Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Soulless Muslim Bastards"

** WARNING** this blog entry may offend you. But I believe we don't have the right to not be offended, so if it does too bad.

During his time in Iraq, Micheal often referred to the enemy as "soulless muslim bastards" . At the time it bothered me. I had always felt that as humans we are basically good. It would be some months after he died before I truly comprehended what he was saying. It took conversations with people who had been in Iraq and the watching of videos of those in Palestine for me to "get it".

It comes down to the muslim culture is a culture of hate.. so much so that the hate has eaten the very souls of these people. When you see videos such as this you understand that from birth these people are taught nothing but pure hate.

Is there a way change the next generation? When the children as young as 3 years old have had their minds so poisoned? I'm a mother.. my life has been centered on raising my children. the thought of hurting a child sickens me. But I am at a loss as to how to change the mindset of these children who are so damaged by this type of hate... have they too lost their souls to hate at such a young age?

No amount of "talking" is going to change the perspective a culture that knows nothing but hate and murder. And anyone who does not standup against it is as guilt as the culture itself of the hate and violence. It's called passive violence and it is the most dangerous kind.

Before you all start sending the threatening emails... I know there are those in the culture who want to change it. My son's "terp" Vegas is an example. But unless they stand up and denounce the lies and hate and violence they are just as guilty as the ones who set IEDs, launch RPGs and walk into the presence of others and blow themselves up to be martyrs.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mr. Falvey

This morning I had to drive up to the high school and pick up my sick daughter. At the stop light I looked my rear view mirror and saw that the Vice Principal Mr. Falvey. We both parked and got out of our cars at the same time. He then said to me " Are you trying to make me cry?' You see on the back of my car are several stickers in memory of Micheal and Mr Falvey was close to my son.

I remember the first time I met Mr. Flavey. It was parent teacher conferences Micheal's Junior year and David's Freshman year. Both the boys had him for English. The conferences here are not scheduled you just go during the hours they set up and meet with teachers as they are available so he had no idea who I was. " You belong to Tiffany ******" was his greeting to me. " No.. I'm Micheal and David Phillips Mom" He became very serious and said "I'm so sorry" then laughed. We then went over the boys work and he stated how bright they were. Of course they had their problems. David was sarcastic and Micheal was unfocused. Nothing I didn't know.

Micheal's senior year Mr Falvey become the vice principal and they some how grew a mutual respect and somewhat close relationship. I got a call from Mr Falvey a few weeks into Micheal's senior year from Mr. Falvey telling me he was so proud of Micheal. Micheal had gotten jumped at lunch by a kid and just stood there with his hands raised laughing asking the kid if that was all he had. Micheal loved to fight so for him to not fight back took a great deal of self control.

While Micheal was in bootcamp he wrote Mr Falvey. And every time Micheal came home on leave he would head to the high school to visit Mr Falvey and another teacher he was close to. I'm not sure Mr Falvey realize what a great influence he was on Pokey. And to this day Micheal's letters and one of his dogtags are hanging on the wall in Mr Falvey's office.

The day after Micheal died the first person to knock on our door was Mr. Falvey, in tears. He told us that he had already had the flag lowered at the school and in his hand were the letters Micheal wrote him. Throughout the next few days Mr Falvey stood between us and the media who tried so hard to find us thru the school. He gave interviews , with our permission and blessings, about Micheal. He kept the media and others from intruding on our grief at that time. He also made the arrangements for our other children to be out of school for an extended time without it hurting their grades. He took care of us.

So today he asked me if I was trying to make him cry and he meant it. Then we spoke for a couple of minutes. He told me another student who had join the military had written him but he couldn't open the letter. I told him he should. He said he wanted this one to come home. He said he will write him back but not open the letter. I suppose we all have our superstitions.

19 months later and this man still grieves for my son and has not forgotten. I don't know how to comfort this man or thank him for all he has done and still does for us.

If there are angels on earth this man is one.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pokey's Poker Run

Bright and early Saturday morning we went to the local VFW where the local National Guard dawgs were holding sign ups and starting the poker run being held in the memory of our son. After a week of rain we were glad to see the sun shining. I took the 3 large pictures of Micheal we have so that those riding would be able to see his beautiful smile and remember we are doing this for his brothers. The run was to raise money for Wounded Warriors Project.

