Thursday, December 30, 2010

THE REST OF THE STORY: THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER

It's been amazing the number of times that I'm uncertain what to blog about next, that low and behold, something crops up right in front of my face.  Frankly, there haven't been many days that I can't think of something to write about.  There are times, though, I need something to connect the dots.  Here's an example.

For some time now, I've wanted to address the patriotism of singing and placing your hand over your heart when the Star Spangled Banner is played.  As a youngster, I always stood and showed reverence when the anthem was sung.  Rarely did I sing (I'm probably tone-deaf anyway) and placing my hand over my heart was the furthest thing from my mind.

A Visual For Francis Scott Key
When our two boys, Kristopher and Jonathan, joined the military that all changed.  I became much more aware of the surroundings that I was in when we attended their various events.  I started placing my hand over my heart and I sang, albeit, just loud enough to make myself heard, but soft enough to not draw attention to my lacking musical quality.  I guess you could say I've become more patriotic.  At least I hope I have. I have a keener sense of what our country's past, present and future is all about.  You could say I'm into the whole anthem experience now, but just don't ask me to sing it before an athletic event.

So, as I said, the idea sat there on my to-do list waiting for something that could enhance the story.  Today, of all days, it happened.  Jerry Hansen, of Le Mars, Iowa , sent out a Facebook message about the Star Spangled Banner. Hansen, is a member of the 113rd Calvary Facebook group that I recently joined.  I thank him for this message pass along.

You probably know something about the Star Bangled Banner. But there's alot to it.  I'm going to share with you a video from Dudley Retherford, senior pastor from the Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, California.  Retherford helps us understand what Francis Scott Key observed when he penned the song.  Here, is the rest of the story......

video

The next time you attend an event where the Star Spangled Banner is played, I hope you think a little longer and a little deeper about the significance of the words of the song.  Perhaps, you'll be moved to raise your hand and place it over your heart and sing.....even if it is off-key.


YGG,

John


    

Monday, December 27, 2010

CHILDREN'S MEMORIES OF DEPLOYMENT

How far back can you remember?  Think about that for a minute and conjure up a memory of your age at the time.  Where you 2, maybe 3 or perhaps even a little bit older?

My memory banks take me back to an age around 4 years old.  I can recall some wallpaper in our house in Goldfield, Iowa with cowboys and horses and ropes, a real good Western theme.  There's not a whole lot more I remember about the house or life in the town while we lived there.  I can remember some of the people, but mostly because my folks kept in contact with some of them.  We moved to the big city of Clarion just before I started kindergarten.

So again, I ask you.  How far can you go back in your memory?  Was it some traumatic experience that you recall, some miracle happening or just a run of the mill remembrance?  Isn't it amazing how our minds work?  Some things seem like they happened yesterday and others are completely wiped from our thoughts.  What's up with that?

Anyway, the reason I bring this subject up is that I think alot about how children are affected by the deployment of our 3,500 troops.  I think of the army husband who watched his wife deploy and who is left with three teenage daughters to raise.  Gosh, that must be difficult, trying to be a mother and a father at the same time and having to deal with his children's emotions and everyday struggles.  I think of the father who has gone and left a young son in the care of his mother...knowing that he missed some important part of his youngsters growing years.  I wonder how these children channel their emotions and feelings knowing they have a big security blanket gone.

Memories That Last A Lifetime
I attended a seminar this past summer that spoke to the resources available for families and educators.  I was amazed to find out, that the military can't  let the school systems know who deploys from their communities.  I guess it makes sense, but I was still surprised.  So, in many cases, children go undetected within their schools....and guidance counselors often time find out when a student's grades suffer or they become a behavioral problem.  I do know in one case where the parent went and met with the guidance counselor up front to let them know a deployment would be happening in their family. Kudos to them for taking the initiative to think ahead.

It's not that parents are unconcerned about the wealfare of their children.  Most are not even thinking that far down the road until issues begin to appear.  If you know of someone that is struggling with family concerns, let them know that help is available.  There is a DVD titled, "Military Youth Coping with Seperation...When Family Members Deploy"  It's a great help in walking through recipes of help.  You can find this and other resources at the Military Youth Deployment Support Website.

Most of all, remember the memories you help make during a deployment period will be important to your child's growth. Make the hugs and kisses when their soldier returns home the focal point when they look back on this period in their life. Make a memory.....a lasting one...a healthy one......and a happy one!!!


