Friday, May 07, 2004

Dream of War 

I had a dream that I was back where I grew up and that there were armed men in the front yard. The men were soldiers, enemies in a war. I was inside the house and very frightened. There was a uniformed soldier there with me. He directed me to hide and, with his gun in hand, postured himself to defend me.

I was adrenaline-pumping scared. My mind was racing with thoughts of how I would defend myself if my first line of defense failed. My mind raced with questions: Would I be found? Would I try to defend myself? Would I be killed? Would I be captured? Would I be tortured?

I woke with a start. Who was the stranger so brave to lay his life on the line for me? Obviously the war is real to me in more than a conscious sense.

I have been thinking a lot about the war and the role of our military. I have signed up to participate with Soldiers’ Angels to send letters and care packages to a soldier. I sent off the first package last week. I used a checklist from a Soldiers’ Angels message board for picking out items to send. My adopted soldier deserves to get the best I can send him. If appropriate, I would like to share some of our correspondence here on my blog. (I haven’t been very consistent about posting lately, but I’m going to try to do better.)

I saw “The Last Samurai” for the first time this week. The messages in the movie about being a soldier are very powerful. The part that had the greatest effect on me was when Tom Cruise’s character was talking to the child about being afraid. The child had established a bond with Cruise’s character who was leaving to go to battle. The child had lost his father to war. The child was scared to lose another person he loved to war. The child had been told by his father that dying in battle was an honorable way to die. The child assumed Cruise’s character to be very brave because he had fought in many battles. Cruise’s character told the child that he was scared every time he went into battle. In a strange way, the common thread of being scared comforted the child.

I didn’t know what to expect from “The Last Samurai” and was pleasantly surprised. I would recommend taking the time to watch it if you haven’t seen it already. Just a note of caution: the movie has graphic violence and complex messages that are not appropriate for young children.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Meirav was two 

The following link was found on Today's Bleat:
Meirav was two

Monday, May 03, 2004

Visit to Landstuhl 

The following is from an email I received over the weekend. I would like to thank Wilhelmine for her wonderful, caring heart. Although she has trouble with English, she does not have trouble communicating her message to her readers.

Soldiers Angel Visited the wounded soldiers and marines in Landstuhl Medical Center
on Good Friday the 09th April 2004

I have wondered me many times what could I do more for the soldiers and now the marines in Iraq. So I have had the idea one day to go to the Landstuhl Medical Center, in Landstuhl. Together with good friends from me Irene, Manfred and Regina we all went to Landstuhl and for to say to all heroes "Thank you very much for fighting the war" and "Get well soon", to all young American men and women who are putting their lives at risk in Iraq day for day for more as a year and now longer and nobody knows how long they have to do this. Our hours in Landstuhl have been a wonderful thing. The manager from the Landstuhl Fisher House has picked up us at the Gate 3 in front of the hospital at 2 pm. She has given us a wonderful warm hearted welcome. She is a great lady. After a short talk with her at the Fisher House, we went together with a group fight attendants from the AA-Airlines to the Hospital. They have brought to the wounded and the hospital a lot of girl scouts cookies. This was for us the first visit in a military hospital.

We have had 15 empty backpacks with us, which we have given the Fisher House for the wounded patients. This is something that they need so much to carry their belongings in it. I have read to go by Air Force further, all patients need backpacks or sport bags but not shopping bags. So we are glad that we could give something to make the trip to the US for the wounded soldiers and marines easier.

From Kristi from Florida, we have had with us a very large Easter basket too. She has sent it to me for to give it to a special hero. We have had luck, a SPC from Waterbury from the Connecticut Army National Guard, injured in a non-hostile incident in Iraq was in a barracks in Landstuhl. One of the officers told us that he will bring the basket to him on Easter. I will say to them, thank you very much for doing this and bring to injured soldiers a wonderful Easter basket. To lie down in a hospital far away from home and alone on a holiday is not so easy, for nobody! So we have thought we will bring 15 Easter bugs and 4 small Easter baskets with us with candies and chocolate to give it to wounded, injured or sick soldiers or marines, so we know that someone is thinking of them on Easter.

For us all it was a great honour to went together with the manager from the Fisher House to the wounded marines and soldiers and to give them the magnificent and useful backpacks, which have been dispatched to Landstuhl through Soldier`s Angels Foundation http://www.soldiersangels.org/, Keystone Soldiers and United Spinal Assoc. The backpacks we are given to the soldiers and marines have had a lot of good things in it - all things they need so much: Hooded Sweat Shirt, Military Brown T-Shirt, Black Sweat Pants Package of Boxers and Socks, 120 minute ATT calling card, CD Player (w/extra batteries), 1 Stick Deodorant, 1 (1.5 oz.) shave gel , 1 (2 oz.) bottle of Shampoo and Body Bath, 2 Disposable Razors, 1 (4" handle) toothbrush, with bristle cover, 1 (.85 oz.) tube of toothpaste and more goodies. Look at http://www.soldiersangels.org/first_response_pack.htm

I must tell you that the eyes from the marine have told me that they both were very surprised, to see the backpack and to see that people are thinking on them. And as they saw what the backpack contents, they could not believe it. But the greatest thing near all the things they need so much was the CD player, this was the best of all! It was a great thing to meet them and to see that they saw that people are looking for them. We have seen marines and soldiers lying in their beds, full of pain and with eyes filled with tears, who could not make any movement without pain. By every Hero we have visited we have seen that they appreciate our visit by them, sometimes they looked at first a little bit surprised, to see that Germans visit them and that our German group said to them "Thank you very much for the great job they all have done for us all" This was a great thing, to give them handshakes and this brought us tears in the eyes. And they told us always again and again, thank so much for doing this for us. Someone has taken his T-shirt directly out of the backback and Irene has helped him to do it over his wounded arm. Another marine told us how he was wounded in Iraq. It is always the same bad story you read day by day in the news…as he was speaking, you could see that his body was there, lying in the bed and in his thought he was fighting and wounded again. At first he has spoken normally, and step by step when he told us his story he was imaging the fight again so that he now begins to speak faster and faster and his eyes have seen the terrible pictures again. We think that all marines and soldiers were really pleased to have had a visitor. We have visited or spoken with about more as 15 marines and soldiers, in the hospital and in the Fisher House. A few have had serious medical problems I think a lot of them told me that they are going further to Walter Reed or Bethesta or to Texas for more medical care. I told them that they can give me an e-mail if they want that our group can do something for them here in Landstuhl or in Washington DC. The most of the wounded were alone there and their love ones are in the States, but a few family members have taken the opportunity to stay in the Fisher House and so they have the opportunity to look the whole day for their wounded family member. The Fisher House is a great thing. We all have seen that all the nurses, doctors, and all the other staff and the women and men from the Fisher House do a great job. And I am glad that I can work together with the Soldiers' Angels

Wilhelmine Aufmkolk, Germany

A member from KONTAKT Wiesbaden e.V., German/American Friendship Club
and Soldiers Angels Foundation

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