Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Day 80 Dad

President Obama gave his speech on the end of combat operations in Iraq. He said some good things but I told Lisa it doesn't appear that his heart is in these foreign operations. He also eluded to his domestic agenda while I wanted to hear about foreign policy.

In the last 4 days 22 Americans have lost their lives in Afghanistan. 22 young men who are not coming home to be with their families. This is what I need to hear what are we going to do to ensure the safety of them and what are we going to do so that their sacrifice need not be in vain. We need to have a clear and concise mission and execute it. The former president Bush was excoriated for the lack of planning and a mission in Afghanistan, now what do we have? It seems more of the same. Hopefully Gen Petraeus can formulate and initiate such a plan.

May the world remember what so many Americans have done for good in the world, what sacrifices were made to bring freedom to people they don't even know. May those in our own country know the price of freedom and appreciate what has been given to them and protected for them.

You are superman Zach, you are my hero and I love you so very much!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 81

Mom – Day 81

Today another 7 were killed and yesterday it was the same news. I hate hearing this news and every time I do I feel sick to my stomach. I can’t wait until Zach leaves. Zach did email Dal today so we knew that he was okay.

I love you Zach

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 82

Mom – Day 82

I am getting ready for bed but I feel really good. We spoke to Zach today (the lines kept on getting cut but we managed). He is tired of being in Afghanistan; he is so so ready to leave. He says he doesn’t want to get excited because with the military you never know until the time comes – he doesn’t know when he is leaving as of yet. He is thinking a lot about Christmas. Christmas is Zach’s and Dal’s favorite holiday. They love Christmas and all the people that gather for that day. He loves to watch Christmas movies and listen to Christmas music over and over again. His countdown is for this coming day when he is at home with everyone, eating and playing. Last Christmas was the first time he wasn’t with family and instead he was in a place where he wasn’t wanted and Christmas was not celebrated. It is nice to hear Zach talk about all of his plans and ideas. He loves being with family and he really misses Maine. I too don’t want to get to excited until I actually can hug him, laugh with him and have my family all together.

I love you Zach

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 83 Dad

Pre dawn attacks in the Khost Province led to 24 insurgent terrorist taliban cowards being killed. They thought they had the advantage attacking soft targets in the early hours.

No I am going to be positive today, Lisa, Dong Mei (our new host daughter) went to the Madison Anson days parade and passed out pop ice, it was so hot that they were melting but we had fun. Dong Mei particularly enjoyed the parade which was very Americana. We had a great lunch, spent the afternoon doing things around the house and then had a great dinner on the deck followed by a camp fire and marshmellows. It was a good day as Julie talked to Zach and even though we couldn't get through news from him through others is still meaningful to us.

I look forward to not following the war on the web and news but now that I am I may not stop until it is over. I feel for all the troops!

Zach you are superman, and I love you so much!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Day 84

Mom – Day 84

So school is starting this week and I am not ready but it will keep me very busy. I just keep hearing about more of our military losing their lives. Every time I hear this news I am always worried – it is horrible news for some family. I just need to hear from him soon.

I love you Zach

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Day 85 Dad

We had a fun night as Lisa and I along with Brenda and Sylvia from my office participated in the Madison Anson Days chili cook-off. I made my chili and we had lots of compliments and requests for seconds but we fell short of victory we had fun though so it was all worth it. Next year we will decorate more, but next year we will have a secret weapon - Zach! My cooking buddy and my boy will help me out!

Lisa is heading down to pickup our new exchange student Dong Mei who will be coming in from China. It will be a long night as she will be staying in Portland due to the late hour of arrival. I don't enjoy being alone as much anymore!

I miss his cooking creations and look forward to competing with him on my team. Zach you are superman, you are my hero and I love you so much bud. I miss you more than words can say!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 86

Mom - Day 86

School is about to start in a few days and I am kind of ready. I am ready because Ramadan will be ending and Zach will finish his tour there. Tomorrow I pick up another exchange student that will be living with us. Life goes on.
In Afghanistan there was another incident. The Taliban used poisoned gas on 59 students and 14 teachers, and the reason according to the Taliban was that girls shouldn’t be educated. According to a CNN news report, everyone did survive. How sad.

