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Gothic Princess's blog: "FYI"

created on 10/31/2006  |  http://fubar.com/fyi/b19837

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In honor of my new book coming out I will give away a rock star to the person

who cansend the most people to my page to rate and like....

Letsmake my name green again.But I must make the top 50 for this and I

know we can cause we have before. We will do this every day till it happens

They MUST tell me who sent then

in a comment on mypage and no fighting I will also rate all your pics and sh*tface

you every day...I'm also looking for a fu

hisband and he must be able to buy the

fu marraige bling
.
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MIAMI GARDENS Fla.

The ultimate underdogs, they ain't. Not anymore. The Saints are Super Bowl champions now

Who Dat? Try Drew Brees, Sean Payton and a team that has reversed its embarrassing past, carrying an entire city to the top with it.

Put away those paper bags forever.

Brees and the Saints rallied to upset Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts 31-17 Sunday night in one of pro football's most thrilling title games.

``We just believed in ourselves and we knew that we had an entire city and maybe an entire country behind us,'' said Brees, the game's MVP. ``What can I say? I tried to imagine what this moment would be like for a long time, and it's better than expected.''

But not something many expected from these descendants of the hapless Aints, who were 5-point underdogs.

 

``Four years ago who ever thought this would be happening when 85 percent of the city was under water from (Hurricane) Katrina,'' Brees said. ``Most people not knowing if New Orleans would ever come back or if the organization and the team would come back. ... This is the culmination of that belief and that faith.''

Brees tied a Super Bowl record with 32 completions, the last a 2-yard slant to Jeremy Shockey for the winning points with 5:42 remaining. He was 32 for 39 for 288 yards.
A surprise onside kick sparked the Saints' second-half comeback. Their 25th-ranked defense made several key stops, and Tracy Porter's 74-yard interception return on a pass from Manning clinched it.

Manning tried to give chase, but was blocked by a New Orleans defender and fell awkwardly as the cornerback raced by. The four-time NFL MVP forlornly walked to the sideline as the Big Easy celebrations began.

``It's time for the Saints to celebrate,'' he said. ``It's their field and it's their championship.''

An NFL also-ran for much of their 43 years, the Saints' football renaissance, led by Brees and Payton, climaxed with Shockey's touchdown and Lance Moore's 2-point conversion catch, originally ruled incomplete but overturned on Payton's challenge.

Porter's pick, just as dramatic as his interception of Brett Favre's pass to force overtime in the NFC title game, was the game's only turnover. It's one Manning will forever regret.

The Saints (16-3) won three postseason games this winter after winning only two in the previous 42 years. They beat Arizona, Minnesota and Indianapolis (16-3) - all division winners - for their first title, scoring 107 points and allowing only 59.

``We weren't the Aints,'' Porter said. ``We were a team of destiny, a team that can make big plays.''

The championship came 4 1/2 years after Katrina ravaged New Orleans, making the Saints nomads for the 2005 season. There even was some doubt they would return, but the NFL refused to abandon the city. The Superdome was repaired and the Saints won the NFC South in '06, their first season with Brees and Payton.

That was the season Manning won his only Super Bowl. He got the Colts off a quick start and had them in front for much of this one, but New Orleans' league-leading offense, which scored 510 points this season, outscored Indy 31-7 after falling behind 10-0. That matched the biggest comeback in a Super Bowl.

Payton held the Vince Lombardi Trophy high over his head and ran into the end zone toward several hundred fans chanting the Saints' rally cry: ``Who dat, who dat, who dat say gonna beat dem Saints?''

Nobody can say it now.

``Everybody back in New Orleans gets a piece of this trophy,'' he said.

``I think I could kiss him,'' owner Tom Benson said

Before many of the 74,059 fans got settled following the Who's halftime show, the Saints worked a little football voodoo. Thomas Morstead's onside kick was touched by the Colts' Hank Baskett, then recovered by Chris Reis at the New Orleans 42.

``I just told our guys you've got to make me look good on this,'' Payton said. ``That really becomes like a turnover.''

