Author Unknown

You see me every day going about life as usual - or so it appears. I rub shoulders with you at work. I shop at Wal-Mart and the grocery store. I fill my car at the corner gas station. You might see me anywhere. Don't be deceived: My life has not been "normal" for months. I am the mother of an American soldier.

Although I continue the routines of life, I do so with a burdened heart and distracted mind. There are some tell-tale signs of who I am.

I'm the one with the frayed yellow ribbon pinned on my clothing. It was fresh and new when my son first deployed months ago. Even though the war is supposedly over, my son is in a place where bullets and grenades are still killing our soldiers. I am determined to wear my ribbon until he comes home, because it reminds me to pray for him every minute. When you see me wearing that ribbon, please stop and whisper a prayer for him and all the others still there.

My house is the one with the faded yellow ribbons the tree in the yard and one on the mail post. There is an American flag on a pole attached to the front porch, and a small red-and-white banner with a blue star in the middle in my window. When my son gave this to me before he left, I told him that I never wanted to cover the blue star
with a gold one. Gold Star Mothers are the ones whose sons come home in body bags.

When you drive by a house of this description, please pray for the son or daughter overseas and for the parents waiting inside for their child to come home.

To those of you who have posted yellow ribbons at your house or in the windows of your schools, thank you. It warms my heart every time I see your expressions of support for our troops.

One of the hardest things about being the mother of an American soldier is living 1,500 miles (how bout 2600 miles!) away from the post of my son's unit. Wives usually live on or near the fort, where
they can glean support from others in the same situation. But a mother may live across the nation, so she feels totally alone.

Letters rarely make their way home, and if they do, it is weeks after they were written. We go more than a month without hearing anything; then we might get a short phone call. E-mail is out of the question most of the time.

Every week is like a rollercoaster ride that I want to get off. When I read a soldier has been killed and his name has not been released pending notification of kin, restlessness, depression and insomnia rule my life until 24 hours have passed and the men in dress uniforms have not appeared at my door. I pray constantly they will never come.

When you hold your baby close, remember we mothers of American soldiers held our babies, too. Now our "babies" are putting themselves in harm's way for your babies.

And if you see a woman at the store buying tuna and crackers, beef jerky, powdered Gatorade, baby wipes and potted meat, check to see if
she is wearing a yellow ribbon. If so, stop and pray for her. She is probably the mother of an American soldier, getting ready to send her
child another "care package." You may see tears in her eyes or dark circles under them.

I am there among you, trying to carry on some semblance of a normal life. Like so many others,
I am the mother of an American soldier.


Gold Star Mom

The banner was small
But the star was large,
The color of a blue, night sky.
She hung it in the window
With trembling fingers
And tried hard not to cry.
He was so young to go far away
As all soldiers have to do.
She knew that danger
Lurked everywhere,
As she touched the star of blue.
The weeks went by
The months rolled on
She knew he would not die.
Her faith in God held her head up high.
In her heart she sang a song.
But the battles raged.
The news was not good
Why did so many have to die?
The thought made her cold
And she felt terribly old
As the day came that she faced
With dread.
When a knock on the door
Shattered her life evermore,
And the blue star turned to gold.

--Esther B. (Campbell) Gates

Written in memory of her son, Specialist Keith Allen Campbell


  I'm Invisible

 It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?"

Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.

      I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this?
Can you tie this? Can you open this?

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a
clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What
number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again.

She's going - she's going - she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from
England . Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a banana clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this."

It was a book on the great cathedrals of
Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte , with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees."

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

 * No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.

 * These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.

 * They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tin y bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and  asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."  And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride.  I keep  the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right.   And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we ha ve built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.


The U.S. Military - Blue Star Mother Prayer

Give me the greatness of heart to see, The difference between duty & his/her/their love for me. Give me understanding so that I may Know, When duty calls him/her/them, he/she/they must go. Give me a task to do each day, To fill the time when he/she's/ while they're away. When he/she's/they're in a foreign land, Keep him/her/them safe in your loving hand. And Lord, when duty is in the field, Please protect him/her/them and be his/her/their shield. And Lord, when deployment is so long, Please stay with me and keep me strong.


