Filed Under American Patriotism, Tears of a Warrior, Veteran's Day, Veterans, War | Comments Off on PAY ATTENTION

by Janet J. Seahorn, Ph.D


In teaching, one of the first principles we discuss is how to gain and keep your students’ attention.  The reason… attention is the first thing that must occur in order for a person to think beyond what is happening at any moment in time. An interesting fact about attention is that the mind is always paying attention to something… maybe not the “thing” we would like it to be attending to… but, nevertheless, it is attending to something- the good looking gal across the room, the day dream that is more fun than the lecture, and God help us, anything that can pop-up on any tech device.

And so it is when our country, our communities, our neighbors think about our veterans. Veteran’s Day is now over and perhaps, for a few, our country, our communities, our neighbors may have thought about our veterans for a few minutes on that day. During that one short day of the year, perhaps all of these groups paid attention to our veterans, in between the various department store and furniture sales.  Yet, for many veterans, Veteran’s Day was merely another day that served as a sad reminder of all that was lost – their friends, their innocence, and for many their physical and mental health.


Americans are such a blessed, fortunate people. For most of our history our major conflicts have been fought overseas, away from our land. Other than our early history, especially in the last century, we have avoided having to watch our cities, our neighborhoods, our families destroyed by enemies. We haven’t had to pay attention or live the horrors of war. The action wasn’t right outside our homes. We didn’t have to wait for the bombs to fall, the guns to fire, or the foe to knock on our door late at night and carry us away into the darkness.

These are the things other people in other faraway lands have experienced. These are the things other people in other nations are forced to pay attention to… every hour of every day. Few Americans have had to endure the brutality of war. They might read about it in the daily news, watch it on TV or the internet, or even pay to see a movie. It is a very crucial lesson for each and every one of us in this country to see, to understand – for the enemy is not far from us. Paying attention to our veterans should be a reminder each day of the sacrifice they and their families have given for our freedom. We cannot, however, rely forever on the sacrifice of a mere few to protect the rights and independence of the many.


Pay attention, America.  Pay attention and be ready to give as much as our veterans have always given.


by Janet J. Seahorn, Ph.D



            If you have never been to Lubbock, Texas it is a flat, dry, and very youngAmericanCity. It was founded in 1911 which was a bit surprising considering that today it is home to around 250 thousand people as well as the well-knownTexasTechUniversity. TTU has the largest campus of any university in the United States and an attendance of close to 35,000 students. There are few places one can go where they don’t see some logo or item related to the Red Raiders. I must admit I really liked their black, red, and gray colors…. a very classy look for their entire plethora of apparel, knick-knacks, jewelry, poster, etc. Texas Tech is also home to the largest Vietnam archives in the world.  People from anywhere in the world can access their files through internet with little or no cost.

However, here is what impressed us the most about the university and its personnel, it is a very veteran friendly campus and tries to honor its veterans and their families every day. Last week, before Veteran’s Day, it hosted a four day event celebrating veterans and families. On Wednesday they oversaw their first Veteran’sSummit. It was a day of learning about the challenges of returning from war and transitioning into a community where less than one percent of the population has been fighting the last ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Various professionals, including Tony and I, spoke of the difficulties of living with Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injuries.  A doctor addressed the complexities of vision problems veterans face. Several veterans, including a panel of four young men who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, shared their experiences in combat and how that impacted their ability to reintegrate back into their families and neighborhoods. Their stories were both heartbreaking and informative. COL David Lewis shared what Lubbock is doing for veterans along with how essential it is for every community to have a Veteran’s Court that deals with those who find themselves involved with actions that landed them in jail or mental health facilities.


Friday evening, the community and university put on a banquet for Purple Heart Recipients and their families. Several Gold Star families (those who have lost loved ones) were part of the event and Medal of Honor Recipient, Doc Ballard fromKansas City, was the Keynote Speaker.

One of the most remarkable parts of the four day events was when almost 500 Purple Heart Recipients were treated to the Texas Tech football game. Before the game began, paratroopers floated into the stadium with Old Glory flying behind them. One of the jumpers was Dana Bowman, a veteran who had lost both legs in a fatal skydiving demonstration in 2001. His courage is a testament to how incredibly resilient our men and women in military are when they are in combat and even more so when they return. As he stated in his speech, “It is not the disability, it is the ability” that matters.

For most Americans who have never had to fight for our precious Freedom few realize – especially our young population – what it is to live without Freedom. We must all guard against complacency and never take for granted the gift that each American has been given because of the service of our military.  God Bless our armed forces and our many veterans and their families. Freedom is never free.  Let’s support and heal all of our veterans every day of every year, not just honor them one day a year. It is the least we can do.



