Dear Kiley, My Sweetie:
Although you may not remember me, I want you to know how very much your Daddy loves you. I left for Afghanistan when you were 9 months old. Leaving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. You are so very special to me sweetie – you are truly a gift from God. The best day of my life was the day you were born. Every time I saw you smile my heart would just melt. You were my sweetie – my life was not complete until you were born.
I am so sorry I will not be able to see you grow up. But remember, your Daddy is not gone. I am in heaven now smiling down on you every day. You are so very lucky to have such a wonderful Mom to take care of you. Make sure you are good for her and help her out whenever you can. Always remember to say your prayers at night and be thankful for all your many blessings. Never forget how important and special you are to so many people. We love you so very much. When you get older and start school, do your best and try to learn as much as you can about the world you live in. Always be nice and caring to others and you will discover that the world will be nice to you. But when things aren’t going your way, never forget that God knows what is best for you and everything will work out in the end.
You have such a bright and beautiful future ahead of you. Have fun. Enjoy it. And remember, your Daddy will always be proud of you and will always love you. You are and will always be my sweetie.
With very much love,
Your Daddy "
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Did you know? Federal law requires the POW/MIA flag to be flown on the following days:
Armed Forces Day, May 16
Memorial Day, May 25
Flag Day, June 14
Independence Day, July 4
POW/MIA Day, 3rd Friday of September
Veterans Day, Nov. 11
You will also notice the POW/MIA flag flown at all US Post office buildings, Veterans Administration, military memorial facilities, and many U.S. government buildings.
Please take a few moments today, to remember our missing soldiers, and those held as prisoners of war. Attend a ceremony in your area. Say a prayer for POWs and MIAs. Also, write to your senators and congressman to urge continued and increased effort towards bringing every service man and woman home.
Pretty and lovely weather these days. We still have bursts of color with bright orange and yellow marigolds, purple and magenta petunias and red and white geraniums.
The pond is completely filled in with pond plants, elephant ear, wild iris and mint. Bees buzz happily among all the fronds.
THE LESSON OF THE SCARY MERRY-GO-ROUND
Chapman Park had several baseball fields, benches and places to sit and a big playground area with restroom. Lots of beautiful established shady trees made it a welcoming place for the houses that ringed the property. Although it was within walking distance from our house, it was about 5 city blocks, so at age 9, my Mom wouldn't let me go by myself. And of course, my little sister had to tag along, too. My poor sister, Betty, who at that time was 15, was usually stuck with taking us down to the park.
As we rounded the corner from that long walk, the sight of the huge park was always such a thrill for me. It represented a fun time and my little sister, who was 5 and I loved to swing and play.
There also was a rather big, ungainly merry-go-round that sat in the middle of the sandlot of the playground. It looked like an inverted red and white bubble, with places for kids to stand and hang on as the merry-go-round rotated (see photo). It was pretty scary to me, as I had little hands that tended to sweat a lot and I couldn't grasp the handles and hold on very well, so I usually opted for the swings where I could soar into the sky.
This particular day, Betty saw some friends of hers who had just earned their driver's license and had driven by the park and saw her. She went about 50 yards to the street to ooh and aah over the car. We were still within her view but she could talk to her friends. When I turned around to tell my little sister, "Let's go see!", she was nowhere to be found.
Last I had seen her was by the Merry-Go-Round. It sat squarely on the sand with no one on it. I looked in the restroom. I called her name. I sat on the sand, panicked and heard, very faintly, the sound of a child crying.
Horrified, I realized that the sound was coming from INSIDE the Merry-Go-Round. Somehow, she had managed to dig underneath and couldn't get out. I began to dig frantically, worried that she might be hurt. I made it underneath and saw her huddled in the corner, clutching her doll. I grabbed her and pulled her towards the edge where I had dug the hole and she skinnied right out. She began screaming, "My Dolly!" and I looked and realized that she had dropped her doll in the process. I scrambled over towards the doll, grabbed and was making my way back to the hole, when to my horror, the Merry-Go-Round started to move! I sat in there, terrified at not knowing what to do. The old rusty Merry-Go-Round was making so much creaking and groaning noise, no one could hear me if I yelled. So I sat, waiting until it stopped turning. I knew the boys were ruthless with making the Merry-Go-Round spin so fast and all I could think of was that I was going to be beheaded!
Finally, it stopped. I strained to listen and couldn't hear any more kids, so I peered under the Merry-Go-Round and couldn't see any feet. So I quickly scrambled out, just as my sister Betty walked up with my little sister, angry that I had left her alone. I tried to explain, but she wasn't up to listening. We walked straight home, and I was just so glad to be out of that Merry-Go-Round, I never told anyone.I did learn that I could rescue myself, if I just believed in myself. I survived. My little sister was okay. I didn't get beheaded. I was okay.
Chapman Park went through a remodel soon after that and we moved away. Years later, when visiting the area, I was happy and relieved to see that monster gone and the playground happy once more.
• One hand on wheel, one hand on horn: Chicago
• One hand on wheel, one finger out window: New York
• One hand on wheel, one hand on newspaper, foot solidly on accelerator: Boston
• One hand on wheel, cradling cell phone, brick on accelerator:California. With gun in lap: East L.A.
• Both hands on wheel, eyes shut, both feet on brake, quivering in terror: Ohio
• Both hands in air, gesturing, both feet on accelerator, head turned to talk to someone in back seat: Italy
• One hand on latte, one knee on wheel, cradling cell phone, foot on brake, mind on game: Washington (Seattle)
• One hand on wheel, one hand on hunting rifle, alternating between both feet being on the accelerator and both on the brake, throwing a McDonald's bag out the window: Texas (male)
• One hand constantly refocusing the rear view mirror to show different angles of the BIG hair, one hand going between mousse, brush, and rattail to keep the helmet hair going, both feet on the accelerator, poodle steering the car, chrome .38 revolver with mother of pearl inlaid handle in the glove compartment: Texas (female)
• Four wheel drive pickup truck, shotgun mounted in rear window, beer cans on floor, squirrel tails attached to antenna, cousin/spouse in passenger seat: Arkansas
• Two hands gripping wheel, blue hair barely visible above window level, driving 35 on the interstate in the left lane with the right blinker on: Florida.
1780 Benedict Arnold commits treason
1792 Monarchy abolished in France
1897 The NY Sun Editor publishes the famous, "Yes, Virginia , There is a Santa Claus" editorial
1904 The remarkable Nez Perce leader Chief Joseph dies on the Colville reservation in northern Washington at the age of 64.
1961 The U.S. Army's 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, is activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The Special Forces were formed to organize and train guerrilla bands behind enemy lines. President John F. Kennedy, a strong believer in the potential of the Special Forces in counterinsurgency operations, visited the Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg to review the program and authorized the Special Forces to wear the headgear that became their symbol, the Green Beret.
1968 23-year-old Jeannie C. Riley accomplished a crossover feat that no other woman would match for another dozen years: She became the first female performer to top the Billboard Country and Pop charts simultaneously, with "Harper Valley P.T.A."
1970 The NFL's "Mon day Night Football" premieres on ABC
2003 The space probe Galileo plunges to its death after mapping Jupiter 2012 The Space Shuttle Endeavor flies its last mission to its new home in California