Looking like the NFL's most potent offense, the Saints seized the opportunity to take their first lead. It came on Pierre Thomas' brilliant 16-yard run with a screen pass, capped by a dive into the end zone.

Manning simply shrugged, found Dallas Clark for 45 yards on a 76-yard drive, and Joseph Addai used a spin move a figure skater would envy to score from the 4.

But that was it for Indy.

``I certainly know how it was three years ago when we won,'' Manning said. ``I know the people of New Orleans and the Saints have that same feeling right now.''

Hartley, the hero of the NFC title game with his 40-yard field goal in OT, made a 47-yarder later in the third period. After Matt Stover was wide left on a 51-yarder early in the final quarter, Brees led the biggest drive in Saints history.

``We really felt as underdogs we had the better team,'' Payton said. ``To be in that position where maybe a lot of people were picking against us, we liked the spot we were in.''

Manning looked sharp on the Colts' first two series, taking them 53 yards to a 38-yard field goal by Stover, at 42 the oldest player in Super Bowl history.

Then Manning led a 96-yard, 11-play drive that appeared almost routine, even though it tied the longest march in a Super Bowl. Addai rushed for 53 yards on the series, and Manning found Pierre Garcon behind backup cornerback Osama Young for the 19-yard score on third down.
New Orleans couldn't match that, but did get a 46-yard field goal by Hartley to make it 10-3. Brees was sacked on third down by All-Pro defensive end Dwight Freeney, who sure looked frisky despite ligament damage in his right ankle that made his availability uncertain for two weeks.

Then Indy's defense, ranked 18th during the season but staunch in the playoffs, really showed some power. After the Saints marched 71 yards, including 40 yards on two receptions by Marques Colston, New Orleans had third-and-goal at the 1. Mike Bell slipped trying to run right behind All-Pro guard Jahri Evans, and Thomas was stacked up at the line by Gary Brackett and Clint Sessions on fourth down.

But the Colts went against type and ran three times, leaving 35 seconds for the league's most prolific offense to get in position for Hartley's 44-yard field goal and a more manageable 10-6 halftime deficit.

Shootout? More like a slowdown. Indy had two three-and-outs and New Orleans had one.

But the points came quickly after halftime - mostly for the Saints.

``Look around the stadium,'' linebacker Scott Fujita said. ``It was like 6- or 7-to-1 (Saints fans). The black and gold just poured into Miami.

``The whole world was behind us. This was bigger than just a game for the Saints. We are the world's team.''

Comcast must die is a web site for people who are tired of being ripped off from this shottie at best company..If you have had bad dealings with comcast in any state please go and leave a comment on the site.

Maybe we can finaly get a lawsuit going to get better service ( at the least some service ) if not our money back..

http://customer-circus.com/wireless/verizon/has-comcast-improved-call-in-radio-show-announced/comment-page-2/#comment-63236

If you "tear up" go ahead, who's watching?
cid:645E492E434F4BF8A75EED9365175120@kenPC
cid:86CFA2A2750B42E186998FDA4A04DCC0@kenPC
In Calgary , Alberta a 26-year-old mother stared down at her 6 year old son, who was dying of terminal leukemia.

Although her heart was filled with sadness,
she also had a strong feeling of determination.
Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up &
fulfill all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible..
the leukemia would see to that. But she still
wanted her son's dream to come true.

She took her son' s hand and asked,
'Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted
to be once you grew up?
Did you ever dream and wish what you would
do with your life?'

Mommy, 'I always wanted to be a fireman
when I grew up.'

Mom smiled back and said, 'Let's see if we can
make your wish come true.'

Later that day she went to her local fire
Department in Calgary , where she met
Fireman Bob, who had a heart as big as Alberta

She explained her son's final wish and
Asked if it might be possible
to give her 6 year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, 'Look, we can do
better than that. If you'll have your son ready at
seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll make
him an honorary Fireman for the whole day.
He can come down to the fire station, eat with us,
go out on all the fire calls, the whole nine yards!

