Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Give me tomorrow

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Bing images
December 24, 2013 Update:

I wrote this article in December 2010 because I was a bit disappointed with the lack of media attention given to the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor bombing here in the United States.  Christmas Day 2013 is approaching for us now, and I decided to re-post this same article because I many friends request it each year, and it is vitally important to me that we remember our men and women in the military who are far from home during so many holidays. What I will add is that I have found another website called The Veterans Site that many of you might want to visit. This site sells products and uses the proceeds to feed homeless and hungry veterans. Each product listed on their site indicates how many meals it will purchase. You can also sign up to receive a daily email reminder to visit their site and click their blue button at the top of the page; each time this button is clicked, sponsors of The Veterans Site donate money for meals for homeless and hungry veterans. 100% of sponsor money goes to charity, so I do this daily click. It takes perhaps 15 seconds to accomplish. 

I dedicate the article below to my family members who have served in the United States Armed Forces:  Ted Reagan, Wendell Reagan, Clayton Reagan, Charles Reagan, Ronald Reagan (these first 5 names are my uncles, all of which are my heroes and father figures), William "Bill" Albert Prince III (my uncle), Kenneth Reagan, Tim Reagan, Steve Richardson, Drew Reagan, Christopher Taylor, Quincy Trentham (my cousins), Bill Sievers (my dad), Dick Nelson, David Reagan, Reece Reagan Jr., Curt Pickens, John Day (my cousins), Ben Barbie (honorary uncle), Sam Bright (great uncle), Edward Nelson, Fred Nelson Jr., Don Nelson, James Bennett (my cousins) and Papa Michael Long (my honorary dad).


Original article date, December 8, 2010

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Bing images
I am paraphrasing this story from memory, from an article I read many years ago in Parade magazine. It was written by a war correspondent who started his career during the Korean conflict. He was cocky; sure he would go into the war zone and interview soldiers, then write brilliant articles and quickly make his mark in the literary world. He was dropped off at the front lines in winter and proceeded to make a nuisance of himself, badgering weary soldiers with what he admitted later in life were absurd questions. They were all exhausted, wet, poorly clothed for the winter weather, and not at all welcoming to his chatter and blustery manner.

One quiet soldier caught his attention. The reporter remembered that he had haunted eyes and kept himself aloof from the rest of his troop. When he asked some of the other men why that was, the answer was this young man of 23 had been there the longest and had lost over 35 close friends on his tour. A soldier of 23 years was considered an "old man" in that particular arena. Sure that this guy was the one to give him the story content he had been anticipating, the reporter walked over, sat down and began trying to interview him. No answers were forthcoming. The young soldier wasn't rude; he just sat there, tending to his weapon and ignored every inquiry the reporter threw at him. Finally, in frustration, the reporter threw out a banal suggestion.

"Tell me what you want for Christmas this year!"
Silence reigned for so long that the reporter had decided to give up and move on to another prospect when the young man with the haunted eyes finally looked up and pinned him with a weary stare.

"Give me tomorrow," he said simply, then stood up, weapon in hand and walked away.
The reporter said that he never forgot that simple lesson, and that simple statement. He said it taught him that vanity and hubris had no place on any battlefield and he learned that day that he had a long way to go before he could ever dream to reach a level of class that that young man with the haunted eyes projected with one simple statement. I do not recall the Parade article mentioning if this young soldier made it home from Korea. I like to believe that he did, that he made it home and lived a long, happy life, was able to marry and have children and that he enjoyed many, many tomorrows.

I apologize for not having the reporter's name to share; I believe he went on to win quite a strong level of acclaim throughout his career. I just always think of this story at Christmastime, and again at various significant military dates, when so many of our Armed Forces are far from home, and all of them are wanting one simple thing. Tomorrow.

Over the years, there have been a few similar instances where my heart and my imagination were captured. The bombing of the U.S. and French barracks in Beirut in 1983 is one such moment. Only days prior to the bombing, one of the national news stations had sent reporters in to interview some of the soldiers there. One beautiful young man was interviewed as he was in the weight room, working out. He was intelligent, well mannered, thoughtful in his responses and wanted one thing - for everyone in his troop to make it home safely. Two or three days later, the bombing occurred and I have wondered quite often over the years if that beautiful young man survived the bombing. 299 American and French troops perished that day. I'll never know the answer to that question, but I've always prayed he had many, many tomorrows to enjoy as well.

