living her best life…#29

Just thought I’d give a little update re Pat’s status from a phone chat we had last week Thursday.

Pat’s a wonderful listener, so I got a lot said.

Not my intention when I made the call.

Of course she asked a lot of questions.

And laughed a lot.

So I figured..Okay. She’s laughing, so I guess she’s feeling fine.

I love it when she laughs.

Her whole face lights up…eyes crinkling at the corners…pearly whites showing from ear to ear.

Pat’s being treated wonderfully by friends and family who feed her and her men.

In addition to a meal of fresh, cooked salmon with a couple of sides, her sister Kathi had brought by homemade chicken noodle soup.

A friend had called asking which of 2 options Pat preferred.

Talk about Chinese take-out.

She chose butternut squash soup and a stir-fried dish.

When speaking of husband Brad, Pat got really animated.

I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

Not that I needed to…get a word in edgewise, that is.

According to his gushing, eternally grateful wife…BRAD IS SMART!!!

I mean really, really smart.

And believe me…I don’t doubt it.

Pat’s lucky to have her hubby in her corner as she beats the c–p out of c—-r!

Brad researches Pat’s diseases to within an inch of their silly existences.

Armed to the nines, he queries the doctors about the medical hooha he doesn’t quite get as a lay person.

Not only that but Brad can actually remember what he’s learned.

Me?

I can regurgitate what I’ve read or heard…to a point.

After that it’s…duh???…memory hiccup.

Then lo and behold.

While we were speaking, Pat’s doorbell rang.

Our Valentine’s Day gift had arrived.

Candy, cards…and MALEFICENT!

We both agreed we’d not been fans of Angelina Jolie since she enticed Brad Pitt away from Jennifer Aniston.

Now…how long ago was that?

Thankfully, Aniston’s garnered well-deserved happiness with fiancee Justin Theroux. 

And the Jolie-Pitts have settled in nicely together with a lovely brood of children, and are to be congratulated for their awesome charitable work.

My daughter turned my husband and me on to Maleficent, starring Jolie with a cameo by daughter Vivian as toddler Aurora.

Haven’t heard how Pat liked the DVD, although she was viewing it when a thunderstorm took out the power in her area.

She text me that she could hardly wait til the electricity returned.

Can’t wait to hear how she liked this very unique remake of…SLEEPING BEAUTY.

Pat did say our brother-in-law Dennis was doing well after the stroke he suffered. 

To look at him, she said, you’d never know anything extraordinary had happened.

So as far as I could tell…

…it was good news all around.

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

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not all disney…

George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman lingers front and center in our collective psyche because he claims to have killed a young man in self defense. What doesn’t sit well is that he pursued the victim under the guise of vigilante justice, even after a call to 911 advised Zimmerman to end his pursuit. So why didn’t he obey authorities?

Tomas Lopez, a lifeguard, was called into action by a witness to a man who was drowning. Without thought for where the incident was taking place, Lopez bolted to the scene and rescued the man, providing aid until the paramedics arrived. Upon returning to his station, Lopez correctly assumed that he had probably jeopardized his job by responding to gut instinct.

Lifeguard jumping into action in Ocean City, M...

Lifeguard jumping into action in Ocean City, Maryland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lopez was fired because employer rules prohibited him from saving lives outside the area for which he was responsible. Fellow lifeguards also quit, under protest. Media attention has pressured his employer to offer Lopez his job back. It’s a no-brainer that he refused. What would he do if such an incident occurred again. Lopez would undoubtedly do the job any lifeguard is prepared to do…save lives. 

Stereotypes exist of faraway places, both here and abroad. What tourists must remember is that everyday life continues behind the fantastic facades. And all that appears golden, may only be brass.

State seal of Florida

State seal of Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…perfection on earth…doesn’t exist…

………hugmamma.

12 ordinary women…

Not so ordinary…as it turns out. Twelve women, hence the name, 12 Ordinary Women (http://12ordinarywomen.com/) who came together to support a common cause…a handup for those in need. Whatever the need.