Zach I miss you.
Luv Mama

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Day 87 Dad

Al Shabab, the Somali radical Islamic group that murdered 32 people in Mogadishu Somalia today. The brave radicals attacked a hotel with first a homicide bomb and then small arms fire. The death toll could have been worse except for the African Union forces that provided some support. Somalia a place that is incredibly poor and long run by war lords is now considered one of the big threats to the United States on our soil.

The intelligence community has long had a concern about the rise of radical islam within the borders of the United States. Al Shabab or the “The Youth” in Arabic is group that has wide appeal to many young Somalis upset by perceived Western intervention in Somalia and the use of Ethiopian troops as part of the African Union peace keepers in Somalia. I guess the most stunning is that many of these people are hearing the anti western and anti American rhetoric in their mosques located right her in America.

From a Foxnews article entitled After Crawling Onto U.S. Radar, Somalia Extremists Pose Threat – But Will They Go Global? “Jack Tomarchio, the Department of Homeland Security's Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis at the time, had flown from Washington to Ohio earlier that spring day for a briefing on the Buckeye State's latest efforts against terrorism. Now, as heavy winds battered the streets above, two Ohio Homeland Security officials told him how the capitals of Ohio and Minnesota had become havens for refugees of war-torn Somalia. R30;R30;.. Then the two briefers told Tomarchio they were becoming increasingly concerned about "radical mosques" in Columbus, Ohio, where imams "considered to be a little fiery" would come from Somalia and preach anti-Western messages to the growing Somali community, Tomarchio recalls about that day in 2006”.

Why are these people immigrating to the United States? They hate us and our way of life yet they come here, and then want to convert us by words or the sword. We through freedom let it happen.

Additionally today I read in the paper that in the Congo 200 women were repeatedly gang raped and that this type of activity is used to pacify the local population because of the cultural stigma that follows even a rape. The suspects are suspected to be Muslim separatists. Where are the answers and where is the solution to the insanity that seems to be taking over?

The incident above was in 2006 and intelligence analysts continue to monitor Al Shabab to determine their strength and influence today. Young Somali men have disappeared from the US and are believed to be fighting in Somalia. “As for Tomarchio, four years after his underground briefing in Ohio and after first hearing of Al Shabab, he also said he believes an Al Shabab strike inside the United States is "unlikely" anytime soon. But, he said, it's too early to "write off the future operational capabilities of Al Shabab." "We did this with Al Qaeda years ago," he said. "And what did that give us? 9/11."

Tolerance, how more tolerant can a society be than live side by side with those who wish you ill?

You are superman, I love you Zach.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day 88 Dad

I received an email from Zach today he said it was a long night and he returned to his regular combat outpost at around 1300 or 1 o’clock in the afternoon they had been out and essentially on the go for almost 24 hours. He said he grabbed a little sleep on the ground wrapped in his poncho. Interestingly he said that the checkpoint he was at yesterday and had the Afghan meal at was not available to be used again as it was blown up by the taliban. The local villagers said there were no taliban but after a day filled with fire fights and bombings, the question remained; If there were not taliban in the area then who was causing all the problems? The people are afraid of the taliban because like most of these radicals when they say they will kill you for whatever reason they usually mean it. Thus the regular folks are afraid to cooperate despite their hope for something better due to brutality by the peace loving taliban.

Can you imagine the fear that families feel when a member joins the Afghan national army or the police? They join to better their country and to move it forward but risk the safety of family by just making this commitment. So I have often asked what victory looks like? I wonder even more what defeat will look like? They people of Afghanistan are down trodden, beaten and almost without hope. I realize this is what our message is – to bring hope where there is none, to bring food to this who hunger, shelter to where there is destruction. What a truly great country we have that we can debate the process of not only providing these things for our own people but to discuss how to help others.

