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May 31, 2004

Happy Memorial Day

I don't know how much I'll be posting today. I'm a little under the weather, but there are plenty of great Memorial Day offerings out there.

John of Argghhh! has the story of 2nd Lt. Leonard Cowherd, his wife Sarah, and their families. This one hit close to home for me, as it has a moving letter from Sarah's father in which he tells how a family deals with the death of a soldier. It is also interesting in that it gives a brief glimpse into the way the military supports their own.

My husband is an active duty officer assigned to a Reserve battalion. One of their duties is to provide Marines for area funerals for military personnel. They also serve as CACO's (casualty assistance officers) for both command personnel and Iraq casualties in the area. They provide the death notification and handle funeral arrangements, coordinate death benefits, finances, SGLI, and other financial and legal arrangements. In general, their role is to smooth the way for grieving families and support them during a very difficult time. As it can take months for these affairs to settle out, the role of a CACO is often physically and emotionally exhausting, coming as it does on top of a Marine, soldier, or sailor's normal duties. It is the least the military can do to support families and repay the military member for their service, but it takes a toll on those who serve. I would like to thank all those who have served as casualty assistance officers for their dedication and selflessness.

And to the families who have lost a loved one, your grace and strength never cease to amaze me. I have been awed this year by what I have seen in the wives and loved ones of our fighting men. Truly, courage is not found just on the battlefield.

Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette also has a great roundup of Memorial Day posts from all the Milblogs. Check it out.

And please take a moment out of your day to remember. Visit a cemetery and leave some flowers, fly Old Glory, light a candle, say a prayer, or just observe a moment of silence. Just don't let it be all about burgers and beer.

- Cassandra

May 31, 2004 at 08:44 AM | Permalink


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» Memorial Day in the Blogosphere from Backcountry Conservative
A roundup other bloggers' Memorial Day posts in no particular order: My Memorial Day 2004 post. Alphecca has a photo essay. Dean Esmay has several posts. Up for Anything Baseball Musings Freedom of Thought Arguing with Signposts Mudville Gazette Ann... [Read More]

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» Memorial Day 2004 from Welcome to Castle Argghhh! The Home Of One Of Jonah's Military Guys.
. . . . . . . This is my Memorial Day post. It's the only post up. It's long. No other links. Just the story of 2lt Leonard Cowherd, Sarah Cerri Cowherd, and the Cowherd and Cerri families, as... [Read More]

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» Memorial Day 2004 from Welcome to Castle Argghhh! The Home Of One Of Jonah's Military Guys.
. . . . . . . This is my Memorial Day post. It's the only post up. It's long. No other links. Just the story of 2lt Leonard Cowherd, Sarah Cerri Cowherd, and the Cowherd and Cerri families, as... [Read More]

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» Memorial Day 2004 from Welcome to Castle Argghhh! The Home Of One Of Jonah's Military Guys.
. . . . . . . This is my Memorial Day post. It's the only post up. It's long. No other links. Just the story of 2lt Leonard Cowherd, Sarah Cerri Cowherd, and the Cowherd and Cerri families, as... [Read More]

Tracked on May 31, 2004 1:01:26 PM


For the Sailors and Marines on this day of Rememberance.

The Navy Hymn

Eternal Father, Strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bid'st the mighty Ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to thee,
for those in peril on the sea.

O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walked'st on the foaming deep,
and calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!

Most Holy spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power!
Our brethren shield in danger's hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe'er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee,
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Lord God, our power evermore,
Whose arm doth reach the ocean floor,
Dive with our men beneath the sea,
Traverse the depths protectively.
O hear us when we pray, and keep
Them safe from peril in the deep.

God belss you all.

Posted by: spd rdr at May 31, 2004 9:26:00 AM

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

Posted by: spd rdr at May 31, 2004 10:30:23 AM

I have been gone for a while. Another funeral, this time my best friend's father. He was a veteran as well. I have seen the presentation of the flag to the widow twice this year, and it tears me up.

My daughter made us stop at every bathroom between Atlanta and Indianapolis. Three year old bladders don't have the elasticity a driving father would like. Must teach child to drink more beer.

Cass, tell the Unit I said thank you for his work. I appreciate it very much.

Posted by: KJ at May 31, 2004 11:09:27 AM

Thanks, KJ. I will tell him when he gets back - he's in the field for a few weeks right now blowing things to smithereens.

I know what you mean about the presentation of the flag. The Unit did one at a funeral recently - I went to the memorial service but not to the graveside because I was at the family's house putting out food for afterwards. But he brought home the video and we watched it the other day. It broke both of us up.

Watching him march up there and present the flag, I'm not sure how he got through it. It was someone we both knew well. But I was proud that he did it himself instead of delegating it to someone else. He said if he'd had to speak, he would have lost it, though.

Sometimes he amazes me.

Posted by: Cassandra at May 31, 2004 11:48:02 AM

To all the parents, wives, husbands, sons and daughters: Your loved one is in a better place.

The reason he is in a better place is that he died defending liberty, freedom and security.

Candles will be lit, flags will be flown, tears will be shed.

Thank you for your sacrifice.

Posted by: Purple Raider at May 31, 2004 12:04:26 PM

Every now and again God surprises me, perhaps for His own joy, but certainly always for mine.

A few moments ago I came out of my front door, for no reason but to look at my new flag flying from the front of my new house. It was beautifully unfurled in a medium breeze, and I thought of my Navy son, 7000 miles away in Japan. There's a church across the golf course from where I live whose chimes and carols peal out on the hour. I heard the strike of three and thought how much I'd love to hear "Eternal Father" (The Navy Hymn), whose lyrics I posted earlier this morning. As if on cue, the next sound ringing across the vast expanse of green was the instantly recognizable strains of my favorite hymn. I stood silently on the porch singing softly, tears marking their course down my cheeks and neck. Two stanzas, then three, then four, before the carillon ceased and stood silent, the echos fading in my heart, the flag still billowing in the soft summer wind.

Thank You that special moment, Father. It reassures me that You are indeed amongst Your flock.

Posted by: spd rdr at May 31, 2004 3:20:20 PM

And I said I wasn't going to cry any more today.

God bless you, spd. And your son :)

Posted by: Cassandra at May 31, 2004 4:22:22 PM

Thats nice spd. God reveals himself in some wonderful ways.

When I was painting more than I am now, I learned to pay attention to detail and notice the world around me. God is an incredible artist.

Posted by: Pile On® at May 31, 2004 5:11:52 PM

Dh did a presentation while he was in command. His XO had done one earlier that year, and told him to not look at the widow...and then his XO ran off with tears in his eyes. Dh ignored the advice and came home with tears in his eyes.

Every time I went to the commissary (with teenagers it is every half hour) and I would see the WWII Vets, I would make a donation. It seemed such a small thing, to give a dollar or two, considering what they gave up, put at risk and live with even now, but every time I did I would tear up.

What a privelege it is to be the child of parents who stood against tyranny in those dark days, who raised us and who, even now, ask what more they can do.

Thanks to all veterans and to all who supported them on the home front. We live free because of you, and as long as you stand on that wall, we live and breathe freedom and peace. May we be worthy of your sacrifice and dedication, and your respect.

God Bless the USA.

Posted by: La Femme Crickita at May 31, 2004 5:55:55 PM

spd rdr,
Looks to me like you didn't just get a hug from God. You got a smile and a Fatherly kiss, too!

(wearing any eye make up has been somewhat pointless today)

Something I've noted in watching various news bits lately with WWII Vets at memorial services (including the WWII Vet Memorial in D.C.) is how easily those Veterans shed tears yet today.

One of the local TV newscasts did a nice tribute to the approx. 49 troops (fr.local bases) we've lost in Iraq and Afghanistan. 44 of those alone from Fort Carson just a very few miles South of me. They showed their pics, told rank and just a small bit about each of them, included a clip of when the POTUS visited Ft. Carson in November and clips of several widows with the babies these dads never saw. A powerful 5-7 minute part of the news.

Even driving to my friends (for what was actually a b-day party) where our houseful ranged from age 3 to 74-- we ate, laughed, played in the pool & jacuzzi, listened to dueling guitars and sang in PERFECT sunny, breezy, 75 degree weather-----I had to drive close by Fort Carson and of course doing so simply heightened my sense of gratitude for the incomprehensible selflessness of those who gave it all and obviously in so doing weren't able to enjoy the day many of us did.---I find it difficult not to feel just a little guilty, actually.

This comes to mind:
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."--- George Orwell

Posted by: CoLoRaDo KiTtY cAt at Jun 1, 2004 1:49:06 AM

I wondered if your "God Moment" story wouldn't be an excellent submission to say "Guideposts" or Readers Digest (oops! rdrs dgst..sorry)...AS it is (so perfectly) written here.

I hope you don't mind that I used it in one of my on air tracks in MI. It's just TOO good to not let more people hear/read. And it just so happened I decided before hand I'd use it in a slot that happened to be immediately after the song "God Is Watching Over You" (by Phil Joel/Newsboys) Ü

I'll tell ya what, perhaps you'll want to sue me now to collect royalties. If you submit it to one of the aforementioned publications----send ME the check they'll issue you... I will then promptly send it back to you as a royalty payment. Deal? Ü

Posted by: CoLoRaDo KiTtY cAt at Jun 1, 2004 4:28:05 AM

I had a nice little Memorial Day surprise of my own. After a really rough weekend, someone must have been watching out for me because they sent the Marines to my rescue :) A certain someone dropped in unexpectedly late last night to check up on me.

Wow. Men are cool. Or God is cool. Or both.

Posted by: Cassandra at Jun 1, 2004 10:30:19 AM

Both is best.

Posted by: spd rdr at Jun 1, 2004 10:38:24 PM

If, God made man, and
If men are pigs, and
If being a pig is cool,

Then, God is cool.

And Men are cool.

spd rdr, you were right.

Posted by: Logic Man at Jun 2, 2004 3:17:36 PM

Hmmmm---Logic Mans quote sounds rather Scrappleface familiar from once upon a time.

Posted by: Scrapplefaced at Jun 2, 2004 11:48:40 PM

I think Scrapplefaced is confusing me with my cousin, Logic Man. We of course have similar analytical approaches.

Posted by: Insensitive Logical Conclusion Man at Jun 3, 2004 5:44:48 PM