Category Archives: Albuquerque

For Immediate Release…Museum of the American Military Family locates at Bataan Military Academy…


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 9, 2015 | Author: americanmilitaryfamilymuseum | Filed under: Brats, Events, Museum News, Museum of the American Military Family, News, The Board of Directors | Leave a comment logo copyFor Additional Information Dr. Allen Dale Olson (505) 400-3849

Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center  Click on this link for more…



Groups Call Move a “Good Fit”

Albuquerque, NM – An Albuquerque charter school has just joined forces with the only museum in the country dedicated to the collection and preservation of the stories, documents, and artifacts of America’s military families. Both the Bataan Military Academy Charter School (BMA) and the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF) have moved into 5555 McLeod Boulevard NE, Albuquerque.

BMA serves grades nine through twelve, meets U.S. Navy standards in curriculum and in Naval sciences, including standards in physical fitness and in honoring traditional Naval standards. The school is in partnership with parents, teachers, military organizations, and with the military services. Principal, “Captain” Jan Zink, works closely with the Academy’s Board of Governors, chaired by Dr. Alan Holmquist.

BMA students are cadets grouped as in a military organization and follow the rank structure of the Navy Junior Reserve Officer Corps (NJROTC). In addition to traditional high school activities and sports, BMA cadets also form color guards, drill teams, and rifle teams. The school is named for the 70,000 soldiers and sailors forced to surrender on Luzon in 1942, some 70,000 of whom died during the infamous “Bataan Death March.” Many of those who died were from New Mexico. Annually BMA cadets simulate that march in a 26-mile hike at White Sands Proving Grounds.

MAMF, founded four years ago by Dr. Circe Olson Woessner, a DoD “Brat,” an Army wife and an Army mother, has been active throughout Albuquerque– even without a facility– by presenting documentary film programs, stage performances, military ceremonies and major exhibits in various venues, including the National Nuclear Museum, the South Broadway Cultural Center, the International Balloon Museum, and the Wheels Museum.

MAMF’s volunteer Board of Directors includes an Artist-in-Residence, a Writer-in Residence, and liaison chairs to military spouses, military organizations, “Brats” and Veterans’ organizations. Its programs reach throughout the country through its Operation Footlocker, mobile exhibits which go to public schools, nursing homes, USO events, and to reunions of former students of Defense Department schools. MAMF is a 501 c 3 not for profit.

MAMF has a partnership with the American Overseas Schools Historical Society which represents thousands of former teachers and administrators in the Defense Department world-wide school system and with “Overseas Brats,” representing thousands of adult military “Brats.”

Till this semester, BMA had been on Mountain Road in Albuquerque, and MAMF existed as an on-line presence. In the McLeod facility, MAMF occupies the second floor; BMA the ground floor. Both Captain Zink and Executive Director Woessner believe the shared home makes a “good fit” for the school and the museum. They agree that the MAMF library, archives, exhibits, and historical folios of military family life are valuable resources for the cadets, who in turn, provide ceremonial support for MAMF programs.

The Museum is open by appointment only.

Tel: 505-504-3860


For additional information, visit: and/or


by Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1 & 2… Click highlighted text for my author page…


Steve Sparks, Advisory Board Member, Museum of the American Military Family

“From our home to yours, we wish you good health, calm spirits, creativity, and time shared with those you love in the coming year.”


Arches National Park, Moab Utah, June 2014 Judy & Steve in the Arch following the long hike up!  Click photo to expand view…


30th Wedding Anniversary, Cannon Beach, Oregon April 2014…Click photo to expand view…


Mom, Marcella, Age 96, at Christmas 2014 opening gifts…  Click photo to expand view…

Click the Highlighted Text for More…links to past postings from our travels…

HaPpY NeW yEaR!                                                                  December, 2014

Wishing all of you Happy Holidays and a Happy 2015!  Hard to believe we’re already 15 years into the 21st Century.  2014 was a good year for us.  We celebrated our 30th anniversary in April and renewed our vows in Cannon Beach, Oregon.  We had a wonderful party for two, and enjoyed a few nights at the beach about 100 miles north of Depoe Bay. 

We never seem to tire of our life here on the Oregon Coast.  It was unusually great weather from July through September, so we enjoyed daily beach walks, looking for sea glass, and breathing fresh salt air when we weren’t playing golf.  I played with Agate Beach Women’s Golf Club this year and went to several Invitationals at other local courses this summer….really fun!  Steve was able to start playing by July, following another shoulder surgery in February.  We both worked to put on our Neighbors for Kids Charity annual golf tourney in late July, our nonprofit’s major fundraiser.  I played in a Ladies foursome of friends, and Steve sponsored and played with a group of local high school Golf Team stars.  We had a great day, enjoyed having Dan Fouts play with us again, and raised significant funds for NFK’s model afterschool program

We traveled stateside twice this year.  During May/June we traveled throughout the Southwest for a month.  Steve participated in the American Military Family Museum opening in Albuquerque, NM, and has since had his written work on children and families suffering from trauma archived through the museum.  We also visited with staff at the Vietnam Memorial Museum near Angel Fire, NM, and the Bataan Museum in Sante Fe.  We spent a week of quality time with the principals who founded the new museum in Albuquerque, a great group of high energy people we now call our friends.  We were welcomed and honored to be hosted by our new friends.

