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60 - the New 40

Thursday, June 03, 2010

There has never been a year when I was upset by my birthday; I like celebrating the years I have had on this earth and look forward to the next one. The only thing that has really thrown me for a loop has been my children's birthdays. I get a little disoriented and shocked. Do I really have 4 'children' in their 30's??? Then I get over it - they are all wonderful and I love having grandchildren.

My life philosophy in a nutshell:

* We are each responsible for our health, the better we treat our bodies, minds, and spirits, the healthier and stronger they will be.

* A sense of humor goes a long way toward keeping things in perspective.

* Learning new things and taking healthy risks keeps life interesting and keeps you intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually flexible.

* Mix things you have to do with things you love to do and try to love the things you have to do.

* Spend time with people of all ages, enjoy them and learn from them - everyone has something to offer.

* Find time for quiet meditation or prayer, especially when life gets chaotic or you start losing perspective.

* Seek out opportunities to help others, the environment, animals - a favorite cause.

* Have some passions in life and immerse yourself in them.

A little summary of my health journey on Spark. After several very difficult years and two abdominal surgeries, I had gained 30 pounds, was very depressed, and very out of shape. I had already begun to lose some of the weight and to get some of my energy back before discovering Spark People, but with the tools offered here and the support I get from all of you, I have made so much progress toward real health; health beyond weight loss. I have not just returned to my ideal weight, I have gotten myself back. What could be better than that?




The Ubiquitous Little Black Dress




Flamenco ~ Ole!




Rockin' Out With my Taylor


I had to laugh when I reviewed the photos from my mini photo shoot. Stella the Diva started out wanting to be in each photo, then quickly got bored. She definitely wanted to include her ball in the action.

Thank you, my friends for your sweet birthday wishes, but even more for your encouragement, your support when I've been sad, and your comments on my blogs and Spark Page.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MMPHELPS1970 6/8/2010 7:37PM

    happy belated birthday! you look beautiful, happy, and vibrant! i love your taylor--i play a martin 00-15, but have always loved the bright quality of taylors. i'm totally "down" with your life philosophies. i feel that we are probably kindred musical spirits. i would also love to hear your music sometime. you can find mine on cdbaby.com: "Found A Penny" (my kids album) and Michelle Phelps (my songwriter demo album). And if 60 is the new 40, then 40 is the 20! Remind me I said that on September 18 of this year! LOL!

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BIRDBRAIN222 6/6/2010 11:12AM

    I hope I look as good at forty as you do at 60!
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JOYINKY 6/5/2010 8:09AM

    You had me hooked and smiling in the first paragraph; my kids are all in their 40's and their birthdays hit me more than mine do too! You look absolutely great! This healthy living really pays off! Funny, I have trouble responding to your post without using:!!!!! I couldn't agree more with your philosophy! Thanks for sharing!

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LMB-ESQ 6/5/2010 7:30AM

    Thanks for sharing! Great philosphy.... and the Little Black Dress looks great! emoticon

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ROOBYBEGONIA 6/5/2010 2:50AM

    Ticks me off that if you miss a message from someone's blog, you get unsubbed! Grrr.

smooooooooch!

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JUST_TRI_IT 6/5/2010 1:12AM

    60???? Amazing... simply amazing. And how tall are you! Your legs go on forever :)

I think I might cut and paste this list of philosophies into a stickie on my 'puter. Quite wise. There is a sense of peace that surrounds you.

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KRITTERKEEPERS 6/5/2010 12:37AM

    You look terrific! Stella is a sweetheart. emoticon

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PENNYAN45 6/4/2010 11:30AM

    You look terrific! - in the jeans and in the black dress!
It has been a pleasure to be your friend here on SP.

And let me thank you for all the support and comments you have given me over the past several months.

I am happy for you that you are recovered and renewed!

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FT4EVR 6/4/2010 10:55AM

    Great blog and Great pics! You are loving life and not just "living" it. You are a great role model!

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MCGS62 6/4/2010 1:25AM

    Once again your pictures are great!
Plus your philosophy brings your inner beauty to light.
I particularly liked your second point about humor.
Here is my feeble attempt at humor.

If I were the pope I would canonize you.
But, since my life is a circus,
there is a better chance of being shot out of one!
By the way you are invited to our party.
My youngest clown graduated ----by 2%
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emoticonST PUDLECRAZY has a ring to it!


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MARY1313 6/4/2010 12:05AM

    SHUT UP! You just cannot be 60! Girl 60 is the new 40 because that's about as old as you look. You look marvelous in your black dress! Sexy Lady!

Mary

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DJS-DEBBIE 6/3/2010 10:49PM

    You look marvelous! I would have never guessed you are 60. I am so with you about my age vs. my kids' ages...waiting for the grandkids.

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IUHRYTR 6/3/2010 10:27PM

    You look terrific. Love Stella, too. emoticon Keep on rockin' emoticon. -- Lou

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MARYMAC45 6/3/2010 9:26PM

    Chris, You look fabulous! Love your blogs, keep them coming.

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MTNCLIMBER88 6/3/2010 8:48PM

    I love your photos! You look fabulous in every single one of them, but I especially like the first with that adorable dog of yours. Your attitude is so positive and inspiring, and I can only hope that I can learn to accept my years with as much grace as you do. Happy birthday, friend :)

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SATYAGRAHA 6/3/2010 8:30PM

    You look fabulous and I love your life philosophies. Thanks for sharing!

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CLEVAGAL 6/3/2010 8:23PM

    Chris,
Your blogs are like a breath of fresh air everyday.

Cleva xxx

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FITKAT2010 6/3/2010 8:16PM

    Happy Birthday. Play ball with Stella. LOL Great pictures.

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0309COOKIE 6/3/2010 8:11PM

    I, too, chuckled about Stella. She was all demure in "the little black dress" photo and then quite sassy in the flamenco one. Too cute. I just love her.

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Hobo's Lullaby

Thursday, June 03, 2010


Folk music is nothing like playing flamenco guitar and is new to me. I was always too shy to sing solo, so I never took an interest in playing folk guitar until recently.

On this day, my 60th birthday, I am sharing my first little (very unprofessional) music video with you. I used my regular camera to shoot the video; not only is the actual video not great quality, but by the time it was saved for web steaming, got even more diluted. Click it off at the end of the song or you'll get dizzy. emoticon

When I learn to do some better recording, I hope to post a flamenco video. That may take a while.

Apologies to police everywhere, these are sentiments from the dust bowl years.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MMPHELPS1970 6/8/2010 7:42PM

    awesome! totally solid performance! i would love to harmonize you on that one--folk music is a passion of mine. i look forward to the next one!

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BIRDBRAIN222 6/6/2010 11:18AM

    Cool! I can't wait for the flamenco!
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MCGS62 6/5/2010 11:59AM

    Great job I 'd like to hear you play flamenco too!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FT4EVR 6/4/2010 10:59AM

    Thanks for sharing! It is nice to hear "voices" of Spark friends! Enjoyed your first music video!

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MARY1313 6/4/2010 12:02AM

    Oh I loved this! I ran and got a pen and paper and took down the words in shorthand and got my guitar and played with you! It sounded lovely!

Thanks so much for sharing yourself so openly and sweetly with us!

Hugs

Mary

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0309COOKIE 6/3/2010 7:37PM

    What a nice celebration with a solo song! It was great. Punky heard it and came in from the other room, lol. Guess he liked it too! Happy Birthday! Hope you have a wonderful day!

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CLEVAGAL 6/3/2010 7:22PM

    oh Chris, thats was beautiful.....I know how hard that would have been for you....thank you and have a fantastic birthday my darlin! Cleva xxx

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MARYMAC45 6/3/2010 6:32PM

    Great and you show us another one of you talents. Happy Birthday to YOU, Happy Birthdat to YOU..........singing back at you-lol! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PENNYAN45 6/3/2010 4:23PM

    Thanks for the performance! What a great birthday celebration!

