Category Archives: military families who serve too

Help a Military Family During this Holiday Season…

 

currentneeds-thumbnail-color

They give their all for you, give back to them now…

Operation Homefront…  Click on this highlighted link to learn more how to help…  Quote from this website…

“A national nonprofit, Operation Homefront leads more than 2,500 volunteers with nationwide presence who provide emergency and other financial assistance to the families of service members and wounded warriors. Operation Homefront has provided assistance to thousands of military families since its inception in 2002. Recognized for superior performance by leading independent charity watchdog groups, nationally, 93 percent of total donations to Operation Homefront go directly to programs that provide support to our military families.”

#####

It was challenging growing up during mid 1940’s and 1950’s as a US Navy military child.  My father was a Chief Boatswains Mate (BMC) training boots at both the US Naval Training Centers, in San Diego and Great Lakes.  I remember the worst of it while we lived in Waukegan, Ill.  Like many veterans of hard combat from WWII and Korean War, my father was challenged in making enough money for our family to survive.  Dad also struggled with his own demons connected with experiencing so much death and destruction as a wartime veteran.  We were a family torn apart by war and lived under toxic circumstances at home.  It was scary so much of the time that I refer to this period in my young life as “the too terrible to remember 1950’s.”

Veterans of 21st Century wars and military families still have the same kind of challenges in post deployment life as we did following 20th Century wars, including WWII, Korean War, Vietnam, and the Gulf War.  It is often tough for a military family to make ends meet.  It is even harder for military spouses and children to learn how to cope with the caregiving duties of a father or mother who come home injured with physical and mental wounds that require a lifetime of treatment and tender loving care.   It can be a lonely place in life for a military family, especially around the holiday season.  The children can suffer the most from feeling scared and isolated in communities everywhere…

We can help by simply acknowledging and thanking veterans for their service, including the entire military family.  Help get these families engaged in the community.  Make sure they feel welcome, and give them an opportunity make a difference.  You can also click on the Operation Homefront website and learn about specific needs of military families in your community and do more.

Please make an effort to reach out to military families during this holiday season, or for that matter anytime of the year.  We need to care for our veterans in the same way they cared for us while deployed, fighting to protect the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.  We have much to be thankful for, and owe so much to our veterans.  Keep the children and families of warriors in your thoughts and prayers, and reach out and help a military family directly if there is an opportunity to do so…

All the best during this 2014 Holiday Season…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click on the highlighted links for my author page…

Member, Oregon Coast Veterans Association  Click highlighted text for Facebook page…

Oregon Veterans Memorials Directory…Visit memorials close to home on this Veterans Day…

 

siteLogo

Veterans Memorials in Oregon…  click highlighted text…

 

Oregon Veterans Memorials Directory…  Click on highlighted text for more…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is a red granite memorial tablet mounted behind on a gray granite slab with an electric flame on a pedestal in front of the Lincoln County Courthouse.

Flame of Freedom…Newport, Oregon  Click highlighted text for more…

Two years ago while walking around our City Park in Depoe Bay, Oregon, I stopped to look closely at our town’s VFW Veterans Memorial.  When I looked closer, the name Ronald Allen Slane, Sp5, US Army 1967-68 was engraved on the plaque as an example to honor veterans of all wars.  Ron was a medic who died during an ambush in Vietnam while trying to save another soldier…he didn’t even have a weapon to defend himself.  “Ron Slane, Lincoln City, Oregon, volunteered to go to war as an army medic.  He was a conscientious objector, but believed he had a duty to serve in some way.”

Slane

Depoe Bay, Oregon VFW Memorial…Click photo for a larger view…

 

I have written many articles in this blog honoring veterans, including my father, Vernon H. Sparks US Navy WWII & Korean War.  It has been healing for me to visit veterans and 1st responder memorials during my travels around America since writing and publishing my book in November 2011.  I have written about my visits, including personal thoughts and reflections, in this blog since that time.  My most recent blog post during our travels to Long Beach, California was about the “Lone Sailor” Memorial, which was built on Ocean Avenue near where my mother lived with first born son, Gerald V. Sparks, while Dad was deployed on the USS West Virginia (BB48) during the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941.  My oldest brother, Jerry, was born three months before Pearl Harbor in September 1941.  Jerry is also a retired US Navy Vietnam Veteran with 30 years of service… I was, of course, born in July of 1946, because Dad survived WWII and came home in June of 1945 after many months fighting in the Pacific War…  Because Dad came home from WWII, Jerry was able to grow up with 3 brothers and one sister.

For me, and millions of kids born before and after WWII, Veterans Day, is very personal.  Now, in retirement, I devote much of my spare time honoring veterans of all wars, including my father, along with my mother and countless other military families of that time who served too…  I also honor my fellow veterans who served during the Vietnam War, and all the wars since then.  We can never thank our veterans and their families enough for serving America while protecting the freedoms we enjoy each and every day of our lives.  This is a debt that can never be paid back…

So, on this Veterans Day, go visit at least one veterans memorial close to home, and give thanks to all those who have served, who serve now, and will serve in the future, including 1st responders who keep us safe on the home front.  Thank the families and loved ones who serve too, and who become the care givers to our heroes who return home with moral and physical injuries that often require a lifetime of healing.   

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 & 2…