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When Johnny was in 3rd grade he wrote a report about how he wanted to be in the Military. I just blew it off. His junior year he told us he wanted to be a Marine. Again, I blew it off. His senior year we took him to the recruiting office. My husbands dad, 2 of his brothers and a nephew all joined the Navy. In fact one of his uncle's graduated from Annapolis. He is a retired Captain. We tried and tried to talk him into joining the Navy. But, he told us no. Johnny has always been the glue that has held us and his friends together. So, when he left we were all kind of lost. I think I got 3 letters from him during the 13 weeks he was in BC. Finally it was graduation time. The night before graduation at a get together with the other families whose sons were graduating with him one of his Drill Instructors noticed our name tag and asked if we were Johnny's parents. He informed us that Johnny had been given a Meritorious promotion. His dad, sister and I and 17 of his friends could hardly contain our excitement when they finally dismissed him. What an amazing man he has turned out to be. We couldn't be prouder

Lisa Sinclair
Henderson, NE

PTSD Awareness Silent Ride Stonehenge War Memorial

This picture was taken by my daughter, Jessica Davis, who was following 75 + motorcycles as we made our way from Albany, OR stopping in Salem, OR, next Gladstone, OR onto Troutdale, Hood River and The Dalles picking up more riders as we went. We crossed over the Columbia River at Biggs Junctions making our way to Stonehenge Veteran War Memorial. If you have never been there it is worth the drive. The view of the Columbia River to Mt Hood is breath taking.

This Silent ride was to raise awareness of PTSD in memory of Sergeant Kevin Ross who left us on Sept 14th, 2014. He was a 27-year-old young man from Corvallis, OR who did 2 tours of duty and when he came home in mental and physical pain, life as he knew before, just was not the same. He was polite, kind hearted and volunteered at the local animal centers "playing with the kitties" and dogs. We miss his beard, his tattoo's and the joy he brought to our daughter, Megan. We were hoping he would become our son-in-law. That is just how special he was to us.

Please reach out to a friend, to a fellow Veteran or to a loved one. So many of us live with Kevin's act everyday and I know he never meant to cause that pain to any of us. God bless our Veterans. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your service and to our country.

If you would like, you can check out other pictures/videos on Facebook - The PTSD Awareness Silent Ride.

Lori Rhoton
Salem, OR


Memories merging



Nightmares purging

All the


Sacred prayers are said

In vain

As haunted eyes relive

The pain

As Sadness, Grief, and endless Horror

Flash silently in dreams abhorred

Then cries of anguish, doom, despair

Escape from lips into the air

As simple sounds disturb the night

Startling them with unknown fright

Dawn brings the sun, a fresh new day

Yet weary eyes can’t look away

And ears can’t deafen to the sounds

Of piercing tones from whistling rounds

Then smells return to fool the mind

Of another place, another time

The burden’s heavy and takes



To traumas burned


the soul

And as the pain refreshes, and hope

May fall

The scars may never show

At All.

Steven W Bates
Cheyenne, WY

Bring It

Restless demons full of fight

Torment me thru endless night

Spirits’ screams are incoherent

Their purpose though is so apparent

Waking hours filled with fear

Distrust to all whom dared to near

Paranoia rears its’ ugly head

Replacing hope with doubt and dread

I did not ask this for my life

To be wounded sharp by pain and strife

But I’d gladly bear the brunt of all

And proudly suffer standing tall

For my life was serving others first

So bring pain on and do your worst

You’ll find though broken I will emerge

With nervous tension on the verge

I’ll bear my scars as best I can

And with honor shining here I stand

Before you now I humbly try

To look you squarely in the eye

To tell you I, though tattered, torn

Will not mock you, will not scorn

I too feel pain, I feel the hurt

From playing in the “sand box” dirt

And gladly do it all again

With pain my partner, fear my friend

To rise each morning with pride and say

I’m here for you, and I’m here to stay

Steven W Bates
Cheyenne, WY

Trials and Tried

From sweaty jungles and gritty sands

To stinking trenches in far off lands

From tunnels built for smallest man

To shrapnel skies in a flying can

Fighters, soldiers, sailors all

Have stood for us when heard the call

Some paid the price that war demands

Or made down payments with legs and hands

With determined chin they try to heal

But no one told them just how to feel

When coming home to peace and love

And to never fearing the skies above

To never need check behind each door

Or take a dive and hit the floor

When sounds so common to you and me

Fill that same vet with anxiety

The creaking floor, the coffeepot dripping

Could slowly start his facade to slipping

What once was calm and loving man

May have changed in him what he can’t understand

And without more help, understanding and grace

That saddened troop may have to face

A jury of 12 that have no clue…

Of what PTSD and war can do to you

They’ll convict without hearing all of the facts

And call him a Rambo because of his acts

The 12 would forget he would have laid down his life

For every one’s mother, brother, sister and wife…

They’ll sit on the court benches dictating his end

Till the gavel hammers in the final judgment to rend

And the life of a hero is cut short once again

But not from the actions in wars he’s been in

You see War called the shots and it knew it would win

To a troop whose coming home was his only real sin.

