By Circe Olson Woessner
Although May is often described as the “merry month of”– if you are military, this happy month has its somber side.
The Friday before Mother’s Day is Military Spouse Appreciation Day, and in this year’s proclamation, President Obama said, “We honor the spouses of those who have left behind everything they know and love to join our Nation’s unbroken chain of patriots, and we recommit to giving military spouses the respect, dignity, and support they deserve.”
That sentiment is appreciated—
Because of their unconventional lifestyle, many military spouses become independent and self-reliant.
Marine wife Stacy Marinaro recalls, “I remember a particular bad deployment. I was strong and silent and didn’t shed a tear at the bus depot while the buses carrying all our beloved, brave men drove off. I remember other wives mad at me that I didn’t cry. Well, it was my 4th time after all. My Family Readiness Officer came to my aid and stood up for me saying, that it was ‘ok that she’s not crying because she is a seasoned wife’. I kind of liked that term.”
Many military spouses are also mothers, and they deftly maneuver their families through unique conditions.
Military daughter Marilyn describes her mother fondly, “My mom was a WWII vintage, hauling kids from one end of the earth to the other, birthing children overseas, in dusty, remote duty stations, jungles and frozen tundra. Enduring seasickness, inoculations for God-knows-how-many exotic diseases, keeping our shot records, school records, silk kimonos, pets, bicycles, treasured toys (despite household goods weight restrictions—some of her stuff had to be left behind; it wasn’t nearly as important as her kids’ stuff).”
James Kenderdine remembers his mom’s courage, “My mother did not take the Army’s offer of evacuation during the Berlin Airlift (1948-49). She said, ‘I can stay the winter, no matter how bad it is.’ Watching her learn to shoot an MI carbine was fantastic, and to this day, I can still clearly see the image of her carbine, with a 20 round clip in it, round in the chamber, hanging by its sling next to her and dad’s bed.
This year, on May 8th, Victory in Europe Day, generally known as V-E Day, fell on Mother’s Day. This day traditionally marks the end of World War II in Europe, and is both somber and joyful.
On the home front, anxious families eagerly awaited the arrival of their loved ones.
A WWII wife describes her husband’s homecoming to their small New Mexico pueblo, “We didn’t know he was coming. He took the bus from Albuquerque and got off on the highway behind the hill. Our two children were outside playing, and our six-year daughter saw him and went running to her dad, but the littlest one ran away. I guess he didn’t know his dad.”
In 1949, Louis Johnson, the then US Secretary of Defense, announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy and Air Force Days. It was a time to pay tribute to men and women who serve in the United States’ armed forces.
It was that sentiment that had Vietnam veteran, Larry “Wolfman” Hurtado, create a Memorial honoring two of his friends who died in Vietnam. Located in the town of Bernalillo, the Sandoval County Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial consists of a high wall listing the names of New Mexico veterans, many who have paid the ultimate price. The memorial is a special place– a place for reflection, a place to hold ceremonies, to honor the dead, the missing, and Hurtado has built it with support from other veterans, friends and schoolmates. He is proud of the grass roots involvement in the project.
Currently, the Museum of the American Military Family is creating a memorial to honor 400 years of American Military Families’ service to America. Fundraising is underway and we plan to unveil it in the fall of 2016. (You can see more information on our website about this initiative.)
This Memorial Day, make it a point to go to one of the many local ceremonies happening across New Mexico and reflect on the true meaning of the day. As the names on the wall are read, or the somber music plays, remember the sacrifices of our service members –and those of the mothers and fathers, spouses, sons, and daughters, who loved and supported their loved ones—and lost them too soon.
Years ago, MAMF began designing its memorial honoring military families. Since then, people have donated a little over $5,000 towards the project. Originally, MAMF wanted to convert one of the seven military housing units it had been gifted into the memorial, but has since determined that those houses will prove too costly to renovate and rehabilitate for the project.
MAMF has redesigned its memorial, incorporating original artifacts from the historic Kirtland AFB houses. They have commissioned an Albuquerque firm to create 3D dandelion sculptures, which will be unveiled later this summer.
Here’s a rough sketch of the memorial building honoring those who “kept the home fires burning…”
The Memorial will be placed with the New Mexico National Guard in late 2016, thanks to the generous donations of individuals, businesses and organizations. It will take an additional $10,000 to bring this Memorial to fruition. If you’d like to help MAMF create this unique tribute to the countless men, women and children who serve alongside America’s heroes, please click here to donate, or send a check to:
MAMF, PO Box 5085 Albuquerque, NM 87185 . We are a 501c3 all volunteer nonprofit and your donations are tax deductible.
May 6, 2016 is Military Spouse Appreciation Day! Let’s Hear it For our Military Wives & Moms!
The Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center has an all volunteer board, many of whom are or were military spouses or military moms– Thank you Stacey, Cheryl, Circe, Sue, Caroline & Jan for all your sacrifice & service! Our Brat Media Manager sent in this photo of her military mom–
“After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, she received technical training as an Inventory Specialist at Amarillo Air Force Base in Texas, where she was the honor graduate in her class and was stationed at Randolph AFB in Texas, assigned to the Base Supply Financial Office. While at Randolph, she met and married my father, William Grinstead. After becoming pregnant with me, my mother was honorably discharged from the Air Force. She was only on active duty for a little over 18 months, and I have always been very proud of my mother’s service, particularly that she was part of the legacy of women in the early years of the Air Force. Women were fully integrated into the Air Force in 1973, but until that time, WAFS only accepted 4,000 enlisted women and 300 female officers per year. My mother was in very elite company who helped to pave the way for the generations of women who have served since then. I’ve also been very proud of her role as a military spouse, the often unsung heroes of our military – at every base we were stationed, my mother provided support to the families by volunteering for Family Services, or the American Red Cross, or Girl Scouts, as well as being active in the Enlisted Wives Club. In fact, she is also still an American Red Cross volunteer.
BUSY TIMES FOR THE MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN MILITARY FAMILY (MAMF)
A Commemoration Ceremony for Vietnam Veterans: “Heroes and Hueys”
A Documentary Film Program” “Under the Blade
Production of Two Anthologies
A Workshop: “Paper Making – a Healing Transformation”
In partnership with the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center, the Museum of the American Military Family (MAMF) will co-host a New Mexico ceremony on March 29 as part of a national observance of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. It will open at 10:00 am with a flag line and color guard, continue with tributes to Veterans by Lt. Governor John Sanchez, Cabinet Secretary Jack Fox, and Brigadier General Andrew Salas, and conclude with a special showing of the documentary film “In the Shadow of the Blade,” which depicts the 10,000-mile journey of a battle-scarred UH-1 helicopter from Southeast Asia to America to tell the stories of Veterans and their families who also served. Thanks to the Bernalillo Sheriff’s Department, visitors will see and climb aboard a restored Huey of the kind featured in the film. » Read more
Lisa M. Pino, Community Liaison–was born into a family with extensive military service and experienced, first hand, the pride her family had in serving our country. Her grandfather served in WWI. Her uncles, who served in Korea, carried on that proud tradition. Her father, father in law and stepfather in law are Vietnam and Vietnam-era veterans. Most recently, she had numerous cousins serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. She’s dedicated the last 30 years in support of the President Lincoln’s promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by honoring the men and women who served in America’s Armed Forces. She volunteers extensively in the greater Albuquerque metro. She is looking forward to joining the Museum of the American Military Family team.
Misty Corrales, Brat Social Media Manager, holds a Master of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis in Adult Education and specialization in English. She currently works in the mortgage industry as an underwriter. Misty is an Air Force Brat. The most valuable lesson she learned from her experience was an appreciation for other cultures. She is currently one of the administrators of the Brats: Honoring Our Heritage Facebook group, which works towards the goal of official recognition of military brats and supports the efforts of the myriad of Brat-run organizations ranging from raising awareness and for fundraising efforts to formalizing a National Military Brat Day. Misty is very excited to be part of the Museum of the American Military Family team.
Dr. Cheryl Lentz, Director of Education, is affectionately known to her students as “Doc C”, offers nearly 15 years of university-level teaching experience with a range of teaching expertise to include courses in leadership, management, organizational behavior, critical thinking, cultural diversity, business communication, and ethics.