Steve spoke with a Veterans for Vets group in Pagosa Springs, Co, where we spent a week following our time in New Mexico.  We also loved soaking in the Pagosa Hot Springs.  Moab was another fun stop on our return trip home, hiking in Arches National Park.  We made it to the top!

During October we traveled to Long Beach (Lone Sailor Memorial) to attend our niece’s wedding on the Queen Mary and spent time with Steve’s sister Laura, her daughters and extended family.  We also saw close friends in San Diego and loved catching up, and stayed a few days on the beach near the Oceanside Pier.  We drove over to Palm Springs area for a few days to see my sister Joy and nephew Max, and more longtime friends.  So it was great to see everyone and enjoy some warm weather.  We saw Steve’s 96 year old Mother in Reno on our way home and old friends in the Bay Area.  We feel blessed!

Steve was elected as Depoe Bay City Councilor in November.  He’ll be sworn into office on January 6.  He’s spent the last few months doing due diligence and is ready to hit the ground running next month!  Needless to say, we’ve really gotten to know many folks here, and we both enjoy being engaged in the community.

I’ll continue my volunteer work at Neighbors for Kids as their Family Literacy Coordinator.  We host a monthly Family Night, focusing on building literacy skills and offering learning opportunities connected with our STEAM programs (science, technology, engineering, art and math).  We serve a meal and offer fun activities parents can share with their children.  Our events have grown this year so our outreach to families seems to be catching on.  We have willing community partners that want to see our kids succeed, and our programs are a positive addition to our local public schools. Like many places, education funding is an ongoing struggle here, so it’s cool to be able to help children in our own community.

We enjoyed Christmas with Sarah and her boyfriend, Ron…….oh, and of course our grand dog Skai!  They were with us the 24th – 26th.  Sarah is in transition and plans to work in her field, case management or child behavior management, in Portland after the first of the year.  We’re happy she’s not too far away.  Steve’s older daughters and their families live in Southern California and Minneapolis, MN, so we don’t see our grandkids as often as we’d like.  They’re almost all young adults now! Ages 21, 20, 19 and 14.

From our home to yours, we wish you good health, calm spirits, creativity, and time shared with those you love in the coming year.

 Steve & Judy Sparks, Depoe Bay, Oregon

Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…click on the highlighted text for my author page…


Gorgeous Sunset at Oceanside, Ca. October 2014…Don’t miss the rare capture of Sea Gull in photo!


New Mexico…food for the soul like no other place!


Taos Pueblo…”The Place of the Red Willows”

Taos Pueblo… Quote from this website article by World Heritage…

“Taos Pueblo, or Tau-Tah, the place of the Red Willows, is considered the longest continuously inhabited place in the United States, a village of about 150 full-time residents, with around 2,000 people living on Pueblo land.

This sign greets you as you enter the village:

Welcome To Taos Pueblo

The Red Willow People of Taos Pueblo welcome visitors as they have for over 1,000 years. To visit the living village is to walk into a sacred place where life continues from the earliest of human existence. Little has changed here in the high desert village. From the people to the pristine landscape, Taos Pueblo continues to enchant visitors old and new.”


“Living in the moment” is at the center of New Mexico’s cultural and spiritual experience, starting with ancient Native American Heritage and connecting with modern America at our roots and soul.  The memorials, and tributes to the history of America’s warriors make a clear connection to the past and the present.  It would take a lifetime to capture the full depth and breadth of this beautiful land and diversified community that thrives on spirituality, healing, and the arts, connecting all of us as brothers and sisters.  