Steven Bates
Cheyenne, WY

A Preview Into Awaresness for PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness that has taken over the lives of many veterans in the past, present, and will in the future. Post-Traumatic Stress disorder and depression have become two of the highest contributing factors to the death toll in American soldiers. Unfortunately, even though these soldiers do have a greater chance of returning home now than they did in the past, the chances of them coming home from battle with psychological scars is almost inevitable. The American government and Veterans Affairs department offer support to veterans but more awareness and help is crucial in order to help these individuals and our countries heroes.

With the help of medical advances the opportunity to give back to these veterans is existent and is becoming more evident. One of the most effective treatments is Stellate Ganglion Block, an anesthetic injection to the neck that helps treat chronic pain associated with hyper vigilance and anxiety; contributors of PTSD. Other side effects of PTSD include distress, functional impairment, and in many cases suicide. Awareness about this mental disorder has taken a toll in America since the death rate and severity of PTSD has come to light. With the help of more organizations creating awareness and help, these veterans will have a greater chance to live a normal life again someday.

Thank you so much to all of you heroes out there, you impact our world and each of our lives EVERY SINGLE DAY and you deserve nothing but the best!

Ana E
Denver, CO

Some Gave All

Some gave eyes, arms and legs,

all predestined by their fate.

Some gave up dreams, their youth,

and women who wouldn’t wait.

Some lost it all, some held on tight,

And some gave in to hate.

And some gave up their very lives.

Yet, all gave some.

No heroes welcome home

met their weary eyes.

No ticker tape parades,

No paper floating from the skies.

No bands playing the anthem

To welcome back these guys.

Forgotten; their heroic deeds,

By media’s own device.

Forgotten were the POW/MIA

We forgot their sacrifice.

All forgotten heroes,

These Men who’d paid the price.

And some gave up their very lives.

Yet, all gave some.

You’re not welcome here,

You can’t come in this place.

Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?

You’re such a huge disgrace.

We’re not proud of your patriotism

How dare you show your face?

Shunned by Veteran of Foreign Wars,

Their loyalty suppressed.

Criticized by family and friends,

And slandered by the press,

Abandoned by their countrymen,

True, sadly, we confess.

They stuffed away their valiant deeds;

The things that they did best.

They stuffed away their medals and uniforms

In old forgotten chests.

They stuffed away their memories and dreams,

All hidden like the rest.

Rejected, some took their own lives.

Yet, all gave some.

Years pass, decades fly

How quickly time goes by.

Young men grow old, sometimes alone

As young dreams die.

The effects of the war wear on them

And many said goodbye.

An idea conceived,

A careful, thoughtful plan,

By volunteers and mentors doing all they can.

Yet, this simple act of kindness

Brought pride back to the man.

Yet, all gave some.

A new day dawns

A smile is on their face.

No longer humiliation and shame,

No longer their disgrace.

Your simple act of kindness

Has insured their rightful place.

And some gave up their very lives.

Yet, all gave some.

And somewhere in death’s battlefield;

Where heroic deeds are measured.

Where sacrifice, duty and honor

their values fully treasured.

Sleep goodly men! You gave it all!

Redeemed and surely pleasured.

Maryanne Dunne

The Fields of the Fallen

On a deserted, lonely hill, covered with snow,

You see row after row of crosses below.

The heroes have vanished to graves in fields,

Where valiant deeds on headstones revealed.

The crosses are covered with soft whispers of snow,

Oh, where did our brave heroes all go.

The cost of their sacrifice is lined up in rows,

And a brief prayer is all that’s left to compose.

Did you fight beside them? Did you support their cause?

Do you take a moment to consider and pause?

On the battlefield, they gave all they could,

Sacrificing their youth and precious manhood.

Honor their memory with dignity and grace,

Stop by and consider the sorrow of this place.

Cherish your freedoms, they answered the call,

Protecting your liberty, they gave you their all.

Wave our glorious flag, hold your banner with pride,

Do not forsake those brave souls who have died.

Can you not honor their memory today,

Will you not stop and take a moment to pray?

Maryanne Dunne

Welcome Home Vietnam Vets

I attended a welcome home ceremony at Prairie View High School in Henderson, CO. It was sponsored by the freshman class and their mentor teacher Kelly Gonzales.

Over 400 Vets were honored and welcomed home. I was moved to write

Yesterday, because of your efforts, I witnessed renewed life,

the redemption of heroic men

forgotten by their country, family and friends.

You made a difference that blew through the halls of darkness,

Cast out shadows, exploded hallowed chambers

and filled them with once again with light and hope.

I saw dead men resurrected, alive again.

Their dignity and tears displayed like the medals they earned in battle.

Old wounds finally closed,

battle scars miraculous healed

and hearts beaming with long overdue pride.

You did all this, you made a difference,

you ended their pain by opening up your hearts, your time and your school

and welcoming them home.

By your efforts you rocked your world,

the aftershocks and tremors opened up old wounds

and closed them with one swift and final jolt,

and the ensuing cleansing tsunami washed away their tears.



Maryanne Dunne

Independence Day

Well I'm 71 and homebound so I turn on the TV and try to find an educational story about Independence Day then I always watch the Macy fireworks. I particularly enjoy the fireworks to our patriotic songs.

Regina Becker
Indianapolis, IN
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