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Growing up, I heard stories of my Uncle Raymond Marsh, because no one shared my hair color, except my Uncle Raymond,a Purple Heart Medal Hero, combat fatality just days before end of WWII, shared my red hair. And mama Shared his letters even last one (as letters always took awhile to arrive you see). Letters described how he walked for miles to hear a sermon, about his wet feet and need for "galoshes," and of how much he missed his bride, Julia, who he married just before he left.
Back in that era,since he was the only male of 5 children with older father of poor health, it could have been requested that Uncle Raymond not serve when drafted, but remain home, but he and his father thought he should serve.
Mama shared the last letter, the Christmas before he was killed by a sniper in Luxembourg, tearfully, Mama had a bullet proof New Testament on lay away, making payments on it, and was to make the last payment and send it for its arrival by Christmas and then a letter came asking if she could please send him "galoshes" for his cold wet feet as a Christmas present. My mama didn't have the money to afford both and the store allowed her to place the lay away money from the bullet proof New Testament onto the galoshes to send.
Upon death, personal items returned included his New Testament with a bullet hole in it. Mama was unsure then if he had even received the Christmas galoshes and then the last letter arrived describing how much he appreciated the galoshes and how they were keeping his feet dry. Then, she knew the bulletproof New Testament would have arrived before his death and could have saved him, She would explain to me God has a plan for everyone, and not God's plan for Uncle Raymond to return, but remember him.
Therefore, I searched out his Arlington cemetery grave, share his story proudly, serve veterans, and have a red headed son that I imagine looks like my Uncle Raymond, the war hero.
I have many stories to share being a Career Marine Vietnam Widow but am choosing today to relate one of my father-in-law that is surely representative of most Veterans. My father-in-law was an Army CWO5 of 27 years when he was medically retired with terminal cancer. His wife (2nd), was a Major with 20 years as a nurse retired at the same time to take of him. The two of them had been best friends with another Army Officer for many years and had served together during Korea and Vietnam. He was the only one still in but they kept in frequent touch with him.
A few months after being home, my father-in-law received a middle of the night phone call telling him to prepare his gear for both cold and hot conditions as he was being called back in for a very important assignment. Someone be there to pick him up within minutes. He immediately started packing his gear (that he, of course, hadn't disposed of) and his wife helped him. No questions asked.
When he was in his uniform, he sat in their foyer with bags ready to go.
There was a knock at the door and when opened, there was their good friend. He had pulled one last prank on my father-in-law....it was just something they had always done all the years they knew each other. He passed a few months later.
To me, it was sheer dedication and sacrifice for my father-in-law to raise up from his sick bed to be ready because his country needed him.
R.I.P. CWO5 Robert E. Tully Sr.
On Valentine’s Day, 2006, I was deployed to Iraq, during my 10-year tour as a Military Police Officer in the US Army, when my vehicle was struck by an Improvised Explosive Device. My leg was instantly severed, and I suffered a movement disorder, traumatic brain injury, 3rd-degree burns, multiple back injuries, and PTSD. Recovery from my injuries was a long and dark road, and I fell into a severe depression. During recovery, my occupational therapist suggested that I find a hobby that used my fine motor skills. In the beginning, my motor skills were incredibly compromised, and stringing a large wooden bead with a leather rope proved near impossible. My grit and tenacity kept me moving, and I learned everything I could about the craft while practicing every day. Jewelry-making became my glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Amazingly, within a year, my movement disorder had almost disappeared! My new hobby turned into an insatiable passion, and now, a business. I'm so grateful for the opportunities I have to tell my story. I've been featured on the CNN Morning Show, Dr. Oz Show, Cosmopolitan and Glamour and Woman's World magazines among others. I am a member of Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America (MJSA), as well as the South Texas BBB and the Women's Jewelry Association (WJA). I am also the recipient of the 2016 Veteran's Grant from the WJA.
I encourage sharing my testimony with as many media outlets as humanly possible, because the word has to get out that the Men and Women who have or are protecting our way of life are truly hurting and need help now NOT tomorrow, because for 22 veterans it will be too late.
In summation, it was very difficult to put my troubled past in ink for all to read. That particular period in my life was by far the most painful, depressing, and psychological damaging time of my life, but I felt the need to share my story to let my fellow Comrades know death is not the only option. If you do not trust me that’s ok but please trust in the LORD. It is my belief that if you truly do, your life will turn around for you. I will be praying for you…
I am not going to lie to you and say it was an easy recovery, because it was not. It was instead a very long and at times painful process, but once I was able to regain my self confidence and dignity there was no mountain high enough to stop my conquest to succeed in life. Thankfully once recovered, no matter how hard times became in my life, I never experienced that gloom, doom and fearful feeling again. Over the course of the past twenty years, I have achieved a level of success both personally and professionally that at one time in my life I only dreamed of. I eventually found love again and have four healthy loving children and to date have been blessed with three wonderful grandchildren. I am a retired Air Force Veteran, Author, Cross Domain Solutions Analyst, and Speaker who tries his absolute best to help others.
Reflecting back, if my neighbor did not walk in on me at that exact moment in my life, I would have been remembered as a troubled Air Force airman who left behind two innocent children by committing suicide. I would have missed out on so many wonderful moments in my life. Please believe me when I say there is not a day that goes by that I do not thank the LORD for sparing my life on that dreaded day back in 1996. I am asking you now my beloved Brother and Sister, to reconsider your decision to end your life and instead join me with helping others like us who so desperately need a fresh start in life.
