It's June!! Where is the year going so quickly? This month we honor the symbol of our Nation, the American Flag. Take a moment on June 14 to honor Old Glory and share how the flag came about with your children and grandchildren. This is a mighty symbol, easily and immediately recognized around the globe as belonging to the United States. Our flag is proudly hung in thousands of homes across the country honoring those who are serving and those who have gone ahead of us, who have fought to keep our freedoms alive. What better month than June to watch the movie Patriot with Kevin Costner or The Red Badge of Courage? Glory with Denzel Washington is also a great movie to share. Each of these movies and many, many more are wonderful media that will keep your attention and show families how previous Americans fought to pave the way for us. While recommending movies I would like to also recommend "Taking Chance" with Kevin Bacon. If you want to understand the price paid for our Nation's ideals, this is a "current day" view of what it means to be a defender of freedom and those who serve with them.
So please: Take a moment to learn more about the symbol of our Country. Being patriotic encompasses so much; obeying the laws, honoring what it means to be an American which includes learning about the American Flag and what she embodies. Pass the information along to your children and have them learn how this Country came to be and how the Stars & Stripes came to represent the greatest Nation in the world.
June is also PTSD Awareness Month. HBO with James Gandolfini presented a documentary, "Wartorn", that depicted this very real condition in a way that had not been previously submitted to the public. Allowing understanding and awareness of this affliction that affects not only our military, but those who support them along with community members who have been subjected to life situations of extreme stress and horror. Not for children, of course, but something that should be viewed by medical/mental health professionals and also families of those who are serving and who have served. A great way to open the dialogue between you and your family.
Post Traumatic Stress is something that I have been witness to with all members of my family when my son deployed. Various levels of stress witnessed with my youngest grandchild at the time to my other sons and myself. That is one reason I searched for an organization that would help to support my needs as a mom with a soldier son serving. Trying to hold it all together can be difficult when working full time, trying to keep the family together and having to deal with the anguish of having a child at war. Blue Star Mothers of American is a support organization and I highly encourage you to reach out to us if you need resources for you, your family members, your soldier or veteran. (I use the word soldier here to make it easier for readers, encompassing all who serve in all branches of the U.S. military.)
Our BSM chapter actually has a copy of Wartorn given to us by HBO to utilize for the community and military family members who are interested in learning more on how to deal with the trauma of Post Traumatic Stress and also what it really is-not a made up, fake, psychological problem, but a very real, at times debilitating trauma that some don't make it back from. We are here to support you in any way that we can.
We have a lot more to do before our fiscal year is out!
Summer is upon us and we are already planning ahead for the back to school drive seeking new backpacks for military dependents. If you visit local Dollar Tree Stores please donate some pencils, a binder, binder paper or any other school supply to help our military dependents. We have been blessed to assist over 3,000 children over the years and would like to continue this wonderfully fulfilling tradition. Operation Homefront is the creator of this event, we are a means of getting the items to our military community. We pick up, sort, count, pack and distribute the items garnering over 400 volunteer hours each year to do this. I hope you will help with a donation for a backpack or with school supplies.
Please check our calendar for upcoming events. We will be purchasing sneakers and flip flops to send over (at a request) to the sandbox, if you would like to donate a new pair of sneakers, mens or womens, we will take them!!
We are also looking for fleece blankets for our homeless veterans and non-perishable food items for our veterans to provide them with a variety of meals they can make on their own to keep them healthy. Don't forget, many military families are living below the poverty level, they pay for base housing even though the receive an allowance, so many cuts have been made that it really is not a huge difference living on base than off base and their needs are the same as the rest of our communities with the unique distinction that they are called to serve in harm's way.
Please keep our military in your thoughts and prayers. We are still losing loved ones to the war that continues each day, for over a decade now. Everyone is not home yet, there are still some in harm's way and your prayers are always important.
If you would like to find a way to assist our small but mighty chapter continue their good works:
Here are some ways that you can assist our military, veterans and military families:
Utilize the online search tool: http://www.goodsearch.com/ where you can list the Alameda County Blue Star Moms as your favorite charity and then receive coupons for dining, shopping and more!
Donate via: http://www.gofundme.com/6wzn9c
We have also partnered with Double D BBQ who is a local hot sauce retailer. They are offering $1 donation to our organization for every bottle of hot sauce purchased via their website. The flyers link is on our homepage with the coupon code to allow the donation. Please download it and pass it along to friends, family and co-workers. Every dollar counts in our program endeavors.
Our chapter looks forward to renewing old relationships, continuing with our outstanding support from local businesses and community members and making new friends who support our programs. Helping to build a better future for military dependents, assisting veterans when and where we can and as always, supporting our Troops.
We look forward to working with you!
Julie M. Ramirez