No one in this world, if they're in their right mind, wants or believes in war. I choose to be patriotic on many levels, as I wholeheartedly love my home country and I am proud of us as a Nation. I do not ever think that war is the best solution to any chaotic situation. That being said, when our troops are sent out to dangerous areas, I am going to be one of those Americans who strongly support their efforts. It is because of those troops, those men and women of the United States, and what they do every single day, that we remain free and protected, safe for the most part, to enjoy our own tomorrows.

During the Christmas 2010 season, I have a friend in Iraq who will be coming home soon. I met him through the Cup of Joe for a Joe coffee program on the http://www.greenbeanscoffee.com/ website. He is on the countdown stage right now, anticipating being home to spend the holidays with his loved ones. With just a bit more patience and luck, he will be home safely, embracing many tomorrows. *2011 Update: this friend did make it home safely; he is now preparing for his next active duty tour.*  But we all know that there are just as many who had their tomorrows cut short. We see it every single day on the evening news. The numbers increase daily, and families throughout the United States (and other countries who have a military presence in war zones) get those dreaded official visits, telling them the fateful news.

Tomorrow is not promised to any of us, this much is another simple truth. For soldiers, it is a daily tightrope and a tenuous journey they walk, rarely knowing if they'll have that next tomorrow. Regardless of your feelings about our presence in any wartorn country, I would hope that everyone can find it in their hearts to put those opinions aside and be supportive of our troops who are currently deployed. Send them loving prayer, send Care Packages if you are able to, do something like the coffee gift program, or The Veterans Site that I mentioned above. All soldiers deserve to know that their daily efforts are appreciated. I like to believe that the more support we all offer, the more loving thought and prayer we focus on our troops, perhaps the stronger the chances are for many of them that they will, indeed, see more tomorrows. For soldiers who make it home safely, the war doesn't always end there.  They require medical and psychological help that is difficult to obtain.  Many others reengage successfully with civilian life, and they are the lucky ones.  Regardless of their journey, they all deserve appreciation, recognition and support.


Photo courtesy of
Bing images
Godspeed and God Bless all the souls who protect and serve the United States Armed Forces. I wish for each and every one of them the United States soldier's wish from decades ago in Korea:

Give them tomorrow. Many, many tomorrows.

33 comments:

  1. Thank you, Lise! It bothered me that there was minimal coverage of the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor the other day. So, as I tend to do, I wrote the frustrations out and I hope I ended on a positive note.

    Much love to you,

    Dawnie

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  2. Love this Dawn! I can't stand people who look down upon our troops just because they're against the war. I'm sure you've heard this saying but I really like it, "If you can't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them." I just mailed out a few Christmas cards yesterday for Holiday Mail for Heroes. I'll check out the coffee thing. I know The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf always has a coffee for troops thing as well. I think it's very important for us to support them in any way we can until they come home!

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  3. I'm happy you're equally patriotic, Anahid. I try to do as much as I can during the Christmas holidays and other big holidays throughout the year as I can for our troops. In fact, I just rec'd another Thank You from a soldier that rec'd one of my Cup of Joe coffee gifts yesterday. It always makes me smile when I get one of those emails. It might not be a big thing, but just knowing I gave a soldier a small, happy moment that reminds them of home gives me a really warm feeling inside. Funny that you mentioned the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf company - I think I rec'd a catalog from them today! :) Thanks for being patriotic right along w/ me, sweetheart. That's one more reason to count you as one of my favorite people!

    Much love,
    Dawn

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  4. Hi there, I've just finished reading your blog post. I appreciate your way of introducing this subject in a nice way.
    You can see some interesting post here also: http://aemyifo.blogspot.com.
    Kindly follow it. ^^

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  5. Hi Aemy, thank you for visiting, reading and leaving such a kind comment! I agree with you that the subject matter of this particular post can be controversial, so I'm happy it's being received in the positive manner I intended.

    ~ Dawn

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  6. :''') I'm smiling through my tears. I just finished reading your last two entries in google reader and this one was just a "wow" moment.

    I know there are many people struggling right now, whether it be financial, physical, or spiritual.

    So many times I've had this feeling.

    And now I know what to call it.

    I will stare into the face of what I fear the most and utter those words, "Give me tomorrow."

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  7. It's always a very nice surprise and pleasure when you visit and leave a comment, Marticus. I'm glad this story touched you in the same way it did me. I will carry the memory of that young man in Korea, and many others, with me for the rest of my life. The statement, "Give me tomorrow" certainly puts a lot into perspective, doesn't it?