I’d never heard of the group until my daughter told me about the gift basket given her anonymously. The messengers who sought her out while she was in dance rehearsals at the studio, couldn’t tell her from whom or why she was selected as the recipient. A curious friend googled the website of the group and that’s how my daughter learned about her benefactors.

Along with gift cards to a couple of restaurants and other goodies, was a card addressed to my daughter. Not only were the ladies generous with their tangible tokens of affection, but their words of kindness were touching. They let my daughter know that she was loved and admired, that she should be proud of her accomplishments. I can’t recollect all they wrote, but I was moved that strangers would take the time to acknowledge my daughter with love and respect. What parent doesn’t want others to see how special one’s own child is?

We’ve no idea why my daughter was selected for such generosity. She and I spoke at length, seeking to find the basis for it. Whatever the reason, it warms my heart to know that in this world there are people who take the time to tell others…”you’re worth it.”

God bless…the extraordinary…TWELVE ORDINARY WOMEN…

…hugmamma.

superheros…come to life?!?

Here in the Pacific Northwest, we have been singled out for protection by real superheroes, not the make-believe ones of comic book fame. In its February 25, 2011 edition, The Wall Street Journal carried an article entitled “Bam! Pow! Superhero Groups Clash In an Epic Battle of Good vs. Good.” I knew I wanted to share this story so I added it to a stack of other articles I’ve been collecting.

I was mystified by the thought that real people would risk their self-esteem, not to mention their lives, wandering the streets of Seattle and Portland, bedecked in costumes that would surely have citizens chuckling, if not laughing out loud. Phoenix Jones will appear at Crypticon May 29thPhoenix Jones, a 22-yearold-day care worker, changes into his black-and-gold outfit at night, to walk Seattle attempting to “harass drug dealers and break up street fights.” This, it seems, is not as big  a deal to Jones as having to deal with “his latest nemeses: members of the ‘Real Life Superhero (RLSH) movement.’ ” So what’s the beef? Evidently they don’t like Jones’ confrontational style, or rather they don’t like that he’s getting all the publicity because of it.

World-wide RLSHers include grown men posing as Zetaman, Knight Owl, Dark Guardian and Mr. Raven Blade. Trying to convince the communities in which they serve that they’re the “real deal,” not geeky comic-book charachters, they feel their efforts are compromised by Jones’ physical approach. They prefer to carry out charitable works like delivering food to the homeless, rather than bring attention to themselves personally. They want to be “a force for good in the world,” and as such do not give out their names.

Real Life Superheroes, who seem to favor masks and dark clothing–sometimes emblazoned with homemade logos (like the Superman “S”)–exist in pockets all over the world. Some like Knight Owl and Thanatos, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, typically focus on charitable activities.

Others, such as New York’s Dark Guardian, patrol areas known for drug activity–a bit like the city’s old subway-riding Guardian Angels. Dark Guardian shines lights and takes videos to try to deter crime nonviolently, and he makes emergency calls to 911.

“Mostly, they’re relatively normal people trying to help out and have a little fun along the way,” says Tea Krulos, a Milwaukee writer working on a book about them.

Phoenix Jones, on the other hand, interjects himself into situations.

A mixed martial-arts fighter, he broke his nose last month while breaking up a fight, and he says he has been shot and stabbed, too. He often travels with a posse, sometimes carries a Taser nightstick and tear gas, and repeatedly has himself been mistaken for a criminal.

On a particular Friday evening Jones, accompanied by 3 men, Buster Doe, Pitch Black and Ski Man, a superhero-in-training, and a female, Blue Sparrow, walked Seattle’s streets. Obliging night spot patrons, Jones posed for photos outside the establishments but admitted that it “distracts me from my mission.” Turning to the task at hand, he “chastised a man for yelling at a downtrodden passerby. ‘Let’s keep it cool; let’s all have a good night,’ he said to the man, who quickly backed down. ” To those hanging out in areas frequented by drug dealers Jones remarked ” ‘Stay safe tonight,’ he said. ‘Stay warm.’ ” One thing was clear when he and his posse couldn’t catch a car driven by a suspected DUI, their inability to fly was a definite disadvantage. Jones admits to feeling foolish in his superhero get-up when he does little in the way of crime-fighting.