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KRITTERKEEPERS 6/3/2010 3:40PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Happy Birthday!
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OLDERDANDRT 6/3/2010 2:03PM

    Super! emoticon emoticon

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticonHappy Birthday to youuuuuuu!! emoticon

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Jayne

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PEPE865 6/3/2010 12:43PM

  Excellent! You have a beautiful voice. I can't wait to hear your flamenco. There is way too much professionalism on the internet. I like real life. Keep learning. Happy Birthday.

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Just for Fun

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Every French poodle deserves some French bread.



J'ai trouvé du pain !



Voilà !



Ce pain est délicieux.




  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BIRDBRAIN222 6/6/2010 11:19AM

    Cute!
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KRITTERKEEPERS 6/3/2010 10:59AM

    Cute! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LMB-ESQ 6/3/2010 10:51AM

    How cute!

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PUDLECRAZY 6/2/2010 7:55PM

    MeowMaman, Maman cache le vin.
Mary, mais oui!

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MARY1313 6/2/2010 7:49PM

    Je peux goûter?

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WATERMELLEN 6/2/2010 7:32PM

    Quelle etoile!!

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MEOWMAMA3 6/2/2010 7:29PM

    Ou est le vin? emoticon

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MARYMAC45 6/2/2010 7:23PM

    Good dog!

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SASSYBLONDE69 6/2/2010 7:10PM

    C'est merveilleux!

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Meditation on Another Good-bye

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Another memorial service yesterday for a very sweet acquaintance who lost his fight with cancer. Eddie led a very kind and unassuming life as a painter and owner of a unique little bookstore, never drove, rode his bike everywhere. In a small town, he touched many lives with his quiet kindness and witty humor, and the nature center where his memorial service was held was overflowing with people who will miss him very much. It is one of the blessings of a small town, people tend to really care about each other.

With so many memorial services and so many good-byes recently, I have been wondering: am I kind enough? Am I attentive enough? Do I show people I really care about them? This is not about my legacy, but about appreciating my fellow humans in an attentive way each day. I used to be so shy that people thought I was 'stuck-up' since I wasn't very demonstrative. My profession as a teacher changed that for me, as I have to be attentive, kind, and outgoing every working day. That and being married to a gregarious husband, I have changed considerably. While I am still shy, I have learned to be outgoing and generous with my smile, hugs, and words.


But still, I think of people like Eddie, who I see every day and chat with in the groceries store, visit with at parties, stop and talk to on walks and wonder if I get too caught up in the busy-ness of daily living to stop and spend more time with them. Eddie blogged about his fight with cancer, and I stopped by his blog on a regular basis to see how he was doing and to wish him well. I honestly didn't think he would die. If I had, would I have done things differently? Would I have actually physically stopped by?

I'm not feeling guilty, that's not it. I am meditating on the importance of being kind, present, and generous. I am meditating on the importance of letting people know how much I care for them in words and actions.


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 6/2/2010 7:33PM

    The older we get, the more all of us recognize that kindness counts. It never hurts to be kind . . .

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MARYMAC45 6/2/2010 7:32PM

    Chris, I am sorry for your loss. Eddie would be happy that you thought so highly of him. And you my friend are kind, giving, caring and awesome.
Mary

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PENNYAN45 6/2/2010 4:34PM

    Just from reading your blogs over the past several months, I would say you are a very kind and caring person. You involve yourself in other people's lives -- and you are concerned about their problems. You are open and sharing. You are very giving and accepting, and not judgmental. I think you probably touch more lives than you know.

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WESTCOASTGIRL1 6/2/2010 2:31PM

    Wonderfully thought provoking and moving. Life is so fragile on many levels and I am learning to live it more aware. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and heart.
Sorry to hear of yet another loss for you. Eddie sounded like a wonderful person to have had the honour of knowing. emoticon

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LMB-ESQ 6/2/2010 10:30AM

    I like this. Real food for thought. We do tend to feel more reflective about our behavior towards others when we lose people we know and love. I think it's natural. We want to make the most of the time we have here on earth and the best way to do that is to reach out to others. So when we watch someone struggle with an illness, and we admire their strength and resolve, we tend to look inward to see if we are worthy of their friendship. You have certainly had more than your share of this kind of reflection lately. Once again, I am sorry for your loss.

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DJS-DEBBIE 6/2/2010 6:46AM

    I am sorry for your loss - Eddie sounds like a wonderful person. I am also guilty of letting 'life' get in the way of the things I would really rather do. I got an email from a friend that she broke her ankle over the weekend and I still haven't called her. I am going to do that TODAY.

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KATIEGLEN012 6/2/2010 5:14AM

    I totally understand where you are coming from and have had similar thoughts. I am not shy, but consider myself reserved, in teaching I am quite extroverted, but I definitely recharge in solitude. But as I age and lose more, I think that I must reach out more. I am one of those people who thinks about doing something and then life gets in the way and I delay doing it. Lately, I am realizing that I must act when I think. There are not always tomorrows to be had!

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SLIMMERJESSE 6/1/2010 11:56PM

    What a wonderful tribute blog. I feel as though he has touched my life through your blog. Thank you.

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LADYNETTIE 6/1/2010 11:39PM

    Enjoy life, for every moment is a gift and we probably rush around more in the emotions of love and relationships. It's loss and the feelings of grief that make us slow down and get centered again. Those are the learning moments, the times that we take a look at ourselves. I try to surround myself with positive people and learn something from each of them that I can take with me and try to share my own spirit with others. Sorry you have lost a friend. Peace be with you.
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IUHRYTR 6/1/2010 11:33PM

    I commend you for your compassion and caring attitude. It sounds like Eddie was not one to make a big deal of his fight with cancer. That shows his strength of character. It is a definite fact that we will all pass away one day. As you recognized, we will be judged by our actions and how we treated other people. We can only do our best every day to share a smile or a handshake or to hold a door open for someone. Little things. But things that may brighten someone's last moments. Be well. -- Lou

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JUST_TRI_IT 6/1/2010 11:03PM

    I have been struck by a gentle peace that seems to surround you... your words, your photos, your care for your friends, your ability to capture Stella's soul.... You are kind enough! From one shy person to another, you seem awesome!

You prompted me to find a poem that I heard a bit ago... and so did my blog for tomorrow around that poem. THANK YOU for getting me to reflect.

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MARY1313 6/1/2010 10:09PM

    I think your friend would be so pleased to know that his life effected you in a positive way, to question if you are as he was, kind and gentle. I think it would be such a wonderful world if everyone thought as you do! Yes Miss Teacher Lady, you are kind to the point of giving your all to children you aren't even related to. but above all that, here you are on the internet being kind and thoughtful and gentle with people you have never met! I think you are always going to be that kind, gentle person, wondering what more you can do for others! Because you are a giver and a lovely person!

Mary

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OVERWORKEDJANET 6/1/2010 9:43PM

    There will always be loss. It's part of living. Mourning is not a bad thing but it does hurt.
The best thing we can do is celebrate the lives we knew by enjoying what they gave to us, how big or small does not matter.From the little angels who barely form beneath our hearts to the ones who gave us life as we watch their lives end, each spark blesses us with some change which we can turn to good things.
When I think of all those I have lost, the first thing I do is smile. I hope people smile at my memory one day too!

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SAMMIESMOM13 6/1/2010 9:04PM

    Isn't it sad that it takes something like this to make us think, realize, appreciate (at least more), etc. But it shows what a caring person you are that it DID make you stop and think about it. And it is a tribute to him that he touched so many lives and perhaps changed a number of them for the better.

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OLDERDANDRT 6/1/2010 8:12PM

    I am so sorry for your loss and of the whole town. He sounds like a great guy who will be sorely missed! You are a sweet, compassionate gal. I cannot imagine you thinking you may not show your kindness and compassion, as I know that you do! Some things do show even through the internet. I am proud to call you friend and I know I can count on you should I ever need a kind word. Eddie knew you cared. Peace......be still. All is well.

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Jayne

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0309COOKIE 6/1/2010 7:56PM

    I'm sorry to hear of your most recent loss. This meditation alone shows what a kind and caring person you are.

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MEOWMAMA3 6/1/2010 7:23PM

    You are more than kind enough. I love that you are able to turn this into a growth experience for yourself. Sometimes the world just seems to dump us into a whirlwind of hurt and the sensitive and caring among us try to shoulder some of the "blame", when really it is all just a part of life. I'm sorry for your loss, among all the grief and worry you have experienced so recently. Rest assured that all those folks you take time with every day, in "real" life and here in SparkLand feel your spirit and sincerity and we so appreciate it. Eddie knew you cared and I'm sure it brightened up his days to know you took time to talk to him and read his blogs and leave encouraging words. emoticon

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Memorial DayTribute

Monday, May 31, 2010

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.



The Quiet Warrior, by Kim Bayes



A memorial to the animals who gave their lives to serve our country.



Mike, the Sea Bee.



I am sad about the rate at which we are losing our WWII veterans, and on this day, especially missing my father.



Dad was captured by the Germans and ended up in a German prison camp. The conditions were brutal, and contrary to some people's beliefs, POWs in German prison camps were not treated humanely. Dad had gangrene, pneumonia, and at 6' tall weighed only 85 pounds when he was released. POW's returning home after WWII were not welcomed home as heros, but were ostracized as cowards and/or traitors. His experiences in prison camp and his treatment upon arrival home were so traumatic, that he never spoke of them until later in life when he joined an Ex-POW organization and became very active in it. I am so glad that Dad was able to find the opportunity to reconnect with some of the men he was in prison camp with and other POWs before his death.

At the end of his life, Dad was honored for his bravery at a special ceremony. This meant so much to him. It was difficult to get him there because he was so weakened by chemo and his brain tumor, but he was able to deliver a speech and receive his medal of honor.





Dad died at home, in the loving care of his family, two weeks later.

Thank you Dad. Thank you to all of the veterans who have given their limbs, their lives, and sacrificed their boyhood or girlhood to serve our country.




  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARY1313 6/1/2010 10:12PM

    I watched a whole series on PBS about POWs and all of them were still riddled with guilt at being captured. I was astounded that they felt this way! your Dad was way strong and brave!

Hug that cutie husband of yours and tell him thank you for his service!

Mary

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MEOWMAMA3 5/31/2010 10:13PM

    What a moving tribute Chris. I have an uncle who is still living and was a Japanese POW. He is a character. I hate war but I'm so thankful for those who serve and protect. Thanks for sharing your special memories of your Dad with us. emoticon

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KATIEGLEN012 5/31/2010 2:47PM

    emoticon My dad too served in WWll. He left right out of high school and really never spoke of the war, but he had metals and was proud in his own quiet way.

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OLDERDANDRT 5/31/2010 1:52PM

    Thank you for this post, thanks to all the vets and thank you to your dad who gave so, so much to insure our freedom here at home. Happy Memorial day. I am sooo glad he was finally recognized for his sacrifice for his country.

emoticon,
Jayne

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LMB-ESQ 5/31/2010 1:01PM

    Thank you

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ELLENS2525 5/31/2010 11:33AM

    Very touching tribute. Thanks for sharing it! emoticon

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IUHRYTR 5/31/2010 10:47AM

    emoticon emoticon -- Lou

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GRNISHADE 5/31/2010 9:15AM

    Beautiful! I lost my dad last summer. He was 87 and a WWII vet.

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PENNYAN45 5/31/2010 8:55AM

    A beautiful tribute.

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DREMARGRL 5/31/2010 8:54AM

    As my Father is also a WWII Veteran of 86, I can certainly relate to your story and I do appreciate you sharing that. Thank you very much! Words just can't express how I appreciate each and every veteran! I celebrate you!
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These pictures of your father are very precious indeed and I'm thrilled that you are here to relate the story. Passing down his legacy is priceless, my dear! XO
MaryAnn
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HIPPIEFREAK66 5/31/2010 8:42AM

  beautiful. i miss my dad too. he was station with the coast gaurd during veitanm. sadly, i lost him to of a grand mal sezuire. emoticon

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WISEONE68 5/31/2010 8:34AM

    Very nice "memorial". Love it...I was raised in a very patriotic family--dad served, two brothers served, bro-in-law, etc.
This is a special day to honor those no longer with us who served this country. I think of the many families who are mourning the loss of a loved one--yours and mine are among those today!!

Be blessed and "thank you" to your dad!!

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