September 2007 Blog Archives
for Military Families Blog

Below are the entries that appeared on our Military Families Blog in September 2007:

Gold Star Mother's Day

Gold Star BannerSunday, September 30, has been proclaimed Gold Star Mother's Day by President Bush, to honor those American mothers who have given their country their most cherished gift, their children.

Sunday morning, the Gold Star Mothers will gather in Washington, DC, to lay a memorial wreath, traditionally a star-shaped floral tribute made of yellow roses, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 8 a.m. They will then proceed to Arlington National Cemetery for a memorial service, and will place a similar wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

If you're in the DC area, why not make it a point to join them, to pay your tribute to these proud mothers and their sons and daughters who gave their all to this country so that we might enjoy the freedom we have today.

During World War I, families of US service members began a tradition of hanging a banner in a front window of their home to indicate they had

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Visitors from Around the Globe

We're delighted to be sharing our tips and techniques for reducing debt and creating wealth with readers around the world.

Although the site is written specifically for our U.S. military service members, the information is applicable to and useful for just about anyone.

Currently, we have visitors from at least 45 countries around the world. To check the list to make sure you're represented, click on the "PermaLink" below. If you don't see a listing that represents you, please let us know via our contact page, so we can add you to the list.

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Have You Discovered SpouseBUZZ?

SpouseBUZZSeptember 19, 2007 -- Today, SpouseBUZZ celebrates its first birthday. We'd like to congratulate the authors on the virtual support they've provided to the worldwide community of military spouses. They've created a real sense of community, where milspouses can find like-minded spirits who truly understand what you're going through, because they've either been there, or are there now.

They understand how frustrated you get with the constant upheaval of military life, and how totally clueless your civilian friends and neighbors really are about the life your family lives.

Whatever your current situation, there's likely to be someone there who's in a similar situation and can offer you support and helpful suggestions. You're not alone in your thoughts and feelings, and at SpouseBUZZ, you'll find support from others who truly understand.

They even have a live radio show, and host virtual Pajama Parties!

So, if you haven't discovered SpouseBUZZ yet, click on over and wish them all a Happy Birthday!

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Free Legal Help with VA Claims on Sep 18

September 17, 2007 -- We've previously mentioned When Duty Calls, the pro bono (free) program sponsored by the legal firm of Womble, Carlyle, Sandridge & Rice to assist veterans in filing claims for VA Disability Benefits.

Womble Carlyle will host a day-long clinic for veterans in its D.C. office at 1401 Eye Street, NW (across from McPherson Square Metro) from 9:00am to 5:00pm on September 18, 2007.

Veterans who seek legal assistance with a disability claim and are interested in scheduling an appointment during the day-long clinic on September 18th may contact Kaira Stelly at or (202) 467-6900.

One of the supervising attorneys for this project, Tim McClain, is a former US Navy Judge Advocate and former General Counsel for the VA. So this is bona fide help in dealing with the VA claims process from someone who knows the inside workings of the VA.

If you live in the DC area and need help with a VA Disability claim, be sure to give them a call and make an appointment.

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Homes For Heroes

Homes for Heroes

Fourteen new Homes for Heroes will be built next year in San Juan Capistrano by the Orange County chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Of 27 total homes to be built in San Juan Capistrano, 14 are specially earmarked for combat-disabled veterans and their families, or surviving families of deceased veterans.

Requirements for qualification include legal residence in the US, and steady income between 30% and 80% of the median income in Orange County. The entire community will consist of 13 sets of paired homes and one single-family home.

Eleven of the homes can be designed to fully comply with ADA standards.

This is wonderful news for Marine families at Camp Pendleton, just south of Orange County.

For more information about eligibility, or to apply, contact the Director of Family Services.

Donate to this project.

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We Must Never Forget

September 11, 2007 - Today marks the sixth anniversary of the most horrific attack in history against the United States of America.

It was a vicious attack, carried out by a ruthless enemy, designed to kill thousands of innocent civilians -- men, women and children.