YGG,

John

         

Saturday, December 25, 2010

BE THE LIGHT....PAY IT FORWARD

If you've never seen the movie, "Pay it Forward" you ought to because it's a MUST see.  It has some very inspirational challenges within its two-hour body of work.  One of the main characters is a young child by the name of Trevor who comes up with a grand idea for an elementary school class project.  Trevor's plan is a charitable pyramid scheme based on good deeds rather than profit. He calls his plan "Pay it Forward", which means the recipient of a favor does a favor for a third party rather than paying the favor back. Trevor does a favor for three people, asking each of those people to do a favor for three others and so on....

Yesterday our family went to Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines to partake in the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  It was indeed a great day with beautiful music, connection with friends and a beautiful candlelight conclusion.  But it was the message in between it all, that connected most with me.

See the Light, Can You find the Dove?

Pastor Housholder's central theme was being the "light in the darkness".  Look around you and there are plenty of reasons to be sarcastic, angry, hurt, afraid....anything negative you want to think about.  Sure you probably have every right to feel the way you do...for just one second.  Let's just get straight to the point.  Look around you again.  Look for the light that shines around you.  If you've lost a family member, your job, your house, your health....it might be hard to see that light.  Just keep looking.  In that search you'll find the good that exists, the people who love you and just maybe the reason you were put on this earth.  Soak that in.  Keep doing that, soaking all the light you can.  Now, take that good that you've realized and be the "light" for someone else.  Pay it forward, again, and again and again....go way past that 3 person thing.

Several years ago, there was an elderly lady that went by the name of Granny Dot.  She was the "light" to thousands upon thousands of military men and women.  Not just at Christmas time, but the whole year round.  Her story came to light, no pun intended, to a bigger degree this past Veterans Day.  I thought I'd keep it in my back pocket until today and share it with you.  The interview is a little long, but to me, it epitomizes the message from Trevor and Pastor Housholder.  Enjoy the interview.....Merry Christmas to all and BE A LIGHT FOR AND TO SOMEONE.           


video


YGG,

John

  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A FAMILY JOURNAL: FATHER TO SOLDIER AT CHRISTMAS-VOLUME 7

The journal you are about to read is part of an ongoing dialogue.  The words are a conversation between "the family" of the soldier experience.  It's Dads, Moms, Sons,  Daughters,  Relatives and Friends sharing their thoughts of a particular day and/or it could be the soldiers journal entry detailing his or hers.  I believe there are many, many people keeping a journal through the Afghan War.  If you want to share an entry of yours email it to jkmyfathersvoice@gmail.com  Your post will be strictly confidential,  no names will be used.  In addition, locations overseas will not be mentioned for security purposes except the country of origin.  Some editing may be done to further protect the journal participant.

Dear Sonpo:

What can I say that will help you get through the lonely times this Christmas?  How can I make you feel like you're part of the family right next to the tree opening gifts, but knowing that you're not?  Where can I reach you in your heart that I haven't before to let you know how much your loved?  When can I imagine what you are going through and have it make more sense to me?  Why have these last five months seemed like 5 years?

Those are just some of the questions I'm thinking about this Christmas time, son.  I know our situation is not unique.....there are thousands upon thousands of other military families feeling many of the same things.  That in itself is some relief, but not nearly enough.  You know, when you decided to enlist, I knew there would be things that we'd have altered in our lives.  Some for the good...and some not so good.  I'm sure you've thought that too.

I had someone ask me the other day what I remember most about you.  Wow, if that's not a question that would bring the tears, huh?  Well....here is what I said.  I think of the great big hands you had when you were born.  They were such big suckers....like they didn't even belong to you, you know.  And as I think more about that question, I have come to a revelation of sorts.  God equipped you with those big hands for a reason.  He knew you'd one day be placed in situation that you'd have to know how to "handle" yourself.  Hands and handle, get it.  Yup, I think those big mitts are there for all that you are experiencing this year and the need for you to have the tools to do that.  With that being said, I also hope that those same hands are being used for other things while in Afghanistan.  Things like helping your other soldiers in the unit, giving a helping hand to an Afghan civilian but just being there, handy in so many ways.

