another casualty of war

Posted by fozzynok on 10/12/2013

Today I received the sad news that another warrior son has decided to take his own life. I was caught off guard by this today. I have lost my own son in combat and every day of the deployment was hell. We got them all home from Iraq and all was steady for a while, then came the deployment to Afghanistan for the adopted combat sons. The losses were greater there in wounded and dead but I had really forgotten the real truth that there are no uninjured men who go through wars. They are never whole again, they are never fully home, they are always forever at war in their minds and in their souls. Their very essence is that of the warrior at war. They have met the enemy, they have taken the damage to their minds and bodies and they have come home.

Now from here is where I start to sound like a bitter old bastard.. This is where I tell you why I think so many of these fine young people are deciding to check the hell out of their current lives. In the previous wars we have sent our military out to fight, a lot of them went for the romance and the very idea of a war as their understanding was told from victors of wars and of the glory told from the winning side. The tales were told as sanitary as an operating room. The horrors are only known to those who go.

Things were different for these new warriors. They saw instantly the images and the sounds in real time of the death and destruction and what they were in for and a handful of them volunteered to go and fight the largest TRUE evil that the species has faced since the dark ages. Today’s enemy is worse than the Nazi’s. Today’s enemy is worse than the Imperial Japanese.. WORSE! As this enemy is a divine enemy who’s reward is death and a blessing from their god. These are ignorant people in their theologies but they are human animals and their brains work perfectly well to devise way to kill their enemies with no regard to others including themselves. The barbarians are on the move with their god’s blessing and it’s a very very small world.

We sent people into their world, their barbarism, we demanded that they remain sane and civil in their world and we have done so with no regard to what it does to the human brain. Not only have our enemies sought to kill their bodies, they have also done their very best to wound their minds. There is no limit to their evilness there is no limits on what they will do to kill and maim.  But now let’s look at America. What has America done while our men and women go to war against such barbarians? The answer is… nothing! Complete apathy and even total indifference. I have watched Americans become so self-absorbed on their loss of convenience and pleasures that they have actually sought to become victims and consider themselves wounded and above all others. The only thing that matters is them and their suffering.. their loss of meaningless things.. while better men are in the living hell that is combat with a fanatical foe.

Our troops come home from this hell where they were threatened almost every second of every day with DEATH or maiming at the hands of evil. They lived the life that few men do. Life is never more precious than for those who have fought for their very lives. They come home, they get out of the hell they were in, but they also lose something very real, the life, the life of the brotherhood, the love of the brotherhood the closeness of the brotherhood. They come home to a spiteful, angry and selfish world who couldn’t care less for them nor the brotherhood as they are the most important things to them.. they don’t notice and they do not care.

I cannot think of anything more hopeless than coming from the hell that these men came out of into the world of reality tv and constant 24 hour bickering over meaningless bullshit. America is all about consumption and selfish blather. Americans are a mean, spiteful bunch. They say horrible things to each other, they take cheap shots and they will cheat to win and feel great in doing so. It’s bad enough for we who have been stuck here in the situation. But for a warrior, who has lived life and death in the hell that Is the world, I can see how living among such spiteful, petty and hateful people would seem rather futile. I am sorry to see these men make this choice and I wish that they could accept the world as it is but I understand why the feel they must force their leap into the unknown.  I hope you find the peace that you could not find in this world. I hope your family and brothers can accept the choice that you have made. I am saddened for the world for your choice as you were one of the few who fought the evil. We are running out of men who will do so. Your kind will be missed in this world even though we didn’t deserve you.

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The last of the blogs for maybe ever..

Posted by fozzynok on 04/15/2013

Pokey and Me..

Pokey and Me..

It was never an audience nor band of followers that was ever intended or even wanted while writing this blog and even the stragglers who have found this blog by accident have faded and the country and even the world is on to other more important things than reading blogs from people like me.

I have been stewing on this comment on my blog for a few days. Adding this to the insane work schedule, the daily news and the rest of the crap that the world in general holds, I will respond to this man’s comment and then just let this blog go into cyber space to be buried under the rest of the crap that is out there… Someone who is directly looking for it may find it and get something out of it, but I guess I have said my piece and enough is enough. I’ve gotten what I can get out of it and the time has come where only detractors, general trouble making assholes and idiots to come sniffing around to make asinine comments and or take cheap politically partisan jabs at this blog and the content there in.

Here is the comment from another Gold Star Father that set the tone and struck the final nerve that I had left to share my opinions on the life of ONE father out of thousands who has lost a son in these wars.

