Memorial Day

Here comes my second Memorial Day with much more meaning than what it used to be. I'm geared up for it because I am proud to honor those who have given their lives for this nation. Last year, I was in Florida celebrating Jonathan's life and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. This year, I will be in Washington, D.C. with fellow Gold Star families and I am very excited about it. Being around other widows and Gold Star family members always helps make me feel so much more normal and less crazy. While we may deal with our grief differently and our stories may be very unique, we are all walking such a similar journey and it is such a comfort to be with those who are walking a path with you. I'm going to the TAPS National Seminar and I am also excited for the breakout sessions that will help me to learn more about grief as well as meet people in a similar situation. I've heard talk that Westboro Baptist Church will be in Arlington and at the annual parade, and it's also on their website, so everyone please pray I don't go to jail (I kid, I kid). But seriously, I hope there will be lots of motorcycles and patriots to drown those crazies out. I just don't understand why they want to inflict more pain. We are all God's children. But enough about them, back to the focus.

This year in New Hampshire, as well, there will be a Memorial Day ceremony honoring Jonathan. It will be at the Sandown, NH Center Cemetery, across from the fire station, starting at 12 noon. If anyone who reads this is remotely close to Sandown and wants to go, that would be awesome. I won't be there because like I said I will be in DC this year, but if someone goes and would tell me how it was that would be so neat. They are sending me video footage as well, but it would be cool to know people are there honoring him!

My goal this Memorial Day weekend is the same as it was last year. That people will stop and take even just one minute to remember the meaning of memorial day. The reason why we have this awesome long weekend to BBQ and hang with family. No, it doesn't just mark the start of summer, it is to pay tribute and thank all of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation we live in. I urge each and every one of you to take a moment and look at your stars and stripes and thank a service member. I also urge you to thank God for the life you have and the freedom you have being an American. Sure, have fun with your family and friends, have a couple drinks - but while you're at it - have a drink or two for those who gave everything in the name of freedom!

And now, to rap up my Memorial Day post, because I failed at doing individual tributes to the 1/6 Marjah Marines like I had originally planned (I still have intentions to do so it's just taking much longer than I anticipated) I would like you to meet all of 1/6 Marjah Marines.

LCpl Zachary Smith, 19 Years old from Hornell, NY. KIA January 24, 2010

Sgt Daniel Angus, 28 years old from Thonotosassa, FL. KIA January 24, 2010

Cpl Jacob Turbett, 21 years old from Canton Township, MI (2nd CEB Attached to 1/6) KIA February 18, 2010

LCpl Kielin Dunn, 19 years old from Chesapeake, VA. KIA February 18, 2010

Cpl Jonathan Porto, 26 years old from St Petersburg, FL. KIA March 14, 2010

Cpt Brandon Barrett, 27 years old from Marion, IN. KIA May 5, 2010

Sgt Joshua Desforges, 23 years old from Ludow, MA. KIA May 12, 2010

Cpl Nicholas Parada-Rodriguez, 29 years old from Stafford, VA. KIA May 16, 2010

LCpl Phillip Clark, 19 years old from Gainesville, FL. KIA May 18, 2010

LCpl Anthony Dilisio, 20 years old from Macomb, MI. KIA May 30, 2010.

*A special thanks to Terri Sachs-Meyers for being so faithful and proud of the 1/6 and the beautiful photo edits*

I wish I had the space to post every hero I have ever met indirectly through their widow. I have met some of the most amazing men without even meeting them. I know they are so proud of their wives and how the gold star families carry themselves. I hope they all know how much their wives have touched me along this journey and I can't wait to meet them all when I get through the pearly gates.


  1. That's so great that you are going to DC for Memorial Day and that you dedicated your blog post to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. I hope you're doing well and I miss you! :)

  2. This is an awesome post! I too feel like I know so may amazing men through their surviving families! Women and their children that I have been honored to meet and now call family. Thank you for sharing!


  3. I pray the patriot guard hides those WBC crazies well... that you can be surrounded with others grieving and remembering in peace. I loved your photo tribute!

  4. This year, just like last year, I will be thinking about you and Ariana. I truly hope that Americans never lose track of what Memorial Day is truly about. We are having a BBQ with some people, and we always toast our first drink of the night to the Fallen.

  5. I am so excited you are attending TAPS! Two of my close friends are involved. Tina Saari runs the Mini Good Grief camps throughout the year and Heather Campagna runs the big one you are going to this weekend! Our husbands went to flight school together in 2003. I have volunteered several times at the mini camps. I have been blessed to witness the strength and comraderie you Gold Star wives have on these weekends. I hope you walk away from this weekend with a renewed strength and lasting friendships. I will think of your hubby (and all the others who have paid the ultimate sacrifice) this weekend. Happy Memorial Day friend!!!

  6. Well said as always Rach!

    I'll be thinking of you and Jonny this Memorial Day weekend. Also the other service members who have given their lives for our freedoms.

  7. I will be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers on Monday!!

    My big "brother" is a Patriot rider and I don't know how he does it without landing in jail LOL!

  8. Dear Mrs P,

    I'm sharing a drawing that I made several years ago. I actually first drew it as an Angel of Protection.
    I then later shared it as a Welcome Home.

    A Gold Star Marine Mom asked me NOT to stop sharing it as an Angel of Protection.

    Thank you for your awesome post about Memorial Day.

    Proud Air Force Mom SSGT Vinny

  9. What a great reminder and tribute. I hope you have a good time and are able to be surrounded by those who truly understand and appreciate your and your lover's sacrifices for the country.

  10. I will be thinking of you and your family this Memorial Day. I may try and get out to the parade this year, if WBC is there I can go to jail for you :P

  11. I will remember to take time to honor your husband and all the other heroes that paid the ultimate sacrifice this Memorial Day. Hope you have a great weekend!

  12. I will be thinking of Jonny and the other heroes you showed us. I'll be thinking of you, too- your sacrifice as a Marine wife and widow, and the inspiration you give to others through your blog and outreach. I hope you have a good time in DC and enjoy the seminar.

  13. This is such a touching post. I thank all our soldiers for doing what they're doing... I'm so glad they're recognized. <3 As they should be.

  14. Seeing them, I mean seeing photos as opposed to only seeing or hearing names on the news. It has a huge impact ... well it did on me. I feel very quiet and humble right now.

  15. I am so in love with your blog! I cry just about every post, and today's was no different. You're so incredible and inspirational! I wish you the best in all of your endeavors.

    "There is a special place in Heaven for angels with camouflaged wings"

  16. Thinking of you this Memorial Day Weekend! {{{Hugs}}}

  17. Thinking of you today, too. All my love and prayers.

  18. Semper Fi! May the Lord bless you with the peace that passes all understanding. My heart aches for you, but I'm blessed by your attitude.

  19. What an amazing post. It is extremely important that we remember the reason for the day. Thanks for the reminder and the pictures of these amazing soldiers.

  20. This is such a bitter-sweet, well written, heartfelt post and I was so touched after reading it and learning more about you and your story! It brought me to tears and I can only imagine all you went through, but it is amazing to see your positive outlook on it all! Thank you for sharing are such a strong, inspirational lady!

    Liesl :)

  21. Thank you for honoring these soldiers! I knew Zach Smith and he is greatly missed!

  22. I am a member of the Patriot Guard Riders who will be honoring LCpl Smith as he comes home this week. I had yet to see a photo. Thank you for posting.

  23. God bless you, and these brave men and their families.

  24. Your blog is so inspirational and uplifting. Having experienced a loss at a young age, though not to war, I am impressed by your positive approach to honoring those who die service to our country, and your reminder of what Memorial Day is really about.


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