The EYE

While Seattle Police Detective Mark Jamieson congratulates the efforts of citizens getting involved, he is concerned about situations going awry. ” ‘Our concern is that if it goes badly, then we wind up getting called anyway, and we may get additional victims.’ ” Zetaman, a Portland superhero, feels similarly. After an evening of late-night patrolling in Seattle by both Jones’ group, the Rain City Superheroes, and Zetaman’s Real Life Superheroes, the leaders and their groups have gone their separate ways for good. Jones makes his position clear when he says ” ‘I don’t see the point in handing sandwiches to homeless people in areas in which the homeless are getting abused, attacked, harassed by drug dealers.’ ” And Zetaman charges back with ” ‘(A)ll of us are afraid of one day someone is going to get killed and it’ll be all over. … I don’t need this kind of macho c_ in my life and I don’t need to prove myself to anyone, least of all to Phoenix Jones and his Rain City Superhero Movement.’ ” Superhero Knight Owl makes a good point when he said ‘We’re not one giant family, … After all, we’re a colorful collection of individuals. We’re superheroes.’ “

how I wish superheros were real.

 

heavens to mergatroid!!!…………real life?…………or reality show gone amok?!?
………………………….hugmamma.

never too late, “good manners”

The age of technology seems to have signaled an era where good manners have become extinct. Cell phone calls interrupt romantic dinners, cat naps on public transport, silence in a library. Text messaging is a never-ending, voiceless conversation. E-books and lap tops are all the companions some folks need. The latest gadgets and gizmos make it unnecessary for us to interact with one another.

Perhaps Mother Nature is encouraging us to get back to basics. Because in the final analysis, when all material things are washed away in a tsunami, or demolished in an earthquake, or engulfed in wildfires, people have to turn to each other for answers. We may do well to take a refresher course on good manners, on doing unto others as we would have them do unto us…before we find ourselves in need of their help.

The Complete Life’s Little Instruction Book by H. Jackson Brown, Jr., offers some good advice on being neighborly. Our memories just need a little jogging, and dusting off, to get us back on track toward being more human in an environment that’s becoming less and less so.

  1. Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for your convenience, not the caller’s.
  2.  Don’t burn bridges.You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
  3. Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per
    Mother Teresa

    Image via Wikipedia

    day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.

  4. Rekindle old friendships.
  5. Get your priorities straight. No one ever said on his death-bed, “Gee, if I’d only spent more time at the office.”
  6.  Don’t be afraid to say: “I don’t know,” “I made a mistake,” I need help,” “I’m sorry.”
  7. Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved.
  8. Don’t rain on other people’s parades.
  9. Don’t interrupt.
  10. Never underestimate the power of words to heal and reconcile relationships.
  11. Be as friendly to the janitor as you are to the chairman of the board.
  12. Treat your employees with the same respect you give your clients.
  13. Remove your sunglasses when you talk to someone.
  14. Show extra respect for people whose jobs put dirt under their fingernails.
  15. Surprise an old friend with a phone call.
  16. Don’t be so concerned with your rights that you forget your manners.
  17. Act with courtesy and fairness regardless of how others treat you. Don’t let them determine your response.
  18. Spend your life lifting people up, not putting people down.
  19. Remember that everyone you meet wears an invisible sign. It reads, “Notice me. Make me feel important.”
  20. Encourage anyone who is trying to improve mentally, physically, or spiritually.
  21. Be especially courteous and patient with older people.
  22. Let your handshake be as binding as a signed contract.
  23. Love someone who doesn’t deserve it.
  24. Regardless of the situation, react with class.
  25. Become the kind of person who brightens a room just by entering it.
  26. Remember that a kind word goes a long way.
  27. Spend twice as much time praising as you do criticizing.
  28. Offer hope.
  29. When you need to apologize to someone, do it in person.
  30. When a friend is in need, help him without his having to ask
  31. Never be too busy to meet someone new.
  32. If it’s not a beautiful morning, let your cheerfulness make it one.
  33. Remember that cruel words hurt deeply, and loving words quickly heal.
  34. Before criticizing a new employee, remember your first days at work.
  35. Never call anybody stupid, even if you’re kidding.
  36. Offer your place in line at the grocery checkout if the person behind you has only two or three items.
  37. This year, buy an extra box of Girl Scout cookies.
    Boxes of the two most popular Girl Scout cooki...