    Thank you for visiting & leaving such a profound comment, my friend. *pickles*

    ~ Dawn

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  8. Dawn, I keep coming back to re-read this post. Being in Vietnam, I can relate to the guy that is featured. I didn't have any friends over there, And I didn't want any. I didn't want to morn the lost of a friend. It was hard enough just being over there. While I was there, I didn't think as to why we were there, just that we were, and my job was to try and keep my guys alive the best I could. And sometimes I didn't do such a good job.

    Sorry about going on and on.
    Thank you for a wonderful post and giving an insite into war. Things that people back home never realize.
    Love ya,
    papa
    (if this is too heavy please feel free to edit or delete)

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  9. Papa, I wondered if you had had a chance to read this post, and if so, what your thoughts were. I'm glad that you took time to write a comment. Your opinion means a great deal, given the subject matter of this post. Nothing you said here was too heavy; it was honest, and underscores exactly what that young soldier in Korea felt. War is a terrible thing, but for those who must be there in the midst of it, you have to dig deep and find ways to cope that we cannot even imagine.

    I can never claim to understand what you went through in Vietnam, what you witnessed, what you felt, the daily struggles & fears you dealt with. What I can say is that I was raised to respect those who serve our country. What you did in Vietnam shaped who you are today, and that man is one of the most beautiful, funny, brave and solid people I know. I was thinking of you when I wrote this article, so I am happy you found it to be a good effort.

    I love you, Papa.

    Dawn

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  10. War has shaped so many of our soldiers into "beautiful, funny, brave and solid people", my Papa, Daddy, brother, and husband included.
    On the streets of Afghanistan in March 2008, my brother's only son gave his life so the rest of us may pursue our own tomorrows.
    God bless and watch over all of our soldiers as they give the ultimate for us; as they suffer the separation from home and family during this precious CHRISTmas season remember them, those that are giving so much, so freely.
    Thanks for this, Dawnie.
    Love you,
    DixieBelle

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  11. Oh, Miss Belle, my heart is so sad to learn about your nephew's ultimate sacrifice. Nothing I can say will make even a dent in the loss you have all experienced. His tomorrows were cut way too short, but I have to believe that the short time he was here meant so much and made a huge difference in this world.

    For what small comfort this article is giving to people who read it, I am glad I took time to write it and I am glad it hits the right note for you. Again, I will always be a strong voice of support for all of our U.S. Armed Forces.

    Thank you for your lovely comment, Miss Belle. <3

    ~ Dawnie

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  12. Dawn, I had uncles in the Services in Canada, and lucky for us, they came home to live long lives. I too love the phrase " Give me Tomorrow"...very powerful statement. The U.S. gets alot of criticism out there, but the world forgets, because of the efforts of the U.S. the whole World gets " Tomorrow's". I know the statement, they fight for our " Freedom" is used alot. I have always pondered this statement, as I feel that many parts of our world are " Free". This statement about Tomorrow rings so true for me, maybe for the first time putting a word to how I feel about those who put their life on the line for others. You are right, there are no guarantees that any one soul has " Tomorrow"....yet they give " Freely" of themselves so that we do have a chance at " A Tomorrow"...thank you for this.I learned something today. I clicked the button...

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  13. Raven, thank you for visiting and leaving such a thoughtful comment. I knew when I wrote the article that it would run the risk of receiving slams and criticism about the good/bad/right/wrong of the military even existing. I didn't want to focus on that - I wanted to focus on the fact that the people who do serve in any country's Armed Forces deserve support, care and love. I hope that I communicated that message well, and from your comments, my equal focus on giving each soldier many tomorrows was clear.

    Thank you, also, for clicking the button on The Veterans Site and for sharing it on your FB wall! :)

    Much love,

    Dawnie

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  14. What a meaningful post on this most sacred day, we should never forget the sacrifice of those who gave it all for our freedom. The soldier stating "Give me tommorrow" certainly tugged at my heart strings; as you I wonder what ever became of him. I hope he made it home alive and lived a very long happy life!!

    As a former soldier and someone who works with the military on a daily basis I 100% support the troops regardless of the war or Commander in Chief. God bless the troops and thanks for reposting this!!

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  15. David, you're officially in my Hero List from this day forward. Tomorrow, I will be thinking of you, my friend. I appreciate the service you gave to our country, and I agree with your statement of 100% support for our troops, regardless of war or Commander in Chief. Your comment made me smile, and affirmed that it was the right thing to repost this article.

