Freedom Beat Across America: In Search of America's Heartbeat

Archive for the tag “heroes”

Dottie’s thoughts about war

(In August of 2011, four American women set out to search for the heartbeat of the country.  Dottie wanted to search for history, from the Civil War to today.  Melissa wanted to meet with the young and old who serve in the military, and speak to their families about what it’s like to be a part of something so big, yet so personal.  Genie wanted to test the difference between the wars of her sons and grandchildren and those of her own generation.  And Skylar, being eleven, wanted to see the America she’d never seen before.)

Again, this is not exactly a guest blog.  This is Dottie finally finding out where she stashed the journal she kept on our trip across the country.  We enjoyed revisiting our trip and thought you might also:

Aug 12, 2011  Clarksville, Tennessee

Arrived about 1 pm.  We will be here two days, three nights.  On Aug 14 we will interview several wives of deployed soldiers about the life of the military wife – those that are left behind to keep the home fires burning, their stress of child-rearing problems, of having to take care of everything and what their men are like when they come home after a mission.

Aug 13, 2011  Clarksville (in the am)

The second day in Clarksville, and Genie and Renee are trying to line up some military wives to interview.  They are finding it is not an easy task.  The CO [commanding officer] is not giving an order to anyone, but there is a strong suggestion that it wouldn’t be a good idea.

Renee being persuasive

What we offered was the option of complete anonymity.  That way we wouldn’t jeopardize their’s or their spouse’s security.  One of the things I find interesting in our quest is that speaking to anyone that is remotely associated with the media is approached with extreme caution.  This is because of the media’s lack of integrity and negative reporting.  I watched a news program the other day after the recent helicopter being shot down [August 6th, Afghanistan] and resulting in the death of thirty people [30 American troops, 8 Afghan soldiers].  In their news coverage, they revealed the families’ home town, their names, and virtually any information that would be needed should someone or an organization want retaliation.

The other side is, I find it hard to accept that what is asked of the men and women who often make the ultimate sacrifice, that their families must also make sacrifices.  They too are asked to deal with the kind of stress often associated with a person going through a divorce, at each deployment.  The spouse who remains at home must step into the role of a single parent.  They take care of the household and everything that goes with it.  Then when the deployed spouse comes home, it is difficult for the “visiting” spouse to pick up where they left off.  In the case of men coming home, the decision-making and discipline of the household is expected to revert back to him, causing conflicts within the family.  The very things we fight for as a nation are split asunder.  Freedom of speech.  The right to pursue a happy life with those we choose to love, and raise a family and preserve the sanctity of home.

It all comes down to family, doesn't it?


Will they be forgotten?

We have always had days when we remember an event. Days of infamy, days of joy.  Some days when we remember a person who was of immense importance to the development of this country. Even days that honor whole parts of our society (mothers, laborers, etc.)  When I grew up (doncha hate it when geezers start out that way?) there were lots of highways named for presidents and mayors and such like.  Then we started getting rock bands (yeah, my home town now has “The O-Jays Boulevard”) and movie stars (Lillian Gish and David Canary, well, that’s cool, but isn’t that more bragging than remembering?).

I remember how pleasing it was when we started seeing highways named for, say,  the young motorcycle cop who was hurrying to work to help after an earthquake on a very dark morning and drove right off the broken end of a 100-foot overpass before anyone had time to get out there and block it off.   For the firefighter who lost his life trying to save a stranger’s elegant home.   For the boy who rushed back into a burning home to rescue his sister’s doll.

When I had to write a paper in school, having a road named for a president helped me remember the name of the road and the president , but it really didn’t help me remember the person.  Especially if there were many roads, towns, buildings named for the same person.  It was just a name to me, someone historical who hardly mattered to my life. But when I go past a sign for a road that honors a hero, someone previously known perhaps only to his family, I remember, I ponder, I send a thought of gratitude and regret for someone I’ll never know. Here’s one to ponder from CBSLOCAL in Dallas/Ft.Worth :

“The names of fallen soldiers are typically etched in stone. Sgt. Jay M. Hoskins’ name has been printed on metal.
Drive 10 miles north of Paris, [Texas] and you’re sure to see it. The sign bearing his name marks a stretch of US 271 from Loop 286 north to the Oklahoma border. It’s now known as the Sgt. Jay M. Hoskins Memorial Highway.”

Visit this link and read more about this remarkable man. And if you’re in the neighborhood, drive under the sign and remember who he was. Seems to me there are enough roads in this country to remember a lot of the ones who should be remembered, not because of the prestige it brings to that town, but because people who give so much should never be forgotten.  Do you have a road named for a local hero?   (Not necessarily one from the last twenty years?)   Please share with me.

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