Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Roll Call

One usually thinks of Roll Call in light of taking attendance...seeing who is present and who is absent. But after attending the funeral of one of our Marines and hearing Roll Call with that one absent, I will never think of Roll Call in the same way. It began well enough, with each person present answering to their name...then, "Major J'' again, louder "Major J" and a third time yelling "Major J"...who would never answer another Roll Call here. It was a hard thing to experience. And something I would be reminded of at other times.

July 18th, 2006 we visited Brooke Army Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. I had made contact with Lt Col O and he set up for us to visit with the Marines there.
At 07:30 we met the Marines at their barracks for formation. Ed was given the opportunity to speak to the group and give each one a book and visit with them infividually. After that we went over to the hospital. Lt Col O wanted us to meet the family of a young Marine who was in ICU. The family was not in the waiting room or the ICU. When Lt Col O went into the ICU Cpl B was awake and said he'd like to have us come in to visit so we were allowed to see him.

We visited a short while. Ed gave him one of his books and a card that some of our local Marine Mom's had signed and sent with us to pass out. An aide read the card to Cpl B. and that brought a smile to his handsome young face. His injuries were very serious: he had lost his left arm and leg and had serious injuries to his entire left side.

When we returned in September and met with our Marines for formation we learned that Cpl B had just passed away. I wanted to eyes met Ed's and I turned away quickly to wipe away the tears. I felt I must be strong but it was not easy. Now his is one of the names I say to myself when listening to our National Anthem...he paid the highest price along with so many others to keep our nation free. I will never forget him.

Connie Beesley

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day of School

Its been hectic getting used to new schedules and getting the children off to school each morning....but we are beginning to settle into the routine. All of this made me think of and remember an article that I had written for Salute an online newsletter. I thought I would reprint it here for you to read.

First Day of School Salute August 2006

A few days ago, we were up early to see our daughter's four children off to their first day of school. As they came by, I took pictures and reminded them to stop by after school so that we could follow our "tradition" of tracing their hand in
their school albums. Dillon, the oldest seemed nervous as he left for his first day of high school! Brittnee is still at the middle school and seemed excited as she left...and also a little disappointed because only about half of her friends will share the same lunch period. An hour latter the two younger boys came by on their way to the bus stop...which is at the end of our drive way. Keith, the 4th grader seemed upset and when I asked him why he said it was because he had the "meanest" teacher for math. I found out it is someone I know well...she also taught his mother. I told him to tell her I said "hello" and that it would help that she knows his grandparents. And the youngest, Jace, who is starting 1st grade was so eager to be spending the entire day and school AND FINALLY getting to eat in the lunch room!

When they were gone, I reflected on ALL of my first days of school AND there were very many as we moved often. From kindergarten to graduation I attended 13 different schools. Many times it was more than one school in a school year! In the 8th grade I had three first days. That year started with the actual first day of school in a familiar school with all of the friends I had known for a few years in Alameda, California. Going from the 4th grade to the beginning of the 8th in one school was something I would soon learn to miss. Then we got the news that Dad was being transferred. This time instead of moving from one town to another, we were going out of state. We were off to Ohio where I had my second "first" day of school as an 8th grader. This would be the sort of "first" days I would have often...being the "new kid" in school. It wasn't long before we learned that plans were changing. I would not have the time to make many friends in Ohio as the Navy decided they needed to send Dad to Louisiana. Soon, I was once more the "new kid". I began to see how different our country is from state to state...each area has its own identity. After a short time in school, we were out for the summer and we learned a lot about "humidity"...the weather is also different in each area of our country. Oh, and don't forget about the "bugs" me, they grow much bigger in Louisiana than in California! It was in Louisiana that I had my first day of high school and my first "crush" on a boy. I still remember his name. But there was not time to see if I'd have my first date there because before the year was over we moved yet again.

I was able to only have two "first days" for my sophomore and junior years, though each of those were in a different city in California. At least I started and finished at the same school. It is a good thing that I am the oldest of a large family. Even if I was not able to make many friends there was always someone to play with!

And then I was a SENIOR. I wasn't all that happy with the school I was attending in San Francisco so when Dad came home and told us we would be moving back to Alameda and that the last of my "first" days would be at Encinal High School, I was excited. As I had hoped when I went into the office I saw a face that looked familiar. It turned out to be a friend I'd had in elementary school. And there would be others that I would re-connect with, so it wasn't bad at all to be coming in this late even if it was my senior year. I made some new friends and still keep in touch with many.

Though there were many moves and many changes growing up, I was always so proud of my Dad's service to our nation. I felt a part of his job and made the moves with very little complaining and only a few tears as we said our "goodbyes".

It is still this way for our military families. We owe them and those who serve our deepest thanks. They give up a lot to keep this nation of ours safe.