“I believe you forgot and the liberal media taught you to forget why we went there in the first place. Yes, we did need to go to Iraq as we need to go to Iran and North Korea. Afghanistan needs to be leveled, obliterated form the face of the earth.
There’s also a time you need to put it to rest. Your son is gone, mine is gone but I look at it as better they gave their life for their country than to some drug or queer!
Look at it this way, ever hear the expression in the wrong place at the wrong time?
Well that’s us.
So get over it. Treasure the memories and move on and grow up.”

The blog comment was on was about the topic that I had addressed a few times how the world and the pacifists and selective cowards (diplomats) mainly love to pretend that they are preserving peace merely by providing the means for evil people to continue their actions and activities..instead of directly threatening them with instand and violent reactions and their heads on a platter. The absence of war does not nor has it ever meant PEACE. Only peace for those who never live in violent places and have the luxury of putting off the chance that they may soild their pretty white gloves. The peaceniks and well-meaning morons have never understood this fact. And as usual, unless war and carnage is going on in their front yard, they could give a fuck less.

Now to address this comment bit by bit.

  1.  Am not sure what the hell this idiot is referring to about what I supposedly forgot or what the media taught me on the reasons that we went to war in Iraq. That was a rather stupid and rather foolish statement.. but there were more to come.
  2. First I forgot why we went to Iraq, but for those same reasons I forgot, we are supposed to go to Iran and North Korea and now we need to level Afghanistan.. yeah.. I’m the one who is not understanding things here…
  3. Now I need to put things to rest.. as in drop the whole remembering that our sons are dead I guess.. he must have some real super powers, or he’s a heartless cunt.. either way, its his choice.. he can lay whatever to rest he wishes.. it’s a free country.
  4. He is however glad that his son died in a war rather than by some drug or some queer.. now if there are some people in the cyber world that make much sense of that other than some other inbred religious psycho, please explain that statement to me. This is so Westboro-ish and or Neo-patriotic and “conservative” that it boggles the mind.. or mine anyway.. and I think I’ve lost the rest of what I had…
  5. As for the wrong place at the wrong time.. the US forces have changed the world for the better for millions of people.. it IS and will never mean the end of violence or bloodshed in the world.. maybe this horse’s ass thinks that there was some other place better or more worthy for our sons to meet their ends.. but I for one think that if ever there was a just use of military power against an evil government and their minions, then I’m perfectly fine with the time and place… My son was a combat infantryman and wanted to do bad things to bad people so good people may have a chance in a future.. if you can find this wrong.. then OK.. that’s your fucking problem.  And Mr. Commenter, you can take that us and stick it up your ass sideways.. There is no “us” unless you have a turd in your pocket. Everyone walks this trail differently, I have never told anyone how to walk the path nor is there an instruction booklet.. however as with the rest of life.. being a big mouthed poltroon is not the way for anyone to be especially proud of especially with some topics.
  6. The final tidbit about getting over it and growing up again smacks of someone who has either lost their fucking minds or is a total fraud. If you can get over it and grow up after the death of your son in combat, I suggest that you’ve either never lost a son anywhere let alone combat. Or you never cared that much for the son in the first fucking place… Get over it? Really? The memories have been treasured and many have been shared here on this blog. The blog is or was a work of treasuring the life, legacy, and bravery of all of the sons lost to fathers..

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10 years ago, the can stopped being kicked down the road.

Posted by fozzynok on 03/19/2013

ImageToday marks the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and the invasion that really never should have had to happen. The invasion of Iraq was something like so many other things that we as a species and a as a global community decided to just put off. The war in Iraq should have been fought by my generation; it was my war to fight. And like so many things that we should have done, we as a world kicked the can down the road to be dealt with by others. I’m sure that I am not the only father out there who served in a “combat arms” job in the peacetime military, trained for war, and never had to put our training and selves into the test of what it means to be combat arms.

I’m sure as every horrible event in time, fathers such as I who have been a history nut and admirer of those who were tossed into warfare lived, how they lived and their enemies at the same time. I have always studied the conflicts from both sides of the fence as it is a fact that the victors write history. To read the words of someone who was on the other side of the victory, the losers as it were, will you gain how horrible war is and how absolutely gut wrenching it is to talk about wars and their potential for mayhem and brutality when you have passed into obscurity and have become a surplus soldier who has been used for nothing and put away.

Fast forward almost two decades. I help raise four children with my wife and I was just watching things spin and events happen that were a sign of things to come. I am not a clairvoyant in any way shape or form. But I saw what was coming. Every attack on the US and allies by the radical Islamic asshats all over the world and the world’s refusal to rise up and put them in their place and as a species tell these assholes to just knock it off or die.. The choice never seems to be an option.