Let us each pause today and remember how we felt that day, watching on television, dumbstruck as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center billowed smoke and flame, and then collapsed into a smoldering pile of death and destruction.

Remember the confusion, the incomprehension, that horrible searing feeling in the pit of your stomach as you watched people jump to their deaths to escape the blazing inferno.

Remember the brave police officers and firefighters who rushed into the building to help those trapped inside, many of whom died as heroes that sad day.

Remember the gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon, this nation's military fortress, and the hundreds of people who died there. Remember the giant American flag draped over the side of the building as the recovery process began.

Remember the devastating sight of the aircraft wreckage and debris strewn across the field in Pennsylvania, and the brave souls onboard who were determined that their aircraft would not become another weapon in the hands of terrorists. Be grateful for the number of lives they surely saved, even as they sacrificed their own.

Take a minute to say a prayer today, that God will provide some comfort to the family members of those who died on 9-11-2001.

Pray that God will bless and protect those brave Americans around the globe wearing the uniforms of our Armed Forces today, and keep them safe from harm. Pray that they will be returned safely to their families, who also serve as unsung heroes.

Pray for guidance and wisdom for our leaders as they chart the course forward in this war against an insidious enemy. Pray that God will continue to bless these United States of America, and that its citizens will have the collective wisdom to choose a new leader who will make the decisions that are in the best interests of all the American people, regardless of party affiliation.

And whatever else you do today, resolve that you will not forget, that you will not let your neighbor forget, that in order to keep something like that from happening here again, we must remember how we felt that day, and we must have the resolve to take the fight to the enemy and continue the fight until the mission is accomplished.

"We will not waiver; We will not tire;

We will not falter and We will not fail."

-- President George W. Bush

USS New York, LPD-21, is built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center. The ship's motto: NEVER FORGET!

We Are The Nation is an appropriate reminder on this day.

God Bless America!

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The True Cost of War:
Drop Everything Tonight and Watch
Wounded Warriors Tell Their Story

Alive Day Documentary

Drop everything you're doing tonight, and plan to watch a one-hour special on HBO in which Wounded Warriors tell their stories about their "Alive Day" -- the day they were severely injured in combat, but were fortunate enough to still be Alive.

The War on Terror is the defining issue of our times, and the single most important issue facing this nation today, whether or not people want to acknowledge it. History will show it to be true.

The vote in the upcoming Presidential Election will be the largest single determining factor in our success or failure in that arena, because the person who is elected to the White House next year will control the fate of the American War on Terror. And as an American, you owe it to yourself and to every other American whose life will necessarily be influenced by your vote, to educate yourselves about this issue.

Regardless of your political bent, you need to find the truth. You need to know what is really happening in that war, and how the people who ARE paying the price feel about the sacrifices they are making. Here's your opportunity.

James Gandolfini lends his popular name to draw attention to this story, as he interviews 10 wounded soldiers, and listens to their stories about how they were wounded, and what their lives have been like since then.

I don't know what they have to say, but you can bet I'll be watching, to find out. And you should, too.

Why? Because these are the people who understand -- better than any media reporter, better than any politician, better than any e-mail buddy you have (unless that e-mail buddy also happens to be on active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan today)-- exactly what is truly happening in those places on a day-to-day basis, and what results their efforts are having. THEY are the people best qualified to tell you what we're dealing with, and what impact our troops are having, and whether their mission is worthwhile.

And America needs to hear it from them. We need to hear what they have to say, these soldiers who are truly paying the price to keep your children (and theirs) safe from IEDs and roadside bombs blowing up their school buses.

And you owe it to them to tell THEIR story when you hear someone pontificating about whether we should pull the troops out.

So take one hour tonight to listen to their stories, before you decide what our policy on this war should be. And remember it as you're deciding which candidate to vote for in the primaries leading up to the general election for the next President of these great United States of America.

To check the HBO schedule for your local air time for this must-see documentary, PLEASE click on the link below.

