Giving Thanks!

On this American Thanksgiving Day 2008, I have much to be thankful for. For ALL my American coalition partners, both at home and in the sandbox, no fancy words. I am the richer for having each of you in my life. To “my” soldiers deployed far from home (and their families here), “my” veterans, to “my” Gold and Silver Star families, to all my American Soldiers’ Angel buddies, to all “my” military mums who grace me with their friendship, and for my American blogging partners, and readers. You each know who you are, and the place you have in my heart. You all teach me so much every single day, and I really AM thankful for the lessons.;) I will always be grateful to every single one of you.

THANK YOU.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!

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Giving Thanks!

On this American Thanksgiving Day 2008, I have much to be thankful for. For ALL my American coalition partners, both at home and in the sandbox, no fancy words. I am the richer for having each of you in my life. To “my” soldiers deployed far from home (and their families here), “my” veterans, to “my” Gold and Silver Star families, to all my American Soldiers’ Angel buddies, to all “my” military mums who grace me with their friendship, and for my American blogging partners, and readers. You each know who you are, and the place you have in my heart. You all teach me so much every single day, and I really AM thankful for the lessons.;) I will always be grateful to every single one of you.

THANK YOU.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!

Giving Thanks!

On this American Thanksgiving Day 2008, I have much to be thankful for. For ALL my American coalition partners, both at home and in the sandbox, no fancy words. I am the richer for having each of you in my life. To “my” soldiers deployed far from home (and their families here), “my” veterans, to “my” Gold and Silver Star families, to all my American Soldiers’ Angel buddies, to all “my” military mums who grace me with their friendship, and for my American blogging partners, and readers. You each know who you are, and the place you have in my heart. You all teach me so much every single day, and I really AM thankful for the lessons.;) I will always be grateful to every single one of you.

THANK YOU.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!

Dealing with grief over the holidays



As the holiday season swings into high gear, there are many of our military families who are now facing new realities. Days that once held joyous celebration with family, now approach with different dynamics. TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) has put together what they are calling “Practical Tips to Help“:

Dealing With Grief Over the Holidays: Practical Tips to Help

National Organization Comforting Families of the Fallen Offers Advice to Help All Who Are Grieving

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 24, 2008

WASHINGTON – Holiday cheer and merrymaking may be everywhere this time of year, but for thousands of Americans grieving the loss of a loved one, the holiday season can be an emotional minefield. And there’s no roadmap for easy navigation.

“The holiday season can be particularly challenging for families who are grieving the recent loss of a loved one,” said Bonnie Carroll, the founder and chairman of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, TAPS. “We offer tips to help surviving military families, and they are applicable to anyone who is grieving.”

For more than a decade, TAPS has helped surviving families of those who have died in military service. Carroll and TAPS offer the following tips to help anyone who is grieving during the holiday season.

Take charge of your holiday season. Anticipating the holiday, especially if it’s the first one without a cherished family member, can be worse than the actual holiday. Taking charge of your holiday plans, and mapping out how you will spend that time, can help relieve anxiety.

Make plans. Plan to spend the holidays where you feel nurtured, emotionally safe, and comfortable. An escape plan may be difficult to carry out, because American holidays are celebrated in many places world-wide, and there often is no way to escape all of the reminders of the holidays.

Find sustenance for the soul. Your church, synagogue, mosque, or other faith community may offer services, resources, and support networks to help. You may want to look for a support group for people who are grieving and have suffered a similar loss. Families who have lost a loved one serving in the military may find comfort by connecting with other survivors through our online community, online peer support groups, or care groups.

Don’t be afraid to change your holiday traditions. Some traditions may be a comfort, while others might cause pain. Consider which traditions to keep, and which ones to forego this year. Do not feel like you have to do something because you have always done it that way.

Include your lost loved one in gift-giving. Consider making a donation to a charity in memory of your loved one. Give a gift on behalf of your loved one to someone else.

Create a tribute. Light a candle, display a favorite photograph, or set a place at the dinner table to represent the missing loved one. Consider writing a letter to your loved one about the holidays and your special memories with that person.

Be gentle with yourself. Realize that familiar traditions, sights, smells, and even tastes, may be comforting, or may jolt your emotions. This is the time of year when you need to be careful with your emotions and listen to yourself.

Attend holiday functions if you can. Consider attending holiday parties and events, especially if you’ll be able to spend time with supportive family members and friends. Make an escape plan in case the event is more than you can handle, and trust your hosts to understand if you need to slip out. If you think a holiday gathering might be more than you can handle, it is ok to stay home.

Don’t pretend you haven’t experienced a loss. Imagining that nothing has happened does not make the pain of losing a loved one go away, nor does it make the holidays easier to endure. Even though holiday memories may be painful, they can also be comforting. It is ok to talk with others about what you have lost, and what the holidays mean to you.

Pay attention to your health. It’s often difficult for people who have experienced a recent loss to sleep. Make sure you get regular rest and drink lots of water. Do not over-indulge in sweets or alcohol. If you feel overwhelmed, talk with your medical care provider.

Take stock of both joy and sadness. Give yourself permission to feel joy as well as sadness. Don’t feel like you have to “be a certain way” because of your loss. Just be yourself.

Express your feelings. Bottling up your feelings may add to distress, not lessen it. To express your feelings, use your creativity to write a poem, talk with a supportive friend, create a painting, or pen a journal entry.

Share your holiday season with someone else. There are many lonely people who might like to experience the holiday season with someone else. Consider volunteering with a local charity or soup kitchen, inviting a neighbor for a special holiday meal, or including others in your holiday activities.

For more tips on dealing with grief during the holidays, go to the TAPS website at www.taps.org.

TAPS is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, seminars for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, and 24/7 crisis intervention care for all who have been affected by the death of a loved one serving in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to www.taps.org or call the toll-free crisis line at 800.959.TAPS…

Go check out more of TAPS programs, here.

*cross-posted from Assoluta Tranquillita and on NewsBlaze here*

Dealing with grief over the holidays



As the holiday season swings into high gear, there are many of our military families who are now facing new realities. Days that once held joyous celebration with family, now approach with different dynamics. TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) has put together what they are calling “Practical Tips to Help“:

Dealing With Grief Over the Holidays: Practical Tips to Help

National Organization Comforting Families of the Fallen Offers Advice to Help All Who Are Grieving

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 24, 2008

WASHINGTON – Holiday cheer and merrymaking may be everywhere this time of year, but for thousands of Americans grieving the loss of a loved one, the holiday season can be an emotional minefield. And there’s no roadmap for easy navigation.

“The holiday season can be particularly challenging for families who are grieving the recent loss of a loved one,” said Bonnie Carroll, the founder and chairman of the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, TAPS. “We offer tips to help surviving military families, and they are applicable to anyone who is grieving.”

For more than a decade, TAPS has helped surviving families of those who have died in military service. Carroll and TAPS offer the following tips to help anyone who is grieving during the holiday season.

Take charge of your holiday season. Anticipating the holiday, especially if it’s the first one without a cherished family member, can be worse than the actual holiday. Taking charge of your holiday plans, and mapping out how you will spend that time, can help relieve anxiety.

Make plans. Plan to spend the holidays where you feel nurtured, emotionally safe, and comfortable. An escape plan may be difficult to carry out, because American holidays are celebrated in many places world-wide, and there often is no way to escape all of the reminders of the holidays.

Find sustenance for the soul. Your church, synagogue, mosque, or other faith community may offer services, resources, and support networks to help. You may want to look for a support group for people who are grieving and have suffered a similar loss. Families who have lost a loved one serving in the military may find comfort by connecting with other survivors through our online community, online peer support groups, or care groups.

Don’t be afraid to change your holiday traditions. Some traditions may be a comfort, while others might cause pain. Consider which traditions to keep, and which ones to forego this year. Do not feel like you have to do something because you have always done it that way.

Include your lost loved one in gift-giving. Consider making a donation to a charity in memory of your loved one. Give a gift on behalf of your loved one to someone else.

