Monday, May 25, 2015

Pleasanton Remembers: Memorial Day 2015

The best part about today's Memorial Day Service? It was obvious that everyone who attended sincerely wanted to be there. They came in walkers, strollers and wheel chairs.  They listened to every word spoken and every note of music played. Everyone was at attention so to was great!

There were bagpipes, the community band, a Color Guard, a 21 gun salute, the Gettysburg Address and Army Commanders taking part. We recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang America the Beautiful and the National Anthem. We learned new information about the holiday itself and about Tri Valley servicemen who had died in Vietnam and Afghanistan.

Scout Troop 998 put up flags at the Senior Center and at the grave sites at our local cemeteries

Placing of the Wreath was done by Sea Cadet Jacob Wight, RADM C.W. Parks Battalion and Donna Willy
who played Amazing Grace on the bagpipe

Spenser Aquilina, Eagle Scout Troop 998 reading the Gettysburg Address

My favorite words of the day...

"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us...that from these honored dead, we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.

We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom."
(President Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863)

"The 30th day of May 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country" 
(from General John A. Logan's Memorial Day Order May 5, 1868)


Remembrance Day 2015

Some things I remember:

On May 29th, 2002, my husband and I had the honor of attending the graduation of our neighbor Damon Field from the United States Air Force Academy. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld gave the commencement speech. Not only did he bring every member of the audience to tears with his honest words of encouragement and praise for the cadets who would be thrust into the face of war, but he handed out each and every diploma and shook the hand of each and every graduate....1,000 graduates! We watched Damon grow from a 6 year old little boy into an incredible man, husband and father. Today, Damon continues to serve in the Air Force.

Fortunately as far as I have learned from my search, none from that class of 2002 have fallen in battle. But today is the day we remember and honor those who have given all. The Air Force Academy has dedicated a wall of remembrance to all graduates who have died in service to America. Volunteers helped to make this wall a reality.

A few years ago, I remember walking through an airport and seeing a big, strong, military fit kind of man wearing a tee-shirt that read simply "John 13:15". I went home and looked up the verse.

"Greater love has no man than he who would lay down his life for a friend." 

Today is the day we honor and remember those 
who have such profound love.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Miracle Miles

For some reason, today's  post "Miracle Miles" was never published during the active days of remained only a draft. But as we approach the 5th Anniversary of launching RoadWarriors--Memorial Day 2010-- it seems like perfect timing for read again about people who felt compelled to be a part of the plan. 

Miracle Miles: from draft to post

"I believe every decision to become a road warrior or to sponsor a road warrior this summer was a miracle. It was fairly easy to come up with the idea for Road Warriors 2010, but giving life to an idea or creating something from nothing requires the supernatural. Here are some of the stories that happened behind the scenes, some of the daily miracles that moved our project out of the realm of an intangible idea into the reality of hearts and hands reaching out to make a difference to our injured servicemen, women and their children.

Our everyday Miracles went like this...
The minute I saw Uncle Credit Union President Jim Ott riding his bike on Foothill Road,  I knew I was going to invite him to be a Road Warrior or sponsor. Huffing and puffing along side him on my mountain bike, I gave him the rundown of what we were trying to do. He told me to bring some info by his office at the Credit Union. I did.

Next thing I knew, he was writing a story 
about us for the Valley Times. 
That story led to the largest single donation I received!

The funny (miraculous) thing about it is that I had explained the idea of Road Warriors 2010 to this "BIG" donor a month earlier I was afraid to ask him outright to be my sponsor. Prompted by reading Jim's story, here's the unexpected email I received from the man I wanted to be my sponsor but never had the courage to ask, John Silveria, Director of Pacific Coast Farmers Market Association.
"As I fight the tears as I write this, I want to sponsor you! Please let me know what I can do to help. "

When I read the email, I cried too. This was a miracle to me. John has two sons serving the United States in the military today. Not only did he write a check from Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association to sponsor my 1,000 miles at 75 cents/mile, but he launched our 9/11 campaign at the Pleasanton Farmers Market to bring in a matching $750.00...a campaign which encouraged one Pleasanton mom and daughter to bring their 9/11 donation in a baggie filled with quarters. They had spent the morning digging up ten dollars in "spare" quarters to give to wounded warriors.

Bringing donations on 9/11 to the Farmers Market 

I think that little baggie was a miracle because it was a picture of someone's heart being touched enough to change an idea into an act of love, a hand reaching out to help another.

For me, another supernatural helping hand appeared when I reached out to a long lost high school friend Robert Sherwin who had graduated from West Point. I hadn't talked to him in almost 40 years. Almost immediately, I got a positive response from him. "I’ve got my check already written out and am getting a matching one from my HR team tomorrow.  I’ll meet my goal of having both mailed before Thursday, and you and the Road Warriors will be $500 closer to your goal." I had been afraid to contact him after so many years, but man, look what happened -- I am so grateful!

 Our sponsors and donors are the ones who gave our miles and sweat equity meaning beyond our own satisfaction, an impact bigger than ourselves. 

Our sponsors helped turn our miles into tangible miracles."