Today is Memorial Day in the United States and five years ago before I started all my Support Our Troops effort I did not know anyone personally in the USA and I wasn’t a member of Face Book so there was no status to post in honour of troops in the States. The first person I met through my groups was Angelia Phillips. Her son PFC Michael Phillips was killed in action in IRAQ and through his passing me and Angelia have become very close friends and she was the first official volunteer of Thankasoldier.net
Last night when I was on Twitter I noticed a lot of posts from people about a R&B artist that had been injured in an accident and people were posting things like “Pray for **** **** on #MemorialDay” and rumors were spreading that he had passed away and I saw posts sending out RIPs to him as Memorial Day Posts. I was talking with Angelia and she told me to move along and ignore those people as it was getting me quite upset. I am very thankful to have people like Angelia to go to any time and even though I have never met her I consider her a true friend.
Through the “Thank A Soldier” cause page on Facebook I have met many members of the forces serving in IRAQ & Afghanistan and paired up schools with them as pen pals, and sent care packages to some troops in IRAQ that had some Tim Hortons coffee when they were in Afghanistan and requested some be sent.
In Feb 2009 Jason Joyce of The US ARMY organized to have an American flag flown in Taiji, Iraq for a day in honour of Thankasoldier.net and our group members. To me this was something amazing as being from Canada to get this honour from friends in the military in the USA spoke volumes of taking down the borders of troops support.
I have also become friends with some people that run some amazing organizations in the States such as Operation Gratitude, Wounded Warriors Project, Bonnie Jill laflins Hounds for Heroes, Hike For Heroes and many more.
I’m writing this post because someone questioned me as to why I was posting Memorial Day posts if I am in Canada. Well my answer to that is simply our men and women stand together in battle, we should support them together as well. Right now there are Canadian troops leading operations in Afghanistan, There are Canadian troops helping with training in Texas and California
Last year on the day before Memorial Day I received the following in my email :
Dave Murphy, thank you sir for all you do with regards to our brave man and women in uniform. I know we don’t know each other, that’s why I feel somewhat uncomfortable asking you for a very big favor. I know you’re very busy, especially today, but I still like to ask if you can help me.
Sgt. *. ****, a hero and a dear friend of mine, served 20 years in US Army, saw combat in three wars and if you should ever speak with him, he’ll make it sound like no big deal. To get to my point. He just had a liver biopsy done last Thursday, The test came back, cancerous tumor of the liver, the Doc. said. Needles to say he’s not in the best of spirits. I know that he is not the only one having health issues, so why him? He has a son that’s due to graduate from helicopter school, that’s his only family here in US. We are both originally from Romania. As far as friends, not many. He lives in ******* Ft. Stewart by him self. I was thinking, today being Memorial Day and the bad news, maybe you could give him a call just to say a few good words. I will call him too, but I doubt that he will get more then three, four calls.I think it will mean allot to him.
So I thought ok Memorial Day I can do this, I finally got up the nerve and gave him a call, told him who I was and what my website does. I also told him that I would send out a request for thoughts and prayers for what he is about to go to and I could tell it meant a lot to him. When he asked where I was calling from and I said “Calgary, Alberta Canada” he says “But you are not American, no” I said “Soldiers are soldiers as long as they are Coalition allies and I respect what you do” There was a silence on the phone and he simply thanked me for calling and thinking of him, but it made me so proud to talk to one of our heroes. He had served in three different wars, given 20 years of service to the United States ARMY and I am so honored to have spoken with him today. I have removed his name from this write up but please keep him in your thoughts and prayers if you can.
I will never forget that call and always observe Memorial Day along with you all.