These are a great group of men and women. There was another Gold Star father who rode with us also. Lots of hugs were given. The local police gave us an escort to the first stop of the run. It was eerie... I followed the bikes in my car to the first stop and the police were behind me. For a moment it took me back to March 2008 and the day Pokey came home. It was hard to fight the tears.

The first stop was the Veterans Home here in town. A lot of the men came out to see the bikes and just hang with the riders. All of the riders took the time to thank each of the veterans for their service and answer thier questions about the bikes.

My husband and the rest of the riders then headed out the next stop. I went tot he last stop which is another Veterans Home in a town about 30 miles away. I spent most of the day there greeting riders and talking with the Veterans there.

One gentleman in particular grabbed my ear and we sat and talk for quite a long time. Mr Cooper collects hats and pins and I offered to contact a few organizations and have them send some things to him so he gave me his address. then he asked me if I would write him letters. I told him I would be honored to. And I gave him my address so he could write me also. As we talked he asked about my son.. he didn't realize that the Poker Run was being held in memory of my son. He then shared a great deal of his life story with me. I got the feeling it was something he doesn't do often and I was glad to be able to give him an ear to listen as he purged some of his demons.

After the last group of riders got to the stop I headed back to town to attend the BBQ being held for the riders. It was great to be able to sit and talk with the group. The gentleman who won the pot broke the tradition of donating the winnings back to the charity the ride was being held for and called my youngest son to the front and gave him the money. I then asked my son if he wanted to keep the money or give it to Wounded warriors Project. He gave it back. I was very proud of him for that. Not many 11 yr olds would have done that. I will be giving him the same amount to spend out of my own packet.

Next year we will be doing it all again. There was some discussion of holding it for another charity and I along with a few others will be looking for one we find worthy. Not that Wounded Warriors isn't. But we kind of want to spread the generosity of these riders.

I was very proud to have my son's name on this ride. It was for me a way to continue to carry on his fight by continuing to take care of his brothers in arms the best we can.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

New Look

One of my readers mentioned they have trouble reading the pink/red tints so I changed it.

Full write up on the Poker Run tomorrow.. tonight I am exhausted.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More Abuse of Military Families

It was a nasty evil thing to do back during the Vietnam war. People would call families claiming to be the military and tell their son had been killed and the family would later find it was a lie. Mental and emotional abuse and torture of the worse kind. Well what once was old is new again... but still just as evil and heartless. Only this time the media is being compliant.

Calls are being made to families and the words no family with a soldier wants to hear are uttered " We regret to inform you"... Only to find out their soldier is alive and well. It's done to break morale and inflict injury on the families. Not only that but on our troops also. Now instead of our soldiers being able to completely focus on their mission they have the burden of worrying about something like this happening to their loved ones who are suppose to be safe at home.

Ray Jasper of Niagara Falls says he was camping Sunday when he received a call on his cell phone from a woman who said she was a military liaison. He says the woman told him his son, Staff Sgt. Jesse Jasper, was killed in action Saturday.

The father says he later called military officials to get details of his son's death and was told that his son is alive. Ray Jasper says the officials couldn't explain the earlier call.
Full Story Here

Now I can imagine the emotions this man went through. The complete and utter shattering of his world. And whoever made that call intended for him to suffer. It was not a PRANK. It was a intentional infliction of mental abuse and emotional pain on this man and his family. I am not sure what laws are in affect to punish this but they are not strong enough.

The Media, CBS News in this case, is reporting this hideous behavior as a mistake of the military. Well It wasn't! I know for a fact the military will not call a family to deliver this type of news. Even if the family is not home they will either stand guard until they return or find them and go to them. They tell the family by looking into their eyes. Telling the families is one of the most difficult jobs in the military and my heart goes out to the causality officers who perform it.. also my respect.

Another version of these calls is to tell you your loved was wounded.. usually these call request a verification of the soldier's social security number and then the soldier's identity is stolen. If these people are not oblivious to the family's suffering they are just as evil.

