Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 261

Mom – Day 261

We did get to speak to Zach (last night for us but early morning for him). We spoke for a bit and he told us what happened but he was exhausted. He asked us to call him later but we weren’t able to get through. I know that happens sometime, so I am okay.

Yesterday when I heard the news it was upsetting but it wasn’t until this morning that it hit me.

I love you Zach –
Love Mama xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Saturday, February 27, 2010

262 Dad and Mom for Zach

Once again words cannot express things as well as the words of the person who is there, so from Zach:
"God was looking after us this morning. We get on our convoy and we are only like 6 clicks from shank just about to transfer from the dirt road to hard ball. We are about a click from the hard ball and hit a big wall of fog. We are the second truck and the first truck stops at a fork and a detour was made around the part of the main road for construction. The first truck stopped and was deciding which way to go. He chose the left. We went about 40 meters and stopped he noticed we had to turn around he guessed wrong and was a dead end. We are about to start heading back and BOOM. #$%@ #$%@ WHAT THE #$%@ i was saying looking at both mirrors of our truck to assess the damage. I thought how are 37,000+ pound trucks ass slid left and tilted - perhaps an RPG hit us directly. I notice no damage and then decided it wasn't that. Shrapnel and dirt is now covering the truck. My team leader said What the #$%@ was that? (this is all in matter of seconds) Then from the Hemet truck behind us i see smoke and debris and I said #$%@ I think the #$%@in hemet took an IED. People where calling us up, thinking we got hit. We called in everyone is okay then the hemet did the same. When we took the wrong direction at the fork the correct road was about 20 ft to the right of us. That's where it went off between our truck and the hemet. If it hadn't been foggy this morning which we initially thought was bad we would have taken the correct road and it very well could have been our truck that got hit."
God be with the men and women who are putting their lives on the line in the name of freedom! Zach didn't want his mother to hear that story but she saw my reaction when I read it and and I had to share! You are superman and I love you!

Day 262

Mom – Day 262

Yes, we heard from Zach (actually only Dal heard from him). Maybe he will tell you.

I love you Zach – Our prayers are with you everyday.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 263

Mom – Day 263

I believe Zach is out again on another mission but I am not sure. We haven’t really received any news from him other than a few words the other day that was written on Facebook.

So I am by no means an expert in politics, history or any of the sorts, so I would like to understand the following information. – Maybe I am missing some of the puzzle –
So lets talk oil first. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the top 5 countries that exports crude oil to the US (which accounts for 71%) are the following countries: Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela (Iraq is number 7 and Kuwait is number 12 on the list of the top 15 countries that export to the US). Now Nigeria and Saudi Arabia are on the US Dept of State, Travel Warning List; and I would have thought Venezuela would have been on it as well. During the time of the Persian Gulf War (or the 1st Gulf war), the US helped Kuwait and Saudi Arabia when Iraq troops invaded Kuwait (I know, I know we had a direct interest there – oil, nat’l security, blah, blah, blah). This was a short war and ended in February of ’91. The part that really gets me, and I must not be seeing the picture because it makes no sense to me, is the following: here is Saudi Arabia (US Standard Oil of California explored for oil there with permission of then King Ibn Saud) who is somewhat our friend (not foe) and in the ‘90’s they were pouring tons of money into Pakistan to educate their children. Pakistan being so vulnerable because of their poverty and their lack of an adequate educational system was prime real estate for Saudi Arabia to spread their “oil money” to create these schools. Oh, did I mention that these schools often had teachers that never went to school and a majority of them did not care about math, science, or history! Yes, these schools are the madrassas that educated most of our Taliban. Let’s not forget that 15 out of the 19 hijackers from the 9/11 attacks were Saudis. I question some of our friends, are they worth calling our friends? It is very dangerous to be dependent on any country for resources (or money). – I needed to vent this out because my son is out there and I wonder who our friends are??? –

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 264

Mom – Day 264

So a hundred days have gone by. In the one hundred days I have: been frustrated, cried, prayed, questioned and have started to accept. When I go back to my first week of blog writing compared to this last week, I too have changed. Zach is not the only one that will come out different after this experience. Thinking about what Zach has experienced this last year – unfortunately I can only think of his difficult missions but I am sure that there are also some good things, like how beautiful it is in the morning while looking at the mountains.

I am hoping to see Zach in a few weeks but I am not holding my breath. He can go almost anywhere in the world but he still wants to come back to Maine.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 265

Mom – Day 265

Three little words – “Love you madre” – These are three words that made tears come from my eyes. Why – I finally heard something from Zach and I finally felt like I could breath. These three words told me that he is okay. Today marks 100 days that Zach has been deployed!

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 266

Mom – Day 266

No new news. I don’t really feel like writing about anything or looking up anything. I did glance at the news. Be patient – I am just a bit impatient from not hearing any news.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

266 Dad

Each day sometimes runs into the next! I know we have not heard from Zach in a while. It really makes you wonder what they did before the information technology age. Think about it men left for WW II and their families did not see them or talk to them until they returned 3, 4 or 5 years later. Is this way better or worse? We come to expect to hear from him often so we are spoiled. I am a quotes person and this struck me when I read it. I believe it was written of the civil war!

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself." John Stuart Mill

How true those words still ring today! You are superman and a man better than most, I love you Zachman! I miss you with all my heart!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Day 267

Mom – Day 267

Still no word on Zach.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Day 268

Mom – Day 268

There are a lot of things that I want to write about in the blog but you won’t hear anything about Zach because I have no clue as to how he is doing. I don’t know if he has come back from his mission yet or if he is still out there. At the moment I don’t know anything. I am just waiting to hear something from him from anywhere. I was on vacation this week and I thought for some stupid reason that I would be able to communicate with him (I could call in the morning therefore I could accommodate the 9 ½ hours difference in time zones – so I thought). Well, it may be that I can’t get a hold of him because there have been several blackouts (with all of the fighting taking place).

So Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton had an opportunity to visit a women’s college in Saudi Arabia. I find it interesting that such a powerful woman who had a shot of being president of the United States went to a country that does not allow women to hold “important positions” in government or should I say, women make up only 5% of the workforce so they are not allowed many positions period. I don’t understand the justification of all of these men interpreting Islamic rules. Why is it that there are so many rules placed on how a woman dresses, if she can work, in many cases who she can marry, when she can leave her home, if she can be educated …….. Why is it that some man decides her fate? Did you know that Saudi Arabia has McDonalds and Pizza Hut (to name a few) and they too have segregated eating areas so that the women can have proper time to cover up in front of a man (remember, they don’t work so there are only waiters) – but I guess they should be thankful for having the opportunity to go to a restaurant at all. Or that women cannot testify in court because women are to emotional, forgetful and whatever other ignorant things they can come up with. Remember that being a woman or for that matter, a man that believes this may be wrong, have to be careful because there exists the religious police – the mutawween. I am talking about Saudi Arabia but I can easily be talking about Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Oman, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates (although many changes have been made here), etc, etc… The following Youtube might interest you.

I love you Zach and I hope I hear from you soon. Be Safe

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 269

Mom – Day 269

It sounds great to hear that Pakistan was involved with the capture of Mullah Baradar (Mullah is a title – for Muslims that are educated in the religion), the second in command of the Taliban. This sounds great - Pakistan is working with us. Then I hear about the items that were found in a compound during the Marja offensive. The military found diplomas and contraband that belong to the Taliban. The diplomas come from an insurgent training camp in Baluchistan, which is in Pakistan (Baluchistan is a province that is in Southern Pakistan that boarders Afghanistan and Iran). I have a hard time comprehending that the Pakistani government didn’t know that these Taliban training camps were going on and even diplomas were given out at these camps. I did read that the US has asked Pakistan to curb the Taliban activity in Baluchistan. Curb it !?!