We must never forget the words of Ronald Reagan, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” We must always defend freedom, our constitution is not to be tread upon, we cannot pick and choose where to use it or defend it.

God bless our troops for willing to defend freedom and you and I. Zach you are superman, I love you with all my heart.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Day 89 Dad

We were able to talk to Zach today he was tired and actually out on a mission. They were at a checkpoint and decided to take a break there. He said he was eating a delicious meal prepared by the Afghans he said the lamb was a little gamey but the meal was delicious. It is so interesting that in all of what goes on Zach has the opportunity to enjoy some of the strange and exotic culture of Afghanistan. After the meal it was back to reality as he said they were going to be on the move again shortly after we hung up. The unit was broken into small groups called kill teams and they were all out conducting simultaneous missions.

I am glad that even in the chaos of war Zach can enjoy some moments of culture. He is a great cook and I am sure that he will take something from the food he enjoys to use later in one of his own dishes. I look forward to trying it. Maybe at Christmas.

You are superman, and I love you so much Zach!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 90

Mom – Day 90

Another day. Today I went to play golf and then Dal and I went to the movies. It was another beautiful day her in Maine. I want to hear Zach telling me that it is a beautiful day and he is going out to play golf. I remember that one summer (not to long ago) that Zach and Shane would go and play golf almost every day. There are so many things that we take for granted. Today was a beautiful day, a day I would normally take for granted but today I thought about how lucky I am. Across from the golf course was a house with banner with the single star – they have a son or daughter serving.
Yesterday while watching the news I was so touched by “Operation Finally Home”. “Operation Finally Home” provides homes to wounded veterans. This idea came to a man from Houston Texas, Dan Wallrath, when he realized that there were many injured men and women who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan that could use a little help. I used my tears hearing this story. Thank you Dan.

I love you Zach

Friday, August 20, 2010

Day 91 Dad

Time is sometimes your enemy and sometimes your friend. Now I hope that time moves quickly as we count down the days left on Zach's deployment. I believe he is out on missions frequently once again since he is not on the internet much now and I have not received an email in over a week. For him the missions probably make the time go more quickly and for us it is a time of concern.

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same." Ronald Reagan

God bless those who are willing to fight for the freedom of others.

Zach you are my hero, you are superman, and I love you bud!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day 92 Dad

The last combat brigades are leaving Iraq ….. What exactly does that mean? Having been in the military I understand that every soldier and every marine is trained in combat skills. All are considered combat units. Any units that deploy to Iraq will be combat units, while their mission may not be combat operations they are indeed combat units, with full capabilities. While the idea of the last combat unit leaving Iraq gives a sense of safety there are still over 50 thousand troops there in what is still a somewhat hostile environment. With more units scheduled to replace units there and the possibility of a continued presence for years to come, we should not get too caught up in the sense that Iraq is now a cakewalk. My hope is that while they say the last combat unit is leaving what they don’t mean is that any units arriving will be bereft of ammunition like what happened to many units in the Bosnia peace keeping missions.

It is no secret that I have always been a supporter of a strong national defense and having served myself I am a supporter of our military. But our government has a tendency to look at combat actions and peace keeping missions through rose colored glasses. This is especially true of the Democrat majority under both Presidents Clinton and Obama. So when government looks at the military as extension of political foreign policy and not as a national defense/national security force things become very convoluted.

We are headed toward the anniversary of 9 years in Afghanistan and I am wondering what the end game is at this point. I am not talking exit strategy I am talking a defense/security strategy. Iraq for the most part could now be considered a success they may be on their way to self governing and while they probably can never be a republic in our mold they are somewhat democratic in structure. Afghanistan is not there not in the ball park not even in the galaxy of being there. I have and will continue to support our troops but question what the ultimate strategy is or should be!