And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform
for him, with a real fire hat - not a toy - one-with the emblem of the Calgary Fire Department on it, and a yellow slicker like we wear and rubber boots.'

'They're all manufactured right here in Calgary ,
so we can get them fast.'

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Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy,
dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck.

Billy got to sit on the back of the truck
and help steer it back to the fire station.
He was in heaven.

There were three fire calls in Calgary that day
and Billy got to go out on all three calls.

He rode in the different fire engines,
the Paramedic's' van,
and even the fire chief's car.

He was also videotaped for the
local news program.

Having his dream come true,
with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy, that he lived three months longer than any doctor thought possible.

One night all of his vital signs began to
drop dramatically and the head nurse, who believed
in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital.

Then she remembered the day Billy had spent
as a Fireman, so she called the Fire Chief and
asked if it would be possible to send a fireman
in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition.

The chief replied, 'We can do better than that.
We'll be there in five minutes.. Will you please do me a favor?

When you hear the sirens screaming and see the
lights flashing, will you announce over the
PA system that there is not a fire?'

'It's the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will
you open the window to his room?'

About five minutes later a
hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy's third floor open window--------
16 fire-fighters climbed up the ladder into Billy's room

With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they LOVED him.

With
His dying breath,
Billy looked up at the fire chief and said,

'Chief, am I really a fireman now?'

'Billy, you are, and
The Head Chief,
Jesus, is holding your hand,' the chief said


With those words, Billy smiled and said,
'I know, He's
been holding my hand all day, and
The angels have been
Singing..'

He closed his eyes one last time.
cid:DFA9FAB8750B4BD5AA9947E2440939D5@kenPC
This is a true story

I recived a Commendation in the mail today thanks to Knightmare.

Thank you so much babe I do try to help our service men and woman in anyway I can..For if it wasn't for all of you where would we all be?

God bless you one and all for all you do...

May you all come home safe very soon...

 

 

 

Blessings and thank you again for it is each and everyone of you I salute!!!
CHINA BRITAIN DEATH SENTENCE

 

 

 

 

URUMQI, China - China says Akmal Shaikh is a drug smuggler and must be executed Tuesday morning. But family and acquaintances say the 53-year-old Briton is mentally unstable and was lured to China from a life on the street in Poland by men playing on his dreams to record a pop song for world peace.

Shaikh first learned of his death sentence Monday from his visiting cousins, who made a last-minute plea for his life. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has spoken personally to China's prime minister about his case, but there's little to suggest Beijing will relent.

Shaikh would be the first European citizen to be executed in China in half a century.

Two years ago, the man who relatives say used to be hardworking and devoted to family, was apparently living on the streets of Warsaw. But Gareth Saunders, a British teacher who lives in Poland, told The Associated Press Shaikh nonetheless maintained an "exaggerated positivism" that Saunders called both endearing and sad.

Saunders, who was one of the last people to see Shaikh before his arrest and who knew him as a colorful local character, said he helped out the fellow Brit by buying him coffee and singing backup when Shaikh insisted on recording his song for world peace, "Come Little Rabbit."

"He thought he had a gift with his voice, but it was clear to anyone listening he had no sense of timing, nothing," said Saunders, who was put in contact with reporters by Reprieve, a London-based prisoner advocacy.

The group, which has been lobbying for clemency for Shaikh, said he was duped into trafficking drugs to China by men promising that he would attain fame with a hit single.

"He would've believed that for sure, about having a big hit in China," said Saunders.

The two last ran into each other in a Warsaw underpass when Shaikh told Saunders that he was going to a country in central Asia and would be back in a couple of weeks.

"I think it's absolutely disgraceful," Saunders said of the death sentence. "I don't think he's in a position to defend himself."

Shaikh was arrested in 2007 for carrying a suitcase with almost 9 pounds (4 kilograms) of heroin into China on a flight from Tajikistan. He told Chinese officials he didn't know about the drugs and that the suitcase wasn't his, according to Reprieve.

He was convicted in 2008 after a half-hour trial. In one court appearance during his trial and appeal process, the judges reportedly laughed at his rambling remarks.

