Eleven years ago, Allen returned from Iraq, having survived an IED blast that inflicted both significant physical and emotional harm. This military veteran, husband, and father of two young children now faced a life-changing, long and tough road to recovery. Standing by him, as she promised “in sickness and in health,” is his wife of 16 years, Chasity. For this full-time teacher and mom, the day Allen came home, injured and anxious, her life was changed dramatically. She was thrust into a new, overwhelming role: caring 24/7 for her husband.
On a cold March night in 2007, Jeff Brodeur got the phone call that changed his life. His son, Army Pvt. Vincent Mannion-Brodeur, 19, had been searching a structure near Tikrit, Iraq, when a mortar-shell booby trap exploded. His sergeant was killed instantly and Mannion-Brodeur suffered a devastating head injury as well as deep shrapnel wounds to his arm and torso. Jeff and his wife, Maura, sitting stunned in their Cape Cod, Mass., home, were told that their son might not live.
In World War II, families learned of a loved one killed in action by telegram. My husband's grandfather, with two military sons, recalled watching the telegram delivery man ride his bike down the street and praying that he would not stop at his door. Today a uniformed service member delivers the notification in person. Since 2001, the families of almost 7,000 men and women have opened their front doors to that devastating news.
As we head into the long Memorial Day weekend, we honor those who sacrificed their lives for our country. Let's also remember the veterans who fought alongside those who made the ultimate sacrifice. They made sacrifices of their own while fighting for our country, to secure our safety. They left their families, often for long periods of time. Many were injured and continue to have health care needs. Today, let's think about helping those veterans - and their families - who are here with us now.
Warm weather, Memorial Day, July 4th - it's time to dust off the grill and enjoy some outdoor barbecuing. Just be sure you choose the healthiest ways to cook those steaks, burgers and chicken, so you don't increase your risk for cancer.
Memorial Day: The official kickoff of summer. Although the picnic lunch my wife and I will be packing to enjoy after watching the local parade is definitely going to have a St. Patrick's Day flavor to it.
Lt. Col. Frank D. Bryant Jr, grilling out, PFC Adriana Alvarez, going to the lake, Specialist Jamel A. Bryant, going to the beach, Pat Tillman, a family reunion. You ask yourself, what in the world does this list of names and activities have in common? Those amazing individuals are all part of a great and powerful force called the U.S. Military. Those individuals all lost their lives in active duty and their service to this nation allows us to have the freedom to picnic, grill out, enjoy time with friends and family on Memorial Day and every day of the year.
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