Monday, July 06, 2015

Veterans Day 2014

I left this as a draft until today but I think I want to share it even though it's over seven months old.  Lee Ann, 7-6-15

Ten years.  It seems surreal.  The last few days have just been just:  outside of time.  I don't know how to describe this.  We've been doing things we don't normally do in anticipation of this date, not just because of Thomas but because it is Veterans Day.  And Remembrance Day.  We are caught forever in that split personality of honoring the living while remembering our own fallen soldier.  Today the weather has been unusually warm and sunny for November.  As I type, the Concert for Valor is unfolding on the National Mall under cloudy but not rainy skies.  My kids are down there in the VIP area, courtesy of TAPS.  I'm watching HBO.  For the last couple of days I have been wearing my Gold Star banner pin, something I don't do often and worry about when I do.  This weekend I put it on and just let it be, mostly just not giving it another thought.  No one said anything--not sure if that makes me happy or sad.

On Saturday night, my husband and I, along with four other Gold Star Mothers and spouses went to a dinner held by the American Veterans Center, honoring veterans from World War II to the War on Terror.  It was an incredibly touching evening. 

Thomas's Birthday, 2015

Just a little musing today.  It's been a long time since I wrote anything but thoughts have continued to perk.  I just haven't had the energy to do anything about them.

Thomas would have turned 31 today.  We got to spend his last birthday on earth, his 20th, with him thanks to the 3 weeks of leave he had the summer before they left for Iraq.  I remember the day he was born, eight days after his due date, nearly a pound heavier than his sister had been.  I remember spending that 4th of July in Sears looking for an iron--I go through irons at an ungodly rate, maybe because I sew with a lot of cotton and always want them as hot as possible--and feeling enormous.  Three years later we were back in the same Sears, looking for Thomas who had latched on to a stuffed Thumper and hidden in a clothing rack.  We ended up owning Thumper.   I'm not sure where Thumper is now but he remained a favored stuffed animal for all of Thomas's little-kidhood and maybe a bit beyond . . .  This year, we ended up in the same Sears yet again, this time looking for gasoline additives for our newly-acquired secondhand lawnmower (my husband goes through lawnmowers at the same pace I go through irons).

Now, here's the thing:  Thomas hated mowing the lawn and may have only done it once or twice in his life.  He hated the lawnmower because it was so loud.  So how did he end up in the Army in a job that seems to have been noise personified?

We don't have a cake today, at least not yet.  Maybe I should go get a cupcake or something to mark the day.  Richard and I went to Mass this morning with my friend Debbie, and we went to the cemetery yesterday.  I will post a picture from yesterday but also from Memorial Day when we took our granddaughter Leah, Thomas's niece, to visit the grave.

I am done with my term as president of the Maryland Chapter of the American Gold Star Mothers, as of June 30th.  However, I am still in charge of this year's fundraiser, the annual Crab Feast!  How did losing my child lead to organizing an event featuring a creature I cannot eat??  Luckily, the menu is significantly larger than that.  Anyone interested in eating crabs on September 20th should contact me at

And now my pictures.  I'll try to do more writing--it's not just my blog that I've neglected recently!