Dr. C began her teaching career while stationed with her husband at Yokota AFB in Tokyo, Japan. She taught English to Japanese nationals ranging in age from 4 yrs to 65 yrs in a variety of academic settings. After transferring back to the United States., she completed her Masters Degree in International Relations and soon thereafter began teaching online and on ground within academia in the U.S. collegiate system. She completed her doctoral journey to include a Doctorate of management (D.M) degree in Organizational Leadership where she currently resides as faculty with the following universities to include: University of Phoenix , The University of the Rockies, Embry-Riddle University (ERAU), Walden University, and Grand Canyon University .
She is a USAF Spouse since 1995 and a 5 year USO Volunteer and is pleased to join the team at the Museum of the American Military Family & Learning Center.
By Allen Dale Olson
Did you know that more than 8% of all jobs in New Mexico are supported by visitor spending – by tourism? That means that one out of every twelve workers in the state are dependent on visitors.
This was one of the tourism facts presented to the New Mexico Tourism Commission this week in a report prepared by Rebecca Latham, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism.
I attended the Commission meeting as President of the Albuquerque Museum Collaborative Council, but I made known to the Commissioners and the other attending tourism professionals that I also represent the Museum of the American Military Family and established a presence amid the people whose work generated more than eight billion dollars for the state last year. Every dollar spent on tourism marketing brings a return of just about seven dollars. » Read more
The MAMF Family is growing as we add three new members to our team. Here is a little about them:
Writer in Residence Paul Zolbrod says his military service made it possible for him to attend college, which is why he considers his induction the pivotal event in his adult life. Drafted into the army in early 1953 during the Korean War, he served in Tokyo following infantry basic training, then enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh on the Korean G.I. Bill after his discharge and went on to get a PhD. in English in 1967. By then he had already joined the faculty of Allegheny College where he remained as Professor of English for thirty years. Following his retirement to Albuquerque 1964, he taught writing at the Crownpoint, NM campus of the Navajo Nation’s Dine’ College. He is the author of a number of books and essays, most notably Dine’ bahane: The Navajo Creation Story, and especially, Battle Songs: A Story of the Korean War in Four Movements,” which reflects his abiding interest in that conflict. In writing that novel, he credits the research skills he acquired during the early phase of his scholarly career for boosting that work’s authenticity. Ever since its publication Paul has maintained a deep interest in veterans affairs. Likewise, his Reservation experience has made him aware of the impact of PTSD among Navajo veterans on family life
Mark John Gurule, Musician-in-Residence, is an Army Veteran who served overseas in Afghanistan in 2013. After being injured while deployed, Mark revisited his childhood passion of singing and making music. Now performing under the artist name- Lethal, he has built a team called “The Battalion” which performs in shows sharing testimony through music about his experiences in the military and at war. He has performed with various artists in the music industry such as Mike Jones and Stevie Stone with Strange Music. The Battalion does Rap, R&B, and Dubstep music, reaching the younger generation.
He is the “music ambassador” for the Museum of the American Military Family in Albuquerque, NM.
His team travels to different states, performing for various organizations and school groups, and reaching out to other veterans who have PTSD. Lethal states, “writing and music has helped me deal with my PTSD tremendously and would I love to counsel other Veterans dealing with the same issues through music!”
Jan Miller-Waugh, Webmistress and on-line shop manager can trace her military roots back to the American Revolution. She has one son currently serving in the Air Force; another served in the Marines and is a Federal employee. She has belonged to the Blue Star Mothers – Rio Grande Valley Chapter 2- since 2008. As a Blue Star Mother, she has served on the Executive Board, has been the BSM-Air Force Coordinator, and has also chaired the 10th Anniversary 9/11 Run/Walk/Ride in Albuquerque. Jan is a Mission Liaison with the Patriot Guard Riders. The founder and administrator of the RFTW New Mexico Facebook group, she is an active participant with the Run For the Wall, and has served as a Road Guard, a Tailgunner and part of the Staging Team. Her passion for assisting active duty service members and veterans is evidenced in her fundraising and/or writing efforts for the Wounded Warrior Project, New Mexico Shooting Sports Association, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart. She is the secretary and webmaster for Vet Riders for Wounded Warriors. Her expertise in Corporate and Government retail sales and IT and her networking skills are a perfect fit for MAMF.