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Friday, August 17, 2007

Blessings of being an Angel


A Soldiers' Angel that is.

As I think almost every Angel will tell you, when we get a chance to thank one of the members of our military for their service, we often get thanked in return. We could get into a humorous cycle of, "No, no, thank YOUs", but we all usually just smile and say it's our pleasure, honor, duty, joy, or all of the above. WE know who needs to be thanked, don't we Angels?
Anyway, I had the privilege of having this type of exchange with two generals recently, one active duty, one retired. A little background...

One of the cool things about being an Angel in our nation's capital is that special support/participation activities by Soldiers' Angels seem to proliferate.

I wrote about Angel events and participation at the 2nd Annual Milblogs Conference.

I've also written about giving out flags at the National Memorial Day Parade, visiting Arlington Cemetary on Memorial Day, supporting our veterans at the first Gathering of Eagles event, cheering on our wounded and active duty service members in the Face of America bicycle ride from Gettysburg to DC, adding Angel Wings to the efforts of some amazing military wives and their neighbors, and more.

Two events I haven't shared allowed me to shake hands with generals. I thanked them, but once again I got the immediate "No, no, thank YOU."

Back on July 3rd, super-Angel (my term!) Monica, who does soooo much to support our veterans at Walter Reed , and I got to attend the USMC's Sunset Parade at the Iwo Jima Memorial at the invitation of Major General Benes, Director, Expeditionary Warfare Division. We each invited our sisters to attend with us (we both have very cool sisters!). For some reason, my sister and I got particularly good seats... right behind MGen Benes and the special guests, Janis Roznowski, founder of Operation Comfort, and her husband. That's a picture of my view of the parade at the top of this post (see the stars on the general's shoulder? Nifty huh?

The Marines you see in the center of the pic are members of "The Commandant's Own" Drum and Bugle Corps and the Silent Drill Platoon out of Marine Barracks Washington, DC (check out the photo of the Silent Drill Platoon here). Extremely impressive. On Tuesday nights at 7pm through much of the summer, anyone can grab a seat on the grass and watch the parade. But because MGen Benes was honoring Mrs Roznowski, there was a pre-parade reception to which members of other military support organizations were invited. Which is when I got to thank MGen Benes and shake his hand. An amazingly soft-spoken Marine, but he still said, "No, no, thank YOU."

My other opportunity to say thanks was at the Pentagon last week. Soldiers' Angels was one of several non-profits that received grants sponsored by Newman's Own, Fisher House Foundation, and Military Times Media Group to fund programs that support of our military service members. A total of $75,000 was distributed. And no, Mr. Newman did not attend. Darn! But! extra-special Angel Lynette was there to accept the grants for Soldiers' Angels' VALOUR-IT program (which distributes specially equipped laptops for our recuperating wounded vets).

I wish I could say that I got to shake the hand of the man who presented the grants, but as General Peter Pace is our outgoing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was getting lots of attention, I didn't get the chance. However, special guests at the ceremony were General Richard B. Myers, USAF (Retired) and his wife. If you'll recall, Gen Myers was Gen Pace's predecessor as Chairman. In civilian clothes, he was a little less occupied, so before he could escape I walked up and said, "Sir, I just wanted to say thank you for your years of service". And, yes, you guessed it, he replied, "No, no thank you..."

But really, Sirs, I'm getting the last word. Thank YOU.

1 comment:

Kathi said...

Holy schnike,Lisa...you made the Mudville Gazette Dawn Patrol:)

Way to go!! (and this was a great post!:)
Angel Hugs,
Kathi