Archive for the ‘VA Editorials’ Category

Mary Duty, Trib Board of Contributors: This news was well worth the wait!

By Mary Duty
Board of Contributors

Tuesday May 3, 2011

Osama bin Laden is dead? Could it be?

On Sept. 11, 2001, I had prepared a lesson on colonial America for my students. Instead, I taught about world religions and conflict and tolerance. Monday, I got to finish that lesson with a group of students who were in pre-school that day.

Sept. 11, 2001, was the day that our son Caleb decided to become a Marine. After four years of JROTC, he joined the military. All because of Osama bin Laden.

He is a combat veteran of two tours in Iraq. In this global war on terror he lost 15 friends to improvised explosive devices and sniper fire. He cleared buildings and chased insurgents from room to room in dark and forbidding houses. He endured those hot Iraqi summer days patrolling in temperatures that soared to 130 degrees. I wanted to be sure that he could see the final chapter of bin Laden’s story unfold. He earned it with his blood and his tears.

I could tell that Caleb was pleased. His Facebook post said it all: “It took 10 years, but we got him! Now if we could just find the WMDs. . . .”

A Marine buddy reminded him that they found them in the couch cushions. It’s good that, in the middle of such a momentous day, they could still find a bit of humor in it all.

His phone was ringing and text messages were coming in fast and furious. Buddies from his days in combat were calling to see if he had heard the news. We got him! We got him! Yes, we got him! All that sacrifice and work were worth it.

Flood of emotion

Sunday night I was swept away by a flood of emotion. Waves of gratitude and thankfulness came over me. And Monday I got to finish my lesson. We made comparisons to other world leaders. Hitler’s name came up. We looked at pictures of the party going on in Times Square on V-E Day. We compared those to the pictures of Sunday night. We looked at ground zero. We listened to the words of firefighters and policemen as they recalled that awful day.

Most of my students recognize that the death of Osama bin Laden marks a victory by the forces of good over evil. They know that for over 20 years this man has plotted and planned destruction and mayhem. He had been firmly in charge of the terror networks that operated out of Afghanistan. Sunday night that ended. The head of the snake has been removed.

The prayers of a grateful nation are lifted up tonight and in the days to come for all those who wear a uniform and for all those at home who stand behind them. All those who served have a part in this victory over the forces of evil and darkness.

The air we breathe today is sweeter. The sky is a prettier shade of blue. God bless all of you who lived for this day. You got him!

Mary Duty, a teacher at Tennyson Middle School, is president of the Blue Star Mothers of America’s Heart of Texas Chapter. Her son, Caleb, served two tours of duty in Iraq with the Marines in 2006 and 2008.

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Mary Duty, Trib Board of Contributors: Help veterans with VFW’s old-fashioned dance marathon

MARY DUTY
Board of Contributors

Saturday March 17, 2012

This St. Patrick’s Day there will be a very special event going on at VFW Post 6008 in Hewitt. You may remember this post for its immediate outpouring of support for the fire victims in Bastrop last summer. And when the troop care packages were in danger of missing their destination at Christmas, VFW Post 6008 rose to the occasion. With the generous support of Central Texas, those packages made it to Afghanistan, Korea and other overseas addresses before the holidays.

Well, they’re at it again . Today the Ladies Auxiliary is hosting a marathon dance to raise money for the post. For those of us too young to remember marathon dances, they’re dance contests that last for a number of hours, with prizes going to the couple that can hoof it, shuffle it and drag it out the longest.

This year’s dancefest carries a $500 prize. Dancers need to get sponsors to donate an amount per hour. Proceeds of the dance will go toward developing a place more friendly to younger veterans at VFW 6008.

Renovations have already begun, and it’s becoming a place where the vets of our current conflicts can mix and mingle with the folks from the Vietnam and WWII eras. Veterans’ interaction helps our sons and daughters move past their war experience and into productive, happy civilian lives.

There are many silent warriors in our communities. They go about their business quietly, making change happen and making our world a better place. The VFW Ladies Auxiliary works tirelessly behind the scenes making the veteran’s transition from war to civilian life easier and more manageable.

The dance starts at 2 p.m. and lasts till 2 a.m. Last couple standing gets the $500 prize. Other prizes will be handed out along the way. So grab those dancing shoes and get your friends to sponsor you.

Hoof it up for a good cause. Join us on St. Patrick’s Day to dance day and night away.

Mary Duty chairs the social studies department at Tennyson Middle