Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 110 Dad

Zach where are you? We have been trying to reach Zach for several days to no avail.

"What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly." Thomas Paine

Freedom is a belief it is a choice, it is not fruit to be plucked from a tree, let us never forget those who are charged to protect that freedom.

You are a hero, I love you Zach!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 111

Mom – Day 111

Last month I wrote how June was the deadliest month for the Americans in this horrible war in Afghanistan. This month, I am writing the same thing, except that it is July. These past two months have been the deadliest months for our military. As I am reading the news, I also read how there was a car accident in Kabul where 4 Afghans were killed. The other vehicle involved in the accident involved 4 U.S. contractors. This incident started a riot of about 1000, in Kabul where 2 vehicles were set on fire and stones where thrown. The reason for this, Americans, the infidels shouldn’t be there. Of course this was the voice of a few but it makes me want to sit down face to face with these people. First of all, what about the 66 Americans that died in Afghanistan this month and the 60 that died last month, what was their purpose for dying? The other thing I would love to discuss with all these people that have nothing else better to do than starting riots, is the word ‘INFIDEL’. This word is used over and over especially by those who have no clue to what they are saying. How is it that every American and every Westerner is an infidel, a country of many beliefs? The word infidel, one without faith, has been used over the years in various ways. The Christians used this word to identify Muslims, this word was also used to describe someone that does not believe in a God, or Allah, or ….. Throughout the centuries this word has been tossed around as an excuse to kill people. In fact this word, and the actions caused by this word, the actions of the Christians and non-Christians, provoked people like Immanuel Kant and John Locke to develop the concept of natural rights which created what we now call human rights. I do NOT believe that God, Allah or whatever one wants to call him/her is Evil or would God ever condone killing because someone is different. If I believed that God was evil, then I would rather be an ‘infidel, a non-believer’.

I love you Zach

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 112 Dad

As I was just starting to snooze on the couch I got a funny feeling not sure what it was but I will be glad when I hear from Zach. As the hours drag now, I find it harder to focus I need to do something to take my mind off all of this. I have struggled at times, been strong at times and sometimes I am don't know where I am. I am in one of those times now and continue to live one moment to the next. Zach sent me an email telling me which schools he is thinking about attending, I so look forward to visiting him at a college. As close as it is it still seems so far away. We need to keep the faith, pray and remain positive.

One of Zach's friends Kippy Pingree who is a marine and spent a couple of months in Afghanistan and who will be going back posted something on facebook. It was a message that Lindsay Lohan made the news by going to jail, it then listed all those who have recently given their lives for the cost of freedom. How true I thought if kids are looking for a hero, then there are plenty of men and women who have fought for freedom. Too seldom do we appreciate them but without them none of the things that we take for granted would be possible. I often wonder where we are headed as country I have said it before but what legacy are our children receiving from us?

Of one thing I am certain there are plenty of young people like Zach and in them I trust our future. God bless them. Zach you are my hero, you are superman and I love you!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 113

Mom – Day 113

Yesterday I mention the website of Afghan women writers. I also want to mention that there are pictures on this site. I enjoy reading the short stories and the poems that the Afghan women published on this site. The courage the women have in the name of education is amazing.

I love you Zach

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 114

Mom – Day 114

If you didn’t notice, I have not written in the Blog for a few days. I was mad at the Blog and sick and tired of it! I didn’t want to write in it because I don’t like it anymore, I want this to be over. So why am I writing today, I don’t know, I just know that I am just one person and we are just one family that is suffering. Everyday there are people all around you that are struggling with something. Today, I was working on some research that I am doing for a class I am taking when I came across the following website
It is a site called the “Afghan Women’s Writing Project”. If you have an opportunity, read one of the articles or poems. If you have the time, read the article by the anonymous writer titled, “I Am For Sale, Who Will Buy Me?” I wish I could do something.

