Memorial Day Message from MG Paul Vallely U.S. Army (ret.)

 

Memorial Day

 A Time To Remember Our Heroes

 By

 Paul E. Vallely

MG, US Army (ret)

 

We pause this day in America to remember our fallen heroes, the men and women who answered the call of freedom and paid the ultimate sacrifice.  Let us remember and thank them for the nights they slept freezing in a tent or sweating in the desert, for the lonely days they spent fighting boredom and missing loved ones, for the hours they spent sick in pain from battle and without someone holding their hand other than their fellow soldiers, for the moments of sheer fright in the heat of battle, for the wounds suffered fighting evil, for the endless days in hospitals undergoing painful surgeries, for the precious occasions  missed at home with family and friends.

For all of these sacrifices, we need to thank them on behalf of millions of Americans who are so grateful. We truly appreciate their dedication to duty.  A special thank you to all families and friends, to the parents who raised them, stood by them and made them honorable men and woman.

We thank the wives, husbands, and loved ones who stood by them and supported them with their love. May their legacy be honored for generations to come, may the tears shed over their coffins fertilize the fields of patriotism in our nation. The new generations to come must be built on strength, duty, honor and country, willing and able to follow in their Warrior footsteps when duty calls to defend America. May their blood not have been shed in vain. May we prove worthy of their sacrifice.

You who have served and are serving as our brave ones, our heroes, are our national treasures. You are the pride of our nation, our strength and our foundation. Thanks to you, millions have been freed around the world. Those who criticize our country, burn our precious flag, and speak ill of you, are able to do so because their freedom is built upon your blood and your sacrifice.

Our son speaks from his resting place below our feet. He speaks to me each day from his hallowed space with beautiful skies and mountains majestic white with snow. God bless his soul and  the others buried here and I thank him for his wonderful contribution to our life. He lives forever in our hearts. I fear no evil when I walk with Warriors. We walk in the valley of death but we fear no evil. We are the Masters of our Destiny and the Captain of our souls. You are the wind beneath my wings. I fly with you forever in eternity.

Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day began as a tradition of decorating the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers with flags and flowers to show the respect of a grateful nation for their service and sacrifice. This tradition continues today, and our nation now sets aside the last Monday in May to celebrate the courage of the men and women who have worn America’s colors in war and in peace.

I remember as a young man remembering Memorial Day that in the morning there was a parade down Main Street, led by a color guard, the high school band, and ranks of veterans from World War I, World War II, and the war of the moment, Korea. The Veterans of Foreign Wars sold red poppies to raise funds for the disabled. Politicians made speeches and citizens prayed in public. It was a solemn annual event that taught us reverence for those who served and sacrificed for our country. It’s no longer so in many places in America, especially in our large urban areas.

Begun as a local observance in the aftermath of the Civil War, the first national commemoration took place on May 30, 1868, at the direction of General John A. Logan, Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. Though his “General Order No. 11” specified “strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion” – meaning only Union soldiers – those who tended the burial sites at Arlington, VA, Gettysburg, PA and Vicksburg, MS, decided on their own to decorate the graves of both Union and Confederate war dead.

For five decades the holiday remained essentially unchanged. But in 1919, as the bodies of young Americans were being returned to the U.S. from the battlefields of World War I, May 30th became a truly national event. It persisted as such until 1971, during Vietnam – the war America wanted to forget – when the Uniform Holiday Act passed by Congress went into effect, and turned Memorial Day into a “three-day weekend.” Since then, it’s become an occasion for appliance, mattress and auto sales, picnics, barbecues and auto races. Thankfully, there are some places besides Arlington National Cemetery like Bigfork, Montana where Memorial Day is still observed as a time to honor America’s war dead.

This Memorial Day we remember those who have served our nation in the past and those who currently serve America today. Although Memorial Day comes only once a year, we must make sure that our service members know how grateful we are every day. It recognizes the sacrifices made by our courageous men and women who have fallen in defense of our nation’s liberty. This Memorial Day, please take a moment to remember and honor America’s fallen and current day warriors who are advancing freedom’s cause today. WE salute you one and all.  WE bow before you in respect and humility. May God bless you and God bless America, land of the free and home of the brave.

