“We send our prayers and condolences to the families of Marines involved in this tragic incident,” said the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force commander, Maj. Gen. Raymond C. Fox. “We mourn their loss, and it is with heavy hearts we remember their courage and sacrifice.”“Since World War II, when the facility became the staging area for ammunition, bombs and rockets for the war, Hawthorne has held an important place in U.S. military history. The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection said the depot employed more than 5,500 people at its peak. Nevada was chosen for the location because of its remoteness in the wake of a crippling explosion at the government’s main depot in New Jersey in the 1920s.” Quoted from a Fox News report published on March 19, 2013
“In the small town that calls itself “America’s Patriotic Home” near the depot, a massive flag in a park across from the local war memorial waved at half-staff.” Huffington Post March 19, 2013
On our way to Las Vegas on Interstate 95, Judy and I stopped for a break and visited the local memorial where the Marines who were killed in the referenced explosion are remembered and honored. Every day across America in communities large and small there are military installations where men and women train to be the best and to secure vital resources. There are also 1st responders in the same communities who protect us each and every day. In both cases the lives of our heroes are at risk, sometimes in accidents or in responding to an emergency incident or crisis.
On this Memorial Day, we remember the fallen who risked their lives in conflicts and wars abroad and also those who serve America to protect us on the home front. It was an honor to visit the Hawthorne, Nevada Veterans Memorial yesterday and take a moment to be reminded of so very many who have given their lives in service to America..
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…”
“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.