These types of calls and attacks on the families of our troops are terrorism in themselves. I am getting very angry and sick of the abuse put up on our troops and their families...

It's time to get VERY LOUD about it and start fighting back against these type of terror tactics and abuses of our troops and their families. Again this is an attack on our military and their families! I can't say it strongly enough. This is ABUSE and Terrorism!

Note: A similar incident happened at Ft Campbell last fall where two men actually went to a woman's home and falsely told her her husband was killed.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spc. Micheal "Pokey" Phillips Memorial Poker Run

Next Saturday, Sept. 19th 2009, is the Spc Micheal "Pokey" Phillips Memorial Poker run. Sponsored by the local Guard Dog organization. This organization is made up of National guardsmen who have served and still do. The proceeds will be going to the Wounded Warriors Project.

We were approached by these wonderful people a few months ago and asked if they could honor our son by holding their annual poker run for wounded warriors in our son's name. At each step of the way they have asked for our input and made sure that we were ok with all they have done. Each stop of the poker run route has a military connection. VFWs, American Legion Halls and both the local veteran hospitals. I feel these stops are incredibly fitting.

If you can make it I will be at the start table and at several of the stops through out the day. I will also be at the last stop for the BBQ at the National Guard Armory in Ardmore, OK.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's Coming Home.

few days ago I wrote of a man who had left a message on my son's legacy page. Well I was wrong about him being the 4th man.. turns out he is the man who pulled my son from the vehicle.. but that will be another blog. Today I need to write about the plaque the engineers made and placed over the Company'sbarracks honoring my son.

On March 23rd 2008 I wrote this on my myspace blog:

Current mood: grateful
I received a gift I was not expecting and am so touched I am not even sure how to react. My son’s best friend in his squad was online with my husband this morning. It seems the Engineering team my son was escorting on their own time ( which is so little and precious where they are) made a plaque to honor my son and placed it above his company barracks at their new FOB. I am just so touched that these men would do this for them and him. This has truly touched my heart.

I am in contact with several of Micheal’s unit. It is comforting to know they are safe and well. Having them in my life is healing. They are all becoming more and more a part of my family. My son was blessed to know and work with such outstanding men. And I am honored that they have allowed me to care about them also.

I was so touched when the guys told me about the plaque. It meant a great deal to me. I found out yesterday this man who had left the message is one of the men who made and placed the plaque. It was something he had wanted to do for my son, for my son's brothers and for me. He had wanted it to come home to us. After our conversation I wondered about getting that plaque home.. so today I made a call to my son's company. One of my guys was on CQ and answered the phone. ( I love when one of mine answer the phone) and went to find someone in charge. I spoke with the LT about the plaque and how I would like to get it home. As much for myself as for the gentleman I spoke with. It was his intention all along for it to come home with the guys. I think he and I both need it to come home. SOOOOO anyway a few hours later the First Sgt calls. He is going to contact the company at the FOB and make arrangements for the plaque to come home. Timing is everything because they are getting ready to dismantle the FOB. No promises are being made but I know an effort is being made.

Now to decided where to place this plaque here stateside. Keep in mind it is quite large. We will either put in the local military museum or the museum at Ft. Campbell. This will be decided later. And all parties will be included in that decision.. and that includes my guys getting a say in it. I am also going to work on getting the gentleman who made it to be with us when we receive it. I'm gonna have to see if we can get the Army to help us with that one....

I do want to just touch it.. sounds silly but I think I need to run my fingers over the lettering.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The 4th Man

I found this post this morning on one of the many memorial pages for Micheal:

Mike, It's been the greatest honor of my Military career to have met you. I only wish I would have had the chance before pulling you out on 24FEB08. I will always honor you as a hero!

It was signed and an email address given. I have written the gentleman.