Merry Christmas to Kris and all of our Soldiers

So, I'm going to pray for you son, that God would use you these last seven months to make a difference.  Not just serve your time, but to make a difference and do things right.  I'm going to also ask that you come to some definites in your life that you'd like to tackle once you get back to the states.  Those are some big prayers I know....but I think it's time.  This year will have been a great educator for you and for us.  We will all be changed.  The questions that I asked earlier will have more meaning when this deployment is completed.  I'm excited to see where this takes us all.  I hope you are too.

You know, this journaling thing is great.  It gives a person an opportunity to dream and hope and wish and share. Almost like a bucket list, or at least a little bit like one.  Let's try something together shall we?  Let's you and me, together, like in giving me a "hand", wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Holiday Season.   And that someday, our holidays will be spent with our soldiers at home, safe, secure and loved.
Merry Christmas Sonpo....

223 days or 32 weeks to go however you look at it!  Praying for your safety, son.  Praying for you daily......

Love, Dadpo



                                    -30-

Monday, December 20, 2010

DO YOU SEE OUR HEROES AMONG US?

I'd like to pass along a tale to you, one that is fitting for this Holiday season and for any other season, for that matter. It's not my message, it's the Washington Post's.  I'm hoping this has an impact, providing you stop and look and listen to what is going on in the world.  That begins with being a little more aware, a little more open and a little more receptive to our daily functions.  The story takes place at a Metro Station in Washington, D.C. on a cold, January morning in 2007......


 "A man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.  During that time, approximately, 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.  After about 3 minutes, a middle-age man noticed that there was a musician playing.  He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.  


ABOUT FOUR MINUTES LATER: The violinist received his first dollar.  A woman threw money in the hat and without stopping, continued to walk. 
AT SIX MINUTES:  A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.
AT 10 MINUTES:  A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly.  The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time.  This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent-with exception-forced their children to move on quickly. 
AT 45 MINUTES:  The musician played continuously.  Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while.  About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace.  The man collected a total of $32. 
AFTER 1 HOUR:  He finished playing and silence took over.  No one noticed and no one applauded.  There was no recognition at all.  No one knew this, but the violinist was JOSHUA BELL, one of the greatest musicians in the world.  He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.  Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.


This is a true story!!  Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception and awareness".


I would like to think I would've seen and heard something here.  That I would have stopped and appreciated the beauty of the musician and the piece, not to mention the violin ($3.5 million!!).  How often do we pass by art, music and images every day without a thought to their importance?  Do you see the big picture....are you "open" to the messages, the circumstances and the people that God is placing in your life?  


In Chuck Larson's book, "Heroes Among Us", there are 29 short stories detailing some of our nation's highest decorated soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.  Each of  these soldiers displayed courage, honor, loyalty and sacrifice in earning our nation's highest military honors. When you read their words, there is no mention of heroism.....and there is no mention of being the "one" to do it all.  


First Sergeant Kasal being helped out of house where his bravery took place 


First Sergeant Brad Kasal, of Afton, Iowa is one Larson's favorite stories in the book.  Kasal, who has spent over  half of his forty years of life in the military was awarded the Navy Cross for saving the life of a fellow marine in Operation Phantom Fury.  His actions led to his citing for bravery...yet in his words, "I did what I had to do, because it was the right thing to do".  Kasal was wounded that day yet that didn't halt his willingness to serve.  In recent years, Kasal was promoted to Sergeant Major and  became a recruiter at a Marine recruiting station in Iowa.  Would you know, could you tell what Sergeant Major Kasal had done for us if you were to meet him?  He is living among us...and he is a treasure to say the least.  


Larson confided that most of the soldiers interviewed for this book came from a deep walk of faith. Most were able to use the moment they were ln to make a difference yet most were able to evolve and move forward from that day.  And most are still serving you and I in some shape or manner, moving among us, continuing to help keep us safe and secure.


 I'm not going to detail the book for you, I think you'd be better served to pick up a copy and read it yourself.  I will tell you that a book of this nature, can and will help open your eyes to what's around you.  It might just cause you to stop and look and wonder if that military person that walked past you, that opened the door for you, that is saying goodbye to family at the airport as he redeploys is something out of the ordinary.  More than likely, he is, because more than likely, he did the right thing....and he is proof that there are indeed "Heroes Among Us".   


There are fewer than 500 servicemen that have received the Silver Star, the Navy Cross, Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross or Medal of Honor since 2002.  There are many, many more that haven't received any of these awards for their actions.  They are humble in their work, proud in their dedication...and they are living among us.  Now can you see them?         


YGG,


John   

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

TIME TO VENT/TIME TO REFLECT

We're about five months into the deployment of the 3,500 Iowa National Guardsmen to Afghanistan which is a great time to assess what has taken place from a personal view and from feedback from other deployed military families and you the reader.  Not necessarily a good and bad, but a time to vent and a time to reflect. Let's hit on the vent part first, followed by reflection.

VENTING.....

Why do some people/companies/and churches get it when it comes to support of deployed families, while others stand on the sideline?......Where oh where are our community leaders/media when it comes to heightening awareness of our deployed troops and needs of the families, not the soldiers, the families.....Family readiness groups are available for every deployed family, how many families truly understand the role of the FRG and use them?.......One person "can" make a difference, but how much more effective would they be if others came alongside?.....When was the last time you called a deployed family friend to check up on him/her?......Did you check on the family next to you that might need help with snow shoveling this winter, or some other need they might have?......Did you reach out to help the husband who has a wife deployed and has three daughters that he is trying to navigate life with? ......Got all your Christmas plans in line or how about doing something different and adopting a military family? In fact, why not adopt that family for the remainder of the deployment period?....Where were you when the Christmas lights went out?..........The Taliban is 1-0 versus Superpowers, did we not learn anything from the Soviets?  Remind me why we are in Afghanistan again, would you?......Our troops are the best equipped and trained military in the world, why are we fighting from a defensive mode?..... Alot of people think crying is a sign of weakness, how could it be, when it shows you care passionately about something?.....When was the last time you prayed for our troops and what they sacrifice?....How many people know who Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta is?............I wonder if people think military families take care of each other, do you?.....I wonder how many more times our family will have to go through a deployment......Why are some people so ignorant when it comes to feelings?......Why do some people want to do things with their own agendas, rather than letting God offer the direction?........I wonder if War is_______?  You fill in the blank on that one, okay?....I'm waiting on you God to direct me to my next assignment (not really venting here, just sayin',  I'm ready).




REFLECTIONS....

We are a proud family of two young military men and another who watches with curiosity........I'm in awe of the courage and sacrifice of our troops each and every day....Support can come in so many different ways, not always money, maybe time, maybe prayer, maybe love, maybe ears to listen, maybe just being a friend.....We all say we need more time, find it!!! ....The Christmas lights never go out at our house....Compassion is a trait that can help change the world......Prioritize your day, but be ready to juggle things up when called upon......Faith is the foundation of our families hope, our dreams and our existence......I can't wait to place a Christmas wreath in the front yard of a military family I know.....I'm looking forward to going to the Des Moines Skywalk on Christmas Eve and helping clothe the homeless, might just be a Vet there that needs some love.....I'm going to keep moving forward in drawing attention to our troops deployment and their families......There is always another door if one gets shut.....Thank God I live in the United States of America.....I was bowled over in some support that I've gotten recently, thank you, thank you, thank you.....The writing of this blog has been inspiring, but the people I've met and the stories I've heard, have been even more inspirational.......When you least expect it, expect it......It is better to give than receive, trust me. .....Merry Christmas, yes Merry Christmas!  I hope you're not offended  by me saying that, because if you are, then I'm offended that you're offended.....and most importantly, thank you for being an Awesome God!!

YGG,

John
              

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

MEDAL OF HONOR MOTHER: ROSEMARY GIUNTA-PART 2

Medal of Honor Recipient
 Part 2 of the Rosemary Giunta podcast.  In this part of the interview, you will hear about the second deployment of Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta and the White House ceremony honoring him as the first living Medal Of Honor recipient since the Vietnam War. 

It will be interesting, to say the least, as to where the Staff Sgt. and Rosemary feel led to share their stories.  Faith will play a big part in both of their decisions, you can be sure of that.  Click on the link and enjoy Rosemary Giunta-Part 2.


http://www.box.net/shared/9hbdi9rysj



YGG,

John

Thursday, December 9, 2010

MEDAL OF HONOR MOTHER: ROSEMARY GIUNTA-PART 1

Several weeks ago, my youngest son, Jordan,  and I made the short jaunt from Johnston to the Iowa State Capital for Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta Day.  Tremendous day....hundreds of people showed up to hear Governor Chet Culver offer the proclamation for the Medal of Honor recipient.

Afterwards I asked Jordan to venture over so I could introduce myself to his parents, Steve and Rosemary.  "Why", asked Jordan.  "What do you want to do that for".  "Just never mind", I replied.  "Come on".  So we ambled over to the area his parents were receiving well wishers and I offered a handshake to his mother. "Congratulations", I said.  "You must be very proud.  We have two sons in the military, one just deployed to Afghanistan".  "That's nice", Rose responded.  "I'm a believer and so is Sal.  We'll pray for them".  I'm not sure what expression crossed my face, but words escaped me, I will tell you that.  This was  not what I expected...yet I had felt there was some inexplicable reason that I needed to speak with the Giuntas, and Rose in particular.  Needless to say, the comment about her faith "opened" the door for further  conversation and an inquiry of a future interview for the blog.  The nudge to speak with Mrs. Giunta will be obvious to you when you hear her words.  That day will be forever etched in my memory. 


Steve and Rosemary Giunta Receiving Congratulations (photo by Dave Miller) 

Since then, Rosemary Giunta and I have had several conversations ranging from faith to children to military and the like.  She is a salt of the earth woman who loves talking about her faith walk.  Amazingly, most of our talks haven't focused on her Medal of Honor son, although her experiences in Staff Sgt.'s deployments have been a great help to me and my family.  Last week I spoke to Rosemary for about an hour.  Attached you will find the link to the audio...a podcast of sorts.  Here you'll find out about the early years of faith in the Giunta family and details of Salvatore's first deployment.  Part 2 will consist of the ambush and the Medal of Honor reception at the White House.    
      


YGG,

John

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

THREE CHILLING WORDS: "WE GOT AMBUSHED"

I can't say that I wasn't ready for this, because I kind of was......kinda.  When I checked my email last night, there was a note from our son, Kris, via Facebook.  Here is the sum of the text:

Dad:  "That mission i went on 2 days ago yeah that turned into an overnight mission.. we got ambushed and took rpg, ak47, and pkm fire from all around us and i called in 27 mortar rounds on the taliban that were in a village, in a valley, and on a ridge. I took gunfire and rpg fire 3 different times and we had fighter jets on site to drop bombs on those guys. It ended up being a 7 hr long gun fight and we ended up staying the night out there and i got no sleep what so ever but i am fine. This is the first time since then i've been able to tell you guys but i thought i'd let you know. I love you guys."
- kris

So I read it, re-read it and tried to fully comprehend the situation, but I couldn't.  Moments later I saw that Kris was on Skype so I sent him a message.  His FOB does not have webcams so we can't see each other, only text.  Our conversation lasted roughly 5 minutes.  I started asking questions then I remembered what Rosemary Giunta had told me last week......."don't ask questions about what's going on, unless your soldier  wants to talk. More often than not, they want to forget what's taking place and hear what's going on back home".  So I said, "I won't pry anymore Kris, tell me what you want".  He proceeded to tell me in more graphic detail what took place, then  our line went dead.  We've had no communication from him since which is somewhat confusing.  No email text, no Facebook chat, no Skype communication.  Nothing.  Again, I recalled Mrs. Giunta  telling me they once went 28 days after their son, Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, called home and spoke about an ambush before their line went dead.  What she and her husband, Steve, hung onto was faith in God to provide protection for their son.  That's where I'm at today. (UPDATE: We did Facebook chat some 18 hours later with Kris and all is well.)

Troops In React Mode

I said earlier I was kind of prepared for this.  Here is how.  Let's go back to a paragraph in my "letter to the editor" from the Des Moines Register that began this travel:

"What does deploy mean?  I had to look it up to make sure.  Google had a short definition which stated, “to move into a position of readiness or availability.”   Okay…that makes sense.  Yet, I feel there is one important word that was  left out.  REAL.  There will be Real bullets and a Real enemy for REAL.  And it’s all for Real life and Real death in a region that I‘m still trying to get my mind wrapped around.  Is Afghanistan all that important?   Are we fighting on level terms"?

Battle lines are almost nonexistent in Afghanistan.  More often than not, our troops encounter the enemy as they are patrolling their particular provinces.  And that usually happens in the form of an ambush.  Frankly it is amazing to me that we don't suffer more casualties.