"We strongly feel that he's not rational and he needs medication," one of his cousins, Soohail Shaikh, said. "We beg the Chinese authorities for mercy and clemency to help reunite this heartbroken family."

The planned execution of Shaikh, who has no prior criminal record, is the latest in an extraordinary series of Chinese actions that have led to widespread outrage, including Friday's sentencing of a literary critic who co-wrote a plea for political reform to 11 years in prison.

"It certainly does send a message, intended or not, that China doesn't really care what the international community thinks about how it handles criminal cases," said Joshua Rosenzweig, research manager for the U.S.-based human rights group Dui Hua Foundation.

China had planned to tell Shaikh of his sentence 24 hours before it was to be carried out, Reprieve said. It's not unusual for China to wait until the final hours to notify inmates of their fate.

But his cousins, who visited the prison hospital in far western China where he is being held Monday, broke the news first.

"He was obviously very upset on hearing from us of the sentence that was passed," said Soohail Shaikh.

He told reporters at the Beijing airport late Monday that Shaikh, who is of Pakistani descent, used to be a hardworking family man. "Then we lost track of him."

Last-minute appeals are almost never granted in China, which executes more people each year than all other countries combined.

"Drug smuggling is a grave crime. The rights of the defendant have been fully guaranteed," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a news conference last week.

By now, any decision to stay Shaikh's execution would be a political one, taking into account the damage his death could do to relations with Great Britain, the European Union and others, Rosenzweig said. But chances were slim.

Though China is gradually switching to executions by lethal injection, Rosenzweig said he would likely be shot in the head.

The cousins were given a bag of Shaikh's belongings Monday.

Two British diplomats accompanied the cousins but said they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

"The Prime Minister has intervened personally on a number of occasions: He has raised the case with Premier Wen, most recently at the Copenhagen summit; and has written several times to President Hu," said an e-mail from the British government.

Britain has accused Chinese officials of not taking Shaikh's mental health concerns into account, with a proper psychiatric evaluation, as required by law.

"They're not even pretending to protect his rights," Rosenzweig said. "That really baffles me."

In London, some of Shaikh's family joined a vigil outside the Chinese Embassy. A cousin, Latif Shaikh, said Shaikh's mother, who is in her 80s, knows he's in prison but doesn't know he faces execution.

He said the shock could kill her. "This execution will take two lives without a doubt," he said.

 





Late lasnight that fat guy we all know and love was busted for indecent expoaure..Yes that's right,Cop's found Santa on the street's of New York flashing all the little lady's Photobucket When paolice cought up with Santa He just simply said..Well she asked for a little sausage. Photobucket Santa was bailed out and relised within two hours after the elf's showed up asuring Santa that Ms. Clause would not here of it. Latter that night police made a rade on yet anoher strip club and yes you guessed it Santa was there ripping off the striper's. Photobucket Officer Dick asked Santa why he just couldn't seem to stay out of trouble and Santa replied...Have you ever had a good look at that ugly bitch I'm married too? Photobucket Police say that Santa is being held without bond but if he's good will be let out in time to deliver christmas gift's but some how I dout it since Rudolf is fileing charges of abouse against Santa as well giving police this picture as prof. Photobucket Well Santa just who has been naughty now? Look's like a bad christmas for all this year. So I say HAY Santa BUSTED!!!! Bad boy bad boy what you going to do? What you going to do when thay come for you? Photobucket


Late lasnight that fat guy we all know and love was busted for indecent expoaure..Yes that's right,Cop's found Santa on the street's of New York flashing all the little lady's Photobucket When paolice cought up with Santa He just simply said..Well she asked for a little sausage. Photobucket Santa was bailed out and relised within two hours after the elf's showed up asuring Santa that Ms. Clause would not here of it. Latter that night police made a rade on yet anoher strip club and yes you guessed it Santa was there ripping off the striper's. Photobucket Officer Dick asked Santa why he just couldn't seem to stay out of trouble and Santa replied...Have you ever had a good look at that ugly bitch I'm married too? Photobucket Police say that Santa is being held without bond but if he's good will be let out in time to deliver christmas gift's but some how I dout it since Rudolf is fileing charges of abouse against Santa as well giving police this picture as prof. Photobucket Well Santa just who has been naughty now? Look's like a bad christmas for all this year. So I say HAY Santa BUSTED!!!! Bad boy bad boy what you going to do? What you going to do when thay come for you? Photobucket

Those left behind: The legacy of Arlington’s Section 60

Veteran’s Day is a time to remember “All gave some….Some gave all.”

