Teaching Kids Early in School to be Mindful of Stress is a Huge Step in Mitigating the Onset of Long Term Depression and Anxiety!

Students practicing mindfulness…with the aid of a teacher…

Schools are now teaching kids…and parents…how to deal with stress…  Quote from this link…

 October 7

On a recent Tuesday morning at Lafayette Elementary School in Northwest Washington, Sofia Parodi took a coveted seat at the head of the classroom and asked a fellow fourth-grader to switch off the lights.

“Close your eyes and take three deep breaths,” she instructed her classmates, who fell into a familiar rhythm of silently counting their breaths, then sharing their experience with their classmates.

Sofia was the day’s mindfulness helper, a temporary apprentice to Linda Ryden. Ryden is Lafayette’s peace teacher (yes, that’s her title), who leads about 500 of the school’s students in weekly courses on mindfulness — a practice aimed at enhancing self-awareness and reducing stress by focusing, without judgment, on the present moment.


I have been writing about teaching kids and parents how to be mindful of stressful circumstances both at home, in school, and at play for 5 years now in this blog and through my books.  Just the other day during a stressful meeting as a board member of Neighbors for Kids in Depoe Bay, Oregon, we paused to be mindful as adults of the challenges facing us as community leaders.  Our teachers and mentors practice the same mindfulness exercises with our students each and every day.  We do this to help all of us recognize that we are not alone in feeling the stressful aspects of life and the day to day challenges we all face together.  The practice of “mindfulness stress reduction” (click this link) really works and is catching on more and more in schools everywhere.

During my early life in school, we were silent about stress most of the time…  It was an exhausting and lonely time for many post WWII and Korean War kids who lived in often toxic and violent circumstances at home.  Once in awhile there would be a teacher or mentor who paid special attention to those of us struggling with stress, and tried to help.  For the most part we tried to keep a safe distance from the emotional pain because it was not generally understood during the Post WWII era.  Consequently, and sadly, we moved on to adult life with all this bottled up emotional baggage that had to come out sooner or later…and it did in often tragic ways.

The good news…it is never to late to confront the baggage connected with post trauma circumstances, even after many years of denial or avoidance.  It took me until age 64 to find my way to a path of healing by writing my first non-fiction memoir.  There are many alternative strategies to practice mindfulness stress reduction.  Writing and speaking about the subject has been a gift of peace of mind for me for the first time in my life.  Be kind to yourself and others and learn more about ways to reduce stress through the practice of mindfulness.  I admit it is a work in progress, but has been very effective for so many who stick with it, especially children.

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

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, and Child Advocate

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 militaryfamilymuseum@comcast.net (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

E-mail: militaryfamilymuseum@comcast.net

For additional information, visit:

http://bataanmilitaryacademy.org and/or http://www.museumoftheamericanmilitaryfamily.org.


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

Children’s Trust of MA is a Gift for Children & Families…Protect & Preserve the Journey of Childhood…

Childhood is a Journey!
The Gift of a Smile from your Child…

about the children’s trust

The Children’s Trust is Massachusetts’ leading family support organization. We strengthen the Commonwealth by funding and managing parenting support programs designed to help families raise physically and emotionally healthy children.

With support from the Children’s Trust, young children across Massachusetts can grow up in nurturing families and communities, healthy and ready to succeed.


I signed up to receive daily Twitter messages on my smartphone from https://twitter.com/trust4kids in 2011 when my first book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, was published by Signalman Publishing.  It was at this time that my life changed forever.  My own journey of healing in life after trauma kicked in like no other time in my life!

Since then, the daily Tweets, including the above “Childhood is a Journey” graphic, come to me from @trust4kids as an instant reminder of why it is critical for parents, teachers, and mentors to give the gift of childhood to our kids from the very moment of birth, especially in those early years to age 6.  The research and practical experience shows that after age 6, children have a wired framework for moral values.  Once a kid reaches age 6 and beyond, changing behaviors from a toxic world to a healthy disposition is a retrofit challenge for a very long time…  In my case, it took 64 years of my life to labor through depression, anxiety, and anger to achieve a lasting peace of mind.

In addition to robust social media resources, local early childhood and after-school or out-of-school programs like Neighbors for Kids in Depoe Bay, Oregon help children and families build a healthy kick-start for kids.  My work and passion in life is advocacy for the healthy minds and bodies of children.  Give your child the gift of peace of mind in the beginning by nurturing emotional strength, early learning opportunities, and healthy social interactions with peers and adults.  It definitely takes more than one parent and one family to build a healthy foundation for all children…it is in a healthy community where kids thrive…

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

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, and Child Advocate
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, by Steve Sparks, Signalman Publishing, November 2011…

April…Child Abuse Awareness Month! “Let’s raise children who won’t have to recover from their childhoods.” ~Pam Leo

“Stigma refers to negative attitudes (prejudice) and negative behavior (discrimination) towards people with substance use and mental health problems.” Chris Currie’s blog from HealthyPlace.com.


