The Wall That Heals

June 21, 2010

The community of Cabool in south central Missouri will host The Wall That Heals July 1-4. The half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will be located at the Cabool High School football stadium and will be open 24 hours a day.

Unveiled on Veterans Day 1996 by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, The Wall travels to communities throughout the United States, drawing thousands of visitors who might not have the opportunity visit the Memorial in Washington, D.C. The exhibit is accompanied by a mobile museum and information center.

The Wall will arrive under the escort of the Patriot Guard and be in place Thursday, July 1, through Sunday, July 4. An opening ceremony is planned at the high school’s Mitch Carmack Stadium on Thursday evening. A closing program will be held Sunday evening.

“We invite everyone to come and experience The Wall That Heals when it is in Cabool July 1-4. This is an opportunity to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and also help give closure and healing to veterans, as well as help others understand that period in America’s history,” a spokesperson said.

Persons may visit The Wall at any time during its four-day visit.

The Wall is the centerpiece of Independence Day weekend activities in Cabool, which will include a 1:00 p.m. parade downtown on Saturday, July 3. Special activities that weekend are planned by Cabool Area Chamber of Commerce and Cabool Park Board Friday and Saturday, and Cabool’s annual community fireworks display will be held at dark Sunday.
For more information, visit

Operation Gratitude and BJ's Wholesale Club

June 21, 2010

Operation Gratitude and BJ’s Wholesale Club
Collect More Than 100,000 Letters for Troops during
Military Appreciation Month

-BJ’s partnered with nonprofit Operation Gratitude for month-long letter writing campaign-

Van Nuys, CA. (June 17, 2010) – Operation Gratitude and BJ’s Wholesale announced today that they collected 108,816 letters for deployed troops during May in honor of Military Appreciation Month. The letters will be included in Operation Gratitude Care Packages to be shipped to individual U.S. Service Members in 2010.  BJ’s Charitable Foundation will also donate $50,000 to the nonprofit to help defray the cost of shipping care packages.

General Manager Bill Sikora of the BJ's in Boynton Beach, FL, Operation Gratitude President and Founder Carolyn Blashek and Volunteer Anne Holland of Atlanta, Georgia add their own greetings to May's Military Appreciation Month Letter Writing Campaign.

“BJ’s Wholesale Club is extremely proud of the tremendous response from our club members, team members and Operation Gratitude, who together collected more than 100,000 letters,” said Laura Sen, President and CEO of BJ’s Wholesale Club. “We are deeply pleased that so many U.S. Service Members will receive personal letters showing our sincere thanks and admiration.”

BJ’s challenged the communities in which it has clubs to write personal letters for deployed troops throughout May. BJ’s Members, Team Members and local community organizations collected 71,031 letters and Operation Gratitude volunteers in Southern California contributed another 37,785. Letters were dropped in the Operation Gratitude mailbox at any BJ’s Club, submitted online via BJ’s Facebook page or mailed directly to the nonprofit. BJ’s Charitable Foundation additionally pledged to donate $1 for every letter received, up to $50,000, for Operation Gratitude.

Sikora and Blashek wheel out the last collection of letters from May's Military Appreciation Month Letter Writing Campaign

“This is the largest collection of letters we have ever received at one time! Every Care Package that we send for the rest of the year will have at least two letters from the BJ’s Letter Writing campaign,” said Carolyn Blashek, Founder and President of Operation Gratitude. “We are grateful for the support from BJ’s Wholesale Club, its local communities, their members and our volunteers.  U.S. Service Members who receive our care packages tell me that they cherish personal letters and keep them close to their hearts – both in combat and when they return home. These personal letters will lift morale and put many smiles on the faces of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed in harm’s way.”

About Operation Gratitude
Operation Gratitude ( is the 501 (c) (3) non-profit, volunteer-based organization that annually sends 100,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individual U.S. Service Members deployed in hostile regions. Our mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member’s face and express to our Armed Forces the appreciation and support of the American people. Each package contains donated product valued at ~$125 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude has shipped more than 550,000 packages to American Military deployed overseas.

About BJ’s Wholesale Club
BJ’s is dedicated to providing members with high-quality, brand-name food and merchandise at prices that are significantly lower than supermarkets, supercenters, department stores, drug stores and specialty retail stores. BJ’s carries the most product variety of any wholesale club with more than 7,000 items, including supermarket-sized staples, USDA Choice meats and stock-up items. BJ’s is the only wholesale club to accept all manufacturers’ coupons and for greater convenience, offers the most payment options including EBT.
Headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc. is a leading operator of warehouse clubs in the eastern United States. The Company currently operates 189 clubs and 105 gas stations in 15 eastern states. Learn more and shop online at or for exclusive content visit and

About BJ’s Charitable Foundation
BJ’s Charitable Foundation was established with the mission to enrich every community BJ’s Wholesale Clubs serve. The Foundation supports nonprofit organizations that primarily benefit the underprivileged in the area of basic needs (hunger prevention, self sufficiency, education and health). For more information about BJ’s Charitable Foundation please visit,

Never Forget

June 17, 2010

For all of our other military personnel, where ever they may be. Please Support all of the troops defending our country. 

And God Bless our Military who are protecting our country for our freedom. Thanks to them, and their sacrifices we can celebrate the 4th of July.

We must never forget who gets the credit for the freedoms we have, of which we should be eternally grateful.

Freedom Is Not Free
- Kelly Strong

I watched the flag pass by one day.
It fluttered in the breeze.
A young Marine saluted it,
and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform
So young, so tall, so proud,
He’d stand out in any crowd.
I thought how many men like him
Had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?
How many pilots’ planes shot down?
How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
No, freedom isn’t free.

I heard the sound of TAPS one night,
When everything was still
I listened to the bugler play
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
That TAPS had meant “Amen,”
When a flag had draped a coffin
Of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children,
Of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands
With interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard
At the bottom of the sea
Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
No, freedom isn’t free.

When you read this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our servicemen. Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, prayer is the very best one.

Captured: The 65th Anniversary of D-Day on the Normandy Beaches

June 8, 2010

Saturday, June 6th, marks the 65th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Allied troops departed England on planes and ships, made the trip across the English Channel and attacked the beaches of Normandy in an attempt to break through Hitler’s “Atlantic Wall” and break his grip on Europe. Some 215,000 Allied soldiers, and roughly as many Germans, were killed or wounded during D-Day and the ensuing nearly three months it took to secure the Allied capture of Normandy. Commemoration events, from re-enactments to school concerts, were being held in seaside towns and along the five landing beaches that stretch across 50 miles (80 kilometers) of Normandy coastline. The big event is Saturday, when Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the Canadian and British prime ministers and Prince Charles gather for a ceremony amid the rows of white crosses and Stars of David at the American cemetery, which is U.S. territory. (AP)

Click Here or the image below to view the entire gallery of images.

It is the Veteran

May 28, 2010

It is the Veteran
Author Unknown

It is
Not the preacher,
Who has given us freedom of religion.

It is
Not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.

It is
Not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.

It is
Not the campus organizer,
Who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is
Not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

It is
Not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.

It is
Salutes the Flag,

It is
Who serves
Under the Flag,

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