    Image via Wikipedia

  38. After someone apologizes to you, don’t lecture them.
  39. Carry a couple of inexpensive umbrellas in your car that you can give to people caught in the rain.
  40. When you really like someone, tell them. Sometimes you only get one chance.
  41. Take more pictures of people than of places.
  42. Never make fun of people who speak broken English. It means they know another language.
  43. If you ask someone to do something for you, let them do it their way.
  44. Remember it’s not your job to get people to like you, it’s your job to like people.
  45. Write a thank-you note to your children’s teacher when you see your child learning new things.
  46. Never intentionally embarrass anyone.
  47. Don’t forget that your attitude is just as important as the facts.
  48. Remember that much truth is spoken in jest.
  49. Never resist a generous impulse.
  50. When in doubt, smile.

This list should keep us all busy for some time. In fact, just pondering them will probably occupy more than a few minutes. But we can take our time, for we’ve lots of time. Or have we?

practicing just one a day…will get us somewhere better than where we already are…hugmamma.

baby steps…whew!

 

Denial of Service Attack

Image by kryptyk via Flickr

Seems I’m getting back on track being allowed to leave comments with blogging buddies, Scriptor Obscura, The Daily Dabbler, Sage Chronicles or The (mis)Adventures of Sage, jeanne’s blog, and Random Thoughts from Mid-life. Although my comments are still not being accepted by my host, WordPress.com. Strange, but probably understandable in view of their recent DDoS, Distributed Denial of Service attack. Hubby thinks they’re still trying to get out from under the barrage.

We shoot at you

Image via Wikipedia

It’s an unfortunate world we live in, when enemies use every means at their disposal to try and bring us down. It always comes back to the “have nots” wanting what the “haves” have. Where does the fault lie, solely with the “have nots,” or also with the “haves?” In a capitalistic world, even the third world countries are moving in that direction, equality doesn’t seem a given, no matter what we like to think. I guess the equality we speak of in a democratic, capitalistic society is that we can all line up shoulder to shoulder at the starting line. What happens thereafter is “every man for himself.” Forget about those who fall by the wayside, or those who are handicapped and can’t even get “out of the gate.” These unfortunate are either stampeded or helped by “good samaritans,” who fall back to help their fellow man. Not a savory picture of humankind, but a very real one nonetheless.

Overly simplistic viewpoint, for sure. And I’m just as certain that there’s no easy answer. But perhaps there’s enough finger-pointing to go around.

an early morning rambling…hugmamma.

postaday2011: when was your last random act of kindness?

So many great comments were left in answer to topic #57, a suggestion offered on The Daily Post at WordPress.com blog. I thought I’d share some of them with you, including one I left as well. They may encourage all of us to step outside our comfort zone, and reach out to someone in a gesture of kindness. Like a boomerang, it will return, perhaps when it’s least expected. I think the appropriate expression is paying it forward.”

How ironic that I’m reading this as I wait for what seems like an eternity at the drive thru window of this Mc Donald’s! After 15 minutes just to order some cookies, the cashier gave me too much change back. I honked, smiled, gave it back to him and told him to take it easy. His smile? Priceless! …MyDatingHangovers

A couple of months ago when it was really cold, I saw a homeless guy and went into Dunkin Donuts and bought him a coffee and a bagel. He was very thankful. I really felt for him and thought it was the least I could do. …barneyabishop

My Dad always told me to do one good thing for some stranger everyday. IT has been my way ever since I can remember. Try it! It is wonderful! …Debra Moorer

Earlier today I helped a senior citizen out of a bus, but that’s just something I normally do without even thinking about it. …Jota Ka

Wasn’t random, but I was having lunch with my wife and a friend in my hometown when an older couple sat behind us turned around and asked me if I knew where a certain church was. They were on their way to a wedding that afternoon.