Filed Under American Patriotism, Events, Healing, Tears of a Warrior, Veteran's Day, Veterans Plaza | Comments Off on FROM A DREAM TO REALITY

by Tony & Janet Seahorn



            It is Sunday afternoon, and the end of a long and humbling Veteran’s Day week. The weather changes quickly from wind, to clouds, to warm sunshine and finally a few drizzles. It seems to be mirroring the lives of many of the individuals attending the opening dedication of the Northern Colorado Veteran’s Plaza. Most of the attendees are veterans spanning several generations of war. They, like the day’s weather, have lived with the clouds of battle, the warmth of joy, and at times a torrent of tears.


            Those tears were the beginning of the dedication. The bridge which transports people from the main roadway into the park, now home to the new Veteran’s Plaza, was consecrated as Sergeant Nick Walsh Way.  Sergeant Walsh died in Iraq in 2007. His parents, family, and fellow Marines watched as the new signage was unveiled; it was evident that the Price of Freedom has to be incredibly steep for those who serve along with their families who sacrifice along with them. Perhaps the bridge will serve as a reminder of hope – a transition from sorrow to comfort and from death to strength.



            The Veteran’s Plaza is not a memorial to those who died. No, this sacred ground extends far beyond a loss. The Plaza will serve as a reminder of unselfish sacrifice and courage. It is a place where present and future generations can go to reflect on the courage of others and learn from their past. The garden is filled with soils from battlegrounds throughout our history: Iwo Jima, Normandy, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan…  This special earth, once stained from the carnage of different wars, now supports the plants that flourish showing us again that biblical saying, “from death into life”.


            Now, for the best part of this story — the Veteran’s Plaza was the dream of one man, Major Diggs Brown, a Special Forces Veteran living in Fort Collins, CO. He was inspired to make a difference after attending the funeral of Sergeant Walsh.


            Soon thereafter, he gathered community members, veterans and numerous organizations and created a “Plaza” committee. The group worked tirelessly for two years, soliciting donations, holding fundraisers, brainstorming and promoting the vision.



            Today was a testimony to what an idea can become with planning, hard work, creativity, and most of all, a Dream.


I Think He’s A Soldier

Filed Under Soldier, Tears of a Warrior, Veteran's Day | Comments Off on I Think He’s A Soldier

This is a guest post submitted by Ben Heath:

“The following is a general description of most soldiers I knew.”


It no longer fazes him to have a grisly old sergeant screaming in his ear, but his palms get sweaty and he can’t say a word when a pretty girl smiles at him.

  Is he a man or a boy?


He will eat cold grub covered in dirt and sand and think nothing of it. Bring him a burger with onions he didn’t order, and he’ll pitch a fit.

  Is he a man or a boy?


He will run in the rain and push his body until total collapse to carry his load, but if mom asks him take out the trash, he will roll his eyes like a complete brat.

  Is he a man or a boy?


He will dive from a plane at eight hundred feet moving three hundred mile an hour without pause, but the site of a needle makes him go weak in the knees.

  Is he a man or a boy?


He will attack and kill the enemy with a ferociousness his own mother wouldn’t recognize, yet the site of a suffering child will bring him to tears.

  Is he a man or a boy?


He can wade through mangled bodies and untold carnage, but he can’t legally drink a beer to unwind.

  Is he a man or a boy?


He’s seen more evil and suffering in a year than most will see in a lifetime, and his favorite reading material is still a comic book.

  Is he a man or a boy?


He is selfish, sarcastic, and sometimes down right mean with his buddies, but he will give his life for them as a matter of pure reaction with no thought given.

  Is he a man or a boy?



by Janet J. Seahorn, Ph.D


It is cold outside.



I just got home from my last lecture session. Needless to say it was quite interesting as the entire week I have been battling a bad cold and struggling with losing my voice.



Today, there was no voice. Trying to deliver a lecture with laryngitis is a challenge. Hence, I put all of my “words” on my wonderful PowerPoint and proceeded with the lesson.


Since the week is Veteran’s Day week, I decided I would do something different for my university classes. I would talk about the LITERACY of WAR: the vocabulary, the literature, the stories, and of course, the effects of war on both the veteran and the families.


My first slide said this:


My husband is a Vietnam veteran who was a young officer and served in the jungles between the borders of Cambodia and Vietnam. He witnessed a great deal of bloody battles and lost many men. He has two Purple Hearts. The last one he received after being severely wounded.  Out of 130 men, only 19 walked away without any injuries. The rest were either killed or wounded. Yesterday I asked if he would like to be the guest speaker for today’s class since I have no voice. His response is what he said he would tell you,


“My wife thinks I’m not miserable enough, so she wants me to talk about PTSD for 90 minutes.” 


He said some other things he might share with you, at which time I decided his services would not be needed!    (I would like to keep my job.)


Of course my students thought this was pretty funny, even if it was true. But the purpose of this blog is to share with you what I learned from my students. It is pretty sobering.


Out of 140 students, only five had ever had a college session where the professor talked about or honored veterans on Veteran’s Day.


Most students were interested in the session’s information and videos. A few, however, during the first short video paid more attention to their text messages than to the video. Then I put on a slide, “How well did you listen and honor our veterans during the show?” The room was incredible still. The other short clips received 100% of their attention.