Bataan Memorial Museum and Library


Indian Pueblo Cultural Center


Angel Fire Vietnam Veterans Memorial


New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial “Rose Garden”

The Bataan Memorial Museum  and Library “Honoring New Mexico’s Citizen-Soldiers since 1598” traces the origins of New Mexico’s National Guard back to the Spanish militia.  “When the Japanese captured 70,000 U.S. and Filipino soldiers in 1942, most of New Mexico’s national guard was among them. Released more than three years later, only half of the 1,800 men from New Mexico survived to return home. On exhibit are maps, press clippings and testimonials, along with Civil War artifacts and items connected to the codetalkers and other Native Americans who participated in U.S. wars.”  America’s first warriors are honored both at the many tribal cultural centers, including the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and the memorials to veterans of all wars…New Mexico Veterans’ Memorial.  Angel Fire, New Mexico, nestled in the high mountain valley near Sante Fe, offers one of the most sacred memorials to Vietnam Veterans…The David Westphall Foundation, Vietnam Veterans Memorial

One of our most special experiences of spiritual healing in New Mexico was at Chimayo near Santa Fe.  Judy and I visited Chimayo in the fall of 2012 on an earlier visit.  I wrote about Chimayo, “A Special Place for Healing and Prayer.”  Click on my blog post…



Our recent visit included  Glenn Green Galleries in Tesuque, New Mexico near Santa Fe, which captured our attention and provided even more New Mexican spiritual context from the many sculptures and works of art on display in the gallery and on the property.  Glenn Green, owner, shared stories of two notable artists,  Eduardo Oropeza and Khang Pham-New.  Please click on the referenced links to learn more about their life experiences and body of work…  The stories show the healing value and passion of artists who discover their natural gifts early in life.    Mr. Green tells the stories that bring the art and the artists to life.  Glenn’s passion for his own work as a collector of unique art is about the artists whose stories are as much a part of appreciating the power of healing as the finished sculptures and other works of art displayed in his gallery.


Glenn Green Galleries


Eduardo Oropeza


Khang Pham-New


Judy and I couldn’t get enough of these special and unique spiritual venues during our visit to New Mexico.  Each sacred memorial, museum, and exhibit was special and moving to us in so many ways.  My own history as a Vietnam era US Navy veteran and post WWII military child has a much deeper heartfelt meaning than at anytime in my past.   Judy’s own history of her father’s WWII US Navy service provided her special meaning and legacy.  Judy’s history also includes knowing friends and loved ones who served in Vietnam, and some who did not come home.  We were both overwhelmed with emotion at times.  America’s connectedness to Native American Heritage and the bravery of tribal soldiers’ sacrifice in all wars of our past could not be better demonstrated than in the history of New Mexico and its people.  The people of New Mexico were most welcoming and gracious to us everywhere we visited.  Our recent extended visit to New Mexico was one of the most memorable, healing and spiritual experiences in our lifetime.  The best news is we are already planning a return visit!  Check out the reference websites and plan your own special visit…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…


Steve at Glenn Green Galleries, outdoors exhibit park…


Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

Steve Sparks invited to speak about PTSD at Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center…June is PTSD Awareness Month…


Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center 1501 San Pedro SE Albuquerque, NM 87108 505-265-1711 | 800-465-8262

Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center…click to learn more…


Raymond G. Murphy, Medal of Honor Recipient, Korean War…

Healing Invisible Wounds…Quote from this link…

June is #PTSD Awareness Month

PTSD can occur after someone goes through trauma. Learn about PTSD. Connect with someone. Share how treatment can help. Make a difference today


It was a true honor to be invited by the Education Department at the Raymond G Murphy VA Medical Center, to speak about “Children & Families in Life After Trauma” to a group of clinical staff members on Monday June 2nd.  My talk and engaging conversation with staff was a way to make a difference by sharing my story of the challenges living in a post WWII and Korean War home as a military child.  It was also the first time since publishing my book and writing a blog to meet with mental health professionals to discuss the broader impact of intergenerational PTSD.

I talked about how ignorance on the part of families and civilian community hinders the process of readjustment and healing when warriors return home.  We discussed how children inhale the pain of parents and carry the baggage forward as adults.   The reality of eventually confronting and treating the symptoms of secondary and complex PTSD as a result of living in toxic home circumstances is evidenced by aging veterans and civilians receiving treatment in later years.  It is clear from my own experience that the scope of treatment for PTSD must include the family as a whole.

Most agree that we are just beginning to realize that mitigating the long term effects of PTSD symptoms must start very early, including education and support for children and families.  This approach has the potential to break the intergenerational cycle of pain.   As a nation, we must address the broader implications of PTSD for the family and society.

With the apparent damaging effects of intergenerational PTSD on the children of warriors, it is critical to provide ongoing treatment and services closer to home.   Once the VA transitions a veteran returning home from war to the journey of healing in life after trauma, local community resources must have the awareness and capacity to continue treatment not only for the warrior but for the family as a whole.  As a global American community we must step up to the lifelong family caregiving critical to achieving the goal of mitigating PTSD in society and future generations.  Treatment and caregiving for veterans of all wars does not start and end with the VA.  Local communities everywhere must take responsibility for the caregiving of our heroes and their families to win the battle of readjustment and healing at home.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

“Flame of Hope” Albuquerque – Honors Vietnam Veterans and POW’s…


Flame of Hope – Albuquerque, New Mexico Eternal flame monument to all those who served in the Vietnam Conflict in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Flame of Hope…Albuquerque, New Mexico… QLong Description:
Eternal flame monument to all who served in the Vietnam Conflict. The plaque on the monument reads:

Flame of Hope

A flame burns on this spot and in the hearts of
the people of the state and nation as a reminder
of the sacrifices of those who have served in the
Vietnam Conflict.