Zach I love you.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Day 115 Dad

Zach emailed today, talking about lifting, jeeps, girls, beer, good food, girls and college. I like to hear him talk about these things as this is going to be life after the army. He may go ROTC or stay in the reserves, but this stint in the army will be coming to an end next summer. He indicated he needed start the application process. I am so ready for him to be in college and easily reached.

You are superman, I miss you and love you bud!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day 116 Dad

Another day down and I didn't hear much out of Afghanistan today. Sometimes the lack of news is good news sometimes it just leaves you wondering. We didn't talk to Zach today and I really wanted to! For me I talked to Zach late last week, but Lisa didn't and I know she wanted to hear his voice. We had a discussion tonight about military issues and it is sad that we have heated discussions over this among family and friends. We are all in agreement but look at it through different eyes. I will be glad when discussions will revolve around less meaningful issues and ones that don't hit the heart. Each day is a struggle for all of us, I know it is wearing on me!

You are superman, I love you Zach.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 117 Dad

A bad day in Afghanistan today5 soldiers killed near Kandahar due to an IED and 2 navy personnel, probably navy seals are missing, they believe one has been killed. I don't even know what to say today. I just hope and pray that this is all over soon. I pray for this for all of our sakes - for the parents, the spouses, the children for all the soldiers who are over there. I wonder what winning is defined as. I pray that these people appreciate the sacrifice that so many are making.

You are superman, I love you Zach!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 118

Mom – Day 118

I am so tired today because Galen is having trouble sleeping. I know that he was up at 3 a.m. He is getting very nervous about this last stretch for Zach in Afghanistan. I on the other hand am handling it differently. I haven’t cried and I am not thinking about it much. I am trying to Zone it out – as if I am holding my breath so I don’t jinx anything. Prayer, superstition, and promises, whatever it takes – I love you Zach

Day 119, 118

Mom – Day 119, 118

I have six minutes until midnight and I want to write in the blog today so I am trying to write and think at the same time.
Today is my brother’s birthday and he has made me reflect on many things. What I thought about the most today is how he flew from Scotland to pass his birthday with me. I know that I am not the most sentimental and I won’t do his birthday justice because that is not ME but he still chose to spend his special day with me. A birthday should be all about that person but this year, my brother decided to do something special for his birthday, he decided to give it up so that he could be there for me. I am lucky to have so many people around me to be there for me – waiting every day until Zach comes home. I am sure he has his problems and I wish I could somehow be a support for him as well (I, for some reason don’t seem to have those skills to show compassion or to be there for someone). Happy Birthday Jacob

I love you Zach

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 120 Dad

I emailed back and forth today with Zach, I tried to call but could not get through. Zach emailed a little later and indicated for some reason his phone didn’t ring but he saw that I had called. He went to the Gym and when he got back he had a message that he was going out on a mission in a few hours (which would be tomorrow for us) so he had to go to bed and couldn’t talk.

I struggle at times imagining what it is like. He’ll probably wake up around shortly after midnight then go through the pre-mission preparations checking ammo and equipment that could save their lives, finally they will form up and head out in the dark with temperatures in the 70’s to low 80’s. They will be carrying packs that weigh from 60 to 110 pounds and will carry enough water to sustain them and ammo to protect them. They will move slow and steady through pre-planned designated areas always changing routes so as never to be predictable. They will climb on their patrol sometimes to as much as 11000 feet in altitude. They will patrol out as much as 4 or 5 miles, then loop back toward the combat outpost ever vigilant of movement or anything that could mean danger. This is not a walk in the park this is serious dangerous business and they don’t take it lightly. By now these paratroopers are well aware of the dangers that surround them, they have seen friends wounded or killed and have engaged the enemy – they are combat veterans. On their patrol which will take hours to complete because of the rugged conditions the temperature will rise. It will peak out at somewhere between 105 and 120 degrees, yet they will continue on, dressed in “full battle rattle” they will do what they have to do to complete the mission. They are the best America has to offer.