I have not heard from Zach yet, I am always worried when he is out on a mission (which is most of the time).

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Friday, February 19, 2010

Da7 270

Mom – Day 270

I finally took care of my nervous habit of biting my nails! I can’t stop worrying about Zach so I took care of my nails – I got acrylics. I wish I could stop worrying but I can’t and honestly, that is not realistic. I don’t write in my blog everything I would really like to say and I often hold back on what I really think. So what is said here is only a fraction of what should be written here in black and white. With that said, there are so many people that have their own blogs that they wish they could write because they wish someone could hear their pain. In many ways I am lucky because I do have an outlet.

A side note, did you know that there are approximately 20% of women serving in our armed forces? There are ~ 33% in the Israeli forces, Canada has ~ 13% and the U.K has ~ 9 %.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

270 Dad

I thought as I read and saw articles about the Taliban using women and children as human shields near Marjah how some people can actually consider these murderous thugs as freedom fighters. Then I realize you can lead people to the truth but can’t make them believe. It is part of what makes America great and part of what divides us. Nearly a half century ago one of my heroes Martin Luther King said “the truth will set us free!” While I fully believe that – I am also reminded the truth is only a partial factor but the perception of truth lies in the mind of the recipient of the truth. For example, political ideologies typically determine acceptance of the truth of a particular candidate or issue. In these circumstances I wish we could set aside biases, the truth is this Taliban and Al Qaeda are thugs, murderers and terrorist, they have proven it over and over again! Additionally the truth is our son is part of a coalition of forces in Afghanistan to deal with these thugs. Thank you to all who are serving at the forefront of freedom! Zach you are superman and I love you!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 271

Mom – Day 271

I haven’t heard from Zach but I know that this is the way it is at times. I have so many things that I want to talk to him about and I have to wait patiently. I really hope I get to speak to him this weekend. I am starting to feel a bit antsy so I hope I get in touch. I am also a bit worried about my friend Mary; I hope she gets a little communication soon. I have a lot on my mind – on another note, I am still reading the book “Three Cups of Tea”. Reading this, I can’t believe so many things were happening in Pakistan and India that I didn’t really pay attention to in the news. It is so easy to ignore the news – I feel bad because I feel if there is nothing I can do, then I can at least care or say a prayer for the innocent people caught in the middle of all of these conflicts. Why can’t people understand that living in peace can be enjoyable?

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 272

Mom – Day 272

There is so much news out there that I don’t know how people keep up. I am always looking up news on South Asia because that is where my interest lies, now with Zach in Afghanistan. But I realize that I am falling behind in what is happening in other parts of the world. It is kind of refreshing to read about other places, but many times the names may change but I could swear I just heard this same story – world events seem to repeat. The embarrassing story is when I forget to check on local news and I miss what is happening in my own backyard.

Today I had someone ask me to explain the difference between Iraq and Afghanistan and why are we fighting in these two distinct countries. This person asked me a lot of questions about Afghanistan – me, Lisa – and I wondered, what do I know? I realized that I did know something. I did manage to answer all of her questions, and I enjoyed talking about all of this. I am often embarrassed to say that I know very little about this part of the world but it is never too late to learn - and I love learning.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Day 273

Mom – Day 273

Although Zach is not in Kabul, this is the information that I do have. Right now Kabul is about 27 degrees F. A bit ago, Zach was snowed in for 5 days in another FOB. He is surrounded by snow and he said the temperatures change drastically within a 24-hour period. I believe Zach enjoys his surroundings and how surreal it is.

I wish Zach were here to see Seth Wescott win the Gold in Snowboard Cross – a local! I know Zach really wants to go skiing when he is here. In Afghanistan, he probably looks at all of those mountains and wishes it were a ski resort.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 274

Mom – Day 274

Well Zach is out on a mission again. Where to – who knows? For how long – who knows? What will he be doing – I can only guess.