The prisoners of war and those missing in action
in the conflict are not and shall not be forgotten
by their countrymen, their loved ones or their
comrades in arms. Our hopes and prayers for their
safe return burn as brightly as the flame above.

Those who have given their lives under the call of
their country are enshrined in our heart forever.

Presented and dedicated in deep appreciation
by the city of Albuquerque, the New Mexico
chapter of the American Fighter Pilots
Association and Concerned, Inc.


Judy and I took our first morning walk in Albuquerque and came upon the referenced memorial to Vietnam Veterans.  Everywhere we go in Albuquerque, there are beautiful memorials to veterans of all wars to help us as a community to honor our heroes and heal from the overwhelming loss of lives and the on-going post war suffering.  The “Eternal Flame of Hope” is a highlight of this memorial and has special meaning to the children and families of warriors.  This memorial also honors POW’s and MIA’s, offering hope for their safe return home.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

May 26: Sacrifice & Service: The American Military Family Exhibit opens Memorial Day in Albuquerque…

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author


The military family serves too!

Museum of the American Military Family…”We Served Too…”  Quote from this website… “Through this exhibit, the community can see history through a different filter, relive their own military roots, open dialogue between generations, and leave with a deeper appreciation of what it means to serve as a military family. This is an opportunity for visitors to experience a unique part of history, their history, in many cases — their complete story–the joy and pain, the sorrow, and the sacrifice…”


National Museum of Nuclear Science & History…  Quoting from this website…

“Sacrifice & Service: The American Military Family” is a special exhibit that will open Memorial Day, May 26, and run through August 31 at the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History.

This inspiring exhibition celebrates America’s rich military history through the voices of America’s military families. Through written word and interactive elements, visitors will experience the joy, the sorrow and the sacrifice of America’s steadfast and unsung heroes, the military family.

There is no additional admission cost to view the exhibit beyond regular Museum admission; $8 for adults and $7 for youth and seniors.



I am honored as a former US Navy military child and Vietnam era veteran, to participate in the Museum of the American Military Family Memorial Day exhibit “Sacrifice and Service.”  My story as a child of a US Navy WWII and Korean War combat veteran is painful.  America’s combat veterans from all wars up to and including Vietnam were from the “go home and forget about it” and “suck it up” culture.  Not because we wanted to ignore the moral injury and invisible wounds of war sustained by American soldiers and sailors who protected the freedoms of Americans, it was because we were ignorant of the lasting emotional damage in life after war.  Medical science did not define or measure the mental health effects of war until around 1980 following the Vietnam War.  Until recently we did not recognize how war affected the entire military family, especially children, often for a lifetime. 

“We served too” has a special meaning to me.   I am proud of my father’s honorable and heroic service during WWII and the Korean War.  I am proud to have been a military child from a US Navy family where my mother served too as a single mom during all WWII and as the life long caregiver for my father.  I am proud to have served in the US Navy during the Vietnam era.  And, I am especially proud to be an American.   I am also now well aware of how war affects the bodies, minds and souls of warriors like my father, including the families, who served America with honor, duty and pride.  I am especially aware of how the American military family served as caregivers to the men and women who returned home following long and multiple deployments in hard combat.  It is with this knowledge and awareness that my own journey of healing includes helping others become educated on the lingering effects and on-going treatment of moral injury and Post-Traumatic Stress on the military family.

I am looking forward to a full schedule of book readings, discussions, and interaction with visitors attending the Museum of the American Military Family “Sacrifice and Service” exhibit on May 31st and June 1st at the Museum of Nuclear Science and History in Albuquerque.   It is a high honor and privilege to share my personal experience and body of work to help others know more of their own family’s proud but sometimes painful military history and service to America…

As a gift to the Museum of the American Military Family and the upcoming “Sacrifice and Service” exhibit, following is a short poem reflecting heartfelt thoughts about my post WWII and Korean War experience as a US Navy military child.  “We served too!”


Steve Sparks, 1956, age 10…click to expand photo…

Mother always told Dad we were bad while he was away at sea.

We were safe and free when Dad sailed away.

Fear and beatings made us cry you see…

Mother seemed happier when Dad was away at sea.

With love, joy, and play,

Dreams of family all together forever.

The fear and beatings came again anyway…

By Steve Sparks 



Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story 


A post WWII family's struggle with moral injury and PTSD

Photos on cover of Vernon and Marcella Sparks c1940 and the USS West Virginia in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor…