Sunday, June 29, 2008

While You Were Out...

(This summer has been so busy! Soooo much has happened this summer and I just haven't had time to post about it all - J.'s 8th birthday, the girls' dance recitals, Scout Day Camp, K. leaving for EFY - I'm sure I'm forgetting something! The 4th of July weekend is coming up, G.'s birthday, family coming to visit...whew! Anyway, this is a draft that I had started and never got around to posting. Here it is now...)

Earlier this week, I had a thought that we hadn't heard about Aunt Judy in awhile. Jess had recently talked to his parents, so I asked if they had mentioned how she was doing. They hadn't, so I thought maybe I should just send a 'hello' card. I know that in the past there had been many disagreeable situations that involved Aunt Judy and the family (she had sent us a belated Christmas card one year with a "by the way Grandma Dorothy (her mother, whom we loved) died earlier this year, in case you hadn't heard...) but she's still family. And everyone deserves to know that they are thought of, right?!

As usual, I put the thought on the 'to do' list and figured I'd make time for the card later. I still needed to finish up some swaps and actually clean up my craft room.

Thursday (June 26th) I'm sitting around dishing with my hubby and decided to check my email only to find something from the SIL with the subject line "Aunt Judy". I just knew when I saw that email what it was going to say.

(This wasn't the first time I had been prompted to contact loved ones, seemingly out of the blue, and then find out that they had passed away shortly after. Not saying I've got special powers or anything. Only that several times I've been given a reminder and opportunity to act upon a prompting about a loved one...of course, even if I had acted immediately on this one, the card wouldn't have gotten there in time. Certainly doesn't lessen the guilt, but that's another post!)

Apparently she had gone into the hospital for knee surgery and had a complication a few days afterwards. I don't know the whole story, but it's my understanding that her boys were able to be there before she passed away.

I didn't know Aunt Judy very well. She moved to AK only a few years before we left, but she had certainly left an impression! A woman full of vim & vigor...We'll miss you, Aunt Judy, give Uncle Butch a holler for us when you see him!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Almost there...

So, today is the last FULL day of school - tomorrow's a half day. Yay! Of course, there's still stuff to do. Mutual this evening, dress rehearsal for G. and E. tomorrow, recital on Saturday and then...hopefully a week of not doing too much. Schedule picks up from there. Sigh.

This is our last year here! So, of course, we are planning trips for those places that we really want to go. Been to a handful of countries and day trip attractions. A friend of mine just clued me in to a cruise of the Eastern Mediterranean in December that I'm going to look in to, planning Italy as our finale this next summer (family history, anyone?!) Who knows what will come between!

Well, I'm off to pick up Evelyn's passport - it's finally in and now we can really get out and about!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Picture Problems

Just tried to enlarge the Memorial Day pictures, wanted you to be able to actually read and see what's there...not working. (grrr!) Will have to fix later - sorry! It's almost time for the kids to come home from school, dinner and then off to Wednesday's meetings (mutual, activity days, cub scouts...I should make it official and get my cabbie's license - car's not fancy enough for a chauffeur's! lol)

Memorial Day, Luxembourg American Cemetery

Front Gate

In front of operations map

I know that it’s been almost 2 weeks since Memorial Day, but gimme a break…it’s been less than 30 days – at least I’m actually posting it…with pictures! lol We had a wonderful time this year visiting the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial and I wanted to share the visit with you.

Our neighborhood Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts camped Friday to Sunday near the cemetery. The kids (and adults) cleaned the headstones (the flags and flowers were already laid) Friday evening. Birds, weather and white headstones don’t mix, so you can imagine the work that was done!

Saturday morning, the scouts raised the American and Luxembourg flags. The morning was overcast, not promising any peek of the sun.

The Memorial Day service began at 1400 with the Missing Man flyover by Spangdahlem’s USAF 52nd Fighter Wing. (It was sprinkling at this time…so can you imagine everyone face up to the sky to catch a glimpse of the planes?!)

Remarks were made by the United States Ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Ann L. Wagner;

The Honorable Jean-Louis Schiltz, Minister for Defence and Cooperation

and Brigadier General Steven R. Lanza, Deputy Commanding General Fifth Corps of the United States Army Europe and Seventh Army.

(I won’t even begin to tell you how long it took me to find the proper names of the speakers. I was too busy trying to take the pictures and quieting Evelyn – so no notes!)After the speakers’ remarks, they ‘laid’ their wreaths and then the procession of flowers from other organizations began. Two scouts flanked an Airman as s/he carried the memorial flowers during the service. Jesse, Kyrsten, Gloria and Jonathan all participated. (Unfortunately, I had mistaken the path they would take and was on the other side of the service when they began. As soon as I realized this, I ran (clip-clopping in my heeled boots) across the granite, but to no avail…I was too late. So, the pictures of the kids aren’t very good and I didn’t even get one of Jess!)

middle white wreath from: the people of the United States of America

Jonny with his Pack's wreath

There are 5,076 American soldiers laid to rest here, including General George Patton, an Army nurse (Nancy J. Leo), 22 sets of brothers laid side by side and 101 Unknown Soldiers.

General George S. Patton's Grave

Unknown Soldier Headstone

At one point during the afternoon, we decided to take a family photo. While I was getting the camera ready, Jesse and Kyrsten were reading the names of nearby headstones when an older man approached the grave where they stood. He said he was there to visit the grave of his friend and briefly recounted his story, while laying his flower; he was there that day to remember him.

It was so humbling to walk through the cemetery, noting the bouquets of flowers and stones that mark the visits and thoughts of loved ones still living, to see how great the cost of freedom.

Headstone of Jewish soldier with remembrance stone

Gratitude. For those soldiers that gave their lives, for the people that are in today’s military, for the freedoms we have today because of duty, honor and the knowledge that freedom isn’t free. God bless America.