  1. Young people are not insensitive to veterans, I believe their seeming thoughtlessness is not that at all… it is because the adults around them do not take the time to talk WITH them, or to REMIND them of the sacrifices others have made FOR them. Schools, communities, and parents are the ones most at fault. Many have lived the experience and stayed silent. No longer will I remain soundless. I will always give this presentation in the coming years.
  2. We did an activity where students moved forward when I asked a question if a relative had served, was injured, or died in a particular war.  Many took a step when I mentioned WWII. More stepped forward again when I mentioned Vietnam. And last, when I asked about the Iraq/Afghanistan conflict, I was surprised at how many were impacted. Last, I asked for those who had or were currently serving in today’s wars, four stepped forward. I had them face the class so all would see. Then I began clapping and the entire class gave these four young men a standing ovation for their service. It was an emotional moment for everyone.

At the end of class two of the young men commented that this was the first time anyone had acknowledged and thanked them for their service.  Today was the first of what I hope will be many. And just as important 140 young people may stop every now and then, think about those who gave and are giving so much, and say a prayer of gratitude.


Perhaps, when they see a vet or know of a family member who has served they will say Thank You.


A few have already called home and done just that.






 Wednesday was Veteran’s Day.  A twenty-four hour period where Americans are supposed to stop at some time during those hours to honor and reflect on the sacfrices made by our veterans so that others can live in a free and democratic country.  Truly, I don’t know how many Americans did this… With the busyness of daily life, I didn’t see much evidence that many knew the honorary day existed.  Yet, across the nation there many observances.

In our home we did something uniquely special.  Something we have never done before, nor will we do again. The event was a culmination of several months of planning. 

It included the thoughtfulness and generosity of family members and close friends, along with the sewing fingers of  the Caring Quilters of “The Rabbit’s Lair” in Rogers, AR.  Contributers are Betty Hayes, Marguerite Steiner, Nancy White and Patty Wilhelm and machine quilted by Donna Roche. All are dedicated to making a difference with the  “Quilts of Valor”. 

It was a secret for Tony, which took a great deal of evasive action and patience to execute.  In honor of all vets, we took this day to symbolize such respect by paying tribute to one.  Inviting several neighbors to share the evening, we ate a light dinner, then watched the touching movie, Taking Chance, the true story of a twenty-year old Marine who died in Iraq.  The movie chronicled the journey of Chance Phelps from Iraq to his family burial place in Dubois, Wyoming.

One member this evening, a former marine who flew helicopters in Vietnam, shared how, while he was waiting for his overseas assignment, was given the duty of informing two families of their loved ones’ death.  It was information he had never shared with any of us before and we could tell that the memory still remained with him.

At the very end of the evening, we surprised Tony with his own Quilt of Valor.  Needless to say, he was speechless and quite humbled.  You see, he understood that this distinctive comforter of courage was not just for him, but for every wounded warrior from every war past and present.  So Thank You every veteran for your sacrifice and service.  We hold you warmly in our hearts and minds, not just on November 11, but every day of every year.


Veteran’s Day

Filed Under American Patriotism, Events, Veteran's Day | Comments Off on Veteran’s Day

Veteran’s Day, November 11, 2009

Following is a guest post from some dear friends. Thanks to all veterans on this day and every day!  Lest we forget, “Freedom Isn’t Free”

Post by Larry & Nancy Thoney:

flag-monument2Battered & Tattered, Yet, How Proudly It Waves!


 While traveling across the Navajo Reservation in the Monument Valley in AZ last winter, we saw an American flag flying in spite of what had obviously been some very hard times.  It was symbolic and we had to have that picture!

The ragged, tattered old flag reminds us of our country and the fact that it has also been through some trials and tribulations, but never-the-less our life style and independence have prevailed.  The reason our flag has continued to fly proudly, in spite of all, is largely because of the sacrifices of Veterans such as yourself.

Thanks so much for your contributions.   We Americans are forever grateful!

Happy, Healthy Trails to you and yours.

Two Appreciative Americans,

Larry and Nancy Thoney



Post by Janet J. Seahorn:

Today is Wednesday, November 11, 2009… Veteran’s Day.  Be sure to say thank you to every veteran you meet; not just today, but often.  Be sure to let them know how much you appreciate their sacrifice for our country.  A sacrifice that allows you and your family to live in peace and pursue your dreams of prosperity and happiness.  Be sure you say an extra prayer for the families of our troops who are far from home in harms way.  And may you live your life making a similar selfless commitment on behalf of others you may never know or meet.


Josh Groban in his song, You Raise Me Up, says it nicely. 


You Raise Me Up 

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary

When troubles come and my heart burdened be.

Then, I am still and wait here in the silence

Until you come and sit a while with me.


You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains

Your raise me up, to walk on stormy seas

I am strong, when I am on your shoulders

You raise me up… to more than I can be.


  Thanks to you, members of our military, you have raised us up higher than we could ever be without your contribution to freedom and liberty for all. 


God Bless America and God Bless our Veterans!