I read an article with my Mom last week written by Mr. Gregg Zoroya from USA Today in the newspaper called, “The Press.”  A woman from my Dad’s work who lives in Monmouth County, New Jersey gave the article to him because she thought that I would want to know.  The article was entitled, “Some military Gold star families feeling disconnected.”  The date of the article was 1/4/12. 

In the article there is a woman named Jane Horton.  Jane is 26 years old.  She lives in Oklahoma.  She lost her husband, Christopher.  Her husband was serving in Afghanistan.  He died near the Pakistan border.  Jane says that she feels there is a disconnect because people don’t realize what the meaning of the Gold Star pin is.  “American’s often don’t realize that these people are right here among us,” says Ami Neiberger-Miller.  She is a spokeswoman for TAPS which is the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.  I have been working on a letter to TAPS because they help Gold Star families cope with the experiences that happen to them after they lose a loved one.

 It seems like everyone is worried about the recession.  These people are facing more than a financial crisis, they are facing death.  The One Percenters and their families face more than civilians.  My mom and I talked about a statistic that Mr. Zoroya wrote about in the article.  “Today, 83% of Americans say veterans and military families have made a lot of sacrifices since 9/11” while 43% of Americans say the same of the public’s sacrifices since the attacks, according to the recent Pew Research Survey.  However, the survey shows that fewer than half (47%) of Americans say the military has sacrificed more than the public, and of those 71% say the sacrifice of servicemembers is part of being in the military.”  I think that is just downright wrong.  I also think that is a selfish thing to say.  That’s like saying, “Well, you signed up for service-you knew what you were getting into.”   Mr. Zoroya also had another sad statistic that you should know about, “And while a majority of Americans say they have expressed their admiration for veterans directly, 84% of veterans say the public does not understand the problems faced by servicemembers or their families-and the public (71%) agrees.”  I feel again that is downright wrong. Civilian have to try to understand the veterans.  You may not fully understand but at least you’ve got to try to. Before I ever heard of Blue and Gold Star families, I never really understood.  At least I try.  Everyone should at least make an effort because these families really feel disconnected and need us to care for them and their loved one who may be overseas or has even died.           

 I already wrote Mr. Zoroya back right after I read it!  We just have to find his address. I told him to tell the Gold Star wife that our community does care.  There are so many people from the Mayor to kids who want to help.  I told him to tell her about the new Blue Star Bi-way.  I told him to tell her about how County Legislator recognized Stars for Cars, my 3rd grade teacher, and most importantly, a Gold Star mother at the Westchester County Board of Legislators. I told him to tell her that Holy Family has the “Book of Prayer and Remembrance.”  I told him to tell her that a woman at Holy Family even makes Blue and Gold Star banners.  I told him about how students at my school wrote letters to the soldiers and that my Dad brought them to the USO and how I was allowed to make an announcement over the loudspeaker to let the students and staff who are Blue and Gold Star families know that they are part of our community.  I told Mr. Zoroya to let the Jane that she is loved and that people care.  New Rochelle and Westchester County cares!

Your Neighbor,


 P.S. To read Mr. Gregg Zoroya’s full article go to USA Today online.  You can Google USA Today/Gregg Zoroya.  The article also comes with a video.  In the video Jane visits two other Gold Star wives.  They are Tiffany Owen and Megan Ewy.  I want you to please watch this video because it just changed my life even more.  I watched the video three times.  It sent me to tears.     

P.P.S. To learn more about TAPS go to www.taps.org.

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