The Fear and Denial of Mental Health Stigma… Quote from this article from Heathlyplace.com

by Andrea Paquette  by Andrea Paquette

“Mental health stigma knows no bounds and is constantly on the move. It can catch you in the workplace or in the classroom. It can interfere with making friends and can even interfere with keeping friends. But since stigma has to begin with a negative attitude or prejudice, if we can lessen the prejudice, we should in theory be able to lessen the discrimination.

People fear what they don’t understand. And let’s face it, mental health has only recently begun to even be an acceptable topic of conversation. Unfortunately, for many, it is still a topic that sends shivers down spines but it doesn’t have to stay that way. By simply talking about it, we normalize it. I have a feeling that, eventually, people will start to understand.

I never told any friends, coworkers or even romantic partners that I had been hospitalized against my will for over four months for drug-induced psychosis. I never told them that I was once again hospitalized for several months for major depression. Why? Because of stigma.”


Memories are still vivid of a painful childhood growing up in a toxic home.  I struggled and managed to thrive with the heavy burden of emotional baggage from the 1950’s and early 1960’s until much later in life.  Why did I wait so long to confront my past?  Fear and denial followed me from the very moment I learned in 1965 that a potential employer would not hire me because my U.S. Navy honorable discharge document (DD214) included a “code” indicating a less than stable mental health condition.  I was labeled a risk at age 20 and it scared the hell out of me!

I am grateful now later in life to have been able to move on with another company in the telecommunications business and enjoyed a very successful and exciting career.  I was able to complete my college education as well and eventually retired in 2002.  I wonder why any young person with a mental health diagnosis would ever reveal their condition or seek treatment…  Many of us who survive traumatic experiences in life, march on one day at a time for many years until we have the courage to start the process of healing or when it is safe.  I took the safe route until age 64, and it was indeed painful journey…

“Stigma is a self fulfilling prophecy,” they say…  It has been 4 years since publishing my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  After all the research and writing on the subject of PTS/PTSD, including this blog with close to 800 postings offering tons of information about my own experience, references and resources with the goal to help others, the human condition of STIGMA leaves me stoned cold and in a quandary.  It is clear that we should all seek treatment immediately following a moral injury and living with the awful symptoms of depression and anxiety, including panic attacks.  But it would be dishonest for me to suggest to anyone who fears losing opportunities and dreams of career success, especially loving relationships and spiritual growth in life, to ever admit a mental health challenge.

I am still searching for the right answer to help younger people, especially those who served America in hard combat or as a first responder.  My prayer and hope is that someday, probably not in my lifetime, that our culture and society will see that stigma is something from our distant past.  I pray that the millions of children and families who suffer from mental illness will be treated without prejudice and will have no fear in seeking meaningful long term treatment and begin the journey of healing.  No human being should have to carry forward the burden of an invisible and life threatening mental illness to one generation and the next.  Lives are at risk while we come to terms with STIGMA…the Germanwings tragedy will haunt all of us forever.  Will the lessons learned lead us to healing as a human society and diversified cultures or will it reinforce the fear and denial connected with mental health STIGMA?

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


A post WWII family's struggle with moral injury and PTSD
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…A post WWII family’s struggle with moral injury and PTSD.



The U. S. Navy’s “Phantom” World War II Hospitals… Where combat weary veterans recuperated and transitioned…coming home…

U. S. Naval Hospital, Shoemaker, California (Photo source: NARA, College Park, MD)

Click for larger view of Shoemaker US Naval Hospital…


“Originally designated “U. S. Naval Hospital, Pleasanton, California”, this 2000 bed hospital sprung up in a vast area of flat land a few miles east of the Oakland Hills of the San Francisco Bay Area. Originally intended to care for people attached to the nearby Construction Battalion Personnel Depot and a Navy Personnel Center, the hospital had 1,000 beds when it was commissioned 1 October 1943. Less than a year later, it had 2,000 official beds, but was capable of caring for nearly 3,600.  Post-war demobilization struck quickly, and the hospital was decommissioned 30 June 1946.”