This morning I did as normally do I switched to MSNBC to check out the Morning Joe, Lisa and I typically watch Fox, but routinely we check out CNN, Headline news and MSNBC to see what the left leaning side of the political news spectrum is saying. Of course this morning they mentioned President Bush and one female talking head with a slight English accent bashed Bush after another gave him some credit. She said he left the right war in Afghanistan to concentrate on the wrong place Iraq. I thought about that …. The right war? Her point was that if we had concentrated solely on Afghanistan we could have destroyed Al Queda there and now it is spread all over the middle east, Africa and Southeast Asia. What a crock of hooey! Al Queda used Afghanistan because it was convenient they have no intention of a face to face engagement with a superior military. Our efforts in Afghanistan only hastened their move to other remote havens.

They can so much more easily spread their beliefs through terror, intimidation and using our own politically correct attitudes and beliefs against us. This is a shadowy organization much like any terrorist organization who operates in the background sending others to fight for them, in the case of Afghanistan it is the Taliban. The faster we understand that this is not a fight that Al Queda is looking to make head on the faster we can put a plan in place to defeat them!

God bless you Zach, you are superman and I love you.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 93

Mom – Day 93

I can’t sleep again. I have been up since 3 am. I know that I am a bit antsy about Ramadan. I can’t imagine living in a country that is at war. I can’t imagine how people cope surrounded by fear and death for so long. I imagine they cope because our instincts are for survival. Since I can’t sleep I am going back to that website of the Afghan Women Writers and I will read some more of their stories and poems. Afghanistan is not the only country in turmoil; how sad it is to live in a place that must where one must always expend their energy just to survive.

I love you Zach

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Day 94 Dad

"It is better for a man to go wrong in freedom than to go right in chains." - Thomas H. Huxley

I want to know when the Afghans will start to help themselves. Why don't they do something to prevent things like the stonings? If a person is not willing to stand up for freedom to speak for freedom and if necessary die for freedom then they do not deserve freedom.

Loc: Sayed Abad Afghanistan - From the daily caller "A crowd of about 300 villagers yelled “Death to the United States” and blocked a main road in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday as they swore that U.S. forces had killed three innocent villagers, officials said.
NATO forces rejected the claim, saying they had killed several suspected insurgents and detained a local Taliban commander in the overnight raid."

Do these people want freedom, do they know what freedom is??

Zach you are superman, I miss you and love you more than words can say!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Day 95 Dad

Lisa was able to talk to Zach today, I know that made her feel better except that Zach will be going out on a mission tonight. By the time this gets posted he will probably already be out. Ramadan has been very active for the taliban.

Today I read that the taliban stoned a couple in Afghanistan for adultery. “Stoning is an ancient form of punishment that has been abandoned in all but a handful of countries. It is still a legal punishment in some countries, like Iran, which justify it under Shariah, or Islamic law, although human rights activists say the Quran never specifically prescribed stoning for adultery.” It was the first such stoning since the taliban were removed from power in 2001. The woman was 20 and promised to a different man and the man involved was 28 and married. The woman was stoned first and then the man in front of at least 150 men who witnessed the atrocity. Then Amnesty international issued a statement denouncing the stoning calling the “stoning a "heinous crime" that showed the Taliban and other insurgent groups "are growing increasingly brutal in their abuses against Afghans.""

The article went on “The Taliban-ordered killing comes at a time when international rights groups have raised worries that attempts to negotiate with the Taliban to bring peace to Afghanistan could mean a step backward for human rights in the country. When the Islamist extremists ruled Afghanistan, women were not allowed to leave their houses without a male guardian, and public killings for violations of their harsh interpretation of the Quran were common.” I find it interesting that this punishment is not in the Quran but yet they practice it under shariah, this again indicates to me as I have stated before this is all more about power and control than religion.
I wonder what Code Pink or the Ladies in Black have to say about this. It is an interesting dichotomy as on one hand human rights organizations denouncing this and yet many not in favor of the violence of war to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I wonder if we can talk the taliban out of doing this again. One could argue that worked in Iran where a woman was to be stoned last month yet due to “a campaign by politicians, rights groups, diplomats and celebrities around the world.” However, the bigger issue there was the fact that their nuclear power plant built and supplied by the Russians was about to come on line. Had they gone ahead with the stoning then the Russians would have been under a great deal of pressure themselves to not start the plant.

