Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mr. Rice

Over the past few weeks while I educated myself on the candidates running for office in my state I have come across several statements you have made concerning our involvement in the Iraq war. You have made statements such as there was never and is not now Al Qaeda in Iraq. Which is a bold face lie as even the 9-11 commission confirmed Al Qaeda was in Iraq before the attack on this country on 9-11-01. You have called Iraq a civil war and a waste of our troops time. Again belittling and minimizing the efforts they make there. You've called for surrender and state recently we have lost in Iraq. What you don't seem to understand is that everytime you make minimizing, belittling and unspportive statements about the mission our troops are on in Iraq you insult the men who are fighting there. You are telling the families of the fallen their son's and daughter's died in vain. I can not and will not stand for that to be said of any of our Fallen!

When you so completely insult the troops and demoralize them with your words you can not truly respect them. It makes reading a tribute to our fallen on your politcal website hollow and insulting to me. I read my son's name on your site and wonder how you think belittling what he died for can in anyway make it ok for you to falsely pretend to even care. I am almost positive that if I asked you face to face who Micheal Phillips is you would have no idea. You certainly have no idea the kind of man he was no do you even understand the spirit of the men who fight and thoe who have died for this country. And that makes your so called tribute nothing more than a political show.

Friday, October 24, 2008


When my children were younger I taught them to share. I never thought that I would in my adult life have to learn that lesson again. My son Micheal does not belong to just me anymore. He belongs to this Nation. His life was given as a gift so they could continue to be free and live without fear. More and more I find his name on memorials and websites. For the most part they are tributes. Some are using this gift to further their causes or to make a statement against everything my son stood for and valued in life. There is nothing I can do about that.

Today another piece of my son was given. This time to the community I live it. I received a call from a friend telling me the man was there to add my son's name to the monument on Main st. He is the first soldier from this town to be lost in war since Vietnam. The 4th from the county. I watched as the man sandblasted my son's name onto the wall. And I could only say.. I don't want it to be there. But it is there and I know that he will be remembered.

Sometimes it is very hard to share the memories of my son. But I do it. Not with everyone because there are those who use it to hurt me. When I do share him I hope that he will stop being just a name on a list and become a real person to those who listen. And through him the others who have given their lives for this Nation will also be seen as the real men and women they were.

He is my son but he is also the son of this Nation. It is something I am slowly learning to not only accept but appreciate. I have to share him because he made a choice to share himself with this Nation. Even is he had come home, a part of his life was given to the people of this country. He took a big responsibility on when he made that choice. He knew the risks. He also knew the value of that choice. I hope some day more people understand that gift and it's value. A gift given by so many who wear our Nation's uniforms.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Dark Things

The darkness is coming again. I feel it like a slow moving fog coming over me. The hurt is more intense, the anger more encompassing, the sadness numbing. I slowly being to feel like I am on the outside of the world looking in. I just want to hide from it but know that it is part of me now and one can not hide from oneself. I try to push it down but it is so strong. I know why it's coming this time at least. That's something. Knowing why helps me fight it.

In a few days my second born will be 19. He is suppose to be the younger brother. But his older brother is and will forever be 19 now. I pray that in time I will get better at this. I have accepted the pain never stops or heals but I need to get better at dealing with it. I can not selfishly slide into these abysses and neglect my family and life. I can not be weak I have too many people to take care of.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Iraq is the shittiest place on earth but it has beautiful sunsets- Pokey

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's the Little Things

This poem is floating around the net. It is pretty powerful.

The Path I Have Chosen Must Be Taken Alone (Author Unknown)
You stay up for 16 hours, He stays up for days on end;
You take a warm shower to help you wake up,
He goes days or weeks without running water;
You complain of a "headache", and call in sick, He gets shot at as others are hit, and keeps moving forward;
You put on your anti war/don't support the troops shirt, and go meet up with your friends, He still fights for your right to wear that shirt;
You talk trash about your "buddies" that aren't with you, He knows he may not see some of his buddies again;
You complain about how hot it is, He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow;
You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong,He doesn't get to eat today;
Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes, He wears the same things for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean;
You go to the mall and get your hair redone, He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today; You're angry because your class ran 5 minutes over, He's told he will be held over an extra 2 months;
You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight, He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home;
You roll your eyes as a baby cries, He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet;
You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything, He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and remembers why he is fighting;
You see only what the media wants you to see, He sees the broken bodies lying around him.