I explained that I had lived in the town most of my life, though I hadn’t lived there for several years and that I hadn’t heard of that particular church. So I used my smart phone to locate it and scribbled the post code and some (admittedly rough) directions to help them get to the wedding. …procrastin8or

I agree, acts of kindness should not be random, and I know myself that a smile from a stranger can help me through the week nevermind the day! I remember I was driving down a country lane where there seemed to be a lot of rabbit carnage all over the road. It was obviously a rabbit “highway”. The vehicle infront of me was driving obliviously to the rabbits running out of the hedge and I was quite frankly driving dangerously trying to avoid them. The inevitable happened with the vehicle infront and it hit a rabbit. I was upset as I could see the rabbit was not quite dead but in death throes, so I stopped. It was a dangerous place to stop but I got out, and picked the rabbit up and got back into the car and kept it on my lap. I drove to a safer place and stopped, and I held the poor animal to my heart until its last breath passed. I was heart broken but felt in my weird way, that I’d helped its passing. …Anastasia Martyn

Today at McDonalds during lunch gave up my seat to a family of 8 that could not find seating for everyone to eat together. …David Wodecki

Random Acts of Kindness – It’s the little things in life that make the difference. A smile, an opened door, a friendly hello, a kind word, these are just a few of the things everyone can do everyday. I do it all day, everyday, whether it benefits the other person or not. I know it benefits me just knowing I tried to make someone else’s day a little brighter. …Robert J. Banach

  • I totally agree with you! Kindnesses can be doled out in mini portions, every day. It’s seldom that opportunities for grand gestures occur. Why wait? A smile, a “hello,” a nod of one’s head, a “thank you,” an excuse me, letting someonelse go first, can all go a long way in making someone’s day good, better, or great. When I’ve the urge to tell a stranger she looks beautiful, I do. Recently a woman exiting the elevator I was entering, looked gorgeous in a gown and fur coat, and I reached out to touch her gently, and told her so.

    And you’re so right. Regardless if the recipient acknowledges my act of kindness, I’m glad I put it out there. What’ve I got to lose? Truth is, they usually express appreciation.

    am in definite agreement with youhugmamma.

postaday 2011 topic: best road trip

A couple of years ago I was part of a totally unexpected road trip with 3 strangers, all of us in the same “boat” when Southwest cancelled our connecting flights. All anxious to get to our destinations, mine being my daughter’s home, an hour away by air. Not one for hitch-hiking, but wanting to see her smiling face after a 5 hour flight, I threw caution to the wind. Telling my hubby, “I’m catching a ride with Larry. Talk to you later.” I happily drove off with my newfound companions, a woman, and 2 men.

God blessed our road trip because our personalities gelled. We were all soft-spoken, laughing quietly at each other’s jokes, commiserating about jobs and families. We stopped enroute for a quick bite, but hurriedly continued on our way.

Arriving at the airport where we should’ve landed, I tried to press $20 into Larry’s hand for having rented the car. He refused, saying our companionship was more than compensation on what would have been a long, solitary, 5 hour ride to his home. I hugged him, tears welling  in my eyes because I’d been helped by a truly Good Samaritan. I will never forget his kindness in helping me get to my daughter, who likened the trip to the mom in “Home Alone 2,” when she hitchiked with musicians to get home to her son, Kevin. 

good people happen when you least expect them…hugmamma. :)

good samaritan #11

Saw CBS hit show “Undercover Boss” last night, and realized I had to write about this particular segment when I saw that my husband was tearing up along with me, routine for me, not for him. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the reality show, it follows a corporate CEO who shows up at company work sites to witness the day-to-day operations, first hand.