And so on it goes the political, the religious, the thirst for power – nothing changes does it? Evil lurks some defend it others try to thwart it and in between we all live. God Bless those who are willing to be in that middle because of them we are free. Freedom is not free, we must cherish and defend it each day to ensure that it continues for our children!

You are superman Zach you are my hero and I love you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Day 96 Dad

Lisa tried a couple more times to reach Zach to no avail. It is so hard to know that all the craziness of ramadan is going on and we can't reach him. I am tired of this. For me football sign-ups were today, I normally look forward to this, but this year it is not the same but then again nothing is really the same until Zach is safely out of Afghanistan.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Martin Luther King Jr.

Thank you Zach for being strong, for defending those who can't defend themselves and being the hero you are. You are superman, I love you!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 97 Dad

Well it is a beautiful sunny day and Lisa and I are going to a redneck wedding, the groomsmen are wearing camo and so am I. It should be fun in a large sand pit that is done up quite nicely. I think Zach would like it as it is very country style as far as weddings go.

I emailed back and forth with Zach several times he was busy buying tickets to the Celtics and Bruins and he was like a little kid again in his excitement. He did give me a hint that the activity concerning the taliban is heating up due to ramadan. Then last night I was talking to young man who fought in Iraq and he mentioned how the activity increases during ramadan. Again the idiocy of the taliban thinking that dying on a holiday is so much more special, especially a holiday that is supposed to be when Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds. So much for self-restraint and doing good deeds. One would think that good deeds would include not wanting to kill people, I don't know - just saying!!

Zach is in my thoughts all the time now I am getting anxious as each day goes by. You are my hero Zach, you are superman and I love you so much.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Day 98

Mom – Day 98

I tried calling Zach today and I kept on getting someone else on the line (I believe Afghan). I was so worried why someone else was answering his phone but then Dal said he received an email that Zach had his phone. I eventually received an email from Zach and he was bummed out because he missed a call. I called so many times that I too am upset that one call went through and he missed it. I will try again soon.
One day at a time.

I love you Zach
Love your Mama

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 99

Mom – Day 99

Two Digits – I am now counting down two digit numbers! It has been raining quite a bit in Pakistan and Western Afghanistan. Things are slow because of the rain, which is okay for me. Ramadan still worries me.

I love you Zach

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 100 Dad

Well today is my birthday and it was not easy. I emailed back and forth with Zach and finally called him. It was so nice to hear his voice and we talked about all the things he wants to do this winter he is excited and so am I. I thought it would be nice to include what he wrote me today.

"Yeah it has a trailer too, which we need! I want to get a tow hitch for my jeep. It can easily haul a couple of sleds. This is wicked exciting, no more then two months here then just around that corner going home for a MONTH! I haven't been home for a month since July 23 2008. Its crazy though how time is flying. I enjoy the army a lot, I am really good a being a paratrooper. I miss home way to much though. If worst come to worst I can become active guard in Maine. You know, you get used to going into shitty food, terrible climate, poor living conditions, not having regular toilets so many other things that you just get used to. You start appreciating living the suck. You even got used to putting your life at risk. Going into bad towns, chambering a round me for another human, IEDs, everything. It doesn't bother you anymore you just amped up and excited. You hit points in which you want people to mess with us just so you can have some action. You get used to just sitting and doing nothing between mission just working out and eating. I got used to all those things. One thing that I never have got used to is being away. I miss home so much. I miss my family and my friends. Sometime you just get so lonely here. I know I have my team, which is family but its not the same. I just think about being home and fishing with you and coming home and ma having some fruit on the counter with some mexi food cooking for us. We go and sit and watch the game. You know I haven't had a gf since xxx before I left for the army. Sometime I just want to go and have breakfast then take a girl out with some guys go camping coos canyon stop at wall mart. Ha just the small things about my life I miss. It gets really lonely and I think does anyone really care. Did anyone care when matti got killed. It just makes me think. This war is so forgotten, its not even news anymore. I wonder if I will be able integrate back with regular life again. This is regular to me here feeling the way I do you just get used to the suck. I get so mad when I think about all the college kids and all people back home bitching and complaining about the smallest stuff, and they have such a good life and get have all things I cant. What did they do to deserve it? I guess that's why vets really appreciate soldiers cause they can relate to them. I don't know there is a lot I could say about this. I am doing well here and should be a sgt sometime well I missed the cut off for deployment boards. I don't have enough time in grade. I was told I was gonna go to the first one when we get back because I will be eligible then. I am just ready to be a normal 20yo, I hope I can adapt back to the regular world again. I hope you have a great day dad I miss you soo much.