Before reaching the new gravestones in Arlington National Cemetery’s ‘Section 60’ it’s easy to recognize why a simple, quilted, patch of green grass and white stones buried alongside the quiet banks of the Potomac River troubles the heart.

 

Names etched into fresh marble tell the sad tale of early death …Travis L. Youngblood…. Justin Ray Davis….Andy D. Anderson….Thomas J. Barbieri Jr….. Kenneth E. Zeigler II….James R. McIlvaine …. America’s varsity players benched early in the game.

‘Section 60’ is America’s promise to honor its warriors for first serving, and then dying, in the strange dusts on foreign soil.

Its 22211 zip code is the final address for roughly ten-percent of America’s dead from combat action in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than 570 service members from “Operation Enduring Freedom” and “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” are “interred, inurned or memorialized with honor inside the cemetery.”

Spend time in the section and you can’t help but breathe the restless cloud of uneasiness that hangs over the calm symmetry of the graves. Your eyes lie; you actually “see” the pieces of shattered hearts and lost ambitions scattered across the manicured grounds.

You “feel” why this is America’s field of broken dreams.

Fathers, mothers, widows and children are all lost as they chase the ghost of vanished love inside the shadows of a sinister fog.

Watch an abandoned friend or family member alone in anguish softly whispering to the dead and you’ll realize the devil deals mean cards.

Cards that have forced a grieving mother to stare at the letters of her baby’s name chiseled onto a gravestone not long after those same letters were neatly printed on a new birth certificate.

No woman deserves to lose her child in war and then tragically continue her life driving a car with the unwanted license plate reading “Gold Star Family.”

No wife should ask God “why” the only man who ever promised to protect her is gone.

And no child should ever cry out to mommy “where’s my daddy?”

An ‘Arlington’ funeral means a father will never experience the joy of giving his daughter’s hand away in marriage.

Television got it right when they called ‘Section 60’ “the saddest acre in America.”

Robert E. Drawl Jr…… Kevin D. Grieco…. Charles E. Wyckoff… Michael Ross Stahlman….

Death is the greatest equalizer; only after a funeral does the phrase: “…all men are created equal” written in the nation’s ‘Declaration of Independence’ take life.

Generals lie buried the same depth underground as the men and women they commanded in life.

Black, white, brown, or yellow skins are equal. There is no racial prejudice after death.

Republicans and Democrats agree…In silence.

Gays are finally treated with respect. No one asks…no one tells…

Passages recited from the Koran are as beautiful as those recited from the Bible.

The impact of two distant wars became personal once the “knocks on the door” delivered the horrifying news and haunted a house forever. Prayers that the Pentagon “got it wrong” vanished when asked if they wanted an ‘Arlington’ funeral.

Arlington’ is an idyllic hillside cemetery and is easily seen while driving on the Arlington Memorial Bridge towards Virginia. It’s the last stop straight ahead.

It’s also the last stop for those sons and daughters who were killed after announcing to their family they wanted to be “Army Strong” or part of “The Few…The Proud” and then fearlessly joined the deadliest profession.

They volunteered; even while never reading the frightening draft notice of their father’s generation. One sent on behalf of the President of the United States during the Vietnam War beginning with the terrifying, “Greeting….You are hereby ordered for induction into the Armed Forces of the United States….”

Both the draft and that war ended in the 1970’s.

The names of 58,261 brave Americans are etched into the “wall” inside the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the other end of that same bridge.

