Beautifully Said: Our Country, Our Military

Having served in the U.S. Army as a military police officer for 4 years, I have a deep respect for all those men and women who have served, or do serve, our country, honorably.  I’m third-generation Army on my mother’s side:  my maternal grandfather, my mother, and then me.  My dad was a Marine.

Even before joining the military, though, I loved my country.  The United States of America is truly a great nation.  Traveling around the world strengthened this feeling.  Sure, I visited some great places, but would I want to live there?  No.  I know we have our problems.  But every time I hear The Star-Spangled Banner, I cry, especially when they get to “And our flag was still there!”  Every time I stand for our American flag and place my hand over my heart, I cry.  Every time I see a flag draped across a casket, I cry.  So this post is dedicated to the men and women who fight and defend our country, past or present.  My examples may not refer to American military heroes, but they are about the military and are “Beautifully Said”.

My dad introduced this poem to me, which refers to the Great War 1914-1918.

In Flanders Fields

<!–

Poppy photographed on the First World War battlefield of the Somme near the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing.

–>

Flanders Poppy on the First World War battlefields.

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

On the sign outside the Veterans Administration Hospital in Sheridan, Wyoming:  “The price of freedom is visible here.”

And some photos that don’t need captions.

Image result for photo of soldier with folded flag at the vietnam war memorial

Image result for photo of soldier with folded flag at the vietnam war memorial

Image result for photo of soldier with folded flag at the vietnam war memorial

And yes, I cried while researching this and posting each item.  Please feel free to include your own “Beautifully Said” items related to loving our country or our military heroes in the comments.

Colleen Eccles Penor

Beautifully Said: Pets

Shadow dressed as a witch and Stormy as a devil for Halloween a few years back.  They weren’t too keen on the idea.

I lost my beloved pets in 2013.  Shadow, my 60-pound chocolate lab, went in January that year due to an acute case of pancreatitis.  She was 12, and she had so much energy right up to the point that she got sick, that I thought for sure I’d have her for a couple more years.  I didn’t get to say goodbye because she died in the night at the vet’s office.  Stormy was my 85-pound black lab, and she died in July of 2013.  She had really long legs and had a blown ACL since 2010, and I think the other one went too.  One morning she couldn’t walk.  She also had heart problems and laryngeal paralysis for a few years.  So I got to say goodbye to her because I had to make the difficult decision to put her down.  I knew it was her time to go, and I got to talk to her and hug her before she went.  It was easier than getting the call in the early morning to learn about Shadow’s death.  Still, I wish that neither one had suffered, even for a minute.

Yes, I’m crying right now.  They were my kiddos, and we took care of each other.  They brought so much joy into my life.

I saw this in the veterinarian’s office I went to for so many years, although I couldn’t read it every time because it makes me cry.  The author is unknown.

I hope to be reunited with my girls someday.

Please share this with friends who have pets, or who have lost them.  Please share your stories here about the beloved pets you’ve lost, or a picture, poem, quote:  anything about losing a pet that you believe is beautifully said.

You can follow me on Facebook and LinkedIn as Colleen Eccles Penor and at Twitter @ecclespenor.  Thanks for stopping by.

Ladies, support your peers’ endeavors

http://www.more.com/member-voices/your-letters/we-hear-you-letters-our-december-2014january-2015-issue?page=7

I wrote this letter to More.com after reading an article in More Magazine:  “Is There Still Such a Thing as Women’s Issues?”  The article had a political slant, but my response could apply to our need to support other women writers so we can all find success.  Follow one another’s platforms, share posts, buy books, recommend books and authors to friends.  Suggest good editors and agents and publishers.  Don’t tear each other down based on jealousy or envy.  Writing is a lonely business–we all can use the support of other writers as we make this long journey from written word to publication.

Colleen