Create a tribute. Light a candle, display a favorite photograph, or set a place at the dinner table to represent the missing loved one. Consider writing a letter to your loved one about the holidays and your special memories with that person.

Be gentle with yourself. Realize that familiar traditions, sights, smells, and even tastes, may be comforting, or may jolt your emotions. This is the time of year when you need to be careful with your emotions and listen to yourself.

Attend holiday functions if you can. Consider attending holiday parties and events, especially if you’ll be able to spend time with supportive family members and friends. Make an escape plan in case the event is more than you can handle, and trust your hosts to understand if you need to slip out. If you think a holiday gathering might be more than you can handle, it is ok to stay home.

Don’t pretend you haven’t experienced a loss. Imagining that nothing has happened does not make the pain of losing a loved one go away, nor does it make the holidays easier to endure. Even though holiday memories may be painful, they can also be comforting. It is ok to talk with others about what you have lost, and what the holidays mean to you.

Pay attention to your health. It’s often difficult for people who have experienced a recent loss to sleep. Make sure you get regular rest and drink lots of water. Do not over-indulge in sweets or alcohol. If you feel overwhelmed, talk with your medical care provider.

Take stock of both joy and sadness. Give yourself permission to feel joy as well as sadness. Don’t feel like you have to “be a certain way” because of your loss. Just be yourself.

Express your feelings. Bottling up your feelings may add to distress, not lessen it. To express your feelings, use your creativity to write a poem, talk with a supportive friend, create a painting, or pen a journal entry.

Share your holiday season with someone else. There are many lonely people who might like to experience the holiday season with someone else. Consider volunteering with a local charity or soup kitchen, inviting a neighbor for a special holiday meal, or including others in your holiday activities.

For more tips on dealing with grief during the holidays, go to the TAPS website at www.taps.org.

TAPS is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, seminars for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, and 24/7 crisis intervention care for all who have been affected by the death of a loved one serving in the Armed Forces. Services are provided free of charge. For more information go to www.taps.org or call the toll-free crisis line at 800.959.TAPS…

Go check out more of TAPS programs, here.

*cross-posted from Assoluta Tranquillita and on NewsBlaze here*

Valour-IT: Good News, and A Challenge or Three

From BlackFive comes this:

Well, as you can see, there have been some changes, some very nice changes. If you go here to see the Team standings you can get the whole picture (Navy, we do have smelling salts standing by).

There are some people that have come through for both Team Army and — most of all — Project Valour-IT. They have a challenge for you, and it is best expressed by malclave:

Just sent another hundred bucks for Team Army… I’d been holding it, figuring I could help out the Coast Guard team if we met our goal soon enough.

Anyway, I was just lower enlisted stationed at a hospital in the late 80s… surely there are plenty of folks who can outdo an REMF like me, right?

Malclave and others have issued challenges. My question to you is, will you rise to the challenge, or slink away and not even give a dollar? Folks, if everyone who comes to this site in a day pitches in a dollar, it puts us roughly ten percent (okay, closer to five) towards the goal. We are only at 27 percent for the year….

Go read the rest of what Laughing Wolf has to say, here.

Rampage in Mumbai

Warning Graphic Pictures!


Hostages were rescued from the Taj Hotel in Mumbai, India, after attacks in the Indian financial capital left at least 78 dead and hundreds wounded.

Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra and the financial capital of India. With an estimated population of thirteen million, it is one of the most populated cities in the world. Along with the neighboring suburbs of Navi Mumbai and Thane, it forms, at nineteen million, the world’s fifth most populous metropolitan area. Mumbai lies on the west coast of India and has a deep natural harbour. Mumbai’s port handles over half of India’s maritime cargo. The commercial and entertainment centre of India, Mumbai generates 5% of India’s GDP and accounts for 25% of industrial output, 40% of maritime trade, and 70% of capital transactions to India’s economy.

Evidence of Mumbai’s history dates back to 250 BCE and has been continually inhabited since then, although its founding can be considered at a much earlier date.