love your son"

Sadly it is the part that he thinks that no one here cares about them that bothers me. I think a lot of soldiers feel this way. Shame on all those people who take freedom, and liberty for granted yet thump their chests saying what great Americans they are because they are for whatever liberal cause is the flavor of the day. God Bless you Zach and know that millions of us do care and love all of you.

You are superman you are my hero and my son and I love you so much!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Day 101

Mom – Day 101

Today I was emailing Zach. He wanted to know if his papa received his birthday gift that he ordered for him – it just arrived (a day early). Tomorrow is Dal’s birthday but I don’t think he really wants to celebrate. It is okay, I understand. I am glad that he did receive a gift from Zach. Zach also asked me about his winter clothes. He wants to make sure he has all of his gear to go skiing / snowboarding this winter. I like to hear him making his plans. He wants me to start gathering his stuff. Winter is still a few months away but I don’t mind doing his winter clothes inventory – he won’t be in Afghanistan this winter☺

I love you Zach

Monday, August 9, 2010

Day 102

Mom – Day 102

So far Galen has driven Zach’s Jeep and I have driven in the Jeep. Of course our neighbor George was in it and then Keith and Chris came by today, some of Zach’s friends, to check out the Jeep. It is funny because Zach isn’t here but it almost feels as if he is here.

Today I read some of the Blogs and I noticed that many times I have written thinking I said all of these things but I really didn’t – how does one express everything that is in their head. Then there are so many entries that sound like repeats – because sometimes things take so long before one sees a change. But I do know that I have changed a bit. For one thing, I haven’t cried in several days! I still worry, in fact Ramadan really worries me (it starts August 11th and ends September 9th this year), but I feel different. I know that I tend to be tenser and paranoid when Zach is out of communication and that is because I am always left wondering. I really feel for the women and children who are living in hell in Afghanistan; the ones that have no say. I feel a small sense of relief that there are some areas in Afghanistan that education is being promoted and women and children are starting to live a more ‘normal’ life. So there have been some changes, they just take time. There are many heroes in this war. There are the military, the courageous women and children and Afghan people that are trying to make a difference, and then there are people that make huge impacts – like the people that lost their lives in Northern Afghanistan. I am always amazed to hear the stories of what one person can do to make a difference.

I love you Zach

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day 102 Dad

We picked up Zach's Jeep today it is really fun to drive and I know he will have fun with it. He talked to his aunt today and was very excited about the Jeep and I look forward to seeing him drive it.

I watched with unbelieving eyes as the news described how the taliban killed 6 Americans who were in Afghanistan to help - bringing medical and dental care to people who didn't even know what a toothbrush is. They claimed the Americans were spies and trying to convert people to Christianity. How pathetic these thugs are - how disgusting and perverted their view of the world is. These idiots are not even terrorists they are just thugs who hide behind religion to carry out some bastardized view of how they want the world to be. When are the rest of the Muslims ever going to speak out. Our Christian God says that he will help those who are willing to help themselves. It is time to help themselves. Americans are there to try to protect them yet they fear the Taliban so much that they won't go against them. And our amateurs in our government don't help by giving a time frame so the people know we are leaving. So if that is the case then we should just leave now.