About the time energetic eighteen year-old college freshmen are searching for an “awesome” campus tailgate party, America’s young soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen are finishing their individual combat specialty schools and boarding the express bus to the front lines. Thoughts of joining sororities and fraternities are long gone. Learning the dangers of the “kill radius” of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and recognizing the “signs and symptoms of hypovolemic shock” are more important. A severed femoral artery is quick to kill in the field.

Today’s military volunteer swears to an oath to do “whatever it takes” to hold the protective umbrella over the nation during the storms in violent times.

Doubts of joining the military were erased after witnessing an attack on their nation September 11, 2001.

Things became clear for them in the dawn’s morning light.

‘Section 60’ is one of approximately 70 sections inside the 624 fenced acres of ‘Arlington’ where more than 320,000 heros are honored. The first military burial took place in 1864 during the American Civil War when the cemetery opened.

The U.S. Army’s 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) maintains a sentry inside the cemetery on duty every second of every day.

The ceremonial guards from each branch of service provide military honors during the somber burial of one of their own.

Temporary paper markers are placed in the dirt above the grave after a funeral while waiting for the permanent marble stones.

Ryan Patrick Baumann….Eric W. Hall….Colby J. Umbrell….James C. Edge….

A triangular folded American flag is all that remains to hold for the devastated family members during a funeral in ‘Section 60.’

Gold Star” mother Lyvonne Lightfoot hugs the flag that draped her 20 year-old son’s casket on August 4, 2009. Anthony M. Lightfoot died in Afghanistan, July 2009, while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

Rebecca Baldeosingh holds the flag from her husband’s casket at his funeral on August 4, 2009, after he was killed last June in Iraq.

The Iraq war made Laura Youngblood an early widow in 2005 while pregnant with her second child. Husband Travis Youngblood was a U.S. Navy medic who died from wounds suffered from an IED during combat operations with the U.S. Marines in Hit, Iraq.

She visited her husband in May 2009 during the Memorial Day weekend.

After touching his gravestone, she stood up, gently kissed the top of the marble and said, “See you tomorrow, honey.” And then left….

“Gold Star” mother Paula Davis thought she was an “Army of One” when raising her only child, Justin, alone for eighteen years before turning him over to the U.S. Army. He had just graduated from high school weeks earlier and he had no fear of serving in wartime.

Justin was spirited and was strong. “A million dollar smile,” Mrs. Davis proudly boasts. Proof is seen in a large photograph moments after entering her home in Maryland. “He wanted to be in Kung Fu movies…the next Jet Li.”

And he loved the idea of joining the Army so much that the night before he reported for his first day of duty he made his mother stay up with him and watch two war movies, “Saving Private Ryan,” and “Black Hawk Down.”

Hours later they drove to the U.S. Army recruiting office. Mrs. Davis was now alone for the first time in nearly two decades. “I drove a few blocks down the street, stopped, and just cried….”

One year later she cried again…only harder. Justin was finally coming home from the war and “did she want him buried at Arlington?”

The entire time he was gone she thought “Afghanistan was a safer war,” she said.

For two months after his funeral Mrs. Davis slept inside his bed; “I still go and sit on his bed for comfort.”

Justin’s room is exactly as it was the day he joined the army in 2005. The four cardboard boxes containing his belongings from Afghanistan are still unopened on the floor of his room.

Mrs. Davis drives to ‘Section 60’ after church every Sunday, “rain or shine,” to honor him. “If I don’t, who will?” “This is our Vietnam Memorial,” she said.

She then explained, “The burden of two wars falls on a select few….Most Americans are not asked to sacrifice. Our leaders should find every means possible to not go to war…”

Justin died shortly after turning 19 years-old. “He would have been a great father…..now I’ll miss that,” said Mrs. Davis.

Mrs. Davis and “Gold Star” mother Xiomara Mena (Anderson) are best friends now after meeting in ‘Section 60.’ Their boys are buried within steps of each other. Mrs. Anderson is also a “Blue Star” mother; she has two other children serving in combat overseas.