He is getting excited because he is hoping to be here in March. I am kind of excited but I know that things change all of the time. You really can’t plan on anything. It is frustrating but it is the way it is. I should be more excited but I have been let down often. Also, I am not sure how I will do saying good-bye again. Well, I don’t want to think about these things now. I hope we do get a little snow, because if Zach is here in March I know he will want to go skiing.

I love you Zach – Be Safe
Love your Mama xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Day 275

Mom – Day 275

Today is Valentine’s Day. Midnight is approaching and I am still on my laptop reading, watching and surfing the net. I need to put words on this blog but sometimes all the things in my head our jumbled, so I will just speak about today.

Today I watched “Dear John” with a friend of mine, Carol. Watching the movie, made me think a lot of Zach. I did speak to Zach today and we talked a lot about many things, to include his job, the offensive taking place in Marjah (bringing him up to date as to what we hear in the news), etc, etc… All of this leads me to my discussion with Carol as she said my blogs seem different lately. I do know what she means because I feel it. Although, I am always with my ear to the news, and I worry about him constantly, I do feel different lately. I know this may be short term, or may be a lapse, or this is a lapse – meaning I don’t know why – but I seem to be more ok (not at peace but okay) with Zach doing what he is doing. I think what comforts me the most, is knowing that Zach is confident in what he is doing and he is smart. The other things that help me, is communication and information. Being able to communicate is a Godsend. If I couldn’t do this I would have a very difficult time. I do know that he can’t tell me MANY things but I have this wonderful thing called the World Wide Web that gives me so much information about so many things that I cannot possibly run out of learning material. Don’t get me wrong; I still can’t seem to stop biting my fingernails and every time I hear about someone getting killed in Afghanistan I feel like throwing up. I don’t know, maybe I am starting to accept the fact that Zach is that Stan place.

I love you Zach, Happy Valentine’s Day – Be Safe

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Day 276

Mom – Day 276

Another day is passing. Galen and I were able to speak to Zach today. We try and bring him up to date with the news. He catches some of it but he is a bit disconnected. We have been trying to contact him for a few days but the lines just didn’t get through. It was nice to hear his voice. With everything happening in Afghanistan at the moment it is a little worrisome. I wish he were with us watching to winter Olympics.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 277

Mom – Day 277

On February 10th, Charlie Wilson died. He was the US Congressman that helped find funding for the Afghans that were trying to fight the Soviets in the 1980’s (remember this was the time of the Cold War). The Soviets finally did pull out of Afghanistan only to give rise to the genesis of the Taliban. The sad part is that we probably trained a lot of these Afghans that were fighting the Soviets and are now fighting us. Some hail Charlie Wilson a hero, some hail him a fool. There is a great movie about Charlie Wilson that came out a few years ago.

Speaking of the Taliban, Operation Moshtarak is underway. This is taking place in the Southern part of the country, in the Helmand provice in the town of Marjah. This area where the Taliban is strong, is supposedly responsible for being the center of assembling roadside bombs and of course the opium poppies. Mary commented to me that she wondered how this offensive would affect our boys. I don’t know, other than they are always busy with missions as it is.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 278

Mom, Dad – Day 278

Today we thought we would do something different for the blog, we thought we would have Zach speak.

“Ha Turning your back taking a knee with 170 lbs of gear on. The prop blast hits you, blowing snow like it’s the worst blizzard ever. You almost fall over then you push yourself off the snow and look into the storm the dual propeller Chinook creates. Your adrenaline just skies through the roof. Then you run like the ruck is nothing, cram into the bird with 30 other paratroopers ... you take off within that min. Next thing you know 1 min comes up, your hitting the ground, you get up and run off the bird - someone falls and breaks their leg right beside you. They throw him back on the bird and you charlie mike and you and your team are the first ones inside the compound - that was pretty cool”
February 4 at 2:19pm