And the media again is missing in action. They are all reporting on the murders but now outrage no emotion of any kind. So like everything else the agenda beats the story that too is pathetic! Fox is the only news organization making waves of any kind on issues of honor killings, the taliban and the spread of radical islam. Journalism is a lost profession when it comes to this administration and the issues of today! It is to the point I almost can't take it anymore.

Thank you to those who defend freedom on every shore. Know that at the end of the day honor, duty, sacrifice, courage and doing what is ethically and morally right does matter.

You are superman and you are my hero! I love you Zach.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Day 103

Mom – Day 103

The blog has had over 5,500 hits since I started it – the day prior to day 365, 323 entries thus far. I am still not sure how much has changed in Afghanistan. Reading the news, Iraq is still dealing with suicidal car bombers. The killings yesterday of the doctors that just wanted to help the less fortunate were killed because the Taliban believed that they were trying to convert “their people” into Christians and that they were spying for the Americans.

What about Adnan Shukrijumah who has lived in the U.S. for 15 years? How can he have so much hatred for Americans? The person I admire for speaking up against these horrible actions by the Muslim is Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She has received many death threats for her comments criticizing the treatment of women but she continues to speak up.

Zach I love you

Day 104

Mom – Day 104

Today we called Zach and got in touch with him to tell him that he just bought his first vehicle, his first Jeep. He was so excited.

- I copied the following from Zach’s Facebook, I found it amusing.-

n. mraining
Derives from the words rain and mud. When in Afghanistan there is no rain, the dirt and dust can become unsettled. Then whether its wind, cars or people walking this dust goes up into the sky. Staying there for periods of time until suddenly it rains. This chemical reaction of H2o+Mud= Mrain.

I watched today the show on Fox about “Honor Killings” http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,598689,00.html
Dallas, Texas - A father killed his two daughters because they were dating Mexicans, non-Muslims. It was heartbreaking to see the poor mother on television, wondering how he could do this to his own daughters. The father disappeared (he is from Egypt) and their son now lives in Egypt and told his mother that his sisters didn’t deserve a headstone because of what they did. – how sick –
There are many articles on this. I started reading some of the article at frontpagemag.com but I didn’t finish it
that reminds me of the cover of TIME magazine (August 9th edition) where this young woman had her nose and ears cut off by the Taliban because she tried to escape from her abusive husband and in-laws. CBS news (cbsnews.com) has a news clip that discusses Afghanistan and the abuse of women. Again, this is so difficult to understand because it seems so disturbing.

I love you Zach

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Day 105 Dad

Well what a day we talked to Zach for a little bit he was excited as we told him that we were going to look at a Jeep for him today. We also were talking about getting a new car for Lisa and he was insistent that we should stay with the Subaru. Interestingly enough, we bought a new Subaru, Lisa was hoping for a VW Jetta but the numbers just worked out on this. I hope it is ok for her, but I really do like the new Subaru! But the crown jewel of the day is the Jeep a very nice family owned the Jeep and even gave Zach a better deal than it was already. He now owns a 2000 Jeep Wrangler Sport! I know he will be excited about it and it runs nice and the price was right.

It felt good, a new car and Zach has his Jeep plus we got to talk to him! It was so nice he was excited and packing more bags to leave.

You are superman, I love you bud!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day 106

Mom – Day 106

The numbers are getting smaller!!!! Zach has told us not to send boxes anymore because he is not sure if he will receive them. (Zach only gets mail every now and then because of the outpost he is at) It is so nice to hear that we shouldn’t send boxes anymore, that means the time is coming soon that he will be out of there. Many people have helped me in many ways to include sending Zach boxes. There was a time that it was getting very expensive to fill up the boxes with what Zach needed and then to mail out the boxes. Zach always had boxes because every week someone sent him a box. At least once a month Zach received a box from Aunt Lisa and Uncle Lee, Aunt Kathy and Uncle Jay (his godfather), Barbara and George, and Madrina (his godmother, Aunt Julie) and Uncle Richard. He also received boxes from Rachel who coordinated DKG (a group of women educators) to put together boxes and knit helmet liners for soldiers, the VFW, and countless of others. People sent him newspapers, the Maine flag and other things that mad him feel at home.