 

On this Memorial Day, Stand Up America US Foundation and the Scott Vallely Soldiers Memorial Fund wishes to thank Dr. Raymond Tanter, a strong defender of human rights and freedom, for his generous donation to SUAUSF in honor of Scott Vallely and General Ed Rowney.

 

 

 

Latest Soldiers Memorial Fund Award March 2018

 

Cadet Camille Renee Ford receives The Scott Vallely Soldiers Memorial Fund award from LTC Chad Carlson, Professor of Military Science in Missoula, MT March 2018.

Teaching the Leaders of Tomorrow

ROTC at the University of Montana has a long tradition of producing exceptional leaders for the United States Army, The United States Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. The ROTC program has been housed in Schreiber Gym since 1926 and has been the home for a long and distinguished line of Cadre.  Our goal is to produce ROTC graduates who are leaders, thinkers, and decision-makers.  They meet problems head-on and solve them quickly.  They know how to adapt to rapidly changing situations and to take charge, traits sought after in a military career and by civilian employers.

Veterans and Their Dogs: The wonders of unconditional love.

 

How Dogs Can Help Veterans Overcome PTSD

New research finds that “man’s best friend” could be lifesavers for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

By Chris Colin

SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE

 

Robert Soliz, a 31-year-old former Army Specialist, participates in Paws for Purple Hearts, one of four experimental programs nationwide that pair veterans afflicted by PTSD with Labrador and golden retrievers. (Joseph Matthews, Veterans Affairs Photo)

“I would constantly be scanning for who was going to come stab me from behind,” says Robert Soliz, a 31-year-old former Army Specialist from San Joaquin, California. He was discharged in 2005 after serving in a heavy artillery quick-reaction force in South Baghdad. But fear, anxiety, depression and substance abuse swept into his life, and Soliz became one of 300,000 U.S. veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Isolated, his family deteriorating—“I couldn’t show affection, couldn’t hug my kids”—Soliz turned to the Palo Alto V.A. Medical Center. One recent morning, he talked about his progress. Hanging from his belt was a container of doggie treats, a link to the treatment he credits with saving his life. Soliz participates in Paws for Purple Hearts, one of four experimental programs nationwide that pair veterans afflicted by PTSD with Labrador and golden retrievers. Launched in 2008 by a social worker named Rick Yount, the program arranges for a veteran to spend six weeks with a dog, training it to be a mobility-assistance animal for a physically disabled veteran.

It’s no surprise that a doe-eyed creature like the one at Soliz’s feet can soothe, but other benefits are less predictable. The animals draw out even the most isolated personality, and having to praise the animals helps traumatized veterans overcome emotional numbness. Teaching the dogs service commands develops a patient’s ability to communicate, to be assertive but not aggressive, a distinction some struggle with. The dogs can also assuage the hypervigilance common in vets with PTSD. Some participants report they finally got some sleep knowing that a naturally alert soul was standing watch.

Researchers are accumulating evidence that bonding with dogs has biological effects, such as elevated levels of the hormone oxytocin. “Oxytocin improves trust, the ability to interpret facial expressions, the overcoming of paranoia and other pro-social effects—the opposite of PTSD symptoms,” says Meg Daley Olmert of Baltimore, who works for a program called Warrior Canine Connection.

About 300 vets have participated in these programs, and some graduates who Yount worried “wouldn’t make it” report impressive strides. Congress has commissioned a study, underway in Florida, to assess the effectiveness of canine-caretaking on PTSD.

Soliz says his life is slowly coming back to him. He now can go to the movies without panicking—and hug and kiss his two kids.

 

Article

 

Resource Groups:

Paws of War

Link

Operation We Are Here

Link

Paws for Veterans

Link

 

 

Remembering and Honoring Our Veterans

 

 

Remembering and Honoring Our Veterans

By MG Paul Vallely, U.S. Army (ret.)

 

On November 11, 1919, Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time.On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect.

In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed the day should be “filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory”.

There were plans for parades, public meetings and a brief suspension of business activities at 11:00 AM.

