Posts Tagged ‘condolence

06
Jul
11

a word from tally: a letter from the president

by Tally

Once upon a time…… my Mom & Dad…… both born in TX, were Depression babies…

My Dad grew up on a farm outside a small Texas town with a funny name that didn’t even have a stop sign, and volunteered for duty during WWII as every young man of the time did. He shipped off to Italy, and while attempting to save a wounded friend at a very horrid battle where the Axis had stored some munitions in a church, my Dad’s friend stepped on a land mine.

My father woke up in a military hospital in North Africa with a gaggle of doctors standing over him. One Dr asked, “What’s your name soldier?” To which my father told them his name. All the doctors were surprised, and began talking amongst themselves for a bit. The Dr then asked my father, “What day is it?” My Dad thought, hmmm… I’m obviously wounded, so it’s probably been a couple of days, so he said, “Thursday, the 22nd.” The doctors were absolutely shocked by that response and began a rather heated exchange within their group, then finally the main Dr asked my father, “What month?” To which my father answered, “Oh shit.”

My father had had amnesia for almost a month. He was injured in February, and woke up in March, and had answered correctly because March mirrors February as long as it’s not a leap year.

He was sent stateside to recuperate in San Antonio at Fort Sam Houston.

My mother was from the big city of San Antonio. At 17, because all the men had all gone off and enlisted, went with her two older sisters, lied about her age and the three of them joined the WACs because that was where the boys were.

She met my Dad at a USO dance, while he was an out-patient from an Army psych unit because of the amnesia. So the crazy hick from the country married the Big City girl a month later, and my mother was found out to be a minor, and honorably discharged.

I was a very very late baby. My parents had given up, after my Down’s Syndrome brother died, and my mother suffered a miscarriage. They went to Reno one weekend and had WCMS* and POOF – a daughter.

My mother passed the day after Thanksgiving in 1999, with my father passing six months later from a broken heart.

They were both buried at Riverside National Cemetery with full military honors.

I never received my Condolence letter from President Clinton, and didn’t think to make the call until Bush Jr was in the White House. I told the person who answered the phone that I’d prefer Clinton’s signature since they passed during his Presidency, and was told that it would be the sitting POTUS. I said, “Never mind, I’ll wait.” I knew my parents would have been appalled by a Bush signature.

I waited eight years, and finally put in the request the week Obama took the oath. I told that story to four people since they kept transferring me, “I want you to tell your story to my superior, hang on….” I ended up with several copies for both my Mom & Dad. 🙂

I know my parents would be very proud I waited, and would be extremely proud of Obama.

*WildCrazyMonkeySex

06
Jul
11

condolence

CBS: Most families who lose a loved one in the war zones receive a letter of condolence from the President of the United States. But there are a few who do not receive this honor. It’s long standing policy – going back many years – that troops who commit suicide in war do not get the president’s acknowledgment.

The CBS Evening News first reported on this last week, and tonight we have learned the White House is changing the policy…. “I had doubts – many, many doubts,” Gregg Keesling said. “We are very pleased.” Last week, Keesling got the call he’d waited nearly two years to receive from the White House. He learned his family’s long wait for acknowledgement from the commander-in-chief was almost over. “My oldest son came down and we had a hug and it was very emotional,” Keesling said. “It was a very good moment that this has been worth it.”

Since the suicide of his son, 25-year-old Army Specialist Chance Keesling, in Iraq, Gregg and his wife Jannett, have fought to receive a condolence letter. They’ve written to the president, and asked their local congressmen for help.

Keesling’s now been told he’ll receive some kind of recognition from the White House – though not an official presidential condolence letter – in memory of his son.

… Under a decades-old White House policy, inherited by the Obama administration, military families received letters from the president only if their loved ones died on the battlefield or in accidents in war zones. Now, the policy is changing, Gregg Keesling told us recently, and for families like his, the acknowledgement is long overdue.

… The new policy goes into effect starting today, which is why the Keesling family will not receive an official presidential condolence letter. Their son, Chance, died in 2009. We’re told the policy affects all military families whose loved ones die in war zones, regardless of how they died….

More here

Thanks Fred

****

Statement from the President:

“As Commander in Chief, I am deeply grateful for the service of all our men and women in uniform, and grieve for the loss of those who suffer from the wounds of war — seen and unseen. Since taking office, I’ve been committed to removing the stigma associated with the unseen wounds of war, which is why I’ve worked to expand our mental health budgets, and ensure that all our men and women in uniform receive the care they need.

“As a next step and in consultation with the Secretary of Defense and the military chain of command, I have also decided to reverse a long-standing policy of not sending condolence letters to the families of service members who commit suicide while deployed to a combat zone. This decision was made after a difficult and exhaustive review of the former policy, and I did not make it lightly. This issue is emotional, painful, and complicated, but these Americans served our nation bravely. They didn’t die because they were weak. And the fact that they didn’t get the help they needed must change. Our men and women in uniform have borne the incredible burden of our wars, and we need to do everything in our power to honor their service, and to help them stay strong for themselves, for their families and for our nation.”

25
Mar
11

time of need

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