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Iraqis Increasingly Prefer Helping US
Over Helping Al-Qaeda

Iraqi citizens and their local tribal leaders don't necessarily like having US and other foreign troops in Iraq, but they are beginning to understand that helping our troops defeat Al-Qaeda is the key to a better future for themselves and their families.

Iraqis, some of them former insurgents themselves, are "enlisting" as "volunteers" or "concerned citizens" to help coalition troops secure their own neighborhoods and drive out the forces of evil. They are tired of Al-Qaeda's brutality against Iraqis.

Sunnis are beginning to realize their boycott of national elections and their self-imposed disenfranchisement was a mistake. More than the US occupation, which they understand will end eventually, they fear the increasing threat of Iranian influence in Iraq. They also understand that, if allowed to gain a foothold, Iran will never leave.

"The real danger does not come from the Americans but comes from Iran. Americans are a visible enemy and will go home some day. Iran is an invisible enemy and if they come into Iraq they will never leave," said Sheikh Mohammed Faraj al-Alwani, a leading sheik in the western Baghdad district of Abu Ghraib.

For an excellent discussion of these issues, from a local reporter on the ground, see Stars and Stripes.

Information used with permission from Stars and Stripes.

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President Bush Surprises Troops in Iraq
with Labor Day Visit

September 3, 2007 -- In case you missed the news on this Labor Day, President Bush made a surprise stop today at Al-Asad Air Base.President Bush visits with troops at Al-Asad Air Base in Anbar Province

Marines assigned to provide security for the scheduled meetings, which they knew were to include Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, were surprised to see the unmistakable blue-and-white paint scheme of Air Force One overhead, coming in for a landing. One was heard to remark, "Well, this meeting just became a lot more important!"

Following the scheduled meetings, President Bush met with about 700 service members stationed there. "As you know, today is Labor Day back home, so I thought I'd come by to thank you for all your hard work."

His remarks, which included thanking the troops for their sacrifices, and for volunteering to serve in the face of danger, were met with "Hooahs" from soldiers, and "Oorahs" from Marines.

Bush expressed his gratitude to the troops and to their families back home. "I want you to tell your families the Commander in Chief stopped by to say hello and he said, 'I’m incredibly proud to be the Commander in Chief of such a great group of men and women.'"

The President assured them that his decisions about troop levels in Iraq "will be based on a calm assessment by our military commanders on the conditions on the ground – not a nervous reaction by Washington politicians to poll results in the media. In other words, when we begin to draw down troops from Iraq, it will be from a position of strength and success, not from a position of fear and failure." Those comments drew a loud and enthusiastic response.

Bush was in Iraq to meet with local leaders, including Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki and Iraqi President Jalal Talibani, as well as meetings with his key advisors on Iraq policy, including Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Gen. Peter Pace, head of U.S. Central Command Navy Adm. William Fallon , Multinational Force Iraq commander Army Gen. David Petraeus, and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker.

He told the assembled troops, "I brought out the A Team, so they could be with the folks that are making a significant difference in this war against these radicals and extremists."

"Anbar is a huge province," Bush said. "It was once written off as lost. It is now one of the safest places in Iraq, because of your hard work." The President told the assembled service members, some of whom had waited four hours to see him as the thermometer topped out at 115 degrees, that the work they are doing in Anbar Province is making America a safer place.

More information about the President's visit to Iraq here.

Text of the President's remarks here.

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These Businesses Offer Military Discounts

In a recent post on SpouseBuzz, airforcewife was lamenting the fact that her local Home Depot store no longer honors a military discount (it's up to each individual store). After reading her post, we were inspired to begin this page, to list places where you can still find discounts offered to military members and military families.

As those who posted comments to airforcewife's post indicated, it's not the amount of the discount that matters, but rather just the fact that there IS a discount offered, an acknowledgment of the quiet sacrifices our military members and their families make on a daily basis.

