Going home again….or not

“I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.”
Beryl Markham, West with the Night

 

I’ve been invited by two old friends from my hometown for a visit this summer. And it’ll take a few more days than a simple overnighter.

Excited in some ways to touch base again….however I left Indiana for a reason and returning does not always bring back the most pleasant of memories.

However, with that being said, one should never allow themselves to become a victim of circumstance. Embrace the bad, learn, and move on.

That’s what I plan on doing…..

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.”
Pascal Mercier, Night Train to Lisbon

 

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Service with Courage

Reminds me of soldiers and policemen.

Lives are placed on the line

With that being said, it takes a certain amount of fortitude and fearlessness to face the possible unknown.

Yes, people do choose to work in these professions; however, just because these individuals consciously choose to enter into such a vocation, this fact should never lessen the impact such professionals have done.  They’ve entrenched themselves into our societal collective.

The experiences which they go through, and sometimes the horrors that are seen, should garner appreciation and utmost respect for these individuals who do sacrifice so much in order that we can live in blessed freedom and stability

 

“Confidence… thrives on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection and on unselfish performance. Without them it cannot live.”

― Franklin D. Roosevelt

Requesting military records

If you or a loved one served in the military or are in pursuit of your family tree or, are wishing to obtain information releasable under the Freedom of Information Act, feel free to write or fill out our online application, to the National Archives here in St. Louis. Our facility contains millions of records from all branches of service.

OMPF, Federal (non-archival) Holdings

Branch of Service Official Military Personnel Files, Non-Archival Holdings* Access –
for Veterans and Next-of-Kin
Access –
for General Public
Air Force Officers and Enlisted with discharge dates 1954 to September 30, 2004 Veterans and Next-of-Kin NOT the Veteran or Next-of-Kin?
Army Officers and Enlisted with discharge dates 1954 to September 30, 2002 Veterans and Next-of-Kin NOT the Veteran or Next-of-Kin?
Navy Officers and Enlisted with discharge dates 1954 to December 31, 1994 Veterans and Next-of-Kin NOT the Veteran or Next-of-Kin?
Marine Corps Officers and Enlisted with discharge dates 1954 to December 31, 1998 Veterans and Next-of-Kin NOT the Veteran or Next-of-Kin?
Coast Guard Officers and Enlisted with discharge dates 1954 to present Veterans and Next-of-Kin NOT the Veteran or Next-of-Kin?

 

Please click here to start your search

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Happy reading.

 

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Veterans and Suicide

For some who’ve never served it may be difficult to understand the sorrow in a veteran’s heart.  Why those who decide to commit suicide end up going through with it.
It can be for many reasons, reasons we may never understand, however the pain is real. Very real.
It can be most difficult coping with horrific images seen overseas.  They may be too proud to tell anyone the struggles they endured.
Also, military life is simply different.  You are broken down in basic training only to quickly be built back up again to work as a team. You become a new person, someone who accepts orders, who punishes both mind and body to endure the worst of circumstances…..in order to prepare for an unseen battle.
Soldiers are placed in harms way, volunteering for some of the worst assignments imaginable.
People join the military for a variety of reasons. Some for college, others for money (though it isn’t a lot) and of course for love of God and country. Others join to escape financial hardship, maybe there’s simply no jobs available in their area.  Some escape abusive home environments, others want a better life for themselves, and their families.
And those of us lucky to make it through a tour or have completed our service, return once again to civilian life—–and trust me….it can be a hard fit.  Once before where our rank meant something, where shared hardships were common….we are expected to assimilate back into a life which perhaps for some of us, tried to escape from…..or we are no longer the person we once were.
We miss the companionship of other soldiers.  And when we do find someone who served, it’s like a bee to a flower.  We come together and share stories…laughing about some of those very hardships….reminiscing of times gone by.  There are many many reasons why veterans kill themselves.  And with such staggering numbers. With roughly 22 a day ending their lives.  A tragic statistic. (source)
Veterans belong to a unique fraternity of brother and sisterhood.  Something quite honorable to me.
Eulogy for a Veteran

Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the Gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the mornings hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight,
I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there, I did not die.

SOLDIER
By: Ed Coet, Major, USA-Retired

Meet Mr. Muffin Head aka Asa

I love this dog.  So very much.  He brings me smiles, joy, and laughter.

When I lost Wendy it was a heavy blow to my heart. Yes, she drove me bat shit crazy with her barking and potty accidents but she was always a happy dog and enjoyed and protected her family pack.

The manner in which my previous dog died tore me up and I vow never to let this dog go through something so horrendous.  I have plans for him.  Am hoping I can make him a service dog visiting Veteran Homes/Hospitals/Hospice to brighten everyone’s day there.  Imagine a friendly furry creature like Asa bringing smiles in such a dismal place.

When dad was at the VA hospice near Chicago we brought Lexy, his Scottish Terrier in under the radar (nurses looked the other way).

I saw tears of joy in his eyes.  The experience profoundly affected me.

Imagine knowing you’re in a place like that…..your life is numbered in weeks if not days.  Though Asa is “just a dog” he’s much more than that. Dogs embody the American Dream…..you know….the white picket fence, married with 2.5 kids.  Simply the ideal.

Bringing my baby to these individuals, at least I believe, will give them some comfort, perhaps recalling old memories of their own faithful companion.

I hope for Asa this….

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How unpalatable is grief…how all consuming is sorrow?

“What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life–to strengthen each other in all labor, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?”
George Eliot, Adam Bede

Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

“Tears shed for another person are not a sign of weakness. They are a sign of a pure heart.”
José N. Harris, MI VIDA: A Story of Faith, Hope and Love

 

“Don’t be ashamed to weep; ’tis right to grieve. Tears are only water, and flowers, trees, and fruit cannot grow without water. But there must be sunlight also. A wounded heart will heal in time, and when it does, the memory and love of our lost ones is sealed inside to comfort us.”
Brian Jacques, Taggerung

 

“Life is not a PG feel-good movie. Real life often ends badly. Literature tries to document this reality, while showing us it is still possible for us to endure nobly.”
Matthew Quick, The Silver Linings Playbook

Being able to dance in the rain

   “If you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system. Learn how to cope, sweet friend. There will always be dark days.”

― Kris Carr

 

Life is an imperfect balance between the environment and yourself.

How we choose to negate the two greatly depends on your ability to dance in the rain. There will always be cloudy days, trouble and doubt.  If we allow these factors to influence our perception of reality we can literally end up drowning in our own sorrows.

The mistakes we make shouldn’t have to haunt us for the rest of our lives.  We must and should be grateful for each breath of air we take, treasure the good tidings which ultimately will come our way.

Don’t let a lack of faith in yourself bring about your end.  Embrace the good, work on the bad.

Just remember, you aren’t alone. We all have experience life’s angst. But it’s HOW we deal with such obstacles which determine not just our character but our own self-worth.