On the mission they may be shot at either by snipers or just a rogue Taliban taking a pot shot. And occasionally they will engage in larger skirmishes but will not shy away or turn from the fight. I admire the incredible fortitude it takes to do this knowing when you walk “outside the wire” that you are entering a whole different world where normal rules do not apply. Yes they will walk this patrol or mission, they will because we are depending on them to do it, and they will not let us down. Upon return to the outpost from the mission they will slide out of wet sweaty gear conduct any post mission briefings or after action reports. They will change from a dirty, sweat drenched uniform, that will have to air wash (meaning not at all) and let it dry while “standing them in the corner” into something either less dirty or slightly clean and maybe relax for a moment. So they will laugh, joke and write home, maybe send an email message or look up a jeep on that they want to buy. But then they will settle down to catch some well deserved sleep and prepare to do it all over again.

Zach takes this seriously which is why he looks out for the other paratroopers he recently took some heat for complaining to command about them sending an ill-equipped paratrooper out on a mission. Due to young man’s complaints and “bitching” he was sent out unprepared for the dismounted mission. I fully understand Zach’s concern that mission success and paratrooper safety depended on everyone being fully prepared and properly equipped as he is the one who is going “outside the wire” with the team. He understands they are only as strong as their weakest link. For this and so many other reasons Zach you are a hero.

At Christmas time we are going to spend quality time riding the snowmobile trails. You are superman and I love you bud.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Day 121 Dad

Another day in our lives keeping on keeping on. Now that the house has gotten a little quieter at the house but I have a gnawing that just won't go away. As we get closer to the day that Zach will leave Afghanistan and redeploy to Germany I get more nervous and I just want all of them to stay focused and ready. It seems that things are really picking up and getting hot and now Ramadan is around the corner. I am so looking forward to Christmas and having him home and just hugging him.

Over the past two or so weeks we have had Ju Ju and her family here, Marjo was here, Lisa's sister Julie was here with her kids and now Eline has come back and Lisa's brother Jacob, it has been fun having everyone here and enjoying our time together. It was so hard to send Marjo home and then Ju Ju and her family the next day I love these kids like my own, they are so special to me! Sometimes I feel so guilty I feel guilty because I am laughing and having fun while Zach is living in a tent in intense heat and in constant danger.

I need sleep I need the knot in my stomach gone I need my little boy home safe and sound. You are superman, I love you Zach.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 123

Mom – Day 123

The sad part of today was that Ju Ju our host daughter left today with her family back to Belgium. It is so nice to have the house full of family. It was so lively! The house is still busy but I miss having my kids.

Dal and I spoke to Zach today, which was nice. After speaking to him for a while he started talking to us about some of his concerns. In the middle of a sentence we were cut off – we finished our minutes on our calling card. I then checked all of my calling cards and none of them had enough minutes to call to Afghanistan. It was frustrating. We couldn’t finish our conversation.

Summer is here and the Taliban is busy. Now, I not only worry about the intensity of things but I also worry about Ramadan. The military will be vigilant during the month of Ramadan. One would think that during this holy month of fasting, prayer, doing good deeds, cleansing the soul and being more aware of God that the fighting would take a break. This year Ramadan starts on August 11th and ends on September 9th. August 11th is Dal’s birthday. I hope this year, Ramadan will really be about doing good – unfortunately, the Taliban and Al Qaeda define ‘good’ differently that I do.

I love you Zach

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 124

Mom – Day 124

Marjo, our host daughter from Finland left today to go back home. While we were at the bus station there was a young man that had his military rucksack. He said that he would be deploying to Afghanistan. I felt so sad for him, I don’t want to see anyone go. I wanted to tell him “NO” but I can’t control these things in life. I felt so bad for him and for his loved ones who will suffer the way we are.