Dad – I love you superman.
Mom – I love you Zach – Be safe

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 279

Mom – Day 279

There is risk in everything we do in life. I am writing this blog everyday, kind of like a cross I am baring. I write this because I am concerned about my son and the risk he is taking when he is exposed to the elements, exposed to the reality that people want him dead only because of what he stands for (or just because). When in reality all of us are exposed one way or another to some of these same elements. Every day we turn on the tv and we hear about things that just happen and we often wonder why? I hear stories from my friends and family about horrible things people do to one another or things that just happen to good people – like cancer. When I was younger, I did so many foolish things that I wonder how I am still alive to talk about them. Our sense of fear is different as we age. In some ways, this is a blessing. I am confident in my son’s abilities because he is confident in himself. I am blessed that he has the courage to do what he is doing. Risk is a part of life. We can try and avoid it, but I am not sure if this will always satisfy our souls – sometimes we need to embrace risk or just deal with it. – Thank you Beth for the pep talk, I appreciate you always stopping by to chat with me. -

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 280

Mom – Day 280

We didn’t get in touch with Zach last night but we will try him again tonight – the a.m. for him. I am not sure we will get him but we will try.

Just about everyday, I watch a video about Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Pashtuns … and I read something about this part of the world that I am not as familiar with. The more I read, the more I don’t know. I am amazed at how little I do know about the culture and history of the people of this part of the world. Like, did you know that Pakistan is the 6th most populated country in the world and Bangladesh (former Eastern Pakistan) is the 7th most populated! I know this is not news to some people but I guess for me, I never really paid as much attention to this until now. I feel like I am in High School all over again (as a student). It is never to late to learn, education is forever!

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Monday, February 8, 2010

Day 281

Mom – Day 281

Dal and I had a chance to chat with Zach today on Facebook. We found out that he was snowed in for the last 5 days. I guess he wasn’t issued snowshoes or skies. It is funny that here in Maine, we are missing all of the snow that is hitting the Northeast. Zach asked about the snow here because he desperately wants to go skiing. Sometimes when I get a chance to talk to him, it is like he is in college and I will get to see him during the holidays. I wish that were so. Just one day at a time is all I can do.

I love you Zach, stay alert – Be Safe

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Day 282

Mom – Day 282

Still feeling under the weather. My sister did try and contact Zach yesterday and we tried last night and today but his phone was off. As it turns out, Zach emailed Dal to let him know that his phone was packed and he couldn’t get to it.

Zach doesn’t seem to spend a lot of time at his FOB, he is always out on missions. It worries me, I still bite my nails but I am getting better at accepting this. I may not like it but this is the way it is and I cannot control this. I hope that he was able to watch some of the SuperBowl today. I am not sure if he was able to but I hope he did – a little bit of Americana his way! Mary, if you are reading this – I still have a prayer for Robert, for every time our boys go outside the wire.

Stay focused Zach, I love you – Be Safe

282 Dad

Superbowl - I wish Zach was here I love to watch sports with my bud! I remember one Superbowl while I was int the army, I was in the field on guard duty at 4 in the morning freezing when the NCO in charge of the guard came around and said the 49ers crushed whoever they were playing and beat them worse than the Pats got beat by the Bears! Despite the cold and the early hour I felt good at that moment! I do so wish you were here I miss you so much and I love you! You are superman! I love you! Thank you for keeping us safe to watch the Superbowl!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Day 283

Mom – Day 283

I don’t feel to good today so I will keep this short. I didn’t call Zach today because I had a meeting today so I feel a bit guilty for not speaking to him. I will really be upset with myself if I don’t get a hold of him tomorrow. I will try to call him before I go to bed.

Today I went to my DKG meeting, it is an International group of educators, and they decided to do a project for the soldiers. Rachel, a girlfriend of mine, spearheaded this. It was nice to hear these women willing to put some boxes together. It was nice to know that my friends and fellow colleagues wanted to do something to help out – thank you.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Friday, February 5, 2010

Day 284

Mom – Day 284
If you have an opportunity watch this clip about a young girl named Meena. I find it repulsive what the Taliban do to their children and women. There is no pride when you use people that are weaker or vulnerable to do your dirty work. The children that are caught in the middle of this have no childhood. My heart goes out to them. I remember Zach said that when he sees children that are excited about the military, you still have to always be careful and aware of what they are doing. I hope one day, they can get their childhood back.