Mrs. Anderson patiently uses her household scissors to trim the grass around the gravestone of her son, Andy D. Anderson, who died in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in June 2006. “Arlington takes good care of my son…” she said, “but I like to keep him neat.”

Mrs. Anderson’s motherly instinct is still alive after three years since Andy’s funeral. Watching her carefully clip the grass around her son’s grave seems as natural as watching a loving mother making up her son’s bed in the morning.

“Gold Star” mother Vicki Zeigler deserves her own medal for the unwavering devotion to her son, Kenneth E. Zeigler II; driving EVERY weekend to visit ‘Arlington’ from Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. Kenneth died while serving with the U.S. Army in Baghdad, Iraq, in May 2005.

Mrs. Zeigler arrives early and unfolds a beach chair before spending the entire day serenely staring at the name of her baby boy while recalling the day he was born after “6 hours of hard labor” in 1983.

Kenneth loved “God, mom, family, ‘Metallica’ and the New York Yankees…and in that order,” says Mrs. Zeigler.

“He was a momma’s boy until the end,” she proudly said. As he was lying on the ground and fighting for his life while wounded his sergeant leaned down and whispered “we’ll take care of mom,” she explained. Kenneth then relaxed and slipped away after knowing his mom was in strong hands.

Mrs. Zeigler drives in a car devoted to the memory of her hero.

All three women expressed concerns for American’s who have loved ones in harm’s way and may be forced in the future to sit in the “green chairs” for family members during an ‘Arlington’ funeral.

Theodore Uland Church….Garrett T. Lawton….Darryl Demetrial Booker…. Deforest Lee Talbert…

Photojournalists assigned to military funerals are tough and rarely flinch. Cameras make great walls to hide behind when emotions become powerful. Tears have always dripped down from behind mine during an “Arlington’ funeral.

Watching a sobbing widow hug a cold casket for the last time is unnerving.

Rebecca Baldeosingh and her daughters attended the funeral of her husband and their father, Juan C. Baldeosingh, who was killed last June in Iraq. He was buried in Section 60 with honor on August 4, 2009.

 

The most horrifying funeral I’ve attended was by accident at the end of the first Persian Gulf War in 1991 along the Iraq-Kuwait border. It still haunts me today.

Photojournalist Mike Nelson and I stumbled upon an eerie scene in the desert that belonged in “The Twilight Zone.”

Over 100 Iraqi soldiers were fleeing north from Kuwait at the end of the war when allied warplanes launched rockets stopping the head of the snaking convoy.

The attacking aircraft then dropped exploding gas bombs high over the remaining vehicles in the convoy. The explosion created huge clouds of fire above the troops and burned all the breathable oxygen without scorching anyone below.

In short, the explosion sucked the air out of the lungs of every man.

Each corpse looked alive as we approached and they were still holding their rifles while seated inside their vehicles.

The memory of that sharp, biting, warm stench of death remains with my lungs today.

The British army arrived and carved a mass grave using bulldozers. Soldiers respectfully dragged the scores of dead bodies across the warm sands to their final grave before prayers were offered over the fallen.

Nearly 19 years have passed since that day and Iraqi mothers are still wondering where their sons are buried.

The Americans stationed inside the secure air base in Da Nang during the Vietnam War were easy targets for the Viet Cong who were hiding in the surrounding mountains east of the base. The VC used seven-foot long, deadly 122mm Russian-made rockets launched inaccurately from bamboo bipods to terrorize the troops below.

Chalk was used to tally “the count” on a wall inside the perimeter and over 650 rockets were launched from those mountains between September 1972 and September 1973.

A lethal game of Russian roulette played against the grim reaper during the year of living dangerously.

“If you heard a rocket explode or heard the siren, you had one goal…grab your helmet, flak jacket and haul ass to the nearest sandbag bunker scattered around our compound,” said a friend of mine, a U.S. Air Force security policeman who survived that year.