It's powerful by itself. One version has pictures add to it that really make you stop. But then you talk to a soldier and they say little things that if you are listening.. truly listening... make you think. I had one of those conversation with one of my son's brothers in arms. Sgt. L and I were chatting on the instant messenger. (I am blessed that I get to talk to several of my son's company regularly.) As always the topic of coming home came up. I asked what he was looking forward to the most expecting the typical my family, a beer or quiet answer. I got "porcelain toilets" and "clean sheets". I laughed a little then it occurred to me that yeah he had jokingly replied that but it was also a fact. I had to stop and look at my life and take in all the things I and others take for granted. Little things like porcelain toilets and clean sheets. We never think about it. But if you've ever been in a port a potty you they are nasty and smelly and no one really wants to use them. But we don't ever stop to appreciate the clean porcelain toilets with running water in our homes. And we change our sheets as often as we like. Knowing we can wash the ones we've just removed or pull another set out of the closet.

What else do we forget to appreciate in life? Do you appreciate your young child interrupting you to show you the drawing he made for you? Or being able to drive to the corner store for a candy bar when ever you want? Or being able to stumble to the kitchen during the commerical break to raid the frig?

Take a minute today and look at your life and see what you have.. the little things we take for granted that those who protect us from the evil of this world do not have.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Oct. 8th 2007

A year ago today was the last time I hugged my son. I thought it was the last time for 15th months. I didn't know at the time it would be the last time ever. If I had I would have never let go.

We had spent the weekend together as a family. Had bonfires and birthday parties. Grilled out and watched the Packers play. Laughed took hundreds of pictures which I know were not enough.

That morning he was sitting on the counter in my dad's kitchen, lost in thought and feeling like crap from all the shots he had gotten a few days before. We were talking about everything but his deployment when out of no where he stated " I can handle loosing my legs but not my arms" His brother's reaction was "Are you nuts?' "He's and artist and you're a runner. " I pointed out. It was the only time the possibility of him getting hurt was ever really brought up.

That afternoon we left my dad's house and headed back to Ft. Campbell. We stopped and ate at a chinese buffet he loved. Then we went to Wal-mart and picked a few things he was going to need. Razors, socks, some good pens. He was so particular about his pens. Artist are I suppose. We wondered around the store being a little silly and putting off the inevitable good byes.

I didn't have a driver's licenses at the time and could not drive on post so in was in the wal-mart parking lot in Clarksville, TN that I hugged my son for the last time before my husband drove him back to post. I tried to fight the tears but in the end they won and streamed down my face. All I could think was how much I was going to miss him. He told me he would be ok. And I told him it wasn't that. I had faith in him, his team and his training.. it was that I was gonna miss him so very much.

I found out he had been killed 4 months and 16 days later.. Ironically while at wal-mart. His brother called me and told me two men from the Army were at my home.. and I knew.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Coin

“How do we spend the coin of our life?

Some choose how they want to spend it, some have the choice made for them.
The bravest people I know have put the coin on the table, willing to cash it for what they believe.

For fate reasons unknown, some have it cashed, while others are able to pick the coin up to be played again.

How do you want to spend the coin of your life?”-Steve in NC

I read this a few days ago and it struck something within me. For months now I’ve asked myself how to play the cards I’ve been dealt. It wasn’t until I read this and put my thoughts into terms of a coin that I realize I had something valuable. Something I could cash in or horde.
My son realized he had a coin to spend. He chose to invest his coin. He invested his coin in the Army. In return he would get training, education and the bonds of friendship that very few know or and even fewer understand. He invested it in his country and himself. It was a high-risk investment. He lost his life making that investment and from the outside looking in people will think he lost on that investment. I don’t.
The investment he made has had a great many other coins come from it. Many people received them and many of them are now holding a coin asking themselves.. How would this man, whose investment gave me this coin, want me to play this coin?
I realized also that in giving me this coin my son has given me another gift. It is the knowledge that we have more choices than spending or hording the coin.. we can also invest it.
So here I sit with this precious coin and I have to figure out how to invest it. How can I best lay this coin on the table of life so that it touches the most lives in the most positive way. And I realize to do that I must share my son and his story with the world.

Welcome to Knottie’s Niche… the story of an Army Mom and her son.