Everyone likes to be appreciated, and our military spouses are no exception. They quietly go about their daily lives, and unless you're another military spouse, you're unlikely to ever hear . . . more

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Ten Tips to Help You Avoid Foreclosure

In many parts of the country, foreclosures are at an all-time high, following surges in the housing market and an epidemic of sub-prime adjustable loans allowing families who previously could not qualify for mortgages to do so. The result is that many families in recent years have bought homes that really were out of their reach, made possible only because the low interest rate kept the payments within the realm of the do-able. Unfortunately, as the adjustable-rate mortgages begin to adjust upwards, the families can no longer afford the payments, and they begin sliding down the slippery slope towards foreclosure.

If you are unable to make your mortgage payment: click here.

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Army Adds "Quick-Ship" Enlistment Bonus
to Entice New Recruits Who Enlist
Before September 30

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

In an effort to bolster the growth of the Army by more than 34,000 soldiers, Army officials are implementing a new bonus for recruits who sign up by the end of this fiscal year.

U.S. Army Recruiting Command has announced a $20,000 “quick-ship” bonus for aspiring recruits with no prior military service who enlist for at least two years of active duty and report to basic training within 30 days of enlistment.

The program ends Sept. 30.

Despite the current tough recruiting environment, nearly 70,000 people have joined the Army this year, and those in the Army are reenlisting at record rates. In fiscal 2006, 81 percent of the regular Army and 89 percent of the Army Reserve were high school graduates. Also, 85 percent of the recruits who shipped to basic training that year joined without any waivers.

Remember that the Army is all-volunteer, and has been at war for five years. The Army is still on target to achieve its year-end recruiting goals.

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Veterans Now Permitted to Salute the Flag!

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) recently praised the passage by unanimous consent of his bill (S.1877) clarifying U.S. law to allow veterans and servicemen not in uniform to salute the flag. Current law (US Code Title 4, Chapter 1) states that veterans and servicemen not in uniform should place their hand over their heart without clarifying whether they can or should salute the flag.

"The salute is a form of honor and respect, representing pride in one’s military service," Senator Inhofe said. "Veterans and service members continue representing the military services even when not in uniform.

"Unfortunately, current U.S. law leaves confusion as to whether veterans and service members out of uniform can or should salute the flag. My legislation will clarify this regulation, allowing veterans and servicemen alike to salute the flag, whether they are in uniform or not.

"I look forward to seeing those who have served saluting proudly at baseball games, parades, and formal events. I believe this is an appropriate way to honor and recognize the 25 million veterans in the United States who have served in the military and remain as role models to other citizens. Those who are currently serving or have served in the military have earned this right, and their recognition will be an inspiration to others."

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Important Protection Against Identity Theft
for Deployed Service Members

Great News! Amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act have made it a little easier for deployed service members to protect themselves against possible identity theft while they are out of the country.

If you are on active duty and away from your usual duty station for an extended period, you can add an "active duty alert" to your credit reports with the major credit reporting agencies. This should help minimize the risk of identity theft while you are deployed, because when a business sees the alert on your credit report, it must verify your identity before issuing credit.

To learn how to place an “active duty” alert, or to have one removed, and for the toll-free fraud number of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies, click here.

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Sponsor a Secure Website to Help a Military Family Stay in Touch

What an awesome idea! If you've been looking for a way to show your support for America's military families, here's a project worth supporting.

Your sponsorship of just $99 will provide a secure website to a military family for an entire year, giving them the ability to share (privately) those precious moments that would otherwise be missed, such as first steps, birthday parties, piano recitals, soccer goals, etc. The sites use multiple layers of security, so the families can safely post photos of children and talk about family activities without fear of the information falling into the wrong hands. This is a wonderful way of helping the families stay connected. is a nationwide service that helps America's troops stay connected with their families by providing them with free, secure interactive family websites. Launched in 2006, is a joint effort by two California patriots -- Terry Gniffke, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, and Michael Sawtell, CEO of DigitalPost Interactive, a provider of advanced family website technology -- to help military families maintain strong family bonds and to inspire hope during difficult times.

For further information or to sponsor a website for a military hero, please visit Websites for Heroes.

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