On Thursday, October 12, 2000, 17 young lives were taken in a terrorist attack on the USS Cole, docked in the port of Yemen to take on fuel. Seventeen sons and daughters gave their life on that day. All of America grieves with the families.

As I uploaded the photos of these sailors, it's as if I could hear God Himself calling roll call.

My heart ached as I thought of the families...children who won't have a daddy home for Christmas...mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, fiancees, friends...all left behind as these seventeen take their final Tour of Duty to a Port we call Heaven.

I added the photos so you could all see the face of a hero. No, they did not die fighting in a traditional war, but they did die serving their country and that qualifies them as heroes any day of the week.

Pray for the families as you also pray for peace so that this never happens again.

Sailors, we salute you on your journey home.

~~ Hero ~~

For those who fought on distant shore,
Who gave without a word;
Defending us with honor,
So gallantly they served.

For every boy who left his home,
Returning there a man;
And every woman who made a choice,
To make serving part of her plan.

For every fallen soldier,
Who gave all they could give;
To guarantee our liberty,
And the freedom that we live.

Each one who served with honor,
The brave, the tried, the true;
America gives it thanks today,
For we see a hero in you.

Allison Chambers Coxsey

Electronics Technician
Chief Petty Officer
Richard Costelow
Morrisville, Pennsylvania

Signalman Seaman Recruit
Cherone Louis Gunn,
Rex, Georgia

James Rodrick McDaniels,
Norfolk, Virginia

Seaman Recruit
Lakiba Nicole Palmer,
San Diego, California

Operations Specialist Second Class
Timothy Lamont Saunders,
Ringgold, Virgina

Andrew Triplett,
Macon, Mississippi

Seaman Apprentice
Craig Bryan Wibberley,
Williamsport, Maryland

Hull Maintenance Technician Third Class
Kenneth Eugene Clodfelter,
Mechanicsville, Virginia

Mess Management Specialist Seaman
Lakeina Monique Francis,
Woodleaf, North Carolina

Information Systems Technician Seaman
Timothy Lee Gauna,
Rice, Texas

Engineman Second Class
Marc Ian Nieto,
Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin

Electronics Warfare Technician Second Class
Ronald Scott Owens,
Vero Beach, Florida

Engineman Fireman
Joshua Langdon Parlett,
Churchville, Maryland

Fireman Apprentice
Patrick Howard Roy,
Keedysville, Maryland

Electronics Warfare Technician First Class
Kevin Shawn Rux,
Portland, North Dakota

Mess Management Specialist Third Class
Ronchester Mananga Santiago,
Kingsville, Texas

Gary Graham Swenchonis, Jr.,
Rockport, Texas


~~ LINKS ~~

"Forever Young"

"If Only In My Dreams"
A Christmas poem for all Vets

A Personal "Thank You"
from the family of Lakiba Palmer

"Do You Remember Me?"...A Tribute to Vietnam Vets

"The Wall...by Duane Whitstine

The Brave, The Tried, The True

God Bless "Old Glory", the flag of
the United States of America!!!

Chereone Gunn's Memorial

Richard Costelow's Memorial

Navy Special Operations Doc Holliday

The Wall-USA

Freedom Birdie


~~ Come To Say Goodbye ~~

Reverent silence falls over all,
To those now come to view the wall;
The black line stretches beyond belief,
Veterans come to heal unconsoled grief.

The park full of laughter and joy all around,
Now silent and still has become hallowed ground;
Fifty-eight thousand, one hundred ninety-one,
Eight Daughters sacrificed and all the rest Sons.

What can they leave here? A rose in a crack,
A token of love, but it won't bring them back;
East to West the black wall trails on,
For what did they die, These precious souls gone?

Like sunlight rising burns brightly then descends,
Future's golden promise now tragically ends.