For Ann Hampton, Gold Star Mother of Captain Kimberly Hampton

War has taken her only daughter
in the name of freedom in a foreign land
shot down in a Kiowa OH-58 helicopter...
so young... felled by an Iraqi enemies hand...
awakened while living her dream...
Death had not been in her scheme
Ann Hampton... a Gold Star Mother
but a child... this one has no other
America saluted her with a gold star
Now she sits alone... her thoughts afar
back to the youth of her only child...
when her tears did not have to fall...
back when her daughter had not given all
Through tightly close eyes... her happiness amiss
for gone forever are her days of maternal bliss...
her tears seep down... silent... unbidden...
on a mother's arms... cradling emptiness...

©Copyright January 12, 2004 by Faye Sizemore





If I ever go to war Mom, Please don't be afraid.
There are some things I must do, To keep the promise that I made.
I'm sure there will be some heartache, And I know that you'll cry tears,
But your son is a Soldier now, Mom, There is nothing you should fear.

If I ever go to war Dad, I know that you'll be strong.
But you won't have to worry, Cause you taught me right from wrong.
You kept me firmly on the ground, yet still taught me how to fly.
Your son is a Soldier now Dad, I love you Hooah, Even if I die.

If I ever go to war Bro, There are some things I want to say.
You've always had my back, and I know it's my time to repay.
You'll always be my daybreak, through all of life's dark clouds,
Your brother is a Soldier now, Bro, I promise I'll make you proud.

If I ever go to war Sis, don't you worry bout me,
I always looked out for you, but I can't do that anymore,
Cause I'm a big bro to all in America.
I love you so much and you know that, Your brothers a soldier now Sis,
So wipe your eyes, I'll be fine even if I die.

If I ever go to war my Friends, We'll never be apart,
Though we may not meet again, I'll hold you in my heart.
Remember all the times we had, Don't let your memories cease,
Your friend is a Soldier now, Dear Friend, And I'll die to bring you peace.

And when I go to heaven, And see that pearly gate,
I'll gladly decline entrance, Then stand my post and wait.
I'm sorry Sir I can't come in, I'm sort of in a bind,
You see I'm still a Soldier Sir, So I can't leave them behind.

By PFC Jonathan W. Guffey - Alpha Company
101st Airborne 2/506th Infantry Air Assault - Iraq 2006
10 July 2006



National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Department of Veterans Affairs

Coping When a Family Member Has Been Called to War

A National Center for PTSD Fact Sheet
by Julia Whealin, Ph.D. & Ilona Pivar, Ph.D.

When a family member goes to war, the impact upon those left at home can be daunting. There is often tremendous uncertainty about the dangers that exist where the loved one is being deployed and about when he or she will return. Concerns may be intensified as TV news programs emphasize threats, such as chemical or biological warfare, scud missile attack, and environmental destruction. In addition to having to adjust to the loved one’s absence, the families of those who have been deployed may live in constant fear of harm to their loved one.

The Emotional Cycle of Deployment

When a loved one is deployed, fluctuating emotions such as pride, anger, fear, and bitterness can add to the distress of uncertainty. Various emotions continue during the person’s deployment, based upon changes the family encounters as they adjust to the departure and absence of their family member. The following is a typical cycle of emotions:

·        The cycle begins with a short period of intense emotions, such as fear and anger, when news of deployment is released to the family.

·        As departure grows closer, a period of detachment and withdrawal may occur. In preparation for the physical separation, family members may experience intense emotions.

·        A period of sadness, loneliness, and tension begins at the time of departure; this can last several weeks or longer.

·        Following the first weeks of deployment, families begin to adjust to a new routine without the deployed service member.

·        As the end of the deployment period draws near, tension continues as the family anticipates changes related to the return of the service member.