9/11 came… the day that the sick feeling in the pit of my stomach came and stayed…  I knew that the moment that the second plane struck the tower, then the Pentagon that this was something that would affect my world forever. The most sickening and helpless part of this was that I was a surplus soldier and not use to anyone. My time to slay the enemy was over. This task and this threat were solidly on my sons and daughter. I knew that the chances were great that one or even all of my children would stand up to be counted in the coming wars on the horizon and it made me sick to my very soul that my children would go off to face the demons that I as a soldier allowed to live.

The same sick feeling returned this day 10 years ago. My children were at the age where they were going to start choosing their paths. Being that they have always seen things differently than the normal run of the mill person is my fault and my blessing. I feel the pride of raising children to be human more than strictly adherent to the status quo and hiding among the sheep waiting simple for their day to have life involve them, they are the types who will live their life as real people and live and die based on what is right and what is wrong. This is part of the curse it is part of the shame. Had I been like so many others? My sons and daughters could be part of the flock, part of the generation that doesn’t know what happens to humans when tyrants and bullies are loosed on civilized humans who are shocked and unable to react to barbarism.

The oldest and first born raised his hand and stood to be counted as a man, as a human and wanted to do something to blunt the onslaught of the coming evil. He willingly walked into the wars and the evils as he knew what it was and what it meant to someone out there if he did not. As other brave young men and women have done, he decided to follow the path of the warrior, when he could have been anything else as so many do, he chose to become brothers with those like him and no matter sick the feeling in my guts, I had to stand for him and admire him as the brave man that he had become.  I have never lost the sick feeling in my guts… it never goes away and never will. I became an unused and untried Infantryman who had to watch his son become an infantryman, grow as an infantryman with his new family of brothers and then helplessly watch the load up and deployment and send his Infantryman son of to slay the evil that I was prepared to fight yet didn’t. The guilt will always be there, the shame will never be completely gone. I was a soldier once… and young as the old title of a book reads.

I now have reminders everywhere of this thing I have been sentenced to. To live while your soldier son dies. To basically have been proved horribly wrong or even a liar when upon the day of his birth that your whispered promises that you would protect him from evil and show him how to live to be something that the world needed rather than more of what the world did not.  Well for a flash in time he was the man that I never was or ever had to be.  I salute him and all of those who call him brother. Today is the day that far so many fathers found out what worrying truly was.

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We regret to Inform you

Posted by fozzynok on 02/24/2013

It has been five years.. and at this moment on this very day, I was still a whole person, whole father and we were a whole family and we were all just completely unaware. Oh how I miss the days of being considered or even feeling normal.. We all still look normal, but we are forever damaged inside. No one can see and unless you knew Micheal, you don’t know.. The brothers knew first and miss him as deep if not deeper than we do. They live with him in the hellish world of combat for all the bads and all the goods that can be made in this man made hell. A few more hours and all of our lives changed forever. We all lost Micheal on this day 5 years ago, but we all lost a different person and this day for the rest of my life,I lose him again this day every year. I miss him, I miss myself, I miss the normal and I sometimes wish that it was just more visible to others. 

Too his combat brothers on this day, thank you for being there for him and being there for us. 

 

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I found some of my old posts an thought I share them.

Posted by fozzynok on 12/18/2012

These are a few posts from a trucking website that I used to frequent. These posts are fresh from when my son had just been KIA and not much was known and he wasn’t even home to us yet. We (well Ianyway) sometimes feel the need to return to those days. I cannot even explan the why I do or if others do as well. I feel sometimes trapped and sentenced by fate to live in those days forever. I have rewriteen these things a few times and they are probably more accurate in those posts but the raw nature of these tend to really make me think about how I have come forward and have changed and gotten on

Thank you all for the message of support for myself and family. I am going to try and update you all what has been happening for us in the last few days and the next days to come.

I got the call at work that there were defense department people at my home. I hurried home, knowing full well what I thought was going to happen. Sure enough, they were there and they gave us the worst possible news for a military or ANY family. My son had been killed that morning in combat in Iraq. The two men who were there were the utmost in professionalism and handled a job that no one in his right mind would want to do as calmly and helpfully as anyone could have. I signed the forms that they needed and then asked if they knew the details, they knew the basics, but could say nothing if anyone else was lost with my son. I was horrified at this thought. For my son there was a story, for the members of his team that Angie and I know, they could say nothing! I was so worried for his team. As soon as the officers left and we collected ourselves and thoughts I headed to the computer to try and get in touch with his team members.

