What “Old Glory” means to me

Lynn | American-Hero | Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Today I contemplated the flag; not just any flag – the American Flag. As the full sized stars and stripes fluttered on the early evening breeze in our backyard, I considered just what “Old Glory” means to me.

I remember learning the Pledge of Allegiance early on in grade school. We always said the Pledge and then we sang America the Beautiful. Every kid in school knew all of the words to both and although early on we had no idea what “allegiance” meant or why we were singing about a “fruited plain,” we all eventually figured it out.

The flag always held a special meaning, although I’m not sure I ever realized how special the US flag was until Rhys joined the military. Somewhere along the line, the flag became just a routine item in the landscape, its true significance lost in the business of living. In fact, for most of my adult life I don’t remember the flag’s comfortable presence on streets throughout America, certainly not here in California.

Then came September 11, 2001. The flags went up everywhere. Those of us lulled into the comfort that is America woke up. The American flag truly symbolized a national spirit again. It symbolized the fighting, patriotic spirit that built America. It was an awesome thing to behold. (more…)

The Juxtaposition of Sadness and Joy

Lynn | American-Hero,Thoughts & Reflections | Thursday, June 25th, 2009

I’ve been often reminded recently that as a child of God, no one can take away my joy. There is solid foundation in this statement. From personal experience, I can tell you that this is true. We can be sad. We can be angry. We can be lonely, among a host of other emotions. But we own our joy because it is God-given.

Two years ago at this period of time between Rhys’ burial and the birth of our granddaughter, overwhelming sadness and unbelievable joy were intertwined in a tangled web in my mind; a web so complicated and counter intuitive that I only now realize the web is purposeful and ordered. The purpose and order are a mystery to me, as it is God’s perfect design, not my chaotic and ever-changing plan. But I do realize that sadness and joy can coexist.

Rhys’ death was so huge and so devastating that there really are no words to describe it. The death of a child is so unexpected, so unfair, so utterly wrong that one barely functions. The best I could do on some days was to reach out to the Lord and ask, “For today Lord, please let me just rest in Your arms.” As parents we had the life experience to draw on. But we were watching Stephanie, who was only just beginning to form her life experience as a wife and as a mother, become as the most delicate of glass, ready to shatter into a million pieces at a breath of wind. We had to be strong.

God is truly faithful at all times. He let me rest when I needed to but gave me strength when that was necessary. I learned to balance sadness and joy; the sadness of a life gone, the joy of a life beginning. I witnessed the joy of the birth of London Eevie and Stephanie’s joy at the sight of her. We laugh together at little quirks London has developed that remind us of Rhys. We cry that Rhys missed this part of life that he so joyfully anticipated.

The sadness is ever-present but tucked away in a place saved for quiet moments of reflection, away from the day-to-day tasks of living. The joy is also always present, for it is truly God-given. The sadness and joy are juxtaposed on a parallel path, no longer knotted and tangled, but moving together towards a destination determined by God before time. It is a destination known only by Him, but a destination that is perfect and true. It is a destination where we will be reunited with Rhys again. The journey is often sad for a moment but always joyful in the promise that the place and time of arrival are exact.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down. For the Lord upholds him with His hand. Psalm 37:23-24

Sgt Rhys Klasno Memorial Quilt

Lynn | American-Hero | Monday, June 8th, 2009

Sgt Rhys Klasno Memorial QuiltIn late February, 2009 Michael and I attended the California Gold Star Families event at the marines’ Memorial Club in San Francisco . For that event Michael & I made a “Life Quilt” to celebrate Rhys’ short but honorable life.

We have been asked to post the pictures of the memorial quilt. Since there is a story behind it I decided to make a special page just for the quilt. Quilts like this one seem to take on a life of their own, because each picture is a chapter in Rhys’ life, even the t-shirts we used in the design all have their own story. I hope you enjoy it and if we ever meet I would love to share with you the stories behind the pictures.

Ponderings on D-Day

Lynn | American-Hero | Friday, June 5th, 2009

Today, the day before the 65th anniversary of D-Day I am pondering how different we are from those Americans facing an uncertain future in 1944.

As FDR gave his prayer to the nation over the airwaves, families of servicemen prayed too, hoping to be reunited with their soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines; hoping that they would return and not be broken by their experience, their wounds, or the loss of their fellow patriots. The entire nation had sacrificed and continued to sacrifice in a way that touched every single family.

Fast forward to 2009. The US is a very different place where unity is shunned for diversity and national pride takes second place to the global economy. A relatively few number of families in this nation have sacrificed for the War on Terror. The sacrifice has touched probably less than 1% of the US population. The nation as a whole does not even recognize the sacrifices our parents, grandparents, and great grandparents had to make in order to ensure the American way of life could be as rich, as vibrant, and as inspiring as it is. And sadly, most of the nation does not even share the pride with which those previous generations gave up their sons, the pride of their family, and the little luxuries of life we take for granted every day. The US is a very different place.

But pride still resides in the US; pride in the best of the best, pride in the young men and women still willing to take a stand, to leave families behind, and to take on a task greater than themselves. Some, like my son Rhys, will make the ultimate sacrifice, giving up their lives so that someone here at home won’t have to. Although young in terms of a modern lifespan, they are able to recognize that America fights for what is right and good, while removing terror and injustice that keeps people enslaved. Our sons and daughters are big picture people. They are able to see far beyond themselves into a bright future for people everywhere.

I pray today as FDR did so long ago that our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines will be “lead straight and true: and that God will “give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts steadfastness in their faith.” We are not so very different today. Let us support the “pride of our nation” in whatever way we can, today and every day. Our sons and daughters deserve nothing less.

To you special military families and precious Gold Star families who have made the ultimate sacrifice, God Bless you.
Below is FDR’s prayer to the nation on D-Day, 1944.

My Fellow Americans:
Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest — until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war.

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home — fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them — help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.

Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.

Give us strength, too — strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.

And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.

And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment — let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.

With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace — a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.

Thy will be done, Almighty God.

Franklin D. Roosevelt – June 6, 1944

« Previous Page | Next Page »

Rhys Klasno - American Hero

Custom Theme by Michael Klasno

Good News & Praise