I spoke to Zach today for a little bit of time ☺

I love you Zach

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day 125

Mom – Day 125

Today I am picking up my brother from the airport. I remember when my brother was here and his son Temoc. I remember Zach and Temoc catching frogs out back, and then with Shane they would play little games outside in the dark (Zach would be dressed in my old military uniform). Their only problems in life were ???, all they did was play! No worries at all, only play. Children are so innocent and they shouldn’t have worries. I still think of my son as a boy but I know he is no longer immune from the worries of the world.

I love you Zach

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day 125

Mom – Day 125

June was the deadliest month of the war in Afghanistan, a total of 102 coalition forces were killed and of them 60 were Americans. According to records, there have been 1,936 military forces killed and of them 1184 were Americans. I took some time today to look at the pictures of many of our fallen heroes. They all look so young. Operation Enduring Freedom has also caused many wounded soldiers. I don’t know why I am always so obsessed by this information – I try to find something positive about Afghanistan but it is hard to find this information.

Some of Zach’s friends are at the house and some of my host daughters along with Victoria are here. I wish Zach could be here as well.

I love you Zach

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Day 126

Mom – Day 126

July 14th and so far 33 Americans have been killed this month and 12 other International troops. This has been a long war and I think most people don’t think about it, it is rarely in the news. If you don’t know someone there then it is easy to forget because we have been there so long. I am still confused as to why we are there and that may why we are still fighting – there isn’t a clear outcome. I hope history will tell me something that I don’t know – a clear understanding as to why we are there. As for now, I wait for Zach to come home. Although I do not understand why we are there, I feel for the women and children of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I love you Zach

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Day 127 Dad

Lisa said she talked to Zach today and I am happy for her. It is hard to think each day about what he is doing or if he is ok. I read an article today which referenced US and coalition inflicted casualties on the Afghans and also how insurgent inflicted casualties are more than triple US inflicted. The article referenced that part of that is why soldiers were complaining that it put them at greater danger to comply with restrictive rules of engagement. The article never mentioned that the last two months have been some of the worst for US forces. The Taliban like the cowards they are routinely hide behind the civilians and use them as shields. Or just kill civilians as an intimidation technique. I wonder what causes them to be so cruel, is it their god, surely that can't be! Or can it?

I for one am glad that some commanders are letting the troops fight to avoid needless US casualties. Let them fight or bring them home! Today on the day of my fathers birth a man who fought in WW II to keep the world free, my son is engaged in a war to bring freedom to a people who don't know what the word means. Even though you have been gone for 19 years - I love you Dad!

Zach you are superman, and I love you bud!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Day - 128

Mom – Day 128

This morning I noticed Galen in the window and I was wondering what he was doing, and whom he was speaking to. He was leaving for work. I then realized that he was looking at the US flag and the Airborne Flag. He was saying a prayer for Zach. This is Galen’s daily routine. I watched Galen for a few minutes and I felt so sad.

I love you Zach

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 129

Mom – Day 129

Yesterday we read in the news that six US soldiers were killed and some of them were killed in the Eastern part of Afghanistan. When Dal read the news to me our hearts dropped but then we tried to calculate when we spoke to Zach last and when this occurred – we knew then that Zach was okay. It is so horrible to always be worrying and trying to keep on with life like normal. Any time we do anything out of the normal, someone always worries that something happened.

I am writing this blog while in Canada and the Netherlands and Spain are fighting for the soccer World Cup. Today is a beautiful day with a nice breeze. The last time Dal was here in Quebec, he was with Zach. I can’t wait until I am here again with both my children and we are living life again. ---- Well I am going to stop writing – Spain won, sorry Eline.

I love you Zach

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 130 Dad

As I went to write on the blog last night I saw that Zach was on line, so instead of writing I called him and Lisa and I talked to him for about about 45 minutes. I was so nice he was in good spirits but tired. He said they had walked about 4 miles which when they walked out in the early morning but when they walked back in the heat of the afternoon it was not much fun. But then what is fun about being in a place so hot with thousands of people who want to do you harm.

We told Zach last night we were headed to Quebec today! Zach loves Quebec and I wish he was with us. I know it will be on the list of places he will want to go when he is home at Christmas...... I can hardly wait.