I love you Zach – Be careful

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 285

Mom – Day 285

I have tried to contact Zach but I can’t. I noticed that he was on Facebook yesterday so I was hoping he was someplace (like a FOB). When I tried calling him, it went to a computerized voice in a different language – in other words, not available. Once again, I am a bit worried but I don’t know why.

I had to leave so I didn’t get to finish this blog until now. I was right; as I was on my way home I was told to call Zach. By this time it was late for him so I was even more worried! Once I called him, he told me that he got a promotion. He also said he just wanted to talk – he was a bit down. We talked and then Galen came home and talked to him some more. He didn’t want to get off the phone – I wish he were here so that I could give him a hug.

He was out again on a mission. He sounds pretty confident in himself, with respect to his job. I feel good about that. He also bumped into another Mt. Blue, Farmington graduate. I think he was happy to see a familiar face.

I love you Zach and I miss you – Be Safe

285 Dad

Three US service members were killed in a bomb blast in Pakistan, while this is tragic it is more sick what followed the first paragraph of this article. “Three U.S. soldiers traveling with Pakistan security force members were killed Wednesday and one wounded in a roadside bombing in northwest Pakistan that also injured dozens of schoolgirls”. officials said. This was important because it showed that US trainers are “on Pakistani soil at a time when anti-American sentiment over perceived violations of sovereignty is running high. U.S. and Pakistani authorities rarely talk about the training program out of fear it could generate a backlash”, the article went on to say. The militants celebrated this as a great victory, and did I miss something? The article indicated that the bomb “injured dozens of schoolgirls” and there is no backlash against the militants for this. I am sure the end justified the means as usual with these people without regard for innocent life. It was all in the name of their god! Does this really carry favor with their deity? It turns out that several of these kids died, that is a tragedy! I am tired of the media and other despots around the world candy coating these people. These are sick individuals who are bent on doing evil in the world, they ware without hearts and souls and I question at times what our world is coming to for not immediately condemning them as such!. Political correctness is an idea whose time has come and gone. These thugs are evil - period>>>. Thank you Zach and all our service people who are tirelessly striving to bring security to a world filled with evil! You are superman and I love you with all my heart!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Day 286

Mom – Day 286

All day today I have been thinking about how frail life is. Nothing in life is certain. It is natural for us to take things for granted once we get comfortable with what we have. I hate having reminders in my life telling me how vulnerable we are.

I love you Zach – Be Safe

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 287

Mom – Day 287

I am reading the book, Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson. I would like to just read through it but I don’t have enough spare time to do this. I am not far enough into the book to comment a lot other than; it is interesting to read this story about one person and what one person can do.

While I was writing this blog, I received a Facebook message about an old friend of mine. She is my age, and she is in the hospital diagnosed with cancer. They don’t give her long, maybe a few months. She never had the opportunity to marry or have children; she was so driven in everything that she did. I admired her so. She is such a good person; I can’t help but wonder sometimes why these things happen to such good people. I am so upset with myself because I am always busy; I never have enough time for the people I care about. I knew that I was going to see her in a couple of months so I thought we could catch up then. I need to go now.

Zach, I love you – Be Safe

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 288

Mom – Day 288

It must be difficult for some of our soldiers to try and live somewhat of a normal life and taking on so much responsibility. I mean, our soldiers who are under 21 (which many are) can fight but they can’t drink. They have little room for error when they are called to perform a task and yet many are just learning how to take care of their bills. They are grown-ups and yet they are still trying to figure out who they are. The military makes one grow up fast because you have to but it almost cheats them of their development. I know that our soldiers tend to appreciate life more and many of the things we take for granted but what a price.

I love you Zach – Be Safe