During one night’s rocket attack that same airman raced into the thick, wet muck in the “binjo ditch” that was used to drain latrine water away from the barracks. Both of his feet slide in different directions when they hit the sewage and then stopped abruptly. His forward motion continued and both ankles were brutally twisted as he fell hard. The memories of the “pop and a blinding pain” around his ankles are linked with the intense fear of dying during that rocket attack.

The injuries were so severe that at “20 years old, I would never be able to run, jump or even walk normally for the rest of my life,” he writes in an email. “They would’ve healed if they both broke,” said the doctors.

September 1973 arrived and he hobbled aboard the “freedom bird” leaving Da Nang. Vietnam and the war were now in his rear view mirror…or so he thought.

In the years before he arrived “in country” the air base had supported “Operation Ranch Hand;” an Air Force program involving the spraying of millions of gallons of a harsh herbicide “Agent Orange” over the jungles of Southeast Asia. The deadly chemical was used to kill the thick vegetation hiding the enemy. “Agent Orange” was sprayed over the rivers, fields, and jungles of Vietnam altering the normal life cycle of all living plants, animals and humans on the ground.

Air Force Security Policemen patrolled the areas on the base where splashed “Agent Orange” had dripped onto the ground leaving a contaminated residue. My friend spent a year kicking up and inhaling that dust.

36 years have passed since he left Vietnam and he will never be able to enjoy the simple, pleasurable, act of walking a dog.

The permanent damage to his ankles combined with the exposure to “Agent Orange” leaves him 100% disabled.

His days begin, then end, sitting in a motorized wheelchair. It’s a painful “hell;” his crippling souvenir for bravely volunteering for a year in Vietnam.

“There were dark, dark periods of unmentionable anger, fear, even desperation a time or two,” he said. He admits he is now “a controlled drug addict” relying on powerful prescription drugs to ease the sharp pain he wakes up to each morning.

He was my hero when we were Air Force Security Policemen stationed together on an island in the Mediterranean and he is my super-hero today.  (I’ve omitted his name at his request).

Jeremy A. Chandler….Deveran L. Owen….Adam Leigh Cann…. Steven R. Koch….

Combat veterans find the search for “closure” a lonely battle after losing a friend in war.

Veterans’ motorcycle club “Patriots Pride” rode from Charleston, West Virginia, to visit the grave of soldier DeForest Lee Talbert who is buried at ‘Arlington.’ Each rider served in combat with Talbert before he died in July 2004.

Talbot’s son, Deontae James Hamlet, stands proudly with the men who knew his father.

Susan Blankenship traveled to ‘Arlington’ to “rub” the gravestone of Steven A. Davis for her son who served with Davis in Iraq. Mrs. Blankenship’s son could not make the trip to ‘Arlington’ but he wanted the rubbing for “closure.” Davis died in 2007.

“Gold Star” mother Carolann Barbieri sits alone as she writes a private letter to her son on July 4, 2009. Barbieri died in 2006 while in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Visitors to ‘Section 60’ leave small stones or personalized mementos on top of a grave to honor those buried below. Some are unique but most follow the simple Jewish tradition of leaving a single pebble per visit on the gravestone of a loved one

Veteran’s Day is celebrated on November 11th in the United States.

It’s a national day of honor recognizing veterans for “throwing their hat in the ring” to protect those who couldn’t protect themselves.

Look for a veteran in November and buy him a cup of coffee, or a sandwich, and give thanks for their service.

Travel to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. and volunteer to help the “wounded warriors” who are fighting for their dignity with less than whole bodies.

U.S. Army Sgt. Joey Bozik (L) talks to Vietnam veteran Army Col. Oliver Mahatha Sr. (R) in the physical therapy room at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2005. Bozik lost two legs and one arm from an explosion in Iraq.

Wounded Army Sgt. John Daniel Shannon wears the Purple Heart with pride on his eye patch while testifying before Congress in 2007.

Or, walk the extra mile to ‘Section 60’ inside ‘Arlington’ and place a small pebble on the grave of an American hero….It’s their day.

U.S. Marine SSgt. William C. Rapier, of Quantico, Virginia, shows his son around Arlington National Cemetery in 2006.

 

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