Post WWII Psychiatric Diagnosis and Treatment for Combat Veterans….  Quote from this website article by Defense Media Network…

“Commonly used therapies in VA hospitals (i.e., US Naval Hospital Shoemaker) during early post WWII years were shock treatments – insulin and electric. Insulin shock was induced when patients received large doses of insulin over a period of weeks, causing daily comas that supposedly would shock the patient’s system out of mental illness.  Electric shock operated on a similar principle of disordering the mind and jolting the veteran out of his emotional distress by electrodes sending electric currents to the brain.”


My father, Vernon, along with tens of thousands of combat weary veterans came home in 1945, the end of WWII, 70 years ago.  Coming home was not always a celebration for many who were injured physically and emotionally.  Back then they considered “combat stress or battle fatique” to be as serious as being in a state of complete exhaustion and mental stress that required “recuperation.”  Like Dad, most who were considered in bad shape were sent to one of many “phantom”  WWII hospitals for weeks of treatment before being allowed to go home or to be visited by loved ones.  My mother, Marcella, spoke of this time as a very anxious and worrisome period of excitement for Dad’s return home, but fear about his physical and mental condition.  I recall her saying, “we didn’t get to celebrate like others when the war was over.”  This was a time long before medical and mental health science could clearly diagnose Post Traumatic Stress (PTS/PTSD) symptoms that lingered long after the war, often for a lifetime.  When a WWII veteran was actually diagnosed with a severe psychiatric condition, it was considered a non-service related mental health disorder…pre-existing.   Most combat veterans of that time refused to talk about their feelings and concluded it was a problem that would eventually go away.  We know differently now, especially following the Vietnam War.

My father finally decided to get help during the 1980’s when PTSD was officially diagnosed as a combat related mental disorder.  And the good news…he started to get better over time with medications and psychiatric treatment.  It was a more positive time for us as a family and Dad appeared to be on his way to some reasonable peace of mind before he passed away in 1998.  Unfortunately, by the time we were adults, most of the severe damage and dysfunction to our family was done.  It was not until later in my own life that I was able to reconcile what happened to us as a post WWII military family by researching and writing my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.

Knowing the truth about how war affects the children and families of warriors has given me peace of mind as well.  It is now my labor of love to write about recovering from traumatic life events and to help others learn how to begin the lifelong process of healing.  We discovered as a post WWII family, it is never too late to start the journey of healing…  All the bottled up emotional pain is pure agony until we started to talk about the symptoms and to seek appropriate alternative treatment strategies…  Healing remains a work in progress for most who suffer from a traumatic life event…

Now, 70 years after the end of WWII, we honor the “Greatest Generation” by helping and supporting veterans of all wars who suffer from combat trauma…  As Americans and human beings we are finally getting past the stigma and denial connected with mental health…but we have a long way to go…

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

Reconciliation: A Son’s Story by Steve Sparks, published November 2011…click the highlighted text for my author page…


Childhood Trauma…”It is not what is wrong with you, it is what happened to you…”

Nadine Burke Harris’ healthcare practice focuses on a little-understood, yet very common factor in childhood that can profoundly impact adult-onset disease: trauma.


Lifelong effects of childhood trauma…  A powerful TED talk…

Filmed September 2014 at TEDMED 2014

Nadine Burke Harris: How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime…



Not unlike thousands of kids during the post WWII era, I grew up believing there was something wrong with me…  Abused children for whatever reason get stuck with the sad feelings of guilt and constant negative self talk, asking the same question over and over and over again, “what is wrong with me?”  This is a huge barrier to mental and physical health to carry forward in life until there is awareness then healing of a traumatic past.  Most of us survive and thrive carrying around baggage from past trauma, but not without life challenges, and in the worst case scenario severe and life threatening mental and physical health damage. 

I feel lucky and blessed to have discovered later in life the roots of my troublesome and nagging feelings of guilt and poor self confidence.   Although I have no regrets and live with a healthy perspective at this stage in my life…living with a traumatic past is painful.  You really have to work hard to pull up your boot straps each and every day and put forward one foot at a time.  It is a double down process of staying positive and focused on succeeding in life. 

Listen to Nadine Burke Harris and learn more about the lifelong mental and physical challenges of childhood trauma.  Her message will help you become and better parent and a trauma survivor.  Learning the value of awareness and treatment strategies can build a better quality of life, and even save lives.  We didn’t have this kind of awareness during my younger years.  I see now that it is a spiritual gift to know the roots of past traumatic life experiences, including child abuse and maltreatment.  I live today with a peace of mind that only came from my own reconciliation and desire to be free of the emotional baggage of childhood trauma…

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

Reconciliation: A Son’s Story by Steve Sparks, published in 2011. Click the highlighted text for my author page…


CNN Special…”American Sniper Shines a Light on PTSD.” Helping soldiers and sailors transition when they come home…

American Sniper” Shines a Light on PTSD… Click the highlighted text for this video clip.