I knew my Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) would call my house once I did not report for duty and would eventually drive to my house to check on me. Once he arrived at my residence, he would find my front door wide open and hear the very loud music I had playing in an attempt to drown out the gun shot. I was certain he would (NOT my children) find my lifeless body lying in a pool of blood with my face blown off. Everything was going as planned on that fateful day, I kissed my children goodbye for what I thought would be the last time. Tears ran uncontrollably down my face which did not overly concern my kids, because they were growing cold to all the drama and turmoil a divorce inflicts on a family. I remember watching them both walk down the street until they eventually disappeared from sight. The feelings I was experiencing at that exact moment was immense shame, guilt, hurt, and a haunting loneliness. I remember walking away from the front door and heading downstairs in a complete haze. I cranked the volume up on my Kenwood system and then entered the guest bedroom. I remember loading my shotgun chamber and inserting the barrel into my mouth. I began shaking uncontrollably and just when I was about to pull the trigger I heard a very loud voice shouting “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” I looked up and saw my neighbor running frantically in my direction. I dropped my shotgun at that exact moment and began to cry as my neighbor wrapped his arms around my trembling body. I had never been so ashamed and embarrassed in my life. I really cannot explain what happened to my thought process during that ordeal but I realized I wanted to live and not die. I called my NCOIC and told him I needed help, so he immediately made arrangements with the base hospital that same day for me to get some much needed professional help. To be continued...
This testimony is for my twenty two veteran brothers and sisters who have decided to end their life by committing suicide today. I wish there was some magical gift of love, I could send your way to make you change your mind but all I can do is share my own very personal story in hopes it just might make a positive difference. I too was once in your shoes. The year was 1996 and I was in the middle of a very bitter and ugly divorce. My life was totally turned upside down. My career in the Air Force was in jeopardy, because I could not focus on anything but the negatives in my life. It seemed as if I was losing everything important to me to include my two young children. I knew in the state of Illinois the chances of me gaining custody of them was slim at best. I was also aware that I was on the short list of being tagged with a 3 year overseas assignment which would result in me hardly ever getting to see my kids. At the time, I would have rather been dead than to face a life without them in it. These thoughts and fears consumed me every day and night. I could not envision a life without my children, so after a very long battle with severe depression, which by the way I tried very hard to hide from everyone in fear it would further destroy my military career, I made the decision to end my life. I thought, I had everything planned to the finest detail. I would wait until my children departed for school and then proceed to the guest bedroom located in our basement, insert a shot gun shell into my gun chamber, pull the trigger and escape all the madness. To be continued...
Today all people feel highly privileged as individuals and as a society when they talk about the veterans who have served the nation and the country as a whole. Numbering in millions these veterans of both genders have made the society feel proud through their relentless efforts for protecting and uplifting of the society and nation. All parties whether ruling or non -ruling have the same stance for the veterans on account of the exemplary sacrifices made by them on and off the job. Special departments have been established for taking care of veteran affairs. Besides offering the best of Government Jobs for Veterans special scholarships programs are also organized from time to time. Efforts are on to provide these veterans the best health care facilities for facilitating them fast recovery whenever they get hurt while serving the nation. Special emphasis is laid down on veteran life perspective and well-being.
Every state government lays stress on setting up veteran retirement and recreation centers. This comes as a small tribute for these veterans for their great efforts for the society. Special emphasis is laid for supporting the women veterans who have served the society and nation in many fields. Veteran Education is the primary focus of the state and society as a whole. Special discounts and benefits are offered to veterans through various events by corporate houses and governments as a whole. Veterans being highly skilled, learned and carrying technical know-how have been always been in great demand in the corporate world. So in a way the veterans are the saviors and support of the society and its people and everyone pays a healthy tribute to them for their efforts. Even after serving the nation these veterans are serving the people in one way or the other by being part of various government institutions.For more information please visit us at http://www.militaryconnection.com .
(Photo, My nephew's homecoming after deployment to S. Korea.)
During the Iraq War I was flying home to Chicago one night after a 100+ degree day in Baltimore. Storms in Chicago closed O'Hare, canceling my flight. I joined others in long lines at BWI seeking flights. While in line, hundreds of Sailors and Marines arrived. After more than a day of travel, they were disembarking flights from Germany originating in Baghdad. Somehow, none of them had connecting flights at BWI. I overheard grumbling from officers on down. Some officers got in line to arrange their own flights; most non-coms curled up along the walls and laid down to sleep. I got a ticket for a 6 AM flight. The airline gave me a hotel voucher for the night. I had to wait outside for the hotel's shuttle. The heat hadn't let up. Fumes from shuttle buses weren't dissipating in the humidity. I couldn't bear the heat and went inside the terminal. It was 1:00 AM. I cooled down a few minutes, then went outside. There were 6 Marines waiting for various shuttles. We talked about the heat. A shuttle from an unrelated hotel pulled up. The driver asked the guys where they were going. There were four destinations. The driver said he'd take them all. The last Marine handed over his bag to load in the rear, he pointed to me and asked the driver, what about him? Sure, the driver replied. I thanked him and gave him my bag. We all caught our breath in the air-conditioned shuttle. A few guys talked about having no cash on them. My stop was first. The driver got my bag out, I handed him $40. It's a tip from all of us, I said. Thanks, he said. No, thank you, I said.
15 or so Soldiers boarded the plane after I sat down. On a business trip I was fortunate to be flying 1st class and thought of changing seats with one of the Soldiers but couldn't decide how to make a choice between all of them so Instead I asked the Flight Attendant to serve the Soldiers a drink on my tab. The Attendant returned and informed me the Soldiers were appreciative but could not accept my offer because they were in uniform. Disappointed I asked the Attendant if she had enough candy bars for the Soldiers and she did; Snickers and M&Ms for them all. It was a great feeling as they all thanked me and I wished them a safe tour.