The first guy to reply back was my son’s medic, he was not on the patrol, but knew the story and was so helpful to me at the moment he needed to be. No one else was hurt with the exception of scratches and such. My son had taken the full blast of the weapon. I have told people and heard this from his team that Micheal was the type of man that would have engineered this that way had he had the choice. He of course didn’t. He was just in the wrong seat at the wrong time. Driving is what he loved to do and that is where he died. The other members began to chime in and all were OK physically. The loss of my son was a huge blow to the group. There comments and letters have helped me in this dark time! My son from several people’s point of view was that of the utmost professional soldier and as the guy who could say the funniest thing at the most perfect time to light up the room and to make the guys laugh.

We soon started getting visits from people… teachers, friends and teenagers from all over the area started to appear from everywhere. Some of the most memorable was the assistant vice principal who showed up with a well preserved letter from my son, who wrote him from Ft. Benning. He could not read the letter, he could just hand it to me to read, and the poor man was just too emotional to speak much. I read the letter and it is obvious that Micheal was on the right track, he visited this teacher on almost every leave he got, talked to his students and generally impressed the hell out of him. He handled the press for us all the next day. They of course still got most of everything wrong. I emailed and got the news reports corrected.

Monday the whole community was getting the news and the school shut down almost completely and everyone went home. The vice principal again showed up as well as numerous friends and strangers. We got our first visit from the Casualty Officers (an NCO) whose job I cannot stress enough would not be wished upon anyone! He was escorted to our home by two of the local recruiters who were really not supposed to be there… they could not stay away and were both emotional wrecks! Sitting in a room with two combat vets who are on the verge of tears was tough for me. The CO offered all the starting info and then left. I had to tell the recruiters that my son’s death changed nothing between us and that they were still a part of my family.

More visits and more food than an army could eat! I lost count of the visitors, all of them emotional and all of them offered help. There really was nothing that could help and I don’t think we were eating at that point, so things stacked up till the teenagers appeared to start eliminating the growing pile of food and snacks. Lately my heart is in my throat a lot so eating just is something you have to force. Lots of emails and the daunting task of trying to gather emails and phone numbers of people who should be told. The return emails and calls are heartbreaking to say the least. The effect of my son’s death on this average community was to me surprising. There is no way to judge how many lives your kid has touched till something like this happens.

We met with the funeral director on Tuesday. Something I thought was going to be dreadful, really wasn’t. The process was smooth, but we knew what we wanted for my son before we went and we mainly sat and talked to this guy for most of the time about many things other the coming event. He was another up front guy who gained my respect.

Today, the recruiters were our first visit. They all came and they were in their dress blues. It was a bit better on the two who showed up there Monday, but still was tough on them. We are strange people! I admit that, we are not seeking out everyone and anyone to blame for my son’s death! We KNOW who and what killed him! The visit from the CO followed and he was visually upset about something. It was about one of the more upsetting forms I had to sign for reasons I’ll not go into that had him in this state. I wish this guy’s job on NO ONE! Combat has to be easier! We are informed that Pokey is in Dover and undergoing the final process before coming home to us. Another 48 hours or so and we go get him.

The escorts and color guard are in place but about double the size. The National Guard and the reservists all wanted to escort my son home! They both won and both groups will go. As well as two of the motorcycle club escort groups. We have found out that the Fred Phelps group WILL be in the area… Give me strength!

We were not going to have a visitation at first, but with all the love that this community has shown we changed that and the night before the services, there will be a visitation for anyone who wishes to show respect to my son. The next day will be the worst day in my life! The funeral approaches and I can tell you all honestly that I am afraid to go. I really need to be strong for this one and feel that I may just not be able to hold it together for this whole thing. Right now and through the whole process for me the moments of abject and complete despair and grief are fleeting and short lived… this public service I fear will be my complete emotional undoing! I am hoping for the strength to get all the way through this! From the flag draped coffin to the folding ceremony, to presentation of the flag to taps… this is going to be hell!!

Later maybe… I have not been sleeping well at all, I’ll try again.

Respectfully,
Fozzy

We have found out that my son will be flown home to us on Sunday afternoon. He will have a visitation for the community Monday evening and then Tuesday afternoon at 1400 is the funeral for my son.

I want to thank everyone here again for their kind words and support. I honestly had no idea what this post would bring. Anyone one from the layover family that can make is more than welcome to attend. If you cannot attend, may I ask that at a minimum you wear a rubber band on your right wrist and if you have them… the loudest sneakers you have or can find on Tuesday.

Thanks folks!!