On another note as I talked to my brother Lee last night he was commenting on how the summer is going by so fast I said let it go! I have never wanted a summer to go by so fast and want it so bad.......Zach home safe and sound is what I want.

My mom's birthday is today, I love you Mom.

You are superman, I love you bud!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 132

Mom – Day 132

I asked Dal if he wanted to write in the blog since he spoke to Zach yesterday for some time. They talked about many things that Zach does not say to me. Dal didn’t want to write about the things they spoke about and I understand. There are times that there aren’t words, or sufficient words to express ones feelings and thoughts. I spoke to Zach today for 14 minutes and 11 seconds. I tried calling him all day because he wanted to speak to me today but I couldn’t get through and when I did he had to wake up in a few hours to go on a mission so he couldn’t speak long. He didn’t tell me anything and I didn’t really ask since I know he can’t say much. He wanted to speak to me before he left on his mission but he didn’t want to talk about anything specific. As I am writing this he is already on his mission. I cried today and tears are in my eyes as I write this because I am afraid for him. The fighting is getting more intense. There has been a lot of firing and a lot of activity. Today is Thursday, July 18th and I spoke to Zach for 14 minutes and 11 seconds.

I love you Zach and miss you

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Day 133

Mom – Day 133

It is frustrating that I can’t text Zach since my sister can – but then again, it is amazing that we can contact him in the middle of Afghanistan. We haven’t heard from him in a while so I was a bit nervous but Zach text my sister today and said that we could call. Dal had a chance to speak to him (I didn’t) and he had a chance to let things off of his chest. The sad part was that Zach was not able to go to Matt’s memorial – senior officers bumped their flight to the Shank. It was sad to hear that strangers were able to go to the memorial but his friends could not go. Things are getting very active this summer with the Taliban. In some ways I am happy that they are starting to defend themselves but it also makes me nervous. Yesterday a combat medic was killed ☹ Combat medics are so courageous – I feel for them because they see so many of the horrors of the war.

I love you Zach

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 134 Dad

Five more American lives were lost today it just seems surreal the number of casualties we are taking now. I hope Gen Petraeus makes a decision soon concerning the rules of engagement because it is starting to look like our military are just sitting ducks right now. Zach indicated that he thinks some officers will start to work their own rules in light of the casualties they are taking. I heard a Taliban official say today that they are not interested in talking to the Karzai government or the Americans because they are winning. I am not a General but it would seem to me that to stop that attitude we would have to go on the offensive. Hit them hard over and over again! It is time!!

John Adams: “You will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.”

Zach you are superman, I love you!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 135 Dad

Another day down. It was a long day working most other businesses were closed but we were open and extremely slow. That offered too much time to think at work, I want the time to go by quickly and staying busy makes that happen. I long for an end to the summer which sounds crazy as I love summer so much, but each day passing in the summer is a day closer to the redeployment of the 173rd Airborne to Europe and Zach will be safely out of Afghanistan. General Petraeus is reexamining the rules of engagement and I hope he frees the military to conduct operations to be on the offensive.

You are superman and I love you Zach!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 136

Mom – Day 136

Today is the fourth of July and I miss having Zach here. It has been a good day because I have Victoria and three of my host daughters here enjoying Maine. Julie from Belgium (and her parents); Eline our baby from the Netherlands; and of course Marjo from Finland is still here. It is so nice to have my kids home but I wish I could have them all here. We tried calling Zach today (several times) so that everyone could speak to him but our calls didn’t go through. I wanted to speak to him because I wanted him to know that we are here for him. I think he had the opportunity to go to Matt’s memorial –

I love you Zach

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 137 Dad

The flag in our yard flies at half mast in honor of Specialist Matt Hennigan a paratrooper, an American hero and a young man who will forever be young. My heart aches for his parents and his family I do not know this young man but his passing has had a great impact on me. It is because he is 20 like Zach, a good friend of Zach and his death will have a greater impact on Zach. I wrote a long time ago that war is hell and it is not fair nor is it forgiving. This war has influenced the lives of so many my prayer is for not just for the those who have been injured and their families, but for those who are still in harms way while dealing with the loss of their friend - their brother in arms, who is no a void in their lives. We can never understand what they feel or what they are going through unless we have been through it. I pray that God will heel them protect them and bring them home safely.