Kim Schaefer, CEO of Great Wolf Resorts, is the first female boss to do the show. Changing her appearance, with a new haircut and color, she, with camera crew in tow, pretended to be a stay-at-home mom being filmed for a reality TV show. Dressed down, that is, not in her usual suit and high-heels, Schaefer buddied up with an employee in each of the following areas: the day care center, the water park, the front desk and the restaurant. I’m pretty sure some, if not all, were at different locations, of which there are 10 throughout the country.

As a result of her findings, Schaefer reported back to her management team that  no drastic changes needed to be made, but there were things that needed tweaking. Front desk registration took too long, sometimes up to 15 minutes, causing long lines to form. The sweltering heat in the water park was great for guests, but unbearable for employees. Schaefer asked managers responsible for these departments to look into making the necessary modifications. She went on to say the company should look for ways to acknowledge its appreciation to its employees, for their dedication and great service. Credits at the conclusion of “Undercover Boss” noted that Great Wolf Resorts is now rewarding all its employees by allowing them free access to any of its locations for family vacations.

Schaefer acknowledged that while her motivation to go undercover was prompted by her position as CEO, her on-the-job experience as working stiff reverberated with her as that of a working mom. “My expectations were that I was going to come in as a CEO and look at it through the eyes of the CEO…It ended up being about the people and me as a working mom.”

At the show’s start, Schaefer was shown with her family, her husband who enjoys being a stay-at-home dad to 2 teenage children, a son and a daughter. Schaefer acknowledges that she is passionate about working, that she couldn’t imagine not dedicating herself to a job outside the home. In observing the family dynamics, it’s obvious she is a loving mom and appreciative spouse. She looks and behaves nothing like the domineering, sharp-tongued, controlling Miranda Priestly in the movie “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Unlike Meryl Streep’s character, Kim Schaeffer seems perfectly capable of being a top-notch CEO while maintaining the warmth of a normal, human being who loves her husband, children, and yes, even her employees. In the “great reveal,” Schaeffer invites to corporate headquarters, the 4 Great Wolf Resorts employees whom she shadowed during filming. Each arrives separately for a meeting with the CEO, unsuspecting that they’ve already met, albeit under very different circumstances.

I couldn’t help but think, as I’ve thought before, that moms would make the best bosses, the best leaders. That’s not always true, as in Sarah Palin’s case, in my opinion. But Kim Schaefer was as warm and unassuming in her CEO attire, as she had been in a camp counselor’s get-up, aquatic assistant’s shorts, waitress’ uniform, and receptionist’s drab garb. Schaefer spoke from the heart, reaching across her desk to hold the employee’s hands in hers. Her appreciation for their service was genuine, as were her tears. Her words weren’t “office speak.” They were the language of compassion, of empathy, for the plight of the working man and woman. 

To each of the four, Schaefer made a personal gift in addition to promotions and pay raises. For the mom who supervised kids in day care, her daughter was given a full scholarship to college. The young man who oversaw aquatic operations would realize his dream of becoming a pilot, with fully paid flying lessons. The receptionist who suffered with knee problems because of a bad fall would not only have surgery, but would be guaranteed the day shift so that she could better parent her children as a single mom, and some extended time off to be with them.

The most heart-wrenching to watch were the tears shed between Schaefer and the waitress, who’d lost a 9-year-old daughter years earlier in a car accident. Of all her employees, this woman resonated the most with her boss who realized how precious her own daughter, and son, were to her. The waitress’ positive attitude about life, “I live each day as if it were my last,” and “I do my job, regardless of the size of my tips,” was an amazing testament to her character. The fact that she worked double shifts to support her family, including a baby, moved Schaeffer to cut her employee’s work hours without reducing her pay, by making her a floor supervisor. In this capacity she would impart valuable customer service experience to others.  And she was also given extended vacation leave to enjoy her family.

As I said before both my husband and I wiped a few tears from our eyes, watching CEO Kim Schaefer interact with her employees. I even said to him, he should keep his eyes and ears open if he ever heard that someone was looking to hire an amazing person to run their operation.

from my lips to bill gates ears…hugmamma.