This day is often confused with Memorial Day because this day is celebrated differently in many other nations, here in the US it has a specific meaning for all veterans:

In the U.S., the function of Veterans Day is subtly different from that of other 11 November holidays. Unlike the situation in other countries, where that calendar date is set aside specifically for honoring those who died in action, Veterans Day honors all American veterans, whether living, dead in action, or deceased from other causes.

The official national remembrance of war dead is instead Memorial Day, originally called ‘Decoration Day’, from the practice of decorating the graves of soldiers, which originated in the years immediately following the American Civil War.

We pause this day in America to remember our fallen heroes, the men and women who answered the call of freedom and paid the ultimate sacrifice and all who wore the uniform in defense of America.

Let us remember and thank them for the nights they slept freezing in a tent,

Let us remember and thank them for the nights they slept freezing in a tent,

…for the grueling times sweating in the desert

…for the lonely days they spent fighting boredom and missing loved ones,

…for the hours they spent sick in pain from battle and without someone holding their hand other than their fellow soldiers,

…for the moments of sheer fright in the heat of battle,

…for the wounds suffered fighting evil,

…for the endless days in hospitals undergoing painful surgeries,

…for the precious occasions missed at home with family and friends.

For all of these sacrifices, we need to thank them on behalf of millions of Americans who are so grateful. We truly appreciate their dedication to duty. A special thank you to all families and friends, to the parents who raised them, stood by them and made them honorable men and woman. We thank the wives, husbands, and loved ones who stood by them and supported them with their love.

May their legacy be honored for generations to come, may the tears shed over their coffins fertilize the fields of patriotism in our nation. The new generations to come must be built on strength, duty, honor and country, willing and able to follow in their Warrior footsteps when duty calls to defend America.

May their blood not have been shed in vain. May we prove worthy of their sacrifice.

You who have served and are serving as our brave ones, our heroes, are our national treasures. You are the pride of our nation, our strength and our foundation. Thanks to you, millions have been freed around the world.

Those who criticize our country, burn our precious flag, and speak ill of you, are able to do so because their freedom is built upon your blood and your sacrifice.

Our son speaks from his resting place below our feet in Bigfork.

He speaks to me each day from his hallowed space with beautiful skies and mountains majestic white with snow.

God bless his soul and the others buried here and I thank him for his wonderful contribution to our life.

He lives forever in our hearts. I fear no evil when I walk with Warriors.

We walk in the valley of death but we fear no evil.

We are the Masters of our Destiny and the Captain of our souls. You are the wind beneath my wings. I fly with you forever in eternity.

WE salute you one and all. WE bow before you in respect and humility.

On Monday, our Nation officially comes together to honor our veterans and commemorate the legacy of profound service and sacrifice they have upheld in pursuit of a more perfect Union. Through their steadfast defense of America’s ideals, our service members have ensured our country still stands strong, our founding principles still shine, and nations around the world know the blessings of freedom.

As we offer our sincere appreciation and respect to our veterans, to their families, to those who are still in harm’s way, and to those we have laid to rest, let us rededicate ourselves to serving them as well as they have served the United States of America.

Our men and women in uniform are bearers of a proud military tradition that has been dutifully passed forward—from generation to generation—for more than two centuries.

In times of war and peace alike, our veterans have served with courage and distinction in the face of tremendous adversity, demonstrating an unfaltering commitment to America and our people.

Many have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the country they loved. The selflessness of our service members is unmatched, and they remind us that there are few things more fundamentally American than doing our utmost to make a difference in the lives of others.

Just as our veterans stood watch on freedom’s frontier, so have they safeguarded the pros­perity of our Nation in our neighborhoods, our businesses, and our homes.

It is our moral obligation to ensure they receive our support for as long as they live as proud veterans of the United States Armed Forces. On Veterans Day, we pay tribute to our veterans, to the fallen, and to their families.

To honor their contributions to our Nation, let us strive with renewed determination to keep the promises we have made to all who have answered our country’s call. As we fulfill our obligations to them, we keep faith with the patriots who have risked their lives to preserve our Union, and with the ideals of service and sacrifice upon which our Republic was founded.