(c) Lois Kidd

~~ What Is A Vet? ~~

Some Veterans bear visible signs of their service... A missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg - or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a Vet just by looking. What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel. He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She - or he - is the Nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another - or didn't come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico Drill Instructor who has never seen combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

He is the parade riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career Quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket... palsied now and aggravatingly slow...who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being...a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot,

Author Unknown


I like the Navy. I like standing on deck during a long voyage with sea spray in my face and ocean winds whipping in from everywhere - The feel of the giant steel ship beneath me, it’s engines driving against the sea is almost beyond understanding - It’s immense power makes the Sailor feel so insignificant but yet proud to be a small part of this ship - A small part of Her mission.

I like the Navy. I like the sound of taps over the ships announcing system, the ringing of the ships bell, the foghorns and strong laughter of Sailors at work. I like the ships of the Navy - Nervous darting destroyers, sleek proud cruisers, majestic battle ships, steady solid carriers and silent hidden submarines - I like the workhorse tugboats with their proud Indian names: Iroquois, Apache, Kiawah and Sioux - each stealthy powerful tug safely guiding the warships to safe deep waters from all harbors.

I like the historic names of other proud Navy Ships: Midway, Hornet, Princeton, Sea Wolf and Saratoga . The Ozark, Hunley, Constitution, Missouri, Wichita, Arizona, Iowa and Manchester, as well as The Sullivans, Enterprise, Tecumseh, Cole and Nautilus too - all majestic ships of the line - Each ship commanding the respect of all Sailors that have known Her - or any Sailor that was privileged to have served aboard Her.

I like the bounce of Navy music and the tempo of a Navy Band, “Liberty Whites” “Dress Blues”and the spice scent of a foreign port - I like shipmates I've sailed with, worked with, served with or have known: The Gunners Mate from the Iowa cornfields; a Sonar Tech from the Colorado mountain country; a pal from Cairo, Alabama; an Italian from near Boston; some boogie boarders of California; and of course a drawling friendly Oklahoma lad that hailed from Muskogee; and a very congenial Engineman from the Tennessee hills.

From all parts of the land they came - farms of the Midwest, small towns of New England - The red clay area and small towns of the South - The mountain and high prairie towns of the West - The beachfront towns of the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Gulf - All are American; all are comrades in arms - All have made the sea their home and served their home and ships with honor.

I like the adventure in my heart when the ship puts out to sea, and I like the electric thrill of sailing home again, with the waving hands of welcome from family and friends waiting on shore - The extended time at sea drags; the going is rough on occasion. But there's the companionship of robust Navy laughter, the devil-may-care philosophy of the sea. This helps the Sailor - The remembrances of past Shipmates fill the mind and restore the memory with images of other ships, other ports, and other voyages long past. Some memories are good, some are not so good, but all are etched in the mind of the Sailor - and most will be there forever.

I like the sea and after a day of work, there is the serenity of the sea at dusk. As white caps dance on the ocean waves, the sunset creates flaming clouds that float in folds over the horizon - As if painted there by a master. The darkness follows soon and is mysterious. The ship’s wake in darkness has a hypnotic effect, with foamy white froth and luminescence that forms never ending patterns in the turbulent waters - I like the lights of the ship in in the dark of night - the masthead lights, the red and green sidelights and stern lights. They cut through the night and appear as a mirror of stars in darkness - There are rough stormy nights, and calm, quiet, still nights where the quiet of the mid-watch allows the ghosts of all the Sailors of the world to stand with you. They are abundant and unreachable, but ever apparent - And there is always the aroma of fresh coffee from the galley.

I like the legends of the Navy and the Sailors that created those legends - I like the proud names of Navy Heroes: Halsey, Nimitz, Perry, Grace Hopper, Rickover and John Paul Jones. A Sailor can find much in the Navy - comrades in arms, pride in one’s country - A Sailor can find the way and can revel in this experience.

In years to come, when the Sailor is home from the sea, there will be the vivid recall of the ocean spray on the face when the sea is angry - There will come a faint aroma of fresh paint in the Sailors nostrils, the echo of hearty laughter of the shipmates who once were close companions - Now landlocked, one will grow wistful of those Navy days, when the seas were the largest part of life and a new port of call was always just over the horizon.

Recalling those days and times will cause one to stand taller and say: "I ALSO WAS A SAILOR !”

E. A. Hughes, FTCM (SS), USN (Retired)

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