Fozzy
This is the last update for my friends here of this. My son was laid to rest here today. This at this stage of my life is the both the saddest and proudest day in my life. The ceremony was something to behold and was touching in so many ways. The unit that handled this was fantastic through all of it. My son was flown home via small private charter jet here to the local airport. They had a ceremony to off load him from the plane and load him into the hearse for the trip back to the chapel. Over 200 vehicles were in the precession; most of them were from the areas Patriot Riders groups and family. I was amazed to see numerous people who turned out in weather to welcome him home and pay respects to him. The weather was something to behold also and was another gift for us as the crazy family that we are. My son came home and brought rain, tornadoes a huge thunderstorm on Sunday and a darned near blizzard of snow on Monday! We got about 3 inches of snow the night of the visitation.

The visitation was Monday evening and was as good as these things go. The funeral home had asked for photos of Pokey throughout his life. We also provided a CD with music to be played for the viewing. I picked some rather unconventional music that my son got me into. Anyone ever hear of a band called Drop Kick Murphy? I chose three songs by them to play for my son. Amazing Grace, a Cadence to Arms and the Warrior Code. They all were songs that my son and l enjoyed when he was home last. The visitors came and went all day. I was given my son’s dog tags, his Combat Infantry Badge and several gold star pins for family and friends.

Today we awoke to brilliant blue skies and warmer temps. The funeral was today at 1400. The members of the patriot guard again escorted us to the cemetery. They were all over the place and were the standard bearers for numerous flags. When we got within sight distance of the cemetery, I was extremely moved. We almost could not get into the gate! There were hundreds of people to see Pokey off and wish him well on his next journey. The ceremony was proper military fare, short and sweet. His Chaplin was a VERY short but VERY sharp fellow who was Korean. I loved having him speak over Pokey. He did a great job and added that famous Army flavor. The rest of the ceremony was full military also. The hardest parts to get through were known and expected by me. The medals that my son was awarded, the flag folding and presentation were helped in a way by the fact that this two-star general that presented each also had tears in his eyes and could barely speak to us. The 21-gun salute was there and the playing of taps was almost too much for me to bear. But we as a family “closed ranks? Held on to each other and continued to breathe.

I am very tired and now can try to start dealing with the rest of this whole thing. I want to thank everyone here for his or her concern, well wishes and thoughts.

Fozzy

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Remember Pearl Harbor, for more than the date.

Posted by fozzynok on 12/07/2012

Pearl HarborToday is Pearl Harbor day. It should be a day of respect for those who were killed in the attack and a day to reflect on what that day means to the history of mankind. Today there have been many references to Pearl Harbor and it seems to me an obligatory task for those whose job it is to create news snippets to feed the general public on before they run out into their blissfully ignorant existences to live their lives and pay their bills.
The sadness that I felt as a skimmed over the news sites and social media pages about the event and the overall general ignorance and hatefulness of some Americans comments this morning was all too familiar about most days with events like this tied to them. There happened to be an earthquake in Japan this morning. For some idiots this gave them something to be happy about or to proclaim that their god sent this earthquake as punishment for Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor reminds me of a something else. Pearl Harbor was historically the beginning of Americans general cluelessness and carelessness about their ideas of what war is. America fights and dies offshore. People all over the world know what war is better than ANY American does. It’s that simple. War for the general American populace happens in books newspapers, newsreels on TV sets.
America sends its best out to fight so they are protected and safe and warm and never feel even the slightest tremor of anything other than in the case of WW2 some rationing and some meaningless and propaganda based drills. America’s last taste of war among them was in 1865. They do not know war. Our veterans know war; our military has prepared for and fought the wars that the general public has conveniently been able to avoid.
Since the large world wars have ended and since the draft was ended, it has caused Americans to become even more removed from wars and the horrors involved there. The Americans simply do not know war and do not care about what war actually is. They like most other things get to sit on their backsides, make comments without knowledge or care, and complain that the store was out of their favorite brand of hot chocolate.
Pearl Harbor has become a lot of things that it wasn’t. Pearl Harbor after the war became more explainable as less an act of treachery and more a case of inept politician and embassy workers. Pearl Harbor drew America into WW2; Germany declared war on America shortly after this attack. America geared up and sent troops off to fight. But like today Americans do not fight wars… America’s military fight wars and historically never within sight or earshot of the general American public. Americans have never felt the terror of air attacks, never had to dig dead people out of the rubble, never had to evacuate their lands to flee foreign armies, and never had to live life under war conditions.
Today I salute all of the American veterans who wore the uniform that day and woke to find that they were under attack and the world had been forever changed. I remember and mourn for the fallen who never got the chance to live their lives the fullest. I also remember that Pearl Harbor was not in the United States and not even a state at the time. And I remember that this was the day that meant millions of humans would die all over the world because of it and it seems that the American general public has not been effected by it at all.

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