When Families Have Difficulties

Deployment will be a challenging time for family members who are left behind:

·        In addition to patriotism and pride, feelings of fear and anger are also common. The mixture of these feelings may be confusing, particularly for children.

·        If a family already has difficulty communicating with one another, such problems may worsen during times of stress, and add strain to the family.

·        Those deployed may downplay the potential for danger in order to protect the family from excessive worry, which can make family members feel their feelings of fear are being invalidated.

When there is an impending crisis such as a war deployment, some families may need to be become more aware of their style of relating to and supporting each other.

·        Emotions can run high during the deployment, and people can turn fear, anger, and other emotions against those they care for the most.

·        When certain family members, particularly children, do express their fear or anger, families should not view these feelings as too sensitive or as an annoyance. Instead, realize that those feelings may be emotions that everyone shares, but perhaps not everyone has acknowledged those feelings yet.

·        Alternatively, it is possible that members will feel as though their emotions are numb during the time before a departure. This is because these individuals may be preparing emotionally for the separation from the family; it does not mean these family members don't care. Sometimes the stronger the numbing, the stronger the emotions underlying the feelings.

Fear of the Unknown

Communication with the deployed family member during war may be minimal. When the family knows little about where the service member is being deployed, they may try to obtain any information they can about that area of the world. Often, family members will turn to the media for this information. When families do this, they may be faced with media speculation that emphasizes frightening commentary and images. Online discussion groups can also be a source of unreliable information that creates needless distress. Learn what you can about the issues from trustworthy resources, such as public libraries and published books. Put the risk in proportion so that you are in a better position to think realistically. For example, remind yourself that even though you hear regularly about deaths in the military, the vast majority of deployed troops are not harmed.

Changes in Family Structure

A spouse left at home during deployment will be faced with work tasks that s/he may be unfamiliar with. Juggling finances, lawn care, car and home repair, cooking, and raising children can lead to stress overload and exhaustion. Families that are flexible regarding roles and responsibilities are better able to adapt to deployment stresses. It's important for family members to support each other in these new responsibilities and to get outside help as much as possible. Your military contingency officer and your employee assistance program can provide you with childcare referrals, including before- and after-school programs and in-home care.

Special Concerns When the Primary Caretaker Is Deployed

Many more women are now participating in war-related deployments. During Operation Desert Shield/Storm, more than 40,000 women were deployed, thousands of them mothers with dependent children. Research on work-family conflict among active duty women indicates:

·        The struggle between work and family duties is a source of parenting distress.

·        Women who were supported by their husbands in their marital and parenting roles had fewer work-family conflicts, less distress, or less depression.

·        Families that are flexible regarding roles and responsibilities are better able to adapt to deployment stresses.

·        Getting information about difficult issues, such as separation anxiety, discipline, raising adolescents, and sibling rivalry, may help make care easier.

Special Concerns for Reservists

Reservists have added concerns pertaining to the families and jobs left behind. In some cases, military deployment can create financial hardships due to a loss of income. Sometimes the household financial manager is the one who is deployed and the remaining head of the household is left to manage the finances, perhaps without much practice. The government has developed many services and programs to assist you and your family with these challenges during the predeployment, deployment, and reunification stages. There are groups that can help with the development of family emergency plans, family care plans, and personal financial management.

Suggestions for Families of Those Going to War

The following are suggestions to help you manage the stress of having a family member deployed for war-related duties:

1.      Take time to listen to each other. Know that deployment will be a painful and frightening time, particularly for children. Spend time listening to family members without judging or criticizing what they say. People may need to just express themselves during this time. The more family members can communicate with one another, the less long-term strain there will be on the family.

2.      Limit exposure to news media programs. Families should minimize exposure to anxiety-arousing media related to the war. News programs often emphasize fearful content and frightening images to create a "story." Watching a lot of TV news programs, for example, can create needless distress. When children worry about war, let them know that the war is far away. Acknowledge children's fears, and let them know that parents, teachers, and police are here to protect them.

