Military families and cars? Sign me up!

NASCAR and its fans have always been a patriotic bunch. Now, the group is choosing to honor U.S. military families through the NASCAR Foundation with NASCAR Unites. The initiative will help bring funds and awareness to military families, who are tasked with making big sacrifices to help keep our freedom intact and our country strong.

How can we get involved?  I have volunteered my time as a driver (no takers from any NASCAR team, can you believe that?).  Aside from enjoying the red, white and blue motifs that the four-wheeled beauties will be sporting (“splitter to spoiler,” as NASCAR puts it), we can all play a part in this initiative. We can all sport NASCAR Unites wristbands and donate to the foundation. And, of course, in the spirit of the initiative, reach out to those military families around us in need.

Want to honor a veteran? Help someone our veterans hold most dear: their families.

Gentlemen, start your engines!!

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A Love Affair

World War II veteran C.B. Perdue was the centerpiece of a story on KTVT-TV CBS 11 in Dallas/Fort Worth about a WWII-era love affair.  Do you imagine a soldier and his sweetie?  Not in this love story, which was between a man and his plane.  C.B.’s first flight on a B-17 in almost 67 years brought back a flood of emotions typically of any long-held love affair.

See the promo here and the full story here.

One love not discussed?  C.B.’s love of country. What else allows someone to do what they had to do to protect our freedom?  It’s a great love.

C.B. Perdue in the nose of a B-17, flying high for the first time in his precious warbird in 67 years.

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A soldier comes home

OK, sometimes watching the news can be thoroughly depressing. But when you see great stories, like this one from WFAA-TV Channel 8 in Dallas/Fort Worth, your heart smiles a little. Imagine the tremendous weight lifted off this family by this amazing donation. Way to go, Operation Finally Home!

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That’s right, they did…..

In tonight’s State of the Union address, the President opened his speech by pointing out that the veterans of the Greatest Generation were responsible for building the stability we all enjoyed upon their return from war. He said:

“At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from combat, they built the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known.”

So true! Let’s continue to honor what they have all so selflessly given us during and after WWII.

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Faces of Freedom

Want to see what freedom looks like? Peer into the faces of three gentlemen who have not only served our country, but have also been prisoners of war. Mr. Lemons, Mr. Riley and Mr. Perdue are all members of the American Ex-POW Association. Mr. Lemons was a part of the Battle of Castle and spent time in four different POW camps. Mr. Riley was actually a civilian POW, imprisoned by the Japanese as a child during WWII, and Mr. Perdue was shot down over Germany and captured. He spent several months in a POW camp named Stalag Luft I near Barth, Germany. Want to know what freedom looks like? Look into these faces!

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Homeland takes home Golden Globe

Showtime’s hit drama Homeland scored a big win at the 2012 Golden Globes! What’s exciting about this (apart from the fantastic actors in the show, Claire Danes, Damian Lewis, and, of course, Mandy Patinkin) is that the show dramatizes something that is rarely discussed: the life-changing, scarring experiences of those held as prisoners of war.  While the show takes dramatic liberties, it does a great job of bringing the many challenges POWs face — the ones lucky enough, anyway — when they return home.

Showtime's Golden Globe winning drama, "Homeland"

The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command estimates that more than 73,000 veterans of WWII and more than 1,600 veterans of the Vietnam War are still missing. Still missing! These are soldiers that were willing to lay down their lives to defend our country and our freedoms — and we are unable to locate them.

The American Ex-Prisoners of War organization is a not-for-profit veterans’ service organization that advocates for former prisoners of war and their families.  I have the pleasure of being a card-carrying member, as family members of former POWs are invited to become members, if they choose to do so.  My grandfather’s capture by the Nazis in WWII (and his return to the U.S., thank goodness) make it possible for me to meet and honor some of the amazing men and women who are a part of this organization.

The American Ex-POWs organization was started by two moms whose sons were missing in World War II, Mrs. Charles W. Bickford and Mrs. Fred E. Landon, whose sons were members of the 200th Coast Artillery.  Their sons were captured by the Japanese. They originally organized as the Bataan Relief Organization with the mission of gathering as much information as possible and share it with loved ones of other missing service men and women.

Let’s celebrate Homeland’s victory while also celebrating the tireless work of those families who have to live (or have lived) with not knowing where their loved ones might be.

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