    God Bless the troops, indeed. Every last one of them, past, present and future.

    ~ Dawn

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  16. Dawn, I meant for this to be in your comments so I am returning to do so....

    I liked the Tribute to your Family within this post...there is significance...

    " When a Name is Called....it reverberates within the Great Web of Life"....

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  17. Leeann, thank you so much for posting the comment on the calling of names. There is a Jewish tradition, and forgive me for not knowing what it is called, where names of those who have passed are called during the high holy days towards the end of the year in December (close to Christmas). I have always found that to be a profound, beautiful thought, that the speaking of the names aloud creates an energetic bridge of sorts. <3

    Nelieta, thank you for visiting and leaving a kind comment! I just finished visiting your own blog and leaving a comment in return. :)

    ~ Dawn

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  18. thank you for this post. i push the button also. here is my post for tomorrow

    http://royd-spiltmilk.blogspot.com/2011/01/lot-of-silence.html

    thank you and god bless

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  19. Roy, thank you for visiting and also for going to The Veterans Site and clicking that button. I love knowing more veterans will be fed and cared for as a result of each click.

    God Bless in return, my friend. :)

    ~ Dawn

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  20. Reading this through tears, so touched I was by your genuine words of gratitude for those who serve. I will click on that site, now that I know it exists. Thank you sweet Dawn for this most poignant reminder of what this day means. It’s so much more than a vacation day with cookouts. It’s a time to reflect and remember our fallen heroes, and to give thanks for every tomorrow they have helped ensure.

    My daughter’s 4-H club assembles hundreds of care packages at the Give-to-the-Troops Headquarters, and sets out Memorial Day flags on graves, small patriotic acts of which this mom is proud *beam* as I want her to remember the sacrificed lives of our soldiers.

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  21. Debra, thank you for visiting and sharing your own thoughts on this topic. Your daughter is growing into an equally beautiful individual, I see! We were raised similarly, to assemble care packages and put flags on graves on Decoration Day (as it used to be called). I think that is so important for young people to be taught an appreciation and understanding of the sacrifices our men & women in the military make on a daily basis.

    I definitely want to look at Memorial Day as a day of tribute, rather than as a vacation day. Time spent with family is a fitting tribute, I think, as it always sparks remembrances and shared stories of those loved ones. I'm so glad this article had merit and value for you. Thank you, as always, for your gentle spirit. :)

    ~ Dawn

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  22. Congratulations for your nice blog entry, definitely I see how much Americans are patriots, on the contrary, compares with us, Brazilians, I could see on TV flags on top of the roofs, it's beautiful. Carlos from Brazil was here, following on Google 225 and desire a wonderful night for you and your readers.

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  23. Carlos, thank you for visiting, following and commenting! I do love the sense of patriotism we have here in America, and when someone from another country comments on it in such a nice manner as you have, it makes me smile. Wishing you a wonderful night in return, and now I'm off to visit your blog!

    ~ Dawn

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  24. I'd like to mention my brother-in-law still in Afghanistan. He lost 3 friends last month (right after they eliminated Osama bin Laden) and he was very affected by the incident. Prayers and light go out to all our young men and women in service. Thank you Dawn for sharing the poignancy of those who have lived the battle and the reminder that life is so precious.

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  25. Carlos, thank you for visiting, following and commenting! I do love the sense of patriotism we have here in America, and when someone from another country comments on it in such a nice manner as you have, it makes me smile. Wishing you a wonderful night in return, and now I'm off to visit your blog!

    ~ Dawn

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  26. TOTALLY LOVED THIS POST! Of course...luv you too Dawnie...Good job!!! Hugs!~M

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  27. Thanks Mitzi! It was definitely a labor of love & I'm happy it's been received and appreciated so well. :)

    Love to you,

    Dawnie

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  28. This was so beautiful and touching, Dawn. It roused me to say a prayer for all our troops that each one may return home safely and enjoy many, many tomorrows!
    Love and blessings!

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    1. Martha, thank you so much for sharing your impressions on this one. It is a subject very dear to my heart, and it makes me happy that this has become one of my most visited articles written here.

      Love and blessings to you in return, my sweet friend. <3

      - Dawnie

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  29. This is beautiful Dawn, my very best friend David is in the Army... I feel for all the men and women who serve and are away from home at this time of year and others...

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    1. Launna, thank you for the kind words! I will hold your friend David in prayer on a regular basis; his service is so deeply appreciated.

      Much love to you on this holiest of days, my friend. <3

      - Dawn

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