Honoring #VeteransDay with Author @IrishWinters1
Honoring Veteran’s Day
I am really excited to be posting a piece from Irish Winters today. You may remember the wonderful article on PTSD I posted during her Harely tour. The series’ characters are soldiers and Irish is very much involved in the support of veterans and active duty soldiers. In doing so she also had an oppurtunity to visit the Middle East Conflicts Memorial in October of this year, 2014. We have lost so many soldiers to these conflicts. As a former military wife I have lost many friends and others who are living with missing limbs. In fact one of my closest friends from when I was a wife, her husband lost his leg. He still is serving proudly.
The Middle East Conflicts Memorial Wall in Marseilles, Illinois
A couple embrace as a member of the La Salle County Marine Corps stands guard at the Middle East Conflicts Wall Memorial.
Wow. I didn’t expect to be so profoundly moved when I visited this wall last month, October 2014. It’s been on my bucket list since I found out it existed, but to be standing there in front of the names of thousands of men and women who sacrificed all…. Well, I couldn’t hold back my tears. I didn’t want to.
The Wall honors all military members who have given their lives in combat since 1979. There are 13 panels already filled with name after name, 2 more panels mostly blank. If you get the chance to pay a visit, you’ll see every last name of the heroes lost in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The names of the 19 airmen we lost in Kobar Towers, Saudi Arabia. The Navy sailors who died when the USS Cole was attacked. And too many more….
I reverently took etchings of the names of two of my heroes: Navy SEALs Marc Lee (panel 5A, row 36) and Adam Brown (panel 5C, Row 35). I know those are just names to most people, but they’re the rarest kind of heroes to me, and standing there with a chilly breeze blowing off the Illinois River, in some spiritual, dimensional shifting sort of way, I felt a link with them. Maybe it’s because I raised three sons and it could have been their names on that wall. Maybe it’s because I empathize so deeply with any mother who’s lost her son to war. Her baby. That little guy she used to rock on her knee, the one she raised to be honest and faithful and true.
Like I said, I did not expect to feel so humble. Or so proud.
Marseilles, Illinois, the town that reverently hosts the Wall, is a statement all by itself. A quaint country town alongside the Illinois River, it declares the spirit of true America. The red, white, and blue waves proudly from almost every establishment. You can almost feel patriotism in the air.
On the drive through Marseilles to get to the Wall, you might see a few biker club flags, too. Well, good on ’em. You see, this particular monument’s existence is due to the efforts of the Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Club. They’re the ones who pushed the concept that we need to remember. Did you know the city of Chicago was approached to host this heroic tribute? They turned it down. Weren’t interested. But I digress.
Where Gold Star Families are respected and honored. Where the sacrifice of blood spilled by brave men and women is recognized and appreciated. Where grieving families can come and know that the son or daughter they lost on this side of mortality is in the very best of company on the other side/
Friends and family left mementos, but all I had to leave was my eternal appreciation.
God has truly blessed America.
Check it out: www.ilfreedomrun.org, you will be glad you did.
Check out the ongoing project with construction updates over on YouTube. This June the wall celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Read more about the wall and the celebrations today:
On June 19th, 2004 a Granite Memorial Wall was dedicated commemorating the servicemen and women who have lost their lives in worldwide conflicts since 1979. The project was conceived by Jerry Kuczera and Tony Cutrano and built with donated material and labor and is the first of its kind, in the History of the United States, to give honor to our fallen by name while a conflict is ongoing. It took 20 years to Honor our Vietnam Veterans. Almost 60 years to Honor our World War II Veterans. The names on the wall represent our fallen heroes from such diverse locations as Panama, Lebanon, the Balkans, Grenada, Somalia, Haiti, USS Cole, USS Stark, Terrorist attacks in Italy, Greece, Scotland, and the current conflicts in the Middle East.
The Wall is located at 200 Riverfront Drive in Marseilles, Illinois.
The Mission of the Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run is to show Our Brave Servicemen and Women, and their Families, that we support them, and to Honor Fallen Heroes. The route is lined with Americans waving American Flags and paying tribute. In the past the run has had 10′s of thousands of participants. The money raised through your generous donations is used to update and maintain the Memorial, and to put this wonderful event together. The first Memorial we erected was in the small town of St Anne Illinois. the hometown of Capt. Ryan A. Beaupre, one of Illinois first casualties in the war against terror. We have donated Memorials to all of the Veteran Homes and Hospitals in The State of Illinois in Honor of all our Veterans , Past and Present. We have assisted many of our Fallen Heroes Children, with funds for their education, in hopes that through education, they will learn to diplomatically resolve their problems.
Photo Courtesy of Denise Rogers
Nov. 11, 2014 Veteran’s Day Service. Beginning at 10:30 AM, rain or shine at MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT MEMORIAL WALL, located at the River Plaza, Marseilles, IL. In face of bad weather conditions this service will be held inside at the Illinois Valley Cellular Building.
Timeline of Events:
WELCOME Pastor Jim Brown, Congregational Church
Followed by The Pledge of Allegiance
Today’s Speaker Hank Roe
A BAND OF MARSEILLES BROTHERS
Our thanks to Rockie Mann and the Marseilles Fire Department
SALUTE TO OUR VETERANS Patti Smith, Mayor of Marseilles
CLOSING PRAYER Delivered by Reverend Bill Clark
Please remember to visit our AVENUE OF THE FLAGS At Riverview Cemetery
Our thanks to our veterans that continue to volunteer throughout the year & to those of you that continue to help make this possible.
If you are interested in seeing all the names on the wall, please visit the Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run Page. They work directly with the people who maintain the wall and help with events. You can find the list HERE.
Z-z-z-r-r-i-i-p-p. The sound of a zipper hit her very attentive and overly sensitive eardrums. Izza peered around the tree trunk to see where that out of place sound might have come from. A man stood there with his back to her, but she’d recognize that physique anywhere.
What the hell was Connor Maher doing half-naked in the middle of nowhere?
She knew she’d have to face him sooner or later, but here?
Now? So soon?
She took a step toward him, keeping herself hidden behind the branches of her friendly tree. He’d already stripped his shirt and boots off. His belt was undone. Camouflage printed pants hung loose and low off his hips.
God, the man was as crazy as ever. And still as sexy. Ripped shoulder muscles led to a strong back that narrowed to a muscular V that led to—
She gulped as the sight of that handsome hard body battered down her last line of common sense. Did he ever think about that night?
Could he possibly know what it meant to her? Her mouth went dry remembering the intensity of their bodies slamming together.
The heat. So much passion.
This multi-book series revolves around ex-Marine scout sniper, Alex Stewart, and his covert surveillance company, The TEAM, home-based out of Alexandria, Virginia. An obsessive patriot and workaholic, he draws his strength from the purest heart in his universe, Kelsey, his wife.
In the Company of Snipers is a collection of love stories. Book 1, ALEX, reveals how The TEAM came to be as well as how Alex and Kelsey met, fell in love, and fought against all odds to stay together. Each of the following stories in the series is a complete romance in itself where, in the course of an active TEAM operation, one agent will come face to face with his or her demons. They’re all patriots and warriors, dealing with what they’ve lived through or the mistakes they’ve made.
By the end of the telling, it is my hope that you, my reader, will come to realize along with my heroes that—
Love changes everything.
Books 1-4 Available Now
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