Zach you are a hero, you are superman, stay sharp be alert and know that Mom and I love you so very much!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Day 138 - Zach's Facebook

Zac Dalrymple
Thanks you all for you support a little about Matti Hennigan- He was 20 years old, last September we had a big surprise bday party for him. It was in a old munk brewery which became a beer museum. It was one of the most fun and classiest/craziest nights of my life. Matti deff had a tanned hide after all his bday spankings. He was always down on the... See More latest music kind of a punk rocker. He enjoyed BMX and snowboarding quite a bit. I couldnt wait to show off some of my maine skills to him on the boarding trip him and i and our friends where planning to go on when we got back to Europe. In bamberg he was always down to play lacrosse with me and have a cook out. He could cook up some mean steak and shis-kabobs.
When someone passes you always here the best of that person and not always some of the other things that person was as well. Well matti was all those great things, thats who he was. He was the guy who always seemed to make you happier and where he went seemed more alive. Deff a goofy 20 year old kid who was down to help people and his friends out all the time. With his unique laugh and his up beat attitude it was hard not to be his friend. He was a strong person and paratrooper and will be missed by many people.

Day 138

Day – 138

I can’t wait until Zach comes home. Today our flag is hanging at half-mast for the young soldier from Maine that was killed. Our flag will be at half-mast tomorrow for Matt Hennigan. I told Dal that we could probably keep our flag at half-mast because our military are dying all the time. It was hard to look at the flag at half-mast. I am looking forward to ending this blog and starting something new. I can’t wait until Zach is out of Afghanistan, enjoying some of Germany. Tomorrow Zach will return to his FOB so that he can go to the memorial for Matt. The soldiers need this, unfortunately some soldiers can’t go to the memorial. My heart goes out to Matt’s family who is planning a funeral over the 4th of July.

I love you Zach and I wish I could hug you tight.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 139 - Zac's Facebook

Zac Dalrymple - for the first person I played lax with and the last person i partied with in germtown to introducing me to strongbows and escape the fate and for that epic boarding trip we where going to take. Take care my amigo: Matt Hennigan awesome paratrooper and a better friend. RIP

Day 139

Mom – Day 139

Today while Dal and I were coming home from Canada we received a call on the cell phone from Zach. It was hard to hear him but it didn’t take long to hear that he was hurting. He didn’t say much because he couldn’t speak; he had a hard time telling us that he just lost a friend. Yesterday Zach’s friend was shot and he did not survive. When the 173rd was in Germany, Matt Hennigan celebrated his 20th birthday with Zach and all of their friends. He played lacrosse with Zach and they were supposed to go skiing in Austria when they got back. For some reason, I keep on thinking that his mother, his parents and family missed his last birthday and they will never be able to celebrate another one with him. I don’t know how Zach is going to cope with this.

I love you Zach.

Day 139 Dad

While we slept on Tuesday night one of Zach's close friends died in a helicopter while being transported to the hospital from the battlefield. He was 20 years old and still had his whole life in front of him. He was one of America's best and he will be missed by his brothers in arms still over there in the 173rd, but he has a family that has suffered an incredible loss something that will leave a hole in their life.

I wonder does anyone care anymore? I do my family does but does anyone really care that men and women are fighting and dying in a foreign country? Where are we as a country if we so quickly forget that freedom is not free. This young man has paid the ultimate price for our freedom and for others freedom and his family has paid dearly, who appreciates it? God bless him and keep him!

Zach my heart is with you you are superman and I love you so dearly.