Not everyone sent boxes, some people helped with prayers, by being there for my family, and the list goes on. But I do want to mention my sister Julie, Zach’s madrina. I am not certain but I think she sent a box almost every week. She always thought about what she was going to put in the box. She told me that she would pick up things that she thought he might need or want and then send a box. I know that she sent him Mexican candies that made him think of his childhood with his grandma in Mexico. She would send him movies, games, rosaries and prayers, snacks that were good for him and provided him what he needed. She thought of so many things. I use to say that my kids wouldn’t have any pictures of their childhood if it weren’t for my sister. She has always been the reliable one to make sure Zach got what he needed. I never had to worry because she always made sure Zach had what he needed and what I needed (to include the countless phone cards). – Thank you Jules - Zach is blessed to have so many people around him that care for him.

Zach I love you

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 107 Dad

It is still morning we are at the hotel on our way home, I remember almost a year ago we were with Zach at a hotel and this was before he was headed to Afghanistan. I am going to stop at some of the same stores today that we stopped at then on our way home from a Patriots game. I wished I could have waken this morning and been back there, but I am glad I didn't. I want to see Zach but now it is about being out of Afghanistan. Then he was headed there and a year seemed so long, now he is preparing to leave and this month and a half seems so long. Time is a relative thing it is all a matter of what is going on and what is important now time to move quickly is important.

On the ride down to Quinnapiac University I asked Lisa what my brother Al might think about Zach being a cave rat. A cave rat is the right size guy who can maneuver in a small cave sometimes with just a weapon and a flashlight. It was very common in Vietnam where Al and so I guess because of the type of warfare in Afghanistan it is common again. Al passed away in 2001 but I think he would wonder why young men were still at war. I know however that he would have been proud that his relative had taken up the cause of Freedom a cause he believe in so deeply and fought for so bravely. He would be the one family member who could clearly understand what Zach is going through, I wish he could be here to counsel Zach when he returns.

It is a sunny day and I smile and try to be happy I am happy but not complete and won't be complete until Zach is out of Afghanistan and home safe and sound. I so much want to give him one of bear hugs this morning. As I worked out in the Hotel gym I thought about my promise to him, I have to get busy and drop some more pounds by Christmas. Maybe then we will be visiting some schools with Zach as he decides which one he will attend.

You are superman and you are my hero. I love you Zach!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Day 108

Mom – Day 108

Today I thought of Zach a lot because Dal and I were at a lacrosse camp with Eline (our host daughter). Zach loves lax and I know that he will attend a University that has lax. It wasn’t that long ago that Dal and I were going to his games. I look forward to seeing him practice outside with his stick.

I love you Zach

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Day 109

Mom – Day 109

We spoke to Zach today for 1 hour and 47 minutes☺ How nice to speak to him for so long. I am so glad that I had some phone cards so we could just speak. I want to say that we purchased some AT&T International phone cards at $25 a piece (we purchased two of them) only to find out that each card gave us only about 40 some minutes each, that is about 50 cents a minute!!! What a rip off, I was disappointed with AT&T.

We asked Zach why we haven’t heard from him but he has been busy on missions and again he has not had any Internet opportunities. He said that he had to clear out some caves and what he said he didn’t like was the spiders. We had a conversation about the Camel spider, yuck. He also mentioned how his old team leader is back (the one that was shot, he wanted to be back with his team). He also said how it has been raining (I told him about the flooding in Western Pakistan where many have died).

On a happy note, we spoke a lot about things Zach wants to do. We spoke about his ideas about college and his dreams for the future. We spoke for a long time about all of this. Today was a nice day.

I love you Zach