Shining a light on PTSD… A CNN Special Report… Click on this revealing and informative video clip!

“A greater sense of being” must be rediscovered and renewed among those who suffer from traumatic events in life, including war.  The children and families who become exposed to the painful symptoms of PTSD when war weary soldiers and sailors come home, become affected caregivers too.  Life after trauma can become a vicious cycle of emotional pain and baggage that often carries forward to the next generation of family members and loved ones…

I was very fortunate in 2011 to have been inspired to research and write my own family’s post WWII story of living with the toxic circumstances of life after war.  My story certainly shows severe emotional pain, including domestic violence, but also demonstrates the resilience of an American military family to survive and thrive without understanding the roots of our troubled existence.  Our family, like thousands of military families of that time and in the 21st Century, was torn apart by war.  But we all took the high road and thrived, even with mental health challenges that were mostly confronted and mitigated along a lifetime journey of healing.  We succeeded in breaking the cycle of pain so that future generations could more freely make informed choices to seek alternative treatments to heal in life after trauma.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to the campaign of awareness through my books, blog, and in public speaking.  Discovering a greater sense of being in my life is a gift of mindfulness and a soul at peace.  Without knowing the roots of ones traumatic past, the pain of bottled up horrific memories can be haunting for a lifetime.  My favorite quote by Maya Angelou…”There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you…”

Steve Sparks, Author, 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…

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


Capturing Iwo Jima 70 Years Ago…Honoring the brave sailors of the USS Belle Grove LSD2…

USS Belle Grove (LSD-2) at anchor, probably at Leyte, circa 20 to 22 October 1944. Photo by J.L. Brown.
USS Belle Grove (LSD-2) undergoing sea trials in San Francisco Bay, 16 August 1943. US Navy photo from “Allied Landing Craft of World War Two”, published by Arms and Armour Press.
Scan_Pic0005 2
War Cruise of the USS Belle Grove LSD2…click photo to expand view…
Dad Photo and Awards
Vernon H. Sparks, BMC, USS Belle Grove LSD2 WWII Pacific…click photo for larger view…

USS Belle Grove…7 Campaigns WWII South Pacific…
Ashland Class Dock Landing Ship:

  • Originally authorized as (APM-2), a Mechanized Artillery Transport
  • Reclassified Landing Ship Dock (LSD-2), 1 July1941
  • Laid down, 27 October 1942, at Moore Drydock Co. Oakland, CA.
  • Launched, 17 February 1943
  • Commissioned USS Belle Grove (LSD-2), 9 August 1943, LCDR. Morris Seavey, USNR, in command
  • During World War II USS Belle Grove was assigned to the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and participated in the following campaigns:

    World War II Campaigns
    Campaign and Dates Campaign and Dates
    Gilbert Islands operation
    Makin Island, 20 November to 2 December 1943
    Leyte operation
    Leyte Gulf landings, 20 October, 31 October to 9 November and 13 to 21 November 1944
    Marshall Islands operation
    Occupation of Kwajalein and Majuro Atolls, 31 January to 8 February 1944
    Luzon operation
    Lingayen Gulf landings – Abuyo and San Pedro Bay, 9 to 16 January 1945
    Marianas operation
    Capture and occupation of Saipan, 15 to 28 July 1944
    Iwo Jima operation
    Assault and capture of Iwo Jima, 19 February to 16 March 1945
    Tinian capture and occupation, 21 to 28 July 1944


    Until researching and writing my book in 2011, I did not know of my father’s WWII service in the Pacific. He did tell humorous stories of liberty from combat duty but never about the horror of war. The USS Belle Grove LSD2 spent 25 months at sea in 7 campaigns before going to Shanghai, China, for its first “liberty” giving the brave and exhausted sailors, including my father, a break from combat duty. My father finally returned home from WWII in June of 1945.

    It is an honor to now acknowledge and remember the 7 Pacific War Campaigns of the USS Belle Grove LSD2 on this 70th Anniversary of the capture of Iwo Jima… It is so often the case that we post WWII military family members and loved ones did not learn details of the brave service of our fathers until much later in life. It is never too late or too often to honor the veterans of all wars…

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

    Reconciliation: A Son’s Story by Steve Sparks 2011…The USS Belle Grove LSD2 story included…

As a post WWII military child, and US Navy veteran, how did the movie American Sniper connect with my soul?