Following are the 10 Great Wolf Lodges and their locations:

  • Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
  • Poconos PA, Scrotun, PA
  • Grapevine TX
  • Charlotte, Grand Mound WA
  • Mason OH
  • Williamsburg VA
  • Kansas City KS
  • Traverse City MI
  • Wisconsin Dells
  • Sandusky OH     

Good Samaritan #6

Normally I write about “good Samaritans” who go unrecognized by the larger viewing audience. Unlike those acknowledged for their good deeds in the national media, local “heroes” are never seen beyond their community, region or state. But I decided to make an exception with Staff Sergeant Robert Miller who was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Obama today. I had a change of heart because he was 24 years old, the same age as my daughter. I could imagine myself in his parents’ shoes, but would I really want to?

Miller died on January 25, 2008, far from the comforts of home and the loving arms of his parents and 7 siblings. But on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, he spent his days and nights in the company of another “family.” Fellow Green Berets, and Afghani  soldiers who shared a life in common, but one that bordered on death. And so it is not surprising that Miller died, so his “brothers” could live. The youngest member of his squad, he was fearless.

On a mission to find high-value enemy insurgents, Miller’s team of eight elite American soldiers and 15 Afghan troops were moving along a rocky, snow-covered trail when the first shots rang out. Miller’s captain was injured almost immediately.

As the squad took cover Robert realized they were badly outnumbered from above. Rather than retreat to safer ground he ran directly at the enemy, killing numerous militants and providing his men with the cover they needed to escape.

His parents were told he saved the lives of 22 men, seven of them fellow members of the US Army Special Forces.

‘As they got near the structure there was ambush, they were attacked by over 100 insurgents–they had hidden behind boulders, it was a very intense situation,’ his mother Maureen Miller said …

His father Phil Miller was proud of what his son had done.

‘He essentially stayed in the kill zone to keep control of the situation and allowed everybody else to get out of the kill zone and basically gave them a chance to reorganize and regroup,’ he said. …

He died holding his rifle, firing until it ran out of ammunition. He had thrown his last grenade and fought for 25 minutes after having been shot twice in the shoulder and ribs.

Sgt. Nick McGarry was one of the men he saved that day.

‘I would see him go to another place, attack that area, attack another area, attack another area. I can honestly say, if he wouldn’t have done that, we probably would have gotten flanked and a lot more people would have died,’ he said.

Members of his unit said there were so many bullets hitting the ground around him that the dust kicked up made him invisible, but he kept firing until the end.

My husband and I were college students when we started dating in the late 60’s. The Vietnam War was underway, and so was the lottery system which recruited young men into military service. It was a nail-biting time, as we waited to see if my husband’s low number would be called. We were grateful that he escaped recruitment, because he would most certainly have seen battle in Vietnam.

Unfortunately my brother Ed wasn’t as lucky. He served in Vietnam for a couple of years as a radio dispatcher. I vaguely remember the horror stories he related about his wartime experiences. I do recall that a good buddy was blown to pieces before my brother’s eyes, and that he slept with a pistol beneath his pillow, a habit he carried over into civilian life. As though it were yesterday, I can see my brother searching the names on the Wall, Vietnam’s Memorial to fallen soldiers, looking for his deceased comrades. Ed enlisted as a young man “wet behind the ears,” but he returned home a survivor of war, barely hanging onto his sanity.

I’m grateful for my brother’s life, despite the scars that have been forever imprinted upon his psyche. The love of family and long-time friends, and 40+ years working for the same employer, has helped my brother resume a normal life. I wish Sergeant Robert Miller might have returned home to his family; I wish they could have helped him “pick up the pieces” of his life.

Where do 24 year olds find the courage to make decisions which belie their young age? How do 24 year olds decide between life and death? How do 24 year olds choose death? We who love them unconditionally can influence their decision, by showing them that death is all about life.

for brave young people, huge hugs…hugmamma.