For over a year now I have tried to find out who else was in the vehicle with Micheal. I know 3 of the 4 others who blessedly walked away from the blast. the 4th man was not with Micheal's unit. They were giving him a ride. I don't know if the man who left this is that man but I think maybe he is. When I told a friend about having possibly finding that 4th man they did not understand I was thrilled. I now have the chance to thank and possibly, if needed, comfort him. But more than that this man had a hand that day in helping my son.. giving him a chance to survive. He and many others worked so hard for my son that day. I know now that the 1SG and others truly thought they were sending my son to be fixed. The fact that Micheal spoke with them gave them hope. I have to think that the news that Micheal had died and that his body was too broken to fix had to be devastating to them because they did have that hope. They had no prepared for that. they had prepared for him to be fixed and sent home to heal and become one of our many wounded warriors.

Micheal's father and I have a different way of looking at somethings involving Micheal's death. I have the need to know everything.. a minute by minute account. His father on the other hand does not.. and is in fact against to some extent. For me though it is important to know who was there, what they did, what Micheal said. All of it. Which kind of takes me back to the report we received last month and whether or not to read it. fact is I know there is so much not in that report that is truly more important for me to know.

So I am going to go against the advice of some and seek out a few people and ask some questions I need answered. I am torn because I don't want to bring pain to others by asking the questions but I need to know. I need to know what his last words to the surgeon were. I need to know what Mungo told Lee that Lee felt so strongly I should hear but would not tell me unless it was face to face. I want to know why Meza never told me about his burned legs. I need to know if Micheal had the same foreboding feeling I had in the days before and if he mentioned it to anyone....

I know in my heart that the answers will not change anything but maybe it will make it easier for me to cope with all of this. What answers I have gotten have reassured me in a way that I cannot put into words. But somehow the knowing of what happened that day helps.

****Update**** a little research on the person who left the message and I now know he was a member of the Engineering team Micheal was escorting.. not a passenger in Micheal's Humvee. So now I'm excited to ask about the sign they made for the barracks they named for Micheal.

Abuse by the Media

Yesterday evening I was told about L/Cpl Joshua Bernad. I had read his name in the DoD releases and knew he had been killed fighting in Afghanistan. I did not know that the AP wire service had made a decision to release pictures of this young man after he had been injured. The family begged them not to release the pictures. Sec. of Defense Gates sternly advised them not to release the photos... but they did it anyway. No concern or care about the emotional impact this would have on the family who is already grieving and in so much pain. My heart broke for this family. Then I became furious. I refuse to link to the pictures. I will respect the family's wishes on that matter.

Joshua is my son's brother... they served the same Nation. They wore different uniforms but they shared a like minded pride and need to protect the innocent and free the oppressed. Joshua's family is now on the same painful path of grief I am and share with many others... they too are now my family. My heart goes out the Bernard family.. for the loss of their son and for the abuse they are now suffering at the hands of the AP wire service. I stand beside them in there grief and this fight.

I am truly tired of the abuse put upon our military members and their families. I am all about the Constitution and the 1st Amendment. It is what my son stood for and fought for. I have been known to state often that we don't have the right to not be offended but this is not about offending someone.. this about inflicting intentional pain on them. It's about emotionally torturing the families and this man's fellow soldiers. it's about taking L/cpl Joshua Bernard's dignity from him. And it was most assuredly intentional. No argument is sufficient for this behavior. This is not about the "public needs to know". This is about tearing down the morale of our troops and their families.

It is time for the military to pull out embedded reporters. I hate to say that because there are some who are very good and respect the troops a great deal, like Michael Yon. But when this type of thing happens repeatedly it's time to go back to morning briefings on the events of this war and controlling what is shared. To protect our troops and their families.

As a military family, as a nation, we must stand together and share our strength. We have to become more vocal in how our Fallen are exploited and find a way to stop it! Their loss of life in combat does not make them open to the public to be used and abused in death for others personal agendas. As it stands right now the families of the Fallen have very limited say in how their soldier's name and images are used. A few states have passed laws to stop them from being used for financial gain. But anyone can use the names of these men and women for their political agenda. even when the person who's name being used was against the agenda. Even when the family says NO... and we can't do a damned thing.

My son died for this country... that does not make him the property of anyone else. It makes him an American who deserves respect, honor and his dignity. And the same goes for every single man and woman who has ever served.