A very lovely and lively city.

But not today. Today it is the scene of carnage, mayhem and death caused by the Religion of Peace aka Islam.

Full Story

Several sites in Mumbai, India’s financial capital, were hit Wednesday night by a wave of terror attacks, reportedly aimed at Americans and Britons, that left dozens dead and hundreds injured as Indian forces battled with terrorist gunmen to free hostages from two luxury hotels.

There were varying reports of at least 50 and as many as 100 people rescued from the Taj Mahal where a fire had broken out, and India’s NDTV reported Thursday morning that authorities had the scene under control. Meanwhile, police continued to evacuate people through the Oberoi hotel’s basement, and gunmen reportedly had taken hostages elsewhere in the city.

Casualty figures varied, with most media reporting at least 80 dead and 200 injured. Of the gunmen, four were dead and nine arrested.

It isn’t clear yet what motivated the attacks, which also targeted a popular tourist attraction and a crowded train station, though eyewitnesses said gunmen were heard shouting questions about who American and British passports.

Mumbai has frequently been targeted in terrorist attacks blamed on Islamic extremists, including a series of bombings in July 2007 that killed 187 people.

A little-known organization calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen claimed it was behind attacks.

A man injured in a gun battle is carried to a hospital in Mumbai, India.


“The terrorists have used automatic weapons and in some places grenades have been lobbed,” Maharashtra Police Commissioner A.N Roy said.

A British citizen who was dining at the Oberoi hotel told Sky News television that the gunmen who struck there singled out Britons and Americans.

Alex Chamberlain said a gunman, a young man of 22 or 23, ushered 30 or 40 people from the restaurant into a stairway and ordered everyone to put up their hands. He said the gunman spoke in Hindi or Urdu.

“They were talking about British and Americans specifically. There was an Italian guy, who, you know, they said: ‘Where are you from?” and he said he’s from Italy and they said ‘fine’ and they left him alone. And I thought: ‘Fine, they’re going to shoot me if they ask me anything — and thank God they didn’t,” he said.

Chamberlain said he managed to slip away as the patrons were forced to walk up stairs, but he thought much of the group was being held hostage.

Early Thursday, several European lawmakers were among people who barricaded themselves inside the Taj, a century-old seaside hotel complex and one of the city’s best-known destinations.

“I was in the main lobby and there was all of a sudden a lot of firing outside,” said Sajjad Karim, part of a delegation of European lawmakers visiting Mumbai ahead of a European Union-India summit.

The scene in the train station after the attack.

As he turned to get away, “all of a sudden another gunmen appeared in front of us, carrying machine gun-type weapons. And he just started firing at us … I just turned and ran in the opposite direction,” he told The Associated Press over his mobile phone.

Hours later, Karim remained holed up in a hotel restaurant, unsure if it was safe to come out.

The British Foreign Office said it was advising all British citizens in Mumbai to stay indoors.

Britain’s foreign secretary, David Miliband, strongly condemned the attacks. “Today’s attacks in Mumbai which have claimed many innocent victims remind us, yet again, of the threat we face from violent extremists,” Miliband said in a statement.

India has been wracked by bomb attacks the past three years, which police blame on Muslim militants intent on destabilizing this largely Hindu country. Nearly 700 people have died.

Since May a militant group calling itself the Indian Mujahideen has taken credit for a string of blasts that killed more than 130 people. The most recent was in September, when a series of explosions struck a park and crowded shopping areas in the capital, New Delhi, killing 21 people and wounding about 100.

This story is still on going with more deaths to be expected. That the terrorist were using automatic weapons and grenades, the scale of the attack, and the number of attackers, leads me to the conclusion that this wasn’t the work of some splinter group, but the work of a major terrorist group. It is just too large of a scale to be done with such precision and timing by a small splinter group.

Deccan Mujahideen may have taken credit for this, but I do believe that the real forces behind these attacks are Indian Mujahideen and Al Qaeda. Only they have the means, money and power to plan and execute such an attack.

Cross posted from Monkey in the Middle