Sunday morning I finished reading Chuck Larson's book, "Heroes Among Us".  As I set the book down, little did I know that Kris and his mission buddies were waging a gunfight with the Taliban.  Larson's book depicts 29 Heroes who were cited for bravery and valor during Iraq and Afghanistan.  It is amazing to me how many of those 29 stories dealt with soldiers who were ambushed and the heroism they exhibited that day.  How weird is that, reading about ambush after ambush and then my son is involved in one?  I'll be profiling Chuck Larson in the coming days about his book.  This experience of ours, will no doubt help in talking over the backyard fence about the duties and acts of our serviceman. 

As I said, I was kind of preparing for this.  Probably not this soon but I know I have been for a reason.  Part of that reason is to share this with you and the other is uncertain, for now.  I've felt all along this mission, this journey has been God-directed.  I'm in no hurry to find out the why's, because I know at the proper time the real reason will be revealed.   Until then, God keep our troops safe each and every day and keep my thoughts and my families thoughts in line with you.

YGG,

John



Friday, December 3, 2010

A SOUND IN THE DISTANCE.....TAPS FROM A BUGLER

People reach places of influence in a number of ways.  Some are fortunate enough to be born into it... some work tooth and nail to reach a goal and then there are the others who have it "find" them.

Several years ago, 14-year old, Kelly Kilbride of Sac City, Iowa attended the funeral of her grandfather, Eugene Kilbride, an Air Force Veteran of the Korean War.  As part of the ceremony, taps were played via a taped recording, which signaled the final call to the funeral.  Both Kelly and her mother, Sandy, were bothered by this.  If only they had known a live bugle was not going to be used,  perhaps they could have arranged for someone to play taps.

Weeks later, Sandy was watching television and saw a feature about a bugler who played taps at military funerals. At the end of the video piece, there was information listed about an organization called, Buglers Across America, that was actively looking for future horn players.  Mother and Daughter quickly seized the moment, contacted the organization, filled out the paperwork, read the handbook and waited for Kelly's first call of duty.  A short time later, the opportunity came.


Kelly Kilbride Performing Taps For A Deserving Veteran

Looking back, the first experience Kelly had was incomparable.  "I think when the family saw me, they thought I was too young and probably wouldn't sound that good.  But when I started  playing, they were all impressed.  But gosh, I was nervous. I wanted to make sure that I honored their soldier in the right way", exclaimed Kelly. 

Kelly's story has some other interesting sidebars.  As a student at Carroll Kuemper, her school emphasizes service to the community.  I'd say she is well on her way to knowing and reflecting that characteristic.  In addition, when stories began circulating around the community to her bugling, one of the co-directors of the Carroll Area Symphony, Jackie Montgomery, informed her that she too was a Bugler Across America.  Small world.

Kelly plays mostly in her hometown area.  She has though, had requests from the Sioux City and South Dakota area, but schoolwork has made those travels impossible thus far.  However, the demand for this young bugler's services are spreading.  Tom Day, the founder of Bugles Across America, likens Kelly to a rising star.  "If you would ever make this bugling story into a movie or television show, the guts and determination in her work, makes her the highlight of the show",  he said .

This might be a good place to tell you a little bit more about Ms. Kelly Kilbride.  She suffers from rickets.  Yet that has not deterred her one iota.  She has weathered numerous surgeries and the use of crutches, walkers and wheel chairs to where she can now walk on her own.   The spirit she exudes has not gone unnoticed.  Peggy Dettman of Carroll nominated her for a  Red Cross Award in 2009 as a Hero of the Heartland.  Her story, her determination, her willingness to give back......won her the Youth Good Samaritan Award...to which Kilbride said, "anything is possible.   And I always have a great feeling afterward".

Fate found Kelly Kilbride two years ago.  She is experiencing moments in her life few teenagers realize at such an early age.  Bugle Organizers would like to see her come to an event in 2012, Taps 150 at Berkeley Plantation, Virginia, where she and scores of other buglers will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the bugle call.  I have a feeling this is just the beginning of something BIG....just wait and see if you don't hear more about Kelly Kilbride.   A true find.

Below you'll find a video produced by Screenscape Studios in West Des Moines that precluded Kelly's award from the Red Cross



video


Today, Bugles Across America has over 7,500 buglers in 50 states.  Recent figures from the Department of Human Affairs estimates that there will be one-half million veterans passing away every year in the next 7 years.  These buglers will no doubt be busy!!

.
YGG,

John