Honoring Chris Kyle, US Navy Seal
The blockbuster movie, American Sniper!


American Sniper…The Chris Kyle Story… Click the highlighted text for more…

Christopher Scott “Chris” Kyle (April 8, 1974 – February 2, 2013) was a United States Navy SEAL and the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills. Kyle served four tours in the Iraq War and was awarded several commendations for acts of heroism and meritorious service in combat. He received two Silver Star Medals, five Bronze Star Medals, one Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.[7] Iraqi insurgents dubbed him the “Devil of Ramadi” and placed a series of ever increasing bounties on his head, purported to have eventually reached the low six figures.

Kyle was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2009 and wrote a bestselling autobiography, American Sniper, which was published in January 2012. On February 2, 2013, Kyle was shot and killed at a shooting range near Chalk Mountain, Texas, along with friend Chad Littlefield. The man accused of killing them is awaiting trial for murder. A film adaptation of Kyle’s autobiography, directed by Clint Eastwood, was released in December 2014.


It has taken me days to think about my reaction to the movie, American Sniper.   It was an honor but chilling experience watching the movie.  The story affected me most as a post WWII and Korean War military child living with a parent who suffered terribly from the trauma of extended deployments in hard combat.  I thought mostly of the tens of thousands of military children and families of all wars, past and present, who endured the emotional challenges of war at home during and after the wars of their generations.  I think about my mom, now age 96, who waited all of WWII for Dad to return not knowing where he was or whether he would even return to know his first son born 3 months before Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

I feel thankful that Americans are highly aware of the painful symptoms of PTSD and the lifelong and intergenerational affect of this epidemic on the children and families of warriors.  When the movie ended there was complete silence in the theater while we watched the memorial service for Chris Kyle at Cowboy Stadium.  I feel so encouraged that the stigma of mental illness and PTSD will become a thing of the past.   I believe America will be much further ahead in caring for the sailors and soldiers, including the whole family, when they return home from fighting the wars that protect the freedoms of all Americans.  When early treatment for PTSD is encouraged and supported, trauma survivors can embark on the journey of healing.

My only regret is that as a post WWII family we had no awareness or appreciation of how the trauma of war affected Dad and our family as a whole.  We ended up as one of thousands of families who were torn apart by war, and carried the emotional baggage forward in life for more than one generation.  If we had the awareness of 21st Century medical science following WWII, my family’s toxic past and emotional pain may have been avoided or at least mitigated.  We are also lucky in this day and age for the media technology and access that provides a profound sense of awareness, including the motion picture American Sniper.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of the PTSD awareness campaign by publishing my own book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…  I feel even more thankful and proud to now know the roots of my family’s struggles following WWII, allowing me to honor my father’s memory and US Navy legacy.  It is in this spirit that we can never forget the sacrifice of veterans of all wars and the families who served too…

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

Reconciliation: A Son’s Story by Steve Sparks, November 2011… The resilience of a post WWII and Korean War US Navy military family… click book cover for larger view of my father Vernon & mother Marcella c1940.



Remember the Children of Warriors…some hardly see or know their parents, and some lose them early in life…

Young children are affected deeply by the absence of parents who serve…


Will James’ Dad…


Daddy’s Boots…a moving poem for children of warriors…by CJ Heck… The poem is quoted…

Daddy’s Boots
by CJ Heck
Daddy left his boots for me
and here I have to stay.
My daddy is a soldier.
I’m in charge while he’s away.
In Daddy’s boots, I can pretend
that now I am the man
who does the things that Daddy does
as only Daddy can.
I help with little brother,
I help with folding clothes,
I help to take the trash out,
and I hope Daddy knows
that every day I wear his boots
so I’ll feel close to him
and I try to keep Mom happy,
till he comes home again.
I know that he’s protecting us,
that’s what soldiers do,
but his boots are way too big for me
and my job, being him, is too.
I wonder when he’s coming home.
I miss him ALL the time.
Mom said Dad is proud of me
and his boots fit me … just fine.
Dad, a US Navy WWII and Korean War combat veteran, was a stranger in our home for most of our lives as kids.  My oldest brother really didn’t get to know his Dad until WWII ended, and that never turned out so well.  For the rest of us born following WWII, it didn’t turn out well either.  But we all had one thing in common, we loved Dad because he was our hero and America’s hero.  Dad, like thousands of military men and women with families protected our freedoms so we could live our dreams and life challenges as well.  We served too!  I am proud to share my military family legacy and equally proud to preserve the memory my father’s selfless and brave service to America…
Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Please click on the highlighted text for my author page…
Purchase this book by CJ Heck on this site at the side bar…