3.      Remember the deployed member is still a part of the family. Find ways to keep a symbolic representation of the deployed member visible to the family. Keep photographs of your loved one in prominent locations. Get children's help in keeping a family journal of each day's events for the deployed member to look at when he or she returns.

4.      Understand feelings. Emotions such as fear, anger, and feeling "numb" are normal and common reactions to stress. Family members need to make sure these emotions aren't turned against one another in frustration. It will help family members manage tension if you share feelings, recognize that they are normal, and realize that most family members feel the same way.

5.      Spend time with people. Coping with stressful events is easier when in the company of caring friends. Ask for support from your family, friends, church, or other community group.

6.      Join or develop support groups. Forming support groups for the spouses of deployed military personnel helps spouses cope with separation from their loved ones. Peer-support groups, led by spouses of deployed service members, can be a tremendous aid to family functioning. Spouses can share ideas with each other, trade childcare or other responsibilities, and encourage each other if they are feeling taxed.

7.      Keep up routines. Try to stick to everyday routines. Familiar habits can be very comforting.

8.      Take time out for fun. Don't forget to do things that feel good to you. Take a walk, spend time with your pets, or play a game you enjoy.

9.      Help others. It is beneficial for everyone to find ways you and your family can productively channel energy. Helping other families and organizing neighborhood support groups or outings can help everyone involved.

10.  Self-care. The more emotionally nurturing and stable the remaining caretaker is, the less stress the children will feel. However, trying to "do it all" can lead to exhaustion. Signs of caregiver stress include feeling as though you are unable to cope, feeling constantly exhausted, or feeling as though you no longer care about anything. It is especially important for caretakers to devote time to themselves, exercise, and get plenty of rest.

11.  Get professional help if needed. When stress becomes overwhelming, don't be afraid to seek professional help. Ongoing difficulties such as exhaustion, apathy, worry, sleeplessness, bad dreams, irritability, or anger-outbursts warrant the attention of a professional counselor. The military employment assistance program provides free counseling for family members impacted by the stress of deployment. Contingency planning personnel are available on bases around the country to help families handle stress related to deployment.

12.  Use military outreach programs. Military outreach programs are in place to help families prevent social isolation. Interventions for military families are especially important for younger families and those without a prior history of deployments. Group leaders are trained to (1) assist in the grief process that a family goes through when a spouse is deployed, (2) teach coping skills to deal with indefinite separations, and (3) help spouses plan a family reunion.


War brings about difficult stressors for families of deployed service members. Mixed feelings about the deployment are common, and emotions tend to fluctuate over the course of the deployment. It is most important to take added steps during this time to take care of yourself and your family. Also, seek help from others around you who will understand, including friends, family members, or other families who have a member deployed.

Related Fact Sheets

Managing grief

Information about the course of bereavement, the treatment of bereaved individuals, and complications of bereavement

Talking with children about war

How do children understand what war means? How can adults best address the concerns of children?

The effect of PTSD on families

Provides information about the effects of PTSD on family members, and how to cope with the effects

War and families

How traumatic stress reactions can affect families

Web site links

Family Readiness Groups (FRGs)
The Army recognizes that helping families is its moral obligation and in its best interest. Family Readiness Groups (FRGs) are an organization of officers, enlisted soldiers, civilians, and family members who volunteer to provide mutual social and emotional support, outreach services, and information to their fellow soldiers and family members in a local area. For information contact your unit, or if you need help in locating family assistance, contact the Army-wide Family Liaison Office or call toll-free 1-800-833-6622.

Selected References

Black, W. G. (1993). Military-induced family separation: A stress reduction intervention. Social Work, 38, 273–280.

Gimbel, C., & Booth, A. (1994). Why does military combat experience adversely affect marital relations? Journal of Marriage and Family, 56, 691–703.

Pincus, S. H., House, R., Christenson, J., & Adler, L. E. (2001). The emotional cycle of deployment: A military family perspective. U.S. Army Medical Department Journal, 4/5/6, 15–23.

Van Breda, A. D. (1999). Developing resilience to routine separations: An occupational social work intervention. The Journal of Contemporary Human Services, 80, 597–605.

Vinokur, A. D., Pierce, P. F., & Buck, C. L. (1999). Work-family conflicts of women in the Air force: Their influence on mental health and functioning. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20, 865–878.

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Children Of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund


May Every Son and Daughter Watch This
http://parentswish. com/site01/ big.html


Daughter and Wife


Author: Royse Sessums


I want to be home
with my daughter and wife
I left long ago
I put a hold on my life
My daughter has grown
My wife has stayed true
I pray you both know
I do this for you
My time here was long
but the end now grows near
I'll take my last flights
with a new burning fear
My daughter wont know me
My wife feels betrayed
The decisions I made
a life thrown away
Will they forgive me for leaving
Can they trust me to stay
Will they hold and embrace me
or have I pushed them away
I'm counting the days
til I'm with them once more
So I can start giving the life
the life that I swore
I know that they love me
I know that they care
But the thought of them leaving
Is a thought I cant bare
The count down is over
The day is now here
No more time for the worries
Its time to face all my fears
They run up and hug me
My fears fade away
Their love had not faded
As if I was gone just a day
Now that I'm home
With the loves of my life
I'll cherish the time
With my daughter and wife


So Brave
A Mother's Tribute To Her Son


The Silent Patriot

Author Unknown


A woman for all seasons
A woman for today.
She grows to meet the challenges
And grows along the way.

Her life is not an easy one
With many loads to bear.
She proudly serves with her husband
Yet the uniform he wears.

Although she didn't take the oath
To preserve democracy
She's there each day on the home front
To keep our country free.

She's foreign-born or a country girl,
Diversity you will find.
But to be a Military wife
It takes a special kind.

She's one who keeps on going
Through adversity and pain.
She's the steady, strong foundation
When nothing stays the same.

She's the one who sheds a tear
As Old Glory passes by,
But couldn't give an answer
If you were to ask her why.

Throughout the years, she marches on
Through tears and joy and strife.
She's America's unsung hero-
She's a Military wife.





click here:



By Debbie Guisti

I am an Army Wife- A member of that sisterhood of women who have had the courage to watch their men march into battle and the strength to survive until they return. Our sorority knows no rank for we earn our membership with a marriage license, traveling over miles or over nations to begin a new life with our soldier husbands.

Within days, we turn a barren, echoing building into a home, and though our quarters are inevitably white walled and unpapered, we decorate with the treasures of our travels for we shop the markets of the globe. Using hammer and nails, we tack our pictures to the wall, and our roots to the floor as firmly as if we had lived there for a lifetime. We hold a family together by the bootstraps and raise the best of "brats", instilling into them the motto, "Home is Togetherness," whether motel, guest house, apartment, or duplex.

As Army Wives, we soon realize that the only good in "good-bye" is the "hello-again." For as salesmen for freedom, our husbands are often on the road, leaving us behind for a week, a month, an assignment. During the separation, we guard the home front, existing till the homecoming.

Unlike our civilian counterparts, we measure time, not by age, but by tours-married at Knox, a baby born at Bliss, a promotion in Missouri. We plant trees and never see them grew tall, work on projects completed long after our departure, and enhance our community for the betterment of those who come after us. We leave part of us at every stop.

Through experience, we have learned to pack a suitcase, a car, or hold baggage, and live indefinitely from the contents within, and though our fingers are sore from the patches we have sewn and the silver we have shined, our hands are always ready to help those around us.

Women of peace, we pray for a world in harmony, for the flag, that leads our men into battle will also blanket them in death. Yet we are an optimistic group, thinking of the good and forgetting the bad, cherishing yesterday while anticipating tomorrow.

Never rich by monetary standards, our hearts are overflowing with a wealth of experiences common only to those united by the special tradition of military life. We pass our legacy to every Army bride, welcoming with outstretched arms, with love and friendship, from one sister to another, sharing the bounty of our unique, fulfilling Army way of life.




Patriotic Song -- Bring Our Daddy Home