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Shoe Shine Girl

My father was stationed at Oakland Army Base when I was 11 yrs old. There was not a lot to do on this base for kids. So I decided I would make money polishing boots for the GI's. My dad had taught his kids how to polish his boots. At that time he had 5 girls and 1 son. I would sit under the shade tree between the PX and the church . There I would sit and talk and polish these GI,s boots. At the time I had no concept of how young they were. Nor did I ever think some would not come home, because my dad had came home twice . Through the years since I have often thought of them and have always prayed they all made it home. I remember how they talked about there families they were leaving behind. And even as a child I knew how sad they were but also how brave and proud they were to go.

I made enough money to buy my shoe shine kit at the PX. Got in trouble a few times for being late for dinner . but have the best childhood memory ever. Thank you for letting me share this story and God Bless all those young men and their loved ones they left behind.

sharon russell
iberia, MO


Oh my God, they're coming again!

I'm so very scared…I don't want to die!

I look over the lip of my hole and see

the gray floating shapes below

shapes moving from tree to tree

shapes moving up the hill

shapes moving to kill me

shapes moving to take away my dreams

I raise my rifle and aim at a floating shape below

now closer…now more clear

I pull the trigger and a shape falls to the ground

grasping at itself

Other shapes…clearer still are coming at me

shooting at me

throwing grenades at me

coming for me

I can see the smoke from the barrels of their rifles

feel the closeness of the passing bullets

the concussion of their exploding grenades

the screech of passing rockets

the wail of their trumpets

the shriek of their whistles

I'm screaming and shaking with fear

but I aim carefully at shapes below

pulling the trigger…over and over again

Can't miss…almost out of ammo

can't miss…can't waste a round

there are shapes everywhere

so many shapes

God help me - please

I squeeze the trigger but noting happens

Oh God - I'm out of ammo!!!

I pull the magazine from my rifle and reach for another

I search and can't find one…panic, panic, panic

I find one…my last, and jerk it into place

Aim and fire, aim and fire and fire and fire

more shapes falling to the ground

bodies everywhere

death is all around me.

Shapes are coming

shapes everywhere

shapes coming at me

so many shapes

Help me!!

Charles Schwiderski
West Fargo, ND

Misty Dreaming

Another night of old terrors!!

Misty dreaming with the Raven of War

upon my shoulder, speaking of all life

that has been lost and of all the death that

has been lived.

Where have you gone my Scouts,

my friends, my brothers?

Why am I alone in my return from

where none can ever return?

I no longer weep for myself, I weep

for all that have seen the horrors

of war.

I see more clearly now, for in silence

there is a vast echo of screaming...

and gunfire...and dying men...

dying friends!

How can I be here and almost

always there?

Charles Schwiderski
West Fargo, ND

For My Scouts

For My Scouts

I have built a house within my heart

where all of my deceased Highland Scouts live.

The house is a permanent home, built on stilts,

though the windows are draped in black

and the tenants are never coming back.

Grief is mine…and I am selfish…

I hoard their memories with relish.

Inside are stored essences of each

...of good times and bad

of all the things that have been.

I can lift the curtains when I am lonely

and they all laugh and live again…

Many of my Scouts have lived there a

long time…with a Black Panther

painted upon their doors.

Inside I can hear their laughter

and my tears fall upon the floor…

Charles Schwiderski
West Fargo, ND

I am able to live in this blessed country becouse.

yes I am a ww2 survivor and thanks to our American troops I am in this blessed country and a proud citizen since 1960. It is because American men and woman where willing to fight and set my home country free. It saved my life. As they than moved into Germany they where giving out candy to us children. We had not seen candy in several years much less sufficient amounts of food. So I remember standing on the running board of those big tanks and receiving bread cheese and candy, Wau to us that was like gold. I will never ever forget those happenings. so today I thank every veteran that I see, most now wear those caps/ specially the few ww2 veterans that are left. I have met several while shopping at Walmart. I am a PROUD AMERICAN TODAY AND LOVE THIS COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE WITH ALL OF MY HEART. Thank you America

oxford GA., GA

My Uncle Raymond, PFC US Army WWII, a Purple Heart War Hero

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.

Amy Holland
Marietta, GA

Ready to be called back in to acive duty.

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 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.

Jan Tully
Phoenix, AZ

My Journey Through Hardship

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.

Tara Hutchinson
San Antonio, TX

Twenty Two Veteran’s will commit suicide today or will they? (Part 4 of 4)

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…

Brian Scott Sherman
Belleville, IL

Twenty Two Veteran’s will commit suicide today or will they? (Part 3 of 4)

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.

Brian Scott Sherman
Belleville, IL
Baking Pan and Spoons